Delay is better than ever, right? Yamaha’s latest Aventage and RX-V series AV receiver lines launched in 2021 with multiple HDMI 2.1 ports listed in their spec sheets – great news for gamers looking to connect their high-end PS5 or Xbox Series X consoles. to a speaker-based surround sound system and one of the best 4K TVs with features like 4K/120Hz display.
And while Yamaha’s spec sheets were crammed with details about what a gamer could expect from the new receivers when it came to specific HDMI 2.1 features – along with 4K/120 Hz and 8K/60 video pass-through, Auto Mode Low Latency (ALLM) and Variable refresh rate (VRR) were on the list – there was an asterisk next to each one saying “available via a future firmware update”.
High-end features promised to arrive in a future firmware update for AV products you buy now have become commonplace, however, and Yamaha has released one that added 4K/120 Hz and 8K/60 video pass-through in early 2022. Now , a new firmware update is available that brings the promised ALLM and VRR support, both essential features for gaming on a PS5 or Xbox Series X connected to one of the best gaming TVs.
Just to recap, VRR on a 120 Hz capable TV allows the set’s screen to precisely sync with the variable frame rate provided by high-end gaming consoles (or a graphics card in a gaming PC). This effectively eliminates “screen-tear” artifacts, resulting in smoother, solid-looking graphics.
ALLM, meanwhile, is a feature that allows the TV to automatically switch to a low-latency mode for gaming when it detects a compatible input, then switch back to regular TV or movie viewing. With VRR and ALLM, the source, TV, and AV receiver HDMI ports need to support these basic HDMI 2.1 features, and with this update, Yamaha has now mostly delivered on its promised specs for the latest receivers, with QMS (Quick Media Switching) and QFT (Quick Frame Transport) yet to come in a later firmware update.
The Yamaha Firmware Update needs to be installed using the MusicCast app and pertains to the following models:
- RX-A2A, RX-A4A, RX-A6A, RX-A8A
- RX-V4A, RX-V6A
Analysis: What does an A/V receiver bring to gaming?
While it’s easy to connect a game console directly to a TV, audio is also a big component of gaming, and Xbox Series X consoles (along with One X and One S) still support Dolby Atmos sound. (The PlayStation 5 uses its own proprietary surround format for gaming, although a Dolby Atmos bitstream output can be enabled for Blu-ray Disc playback on the PS5.)
An easy enough TV audio upgrade for gaming is to use one of the the best soundbars. In this case, the TV’s HDMI eARC port is connected to a soundbar, which directs the device’s audio for gaming and streaming. Another option is to use a soundbar with multiple HDMI ports that allow you to connect the console and other video sources directly to the audiobar, with the video switched and routed to the TV.
AV receivers provide a more advanced option, and by allowing you to connect to a separate passive speaker package, they can provide better performance than Dolby Atmos soundbars. Easy switching of multiple HDMI sources is a plus for receivers, but there’s also more immersive sound than a typical soundbar system can deliver, as well as greater dialog clarity and bass extension.
Of course, we’re mostly talking about games here, and all the advantages that AV receivers bring to movies can be applied to game soundtracks as well. But to meet the needs of high-end consoles and the latest TVs, receivers need to be equipped with a full set of HDMI 2.1 features, and with this latest update to its Adventage and RX-V series models, Yamaha has stepped up your game at your level best A/V receiver competition.