Yamaha and Hyundai Score XM Firsts

Yamaha Electronics Corporation has introduced four new A/V digital home-theater receivers equipped with XM Satellite Radio capability (XM-Ready). The $649.95 RX-V757, $549.95 RX-V657, $449.95 RX-V557, and $349.95 RX-V457 will allow users to plug an XM Connect-and-Play home antenna into the Yamaha XM-Ready A/V receiver and activate the XM service to receive 150-plus digital radio channels—no other accessories or installation are required. Using XM's industry-leading chipset technology, as well as a new proprietary chip and signaling protocol, the XM Connect-and-Play home antenna is capable of receiving XM's satellite and terrestrial signals, in addition to performing channel tuning, decoding, and audio transmission functions.

The RX-V757 and RX-V657 also include a new feature called the Yamaha Parametric Room Acoustic Optimizer (YPAO), which simplifies the home theater set-up process by automatically optimizing the sound of the system to compensate for room acoustics via a parametric equalizer. Activating YPAO establishes parameters for optimal sound quality at the listening position, the company claims.

For true audiophiles, Yamaha says, the RX-V757 offers a Pure Direct routing option to "ensure highest-quality sound reproduction with both analog and digital sources."

In April, Yamaha will release another four XM-Ready receivers in its HTR series, ranging in price from $229.95 to $849.95. The company will also introduce several XM-Ready home-theater-in-a-box products in its mass-channel–distributed YHT line.

In associated XM news, Hyundai announced that it will be the first auto maker to offer XM tuners as standard on all models, starting with the 2007 model year. Hyundai of America CEO Bob Cosmai said the company had surveyed customers and determined that people who requested satellite service preferred XM by two to one "over other companies' services," presumably referring to Sirius, the only "other company" offering satellite service.

Cosmai also stated that Hyundai had considered adding a connection to enable consumers to plug their MP3 players into their cars' audio systems, but said that the company preferred "integrated setups" that incorporated those products into the dashboard rather than having external hookups. That doesn't make it clear whether Hyundai has such a device in the works or not, but it sounds as though we won't find out until Hyundai announces details of the 2008 model year.