Yamaha announces its 2021 AV receivers with HDMI 2.1 support

Mike Wheatley

While Yamaha Corp. continues to investigate the faulty HDMI 2.1 chip in its first-generation 8K AV receivers, the company is pushing ahead with its latest batch of home cinema amplifiers for 2021, and they too are said to have the latest HDMI 2.1 capabilities.


The company said the new Yamaha RX-A8A, RX-A6A and RX-A4A are all high-end receivers that support the new Auro 3D audio format in addition to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. In addition, the company claims the receivers all support HDMI 2.1 and that it will enable 4K passthrough at 120 frames per second and 8K at 60 frames per second, in addition to HDMI VRR, QMS, QFT and ALLM.

That sounds like a tantalising prospect for any video games enthusiast who has been lucky enough to get their hands on a new PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X or Series S console, but there’s a lot of skepticism about Yamaha’s claims too.

That’s because Yamaha's 2020 range of 8K AV receivers were also supposed to support 4K gaming at 120Hz. Only they don’t, due to a faulty chip in the hardware that’s proved to be incompatible with HDMI 2.1. The same fault also affected 8K AV receivers sold by Denon and Marantz, and to date Yamaha has been unable to resolve the issue.

Sound United, which owns the Denon and Marantz brands, has gotten around the proble by creating a special adapter that it will supply to customers free, which works by converting the signal it receives from the console to something the receiver can understand.

As for Yamaha, all it has said is that it’s still investigating the problem, though it has promised to come up with a solution eventually.

In its Google-translated press release announcing the new receivers, Yamaha said the HDMI 2.1 features will be “supported by updating the firmware”, which is not too reassuring as it inevitably means they won’t be enabled when the devices first go on sale.

“Yamaha Corporation has taken a development period of about 3 years to renew the housing and circuit configuration in addition to the new exterior design, and by introducing the latest parts, it pursues the essence of audio = sound without compromise," the company said in a statement.

For those who trust in Yamaha's ability to eventually solves the problem, the new RX-A8A, RX-A6A and RX-A4A seem like very capable models, with 11, 9 and 7 channels, respectively. They boast wireless connectivity options including AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect and MusicCast, with built-in Amazon Alexa providing voice controls and high-resolution music playback via Amazon Music HD and Deezer HiFi.

The company said the new AV receivers will go on sale in Japan in late July or early August, but there’s no mention of when they will appear in the U.K. In any case, we’re hopeful Yamaha will have found a HDMI 2.1 fix by the time they do.