Yamaha plans free hardware fix for 2020 HDMI 2.1 AV receivers

Mike Wheatley

Yamaha has finally announced a fix for its defective 2020 8K AV receivers that will ensure they work as they’re supposed to.


Yamaha’s high-end AV receivers from last year were afflicted by a somewhat embarrassing HDMI 2.1 bug that meant they were unable to deliver the full 4K 120Hz experience when paired with a Microsoft Xbox Series X or Series S console.

The HDMI 2.1 issue was discovered by the German language website Heise last October. It found that fault was due to a problematic HDMI 2.1 microchip supplied by Panasonic Solutions that powers the devices. The faulty chip, it was discovered, is incompatible with HDMI 2.1. So it meant that anyone who tried to pass a 4K signal at 120 frames per second from their Xbox through the receiver would only see a black screen. The same went for 8K at 60fps signals.

The problem didn’t affect PlayStation 5 consoles as they remain within that machine's maximum bandwidth for HDMI 2.1, but it was crippling for Xbox owners and also anyone using a graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD.

AV receivers from Denon and Marantz were also affected by the problem because they use exactly the same chip as Yamaha’s machines. However, Sound United, which owns those brands, recently announced it would get around the issue by supplying a free hardware adapter to anyone who bought one of the affected products.

Yamaha held off on providing a fix until this week, when it finally announced it will launch a hardware upgrade programme starting this autumn. The plan is to update the HDMI board on the receivers so they will be able to pass 4K/120Hz signals to the Xbox consoles and Nvidia RTX30 GPU-based devices, Yamaha said.

Owners of the affected models, which are the Yamaha RX-V4A, RX-V6A, RX-A2A, TSR-400 and TSR-700 AV receivers, are being told to register their devices to receive direct communications about exactly how the fix will be implemented. Yamaha hasn’t said so, but the effort will likely involve returning the device to the manufacturer or at least visiting one of its official outlets.

The company said the upgrade will be complimentary and on offer for 24 months.

Yamaha’s solution to the problem would appear to be more comprehensive than Sound United’s fix, which involves plugging the adapter into the receivers, but it may well cause a few logistical headaches. That might explain why the company has said that only customers who are actually intending to use their AV receiver for high frame rate gaming should sign up for the upgrade. The existing receivers are still able to pass through 4K/60Hz signals in HDR10 and Dolby Vision HDR, and they also support eARC and other HDMI 2.1 standards just fine.

For those who want a more hassle-free rapid frame rate gaming experience, it might be better to take a look at Yamaha’s recently announced 2021 AV receivers, including the RX-A4A, RX-A6A and RX-A8A, which are said to be unaffected by the HDMI 2.1 glitch. That said, Yamaha made it known that the HDMI 2.1 features on its latest models will still need to be activated by a firmware update.