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You see, in addition to releasing a powerful programmable remote control, Yamaha has also revamped their receiver lineup to support an extended set of discrete codes. Actually, saying "extended" is putting the matter much too mildly - Yamaha has absolutely the most complete set of automation codes of any receiver manufacturer, bar none. Through RAVedit you can easily delve into these capabilities, adding discrete codes such as "Input Mode Dolby Digital RF", "DSP Warehouse Loft" and "Zone 2 Mute Off". It's possible to completely automate Yamaha's new receivers so that you always end up with the audio setup you want, no matter where you start from. If only other system devices could be so considerate! Though you can also access such codes under ProntoEdit with a little more work, it's only with RAVedit and the RAV-2000 that you can directly enter a code's function number.
The maximum user file size has shrunk considerably from the TSU2000, despite what essentially amounts to minimal changes. While the 2mb Marantz RC5000i supports a maximum layout size of 1404KB and the 2mb Pronto TSU2000 940KB, the 2mb RAV-2000 weighs in with just 444KB - that's only 32% of an RC5000i or 47% of a TSU2000. Since the remote includes no additional firmware features over the TSU2000, I can only conclude that all that space is occupied by the interface's new animations. Although 444KB should be more than enough for the majority of configurations (remember, the 1mb Pronto TS-1000 has only 380KB), many RC5000i and TSU2000 users have managed to use more space with their layouts, particularly if they include games or DVD/CD jukebox databases.
The Yamaha RAV-2000 comes bundled with a 37-page manual that does an excellent job of introducing the remote and its capabilities, with clear pictures and diagrams, tables of functions and easy numbered instruction lists. Other box items include 4 AA batteries, a quick-start guide and the serial communications cable. No CD containing RAVedit was packaged - the software must be downloaded over the Internet - though this may change in the future. Finally, Yamaha warranties the RAV-2000 for a period of 1 year.
Adding it all together...
It's hard to say exactly where the RAV-2000 should fit into the current remote control marketplace. With a list price of $499 it is situated most closely to the Marantz RC5000i, which rings in at a mere $50 more. However, for that price the RC5000i includes a rechargeable battery and docking station, items that can't even be had optionally on the RAV-2000 as there's no corresponding connector.
Yamaha's stockier design for the RAV-2000 combined with less practical hard buttons and a smaller amount of user memory could make it difficult for Yamaha to attract customers not already loyal to the Yamaha name. Regardless, the RAV-2000 is an interesting take on the Pronto platform, retaining all of the useful customization capabilities that we've come to expect from a top-notch graphical remote.
- Daniel Tonks (Remote Central)