M_ymc500blI just came across a new Yamaha product that promises to simplify your home theater.  The new newHD line up acts as the central hub for your audio video components and is controlled by a much simpler remote control — specifically a “20 button remote”.

From the online demo, the interface looks very similar in concept to Apple’s Front Row interface.  In practice, it looks like Yamaha is taking all the logic from the Harmony Remote controls, and using the neoHD as the control center, where the the neoHD sends IR commands to the different components attached to itself.

In addition, the device comes in 5.1 and 2.1 configurations, so it appears that this is the natural step to replacing your AV Receiver.  Everything is already going into the receiver now for HDMI switching, up-conversion, and sound processing, so it is a natural progression for Yamaha to take this next step and put a more polished interface.  I currently use Yamaha’s RX-V1800 receiver (which I love) but my biggest gripe with it is the lack of any sort of on-screen interface when using a High definition source.  The neoHD definitely looks poised to address this issue, but looking at the back of the neoHD makes me question who the target audience is for this product.  The neoHD has the cheaper “spring” lock speaker binding terminals and the number of inputs is on the low side — yet the prices from the website tend to suggest that this will be priced above the “entry level consumer” level.

In any case, I’d love to give the neoHD a test drive and post impressions regarding the user interface, but until then, click on the more link to view the photo gallery.  The connection diagram shows an AppleTV as one of the possible devices, so it’s very likely that the neoHD will play nicely with the Mac Mini.

Yamaha neoHD Remote

Yamaha neoHD Remote

neoHD Connection Diagram

neoHD Connection Diagram

neoHD Rear Panel

neoHD Rear Panel