Yamaha updates its Aventage AVRs to add HDMI 2.1 gaming features and HDR10+ support

(Image credit: Yamaha)

Yamaha has unveiled a firmware update for its Aventage line-up of home cinema amplifiers, adding functionality for some long-awaited gaming and display features.

The new firmware version, V1.65, is now available for the top three models in the four-strong range, the RX-A8A, RX-A6A and RX-A4A, and unlocks the capability for the receivers to passthrough 4K@120Hz and 8K@60Hz signals from compatible devices such as PCs, PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles. Support for the HDR10+ video format has also been added. 

When Yamaha launched these models late last summer, they were notable for their impressive spec sheet and the number of asterisks that accompanied it. Despite being some of the first receivers to offer wide-ranging HDMI 2.1 support, full compatibility wasn't available out of the box and instead promised via a series of firmware updates due after the product's launch.

This latest upgrade means users can now pass through signals of up to 8K@60Hz (12 bit 4:4:4) with Yamaha's display screen compression (DSC) applied or 8K@30Hz (10 bit 4:4:4) without DSC. Though it's more likely that users will be keen to utilise support for 4K@120Hz gaming uncompressed at 10 bit 4:4:4 or compressed at 12 bit 4:4:4.

High frame rate gaming has become increasingly popular as it improves the immediacy and immersion of graphics, with smoother gameplay and enhanced precision, giving users a competitive edge. As well as a next-gen console source device, to enjoy the Aventage's new pass-through features, you’ll also need a display capable of handling 4K@120Hz or 8K@60Hz feeds.

Further upgrades to the Aventage range, for what some might see as more helpful gaming features such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Media Switching (QMS) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT) are still forthcoming. However, they crucially do not yet have a release date as Yamaha is still awaiting test specifications from HDMI.org.

The addition of HDR10+ also neatly rounds out the Aventage's HDR format support. Like Dolby Vision, HDR10+ includes dynamic metadata in its HDR signal, which means that brightness boundaries can be set and changed on a frame-by-frame basis. That means that the full-colour range can be deployed even in scenes that contain only dark or only light elements, resulting in subtler gradients and more detail. While not as widely available as Dolby Vision, HDR10+ can be found on some 4K Blu-ray releases as well as much of Amazon Prime Video’s original content.

To update an RX-A8A, RX-A6A, and RX-A4A, users need to download version 1.65 of the latest firmware via network update or onto USB and ensure that '8K mode' is selected in the HDMI Video Format menu by heading to HDMI on the main menu, then selecting the HDMI Video Format sub-menu and selecting HDMI input. 


The big problem with 4K gaming – and why it won't change any time soon

Yamaha 2021 Aventage AVR line-up: everything you need to know

4K 120Hz gaming: What is it? Do you need it? How do you get it?

Mary is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and has over a decade of experience working as a sound engineer mixing live events, music and theatre. Her mixing credits include productions at The National Theatre and in the West End, as well as original musicals composed by Mark Knopfler, Tori Amos, Guy Chambers, Howard Goodall and Dan Gillespie Sells.