It's kind of amazing that a component that hasn't changed much outwardly for 20+ years can change so much internally in the course of just a couple of years. I'm talking about Pioneer's surround-sound receivers, which I first encountered in 1989 ... and which still looked almost exactly the same when I walked into the demo room at the company's Long Beach, Calif., headquarters last week to check out its four new affordable models.
But they don't work the same. The new receviers, priced from $249 to $599, are even more packed with technology than the generation they replace. Fortunately, though, Pioneer's taking some steps to help consumers deal with all that complexity.