Question Pioneer LX79 / HDR

Hi All

Newbie here so please be gentle - I hope I have not committed any etiquette faux pas.

I have extensively searched the forum before placing this question and not found an answer, so please bear with me if this has been answered before. My problem is this:

I have recently added a new 4K Pansonic OLED TV (HZ1000) to my AV system, and connected it up to my existing Pioneer SC-LX79 AVR. My main AV source is a Sky Q 2TB box. The AVR passes through a 4K/50hz signal faultlessly, but the problem I have is that I can not get it to passthrough an HDR signal.

In order to deduct that the AVR is responsible for this, I have conducted extensive testing and ruled out the other components as follows: I connected the Sky Box directly to the TV, and it output and flagged an HDR (HLG) signal without issue. I also tested the Netflix app on the TV, which also output an HDR/Dolby Vision signal and flagged it as such.

The AVR is therefore the clear "blockage" in the chain. I have configured the BD HDMI input, plus HDMI inputs 2&3 to passthrough a 4:4:4 signal, and use the BD input, although I have also tested 2&3 as well just to rule them out.

The Sky Box is set to output 2160p 10 bit.

For output I use HDMI 1 , with 2 & 3 and Multizone switched off, although again I have tested outputs 2&3 as well.

My HDMI cables are High Speed Audioquest Pearl, and as I say transmitted an HDR signal directly from Sky Box to TV.

The AVR firmware is fully up to date (to the best of my knowledge, I can find no updates that are required to enable HDR)

I know that Pioneer claimed at launch that the LX79 does passthrough HDR, but my one doesn't ! I am tearing my hair out trying to work out if I have missed something stupid?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
Welcome to the Forum.

The Pioneer pre-dates HDR specifications and Dolby Vision. Those formats cannot be passed through the unit as far as I'm aware. If Pioneer mentioned HDR then it would be via a firmware upgrade. Trouble is Pioneer as absolutely pathetic when it comes to upgrades and the LX500/800 players have been waiting close to two years for a HDR10+ firmware upgrade.

If it were on the unit then the Panny would pick it up easily. Easy to check by just pressing the menu button and check the picture settings as it would show HDR playing.

Otherwise you would have to connect the SkyQ box direct to the TV via HDMI for HDR. I'm not sure as to whether the Panny will pass Dolby Digital Plus via ARC from the Sky box. The other audio option would be optical from the Sky box to the Pioneer but this would lose you DD+ and any Atmos metadata if you have an Atmos layout.

Sky's HDR content is pretty dire, just three nature programmes at the moment and there is no HDR on the Netflix app.

With the BR player then again connect direct to the TV. Depending on your player it may have a second HDMI out that can be used for HD audio. Again if the Pioneer was HDR capable there would be no problems in passing through the receiver and the Panny picking it up.

The only way to confirm if there is a firmware upgrade available to to get in touch with Pioneer customer services.
 
Hi Gibbsy

Thank you very much for your reply, I am grateful. I do appreciate that HDR content on Sky is rather limited at the moment, but I'm hoping that it will expand it time!

The reason I am confused is that I know at the time of launch that Pioneer claimed HDR compatibility for the LX79, I double checked because I wanted to have the capability available for the future. I can't find the official Pioneer link just now, but this is an article from an Aussie site which claims HDR capability for the LX79:

It also seems strange that it would passthrough 4K, but not HDR? In addition, Netflix do have quite a bit of content already in Dolby Vision, so I would like to be able to access this. The ARC option is there as you say, but it's a bit of a faff and I'd rather just have one input and one output for all TV viewing if at all possible. I haven't yet got a 4K disc player, but again I would want to route this through the Pioneer - not much point in getting one though if I can't access all the benefits of HDR!
 
So I took your advice and contacted Onkyo, who advise:

Hello,

thank you for your request. As you can see on our homepage there has never been an HDR update published for this model and neither the technical data sheet nor the manual mention the HDR format so there has never been any HDR update published for the SC-LX79.

Which is in direct contradiction to all the promotional blurb issued by Pioneer and published by What HiFi etc at the time.

Curious.
 

RomeoNovember

Standard Member
I used to own an LX79, and I watched HDR content through it. Not from Sky Q, of course, because I have a v1 box.

Do you have another HDR10 source you can try like an Amazon Fire TV 4K stick?

Pure speculation on my part but maybe its HLG that cannot be passed through?
 

gibbsy

Moderator
So I took your advice and contacted Onkyo, who advise:

Hello,

thank you for your request. As you can see on our homepage there has never been an HDR update published for this model and neither the technical data sheet nor the manual mention the HDR format so there has never been any HDR update published for the SC-LX79.

Which is in direct contradiction to all the promotional blurb issued by Pioneer and published by What HiFi etc at the time.

Curious.
Since Onkyo took over Pioneer it's products, or rather product support, doesn't seem to be that good. I have the LX500 player and it is a belter of a player both video wise with great audio. As I said above owners have been waiting for almost two years for the HDR10+ firmware update. As a result I connected the video HDMI direct to my Panny FZ OLED and the audio HDMI direct to my Denon amp. Too lazy to pull everything out of the cabinet and change to a single connection to be honest.

It does work well though although you will lose the onscreen display for the receiver when watching a BR disc. My SkyQ does pass through the Denon and it does work well and I've tried Sky meagre HDR in both pass through and when the Denon is running the audio and HDR does work well. Sky's picture quality on HD and UHD can be pretty ropey at times.

Things do move very fast in the AV world and some receivers, certainly over five years old, will not be able to pass HDR or even UHD with HDCP 2.2 as the protocols have changed in that time. Same goes with TVs, my Panny, a 2018 model doesn't have DV or Atmos.

The Pioneer is a fine receiver and for audio it is capable of really good sound and I would look at the work around with Sky or just ignore HDR until there is enough programmes to make it worth your while to perhaps replace the Pioneer. No doubt you are getting excellent images in both HDR10 and DV on your Panny.
 
Since Onkyo took over Pioneer it's products, or rather product support, doesn't seem to be that good. I have the LX500 player and it is a belter of a player both video wise with great audio. As I said above owners have been waiting for almost two years for the HDR10+ firmware update. As a result I connected the video HDMI direct to my Panny FZ OLED and the audio HDMI direct to my Denon amp. Too lazy to pull everything out of the cabinet and change to a single connection to be honest.

It does work well though although you will lose the onscreen display for the receiver when watching a BR disc. My SkyQ does pass through the Denon and it does work well and I've tried Sky meagre HDR in both pass through and when the Denon is running the audio and HDR does work well. Sky's picture quality on HD and UHD can be pretty ropey at times.

Things do move very fast in the AV world and some receivers, certainly over five years old, will not be able to pass HDR or even UHD with HDCP 2.2 as the protocols have changed in that time. Same goes with TVs, my Panny, a 2018 model doesn't have DV or Atmos.

The Pioneer is a fine receiver and for audio it is capable of really good sound and I would look at the work around with Sky or just ignore HDR until there is enough programmes to make it worth your while to perhaps replace the Pioneer. No doubt you are getting excellent images in both HDR10 and DV on your Panny.

Yes I agree the customer support doesn't seem great - the answer provided seems to be that because it's not mentioned in the manual, it is not a feature. While I can understand the logic of that, it doesn't really fill me with confidence that they know their stuff!

I guess I am going to have to suck it up, and investigate the ARC route as a workaround as you say. The Panny is certainly providing stunning pictures even on SDR so it's not the end of the world, just an annoyance.
 
So I have admitted defeat, and accepted that the LX79 can't pass through HDR, despite Pioneer's initial claims at launch that it did. Annoying, but it's still a great amp otherwise and I'm not inclined to change it at the moment. I have hooked up an additional HDMI cable for the Sky box to the TV and now using ARC for audio purposes. This allows me to view HLG on Sky (not that there's much of it yet) and Dolby Vision on Netflix via the TV Netflix app.

A bit of messing about with inputs, harmony remote etc but it's a viable workaround for now.
 

trevdigital

Active Member
I was in the same boat. I went from an LX56 to a LX901which is the best amp I’ve had to date. Passes every HDR variant through without issue, including HLG from Sky as well as atmos and DTS:X. I know Pioneer have released the LX904 but as you say they are now under the Onkyo stable and haven’t seen any meaningful reviews yet.
 
I was in the same boat. I went from an LX56 to a LX901which is the best amp I’ve had to date. Passes every HDR variant through without issue, including HLG from Sky as well as atmos and DTS:X. I know Pioneer have released the LX904 but as you say they are now under the Onkyo stable and haven’t seen any meaningful reviews yet.

Yeah, Onkyo seem to scaling back the Pioneer brand which is a shame, but probably inevitable. I'm not really up for upgrading the AVR at the moment as I have just shelled out for a new OLED, but as and when I do, I would like to stick with Pioneer if at all possible. They are a bit "quirky" to set up and operate, but once up and running they sound great.
 

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