Pioneer AV amp plays nice with Apple AirPlay

Pioneer has released what it says is the first AV receiver to be designed specifically for Apple's iPad.

The VSX-1021 7.1 channel AV receiver and amplifier is compatible with Apple's recently released AirPlay Wi-Fi technology, allowing music and videos stored on any of the company's latest iOS devices to be streamed directly to your home theatre system.

We've all become familiar with AV kit that has USB ports and even iPod docks, but this is the first time a proprietary Apple technology has been built into a home theatre receiver as far as we can tell.

At $549 it's hovering in the middle-to-bottom range of similarly-equipped boxes, and can be hooked up to the rest of your digital life using an ethernet cable or an optional Wi-Fi dongle.

The receiver comes with a 30-pin video connection cable which will take on charging duties, as well as Bluetooth connectivity, five HDMI ports and Internet radio.

Free apps available from iTunes will also allow users to turn their Apple device into a fully functioning remote control.

The Pioneer device even claims to be able to make those crappy MP3 files sound a bit better something called Advanced Sound Retriever, which has a go at filling in the gaps left by heavy-handed compression techniques.

More details here.