Pioneer has announced a new AV amplifier which transfers audio content using an optical digital S/PDIF interface and marks the start of a wave of high-end AV amps that will support the Microsoft Windows Media Audio 9 Pro (WMA9Pro) CODEC.
The amplifier, with the oh-so-catchy name, VSA-AX10Ai-N, is planned to be release in Japan in December 2003 and then in the US in January 2004 as the VSX-59TXi.
It will be able to pull audio from a PC via an S/PDIF interface and play back, in Dolby 5.1 surround sound audio, the correctly encoded audio files and films delivered on physical media or via a broadband connection. S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface) is an optical connection that transfers digital audio between devices without downgrading to analog.
Right is a photo of what we believe is rear of the VSX-59TXi, which like many AV amps looks truly frightening. It makes us long for the day when Ethernet and Firewire ports are the standard connectors.