The Pioneer VSX-822-K A/V Receiver is a full featured unit with plenty to like.
We all expect great sound reproduction from Pioneer, and this model won't disappoint in that department. The system looks great, sounds great and is easy to use. When I first got the VSX-822-K I was a bit worried that there would be a learning curve because this model was substantially more advanced that the Harmon Kardon model I was replacing. Those fears were quickly put to rest.
I've never been a big fan of the pre-packaged home theater systems, so just be aware that you will need to buy your speakers, Blue Ray player and any other peripherals separately. With that said, you will also need to calibrate the system to work properly with the speakers and within the room it occupies. This process is as simple as it is quick. A microphone is included which you simply place in the center of the room and let the process run. Configuration is mostly automatic and I found it to work quite well.
Each of your peripheral devices plugs neatly into the back of the unit via HDMI cables, with one HDMI cable going out to your television set. It really couldn't be much easier than that. The VSX-822-K offers pass-through so that you can still watch your TV even when you don't have the receiver turned on, which is a feature I really like.
So far most of this is standard stuff, now for the real fun. There is a network connection in the back which opens up a whole world of possibilities, literally. A Pandora ap is pre-installed, all you need to do is enter your credentials and it works. There is also an internet radio ap built-in which allows you to choose from thousands of radio stations from around the world. This is easily set up via a website listed in the instructions.
Apple Airplay is a great feature on this model as well. As long as your computer is on the same network as the receiver, you can play content you have on iTunes directly through your receiver. I was surprised to see this feature automatically set itself up. Very nice!
I am trying to think of a few negatives to share but I'm having difficulty with that. Here is the worst I can say. The remote control is not very good at controlling Pandora, iTunes or Internet Radio, but that isn't a problem since there are free control aps for Android and for Apple. These aps work great and will impress your friends.
The other slight problem I had was when Pandora just stopped working one day. I called Pioneer technical support and they informed me that Pandora had modified its login procedure and that a firmware update would take care of that issue. I downloaded the update to a USB stick, upgraded the firmware and I was back in business. No problem!
My first experience with Pioneer Receivers was back in the 1980's when I had a “state of the art” stereo model. The quality was excellent then and it's excellent today. When you consider the price versus the features I'd say that the Pioneer VSX-822-K is hard to beat. I've had mine for nine months now and if I had to do it over again there is no doubt in my mind that I would.