Posted by Charanjit Chana on 2024-02-12.
Having recently upgraded our home theatre system, I shared the Yamaha YHT-1840 on Good Gear Club and thought it was worth a little more of an in-depth look here.
Why we upgraded
After more than a decade, our old Yamaha YHT-196 system's HDMI inputs stopped working. We could still make use of the optical connect and the HDMI out for HDMI control but rerouting inputs to the TV and then back to the AV unit caused random delays between the picture and audio on older devices. Sometimes there was no delay and sometimes it was half a second or more. Even when we're talking about 100-200ms of delay it's pretty jarring and noticeable.
After a few months of trying to go all in on the Apple TV as our sole solution, we found only being able to flick between apps to be pretty painful so I was on the search for a new AV unit. We already had the 5 speakers and subwoofer from the YHT-196 system so I didn't really need the whole package.
A soundbar just wasn't an option, it was pretty tough to find anything even in the same ballpark that could take 2 HDMI inputs. I refer you to me Philips 48OLED807 review where they've made an insane decision on how inputs should work. I could reroute audio with optical cables, but it wasn't reliable at all. An AV unit that can take control of the video and audio source was the best way to complete our setup.
Gripes with the old YHT-196 system
The OSD was not intuitive on the tiny display. We bought the system about 5 years before we had a 4K TV so it was not only not 4K compatible (but could do 3D) and did not do HDR which meant we already had a hybrid setup with some items going directly into the TV and then audio routed via an optical cable back to the AV unit.
Other than that, the whole setup was pretty good.
Yamaha YHT-1940 Pros & Cons
Let's start with the good:
- The OSD display can be displayed on your TV, infinitely easier to set up
- Handles 4K and HDR content
- Optional HDMI Control (more on this in the cons)
- Full home theatre setup in a box: AV unit, 5 speakers, speaker wire and subwoofer
- Option for virtual surround sound
The OSD being available on your TV makes it so easy to navigate and I've definitely configured it to the best it can be in a way I wasn't able to on the old system.
We had already wired our speakers when we bought our old setup so there was no issue for us having satellite speakers but this new package has the option to have all the speakers up front to create virtual surround sound. Basically it gives you a more capable soundbar experience if you aren't able to wire it all up correctly. It's a really great idea.
And now for the bad:
- Personally didn't need the entire setup
- AV unit is quite large and heavy
- No modern conveniences like AirPlay
- So many wires (12 speaker wires, 3 HDMI cables in, 1 HDMI out and power)
- The volume is displayed on the TV screen and OSD, you can't turn this off
And the not sure who's fault it was:
We did have an issue where one particular device would cause the whole home theatre system to shut down after 10-15 minutes.
Infuriating until I figured out one of the devices was sending a signal to another and then they all conspired to shut down together! By turning off HDMI control, problem solved. This means I can't use the Apple TV remote (app or physical) to control the volume, but other than that it's not been a problem since I configured each device properly to avoid this function.
Not having AirPlay, which standalone AV units would have given us, was a bummer but that's me being extremely picky when we have an Apple TV 4K plugged in. Would be nice to have the option to stream audio only direct to the AV unit, but in reality it's not a situation we've been in often before.
Why the Yamaha YHT-1840 and not just an AV unit?
The whole thing being the complete package just makes it a no brainer. You get passive speakers and the option to use the included passive subwoofer. The AV unit allows for an active sub to be used, but for ease of setting up I've used (and am happy with) what is in the box.
Our old AV unit failed pre-Black Friday, but despite scouring Amazon and AV specialists for deals, I couldn't get a unit for less than the price of this package. So in monetary terms it was a no brainer, however I wasn't aware of the package at the time.
The biggest downside to the AV units I found was the need for an active subwoofer. It mean't spending even more money on another device that would draw power to keep our existing subwoofer working or a spending half the money again for an active subwoofer. The whole thing looked like it was going to get expensive fast.
When I stumbled across the package just after Christmas, I looked again and it was clear that it was a pretty good deal. It's just a shame it took me a few weeks to work out the kinks, but we got there.
My rating for the Yamaha YHT-1840
It's a solid system and near perfect, especially if this is the start of your home entertainment setup. 4.5/10