What is it about DIRECTV and Yahama A/V receivers?

Seriously?

OK, folks I have to rant a little here. It’s not that I have a love affair with Yamaha, really. But it so happens that back in 2003 I bought a Yamaha home-theater-in-a-box. It suited my needs. It worked pretty well until I got my first DIRECTV HD DVR in 2006. At that point I started noticing weird issues. For some reason that I don’t remember now, I had actually gotten the extended warranty from Best Buy and brought it to them in the hope that they would fix it. They couldn’t, and they let me trade up to a different Yamaha receiver, one I still use for one of my TVs.

Unfortunately that one had problems too. The DIRECTV remote never controlled it properly. The off button turned it on, the volume buttons were inconsistent, and for a while the optical out from the HD DVR wouldn’t work with it. I was able to work around these problems, so I kept the Yamaha in my home theater.

The thing is, I never really stopped listening when I heard about other people with problems with DIRECTV and Yamaha. As I traveled through different forums and social media outlets, I heard it time and time again – DIRECTV does not play well with Yamaha. I would occasionally find other posts from people saying that other stuff doesn’t play well with it either, but obviously I was not as attuned to that as I was with DIRECTV. And over the years I shared the few workarounds I discovered and even did my best to report the problems to my friends who work over at DIRECTV HQ. And for a while, it seems like it got better.

Until…

Lately I’ve started hearing a whole new crop of complaints from people who are saying that they are getting weird noises coming through their Yamaha A/V receivers originating from their DIRECTV systems. It boils down to people who are connecting via HDMI (which is the way most things are connected now) and they’re the kinds of things you normally get from connecting DIRECTV receivers to older or inexpensive TVs. Clicks, pops, loud “snark” sounds during fast-forwarding, that sort of thing. The only real workaround is turning Dolby Digital off and that’s not really ideal for a home theater system.

So, I would expect that lower-end TVs might have audio issues with any HDMI-connected product. I would not have expected Yamaha which is a normally well-respected brand to have this sort of problem. Except, now that I have a 13-year history with them, it seems like par for the course. Look, I’m not trying to bash Yamaha. I mean, one thing you can say is that they’re reliable — my 2006 A/V receiver gets hours of use every day and still works great. It even works with my DIRECTV remote now, perfectly. It’s just that I’m surprised to hear that there are still these sorts of issues and I don’t hear about it with other brands of A/V receivers.

At some point I will move that receiver out of the home completely, and I’ll be looking for another brand of A/V receiver to replace it. I would like to say that the newer Yamahas, which are reasonably priced and full of features, will be in the mix. I would like to say that, except it probably isn’t true. Yamaha may be a fine brand but it really looks like it doesn’t play well with DIRECTV and my relationship with DIRECTV isn’t about to change. So sorry, Yamaha.

What’s your experience? Have you found you’ve had problems with Yamaha receivers? What did you do?