In late February, I was passing by the Harvey Normal Outlet Store in Hamilton and decided to call in for a look.

One particular product range caught my eye:  The Pioneer VSX Receiver Range.  There was 3 different receivers, one that just had HDMI, one which had networking (the Pioneer VSX-824-k) , and one that had multi zone.  They were priced from about $400 to $1100.

The reason I was even vaguely interested in another receiver was because I currently owned a Pioneer Receiver and it didn’t have HDMI, when everything else did. It didn’t even have a optical port – I think it was purchased in early 2000 ish.  The cables behind the TV were starting to look like a bomb had gone off, so I thought screw it, I will get a new receiver with HDMI and tidy things up.

My theory was there would be about 5 speaker leads, and then 4 HDMI (DVD, Apple TV, Laptop, and output to the TV).  This was all very well, so I had to toss up between the $400 HDMI model and the $700 model with networking.

I wasn’t 100% sure what networking was, so their store ‘expert’ kindly explained to me and answered my questions:

  • Networking Model ~ does it have an onscreen display?  Yes
  • Does it have Airplay Music? Yes.  What about Airplay Video? No.  (at this point I was thinking bugger, it means I will still need the Apple TV for streaming video).
  • What does the Spotify sticker on the front mean?  You can play from Spotify to the Unit (Great I thought!  We can use Spotify without needing a computer setup beside the TV).  So to double check I asked:
  • Can Spotify be accessed by the remote?  The helpful sales assistant assured me that yes it could, and I could browse music without the need for a computer.

SOLD!  I purchased it and got it home.  2 hours later, I had wired it all up and the wires were nice and tidy.


  • Networking:  Easy As, had it connected into the local area network via ethernet no problems.
  • On Screen Display:  YUCK!  Seems like it was from a 1990s Video Player ~ it was grainy, low resolution, and flickered like crazy.
  • Instructions: None in the box – bugger, downloaded them.
  • Airplay Music:  Connected easily, although was experience occasional drop outs from the music when I didn’t have any issues from the Apple TV. Hmm.
  • Spotify:  Not accessable via the unit.  (completely wrong from what I was told from the ‘store expert’).  Ok, so I downloaded it onto my phone, and got the error it wasn’t compatible in my region, and that I needed a Spotify Premium account for it to work. WHAT! Never was aware of this, as we always just use free spotify and listen to the ads.

At this point, I was feeling pretty disappointed with my purchase, and felt mislead from the ‘expert’.  I phoned them up, and the person assured me that they had never said anything like that, and that they weren’t going to be at work for the next couple of days, so I should wait and deal with them when they came back. Hmmmmmm…  I phoned them back that day and said would they be able to find out about the flickery display:

  • Sales Assistant said their store model did it.
  • Then said they had phoned Pioneer and it was normal for it to do it.
  • I phoned their head office. They said it shouldn’t do it
  • They phoned Pioneer and said it shouldn’t do it, and it would be faulty.

Something wasn’t adding up here, so I was starting to get a tad annoyed, so I packed the unit up, and took it back to the store.

The store manager totally wasn’t willing to give me a refund, and before I could see him, I had to wait for about 10 minutes while he casually chatted to a staff member.

Thinking that the whole thing was going no where, I decided that maybe I could upgrade my TV, so as soon as I suggested this, his eyes lit up…

At the end of the day, I felt mucked around with the whole experience, but was happy to get a upgrade my TV, but don’t think I will ever be going back to Harvey Norman when they treat customers like that.