Pioneer DVL-919 DVD/LD/CD/VCD Combi-Player (Mania.com)
Date: Thursday, April 04, 2002
What They Say
An "alternate angle" review of the codefree version by Henschel
Since Dustin Blaine Javier already did a fairly comprehensive review of this player, I’ll focus mainly on the codefree aspect of this unit, as well as any other minor cosmetic or functional differences.
I must point out a minor correction to Dustin’s article though. He cites that the main difference between the DVL-909 and the DVL-919 is the 919’s ability to play VideoCD. Actually, the major difference between the two players is the 919’s DTS capability. The 909 lacked this feature (much to some people’s disappointment, especially in light of the fact that the 919 was announced and released so soon after the 909).
I mainly decided to purchase a codefree 919 to address several issues:
My CLD-D702 LD Player was showing its age, and the glaring lack of an AC-3 RF output.
My Sony DVP-S7000 was showing its lack of DTS output.
Like Chris Beveridge, my Macross DYRL LDs were getting ragged and I thought it’d be cool to get the Region 2 DVD version… not to mention the Leon DVD… and the upcoming Dirty Pair Movie Region 2 DVD…
It looks waaaaay cool!
Yes boys and girls, this is the Asian version of this wonderful player. I’ve always had a thing for that goldtone/brushed-metal look ever since I first saw combi-players in Akihabara circa 1989. Notice that the Asian model comes with the more functional Jog/Shuttle type remote, not that dinky excuse for a remote that comes with the domestic models. It is so much more convenient to have that instead of those gimpy buttons that you can never get the right touch to work properly. The transport buttons (Play, Scan, Chapter Skip, LD Disc Side) are also illuminated, quite handy on a home-theater environment.
As for the codefree functionality, it works great! It essentially works the same way as Chris’ codefree 414. Insert any Region DVD and it simply plays it. No muss, no fuss! It does, however, also seem to suffer from the same slow/clunky chapter advance behavior. Since I’ve not had the pleasure of using a domestic model 919, I’m not sure if it also exhibits same. Does anyone else’s Pioneer models behave in this manner?
It played Macross DYRL flawlessly. The disc was recognized and spun up just like a standard Region 1 disc. I do, however, find that the 919 takes longer to "spin up" than my old 702. It doesn’t matter whether it’s spinning up a DVD or LD either. I assume it may have something to do with the fact that this unit does not have a transit screw. On the "older" LD players, you’d find a transit screw in the back, which held the laser transport assembly in place for when the player gets shipped or moved around. The 919 lacks this. It simply "parks" the transport in a secure position, which is probably what adds to the spin-up time since it would need to un-park the transport each time a disc is loaded.
Another feature of the unit is its claim to handle and automatically switch between NTSC/PAL conversion and output, depending on the source disc. As I don’t have a PAL disc (LD or DVD), I haven’t tested that aspect yet.
And finally, the best feature of all – the price! The lowest price I could find for a domestic DVL-919 was $799 (plus shipping, and/or tax depending on how and where you buy it). But getting a domestic model would not have addressed my erstwhile need for a Region2-capable player.
After several weeks on the ‘net, I finally managed to find a place that had codefree 919s IN STOCK. Several places advertise that they have them, but calls eventually exposed the fact that they were on perpetual backorder). I found my unit at a Hong Kong-based retailer, A.I. Trading Company.
At first I thought the listed price of $650 may have been a mistake, but subsequent e-mail exchanges with them verified that it is, indeed, $650.00 US. Shipping was another $111.00 US, and yes they had it in stock. Cha-ching!
The only downside was that they don’t take credit cards online. Just money orders or wire transfers. Well, I wasn’t going to let that minor technicality get in the way of my desires… so, $761.00 and 5 days later, I received my 919 from Hong Kong. I was a bit skeptical about the possible condition of the unit though. They simply wrapped brown shipping-paper around the normal box it comes in, and it had about 50 Hong Kong stamps on it…
It wasn’t damaged though (thankfully). Although their shipping service (EMS Post) does fully insure the package. So there you have it. If you’re in the market to replace an LD player, want a DTS and Region2-capable DVD player, this is the unit for you. You can’t go wrong, especially since it’ll run you less than or just equal to a domestic model. And by the way, if you do decide to get one from A.I. Trading, tell Ronald I sent you!
Age Rating: All
Region: All Region DVD
Released By: Other
Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
Series: Hardware Reviews