Pioneer DV333: Codefree & Macrovision-free -

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  • Age Rating: All
  • Region: All Region DVD
  • Released By: Other
  • Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
  • Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
  • Series: Hardware Reviews

Pioneer DV333: Codefree & Macrovision-free

    April 04, 2002

Pioneer DV333: Codefree & Macrovision-free
© Other

What They Say

The Review!

Pioneer DV333: Codefree & Macrovision-free

The Pioneer DV333 is the one of Pioneer's new DVD models that supposedly
replaced the DV525. Though I have never previously owned any other Pioneer DVD
players, I can say that this probably isn't a replacement of the DV525, but
instead a upgrade to the DV414. After comparing the features of the DV414,
DV525, and DV333 models, I've come to the conclusion that the DV333 is more of
an intermediate model between the DV525 and DV333. It is lacking in some
features included with the DV525, but the new features that Pioneer did add to
this model, more than outweigh those that were left out from the DV525.

I purchased my codefree player from DVDCity. However, there were a few
problems with the player. When I purchased the player, the web page clearly
stated that the player was macrovision-free. After having it shipped to my
residence and doing various tests on the player, I quickly discovered that this
was not the case. The player did not have the macrovision disabled, though
everything else seemed to work just fine. I checked the web page again and the
listings had changed from saying "macrovision-free" to "This
player is NOT macrovision-free." I contacted one of the managers at DVDCity
and told them about my situation. Within a two-day period I got a response,
which contained instructions on how to return my player as well as a RMA number.
They later told me that they had since gotten newer players, which were
macrovision free, from a different supplier. I shipped my player back, at my
expense, and received a new, macrovision-free player within two weeks. This
newer player was modified by I.O.C.S. and worked perfectly. Please note that if
you do intend to buy this player from DVDCity, you specifically ask for the
I.O.C.S. model as their web page still lists this player as not having the
macrovision disabled.

With the new I.O.C.S. modded player, everything seemed to work very well. The
macrovision is disabled in this player, despite DVDCity's current listings. The
codefree capability works like some of the previous codefree players. In order
to change regions, you must go through the player setup menu and press a
sequence of buttons. This can be a little irritating, especially if you
constantly switch between discs of different regions.

The player came with a few things in the box. Along with the usual remote,
batteries, and power cable, a set of standard component audio and video cables
were included in case you didn't already have some to hook the player up to your
system. The player itself is very light in comparison to my older Panasonic DVD
A-300 model. And unlike most of the other players the disc tray is located above
the display screen. The tray also looks a bit fragile compared to my solid
Panasonic A300 player, so I am very careful with how I handle it. The actual
design of the player doesn't really appeal to the eye. It is very plain and
rather cheap looking. The front panel consists of the display screen, power
switch, disc tray, eject, chapter skips, stop, pause, and play buttons. But you
shouldn't be too quick to judge the player just based on the appearance. Despite
the very cheap look, I found that this player is actually quite good and
comparable to any other higher quality DVD players out there.

The features of this player are similar to that of the DV525 model. Here are
the features that Pioneer lists on their web page.

Key Performance Features:

· High Speed Loading - Faster by 30%

· High Speed Resume -Faster by 50%

· 10-bit Video Signal DAC for high-quality DVD pictures

· 96KHz/24-bit Audio DAC for superb sound quality

· Twin-Wave Laser Pickup for CD/Video CD/CD-R playback

· Dolby® Digital and dts® Digital Outputs

· Component Video Output

· Pioneer Exclusive Viterbi Error Correction for Superior Reading Accuracy

· Personal Modes (Audio and Video Settings)

· Still Play (Field or Frame with Auto)

· Still Step Play Forward and Reverse

· Program Play (CD Track, Video/Chapter, Title)

· Slow Motion Playback

Convenience Features:

· New Remote Control

· Setup Navigator for First Time Setup

· Advanced GUI(Graphical User Interface) with Non-Stop operation, Basic/Expert

· Program Memory (Chapter/Title) (DVD)

· Resume Play (DVD,Video CD)

· Condition Memory (DVD)

· Continue Play Memory (DVD,Video CD)

There are only a few things that this player lacks. One is that this model is
missing the bitrate display and the automatic gain level adjustment. This is
also missing the karaoke feature that is present in my Panasonic A300. But these
are very minor features that got left out. This player also has Dolby Digital
and DTS output, although it should be noted that this player does not have
built-in decoders. A receiver with DD and DTS decoding is still required. The
more common things, like condition memory and resume, are all included in this
model. And like all Pioneer players, this player has a twin-wave laser pick up,
meaning that you can play CD-R and in some cases, CD-RW discs. It also has VCD
playback capabilities, which makes for a nice combination with the CD-R playback
since this allows you to make your own VCD's and watch them on your player. One
other feature, which isn't very common in the U.S. market and that is often
overlooked, is the ability to play Super VCD (SVCD) discs. You will NOT find
this feature advertised on any web page, official or non-official, because
SVCD's are rare outside the Asian market. In case you don't already know, SVCD's
are the next level up from the VCD 2.0 format. SVCD specifies a 480x480 (NTSC),
2.6 Mbits/s (maximum) MPEG-2 video profile, which allows for higher quality
video discs. I've found this feature to be very useful because I use it to
create SVCD masters for my fansub group (OnA digital). If you're into video
authoring, this is definitely a plus.

I was absolutely amazed with the image quality of this player. Despite its
cheap-looking design, I was stunned by the video quality. With the 10-bit DAC
compared to my older Panasonic, I was impressed with the player's picture
quality. I re-watched several discs to compare video quality and found that this
player was overall better than my Panasonic. In addition, the Pioneer flawlessly
played some discs that had trouble with my previous player.

The audio from this player was also better than what I had expected. Using my
Kenwood VR-309 receiver with DD and DTS decoding, the sound was very clear while
using the optical out. The component outputs also sounds very good. This player
allows you to pass a 96kHz signal or have it converted from 96 kHz to 48 kHz. It
also allows you to pass raw MPEG audio or have it converted to a PCM stream.
These options are very useful for receivers that don't support all the audio

The outputs on the back of the player are similar to most other players. It
has 1 S-Video output, a component video/audio output, and digital out jack
(coaxial and optical). The only thing different is that there is a switch that
allows you to change between digital or composite video out, so you can only
output using either one or the other and not both simultaneously. This model
doesn't have as many outputs as my Panasonic player, but it is sufficient for my
needs. Unless you need multiple component/digital audio and video outputs, you
probably won't need more than what's on this player.

DV-333 Remote ControlThe
remote on this model is a big improvement over the DV525. Rather than just an
endless row of equally sized buttons, Pioneer has actually gone out of their way
to redesign the remote to better fit out needs. The remote setup is very similar
to some of today's current TV set remotes. You have your basic function buttons
located at the top, the playback buttons placed in a circular configuration,
followed by the standard row of numbers. The remote was very easy to operate and
I had no problems at all with it.

The menu system is very simple and easy to set up. There are two menu
options: basic and expert. The basic menu gives you more of the common settings
while the expert menu lets you configure anything you want. It should be noted
that in order to change regions, you must be in the basic menu configuration.
The expert menu includes options that let you change everything from the
audio/video type and outputs, to the aspect ratio, and even preferred language
and subtitle choice. I found the language and subtitle option to be very useful
since for most of my region 1 anime discs; I like to watch in Japanese audio
with English subtitles. This option lets you set up the languages so that it
always plays with the preferred audio track and subtitles.

Overall, this is a good player for it's low price. Though it was $399, which is
a little more than what your standard DVD player would cost, the benefits from
the multi-region and macrovision-free playback and definitely worth the price
tag. Additionally, all the features and setup options packed into this box make
for a great, flexible player. It may be ugly or cheap looking, but in my
opinion, it is one heck of a player. I was not disappointed one bit by this
player's functionality or playback. If you're looking to get a new region free
player, then I would definitely recommend this player over both the DV525 and
DV414 models. This player takes the best from both models and combines them into
one awesome player at a low price.


Video: A

Audio: A

Remote: B+

Features: A-

Overall: A-

Review by Jon Yamaoka

Webmaster of Otaku No Anime


Review Equipment


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