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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 DV-414 Codefree Player
By Chris Beveridge
April 04, 2002
Pioneer DV-414 Codefree Player
What They SayThe Review!
Pioneer DV-414 Codefree Player Review
And so, the fourth DVD player enters into my household. Back in September of 1997, I managed to find an early and somewhat elusive Sony 3000 player, which was just about as perfect as their 7000 model, though without the spiffy opening drawer and some slightly less quality audio bits. But for the majority of people, you couldn't find a fault with the player.
Then in April of 1998, I went to purchase the cheaper but new 2nd generation Panasonic A110 player for my parents. After getting it in and testing it on my system first, I found that the audio sounded better with my 5.1 system, so I opted to keep that and give my parents 'old reliable' Sony.
Then in October of 1998, I bought a new P350 computer system, which I made sure had a DVD-ROM player in it. I haven't used it much beyond using the ROM only content and checking out sections of some movies, but it's a spiffy little system.
Which brings me to May 1999. Player # 4. There were two events that came close together that pushed me forward in acquiring this player.
My 15 year fansub of Macross: Do You Remember Love was on its last legs. It's just about to crumble away to nothing.
The movie Memories, a region 2 DVD release, contains English subtitles.
Yup, that's it. Two movies that spurred me to spend a lot of money on my favorite hobby. So how does it stack up against all the other hardware? Well, the system basically comes off as a trade off in a couple of areas in my mind.
The first thing I noticed, as I've noticed with each player upgrade, is how much lighter they are getting. The Sony was a solid build, the Panasonic was much lighter, and the Pioneer is incredibly light. Not that this indicates a poor build, but you just don't get the feel that many old laserdisc owners have when they pick up their players.
Let's jump into the pluses first:
Codefree - Unlike mod kits and various things found on the net, this player automatically loads the disc and runs it no matter the region. No remote keypad bungling, no switch flipping, nothing. You basically insert the disc like any other and go to town. Outputs - It's a component output player, being one of the 3rd generation Pioneers, which means you'll get much better clarity of resolution if your TV handles these inputs. This is also a future-looking aspect, and one I really appreciate. Conditions - You can set up to 30 conditions in the players memory. If you watch a movie like the first Tenchi movie a lot, you can set the player to always start in 5.1 audio, Japanese language, and/or at a specific point. I often demo a disc for people to see the "wonders that is DVD". With the Pioneer player, I've set my Fifth Element DVD to always start at the Diva singing sequence whenever I put the disc in and hit the condition button. Very slick in my mind, and very useful in general for anime fans who listen/watch to a lot of the same discs in one language.
Of course, there's a few cons to the player, at least in respect to what I've previously owned.
Transport - I really don't like that the transport is set at the top of the player. The Panasonic had its coming from the bottom, under the display. Depending on the cabinet that you have your player in, you may find it incredibly hard to near impossible to take out discs easily. Due to this, I had to rearrange my hardware layout and such. Not a big deal overall, but something to keep in mind depending on your own layout.
Memory - One thing that I found was great with my previous two players was that when you stop a disc and turn the power off, it started up where you left off, just like a VHS and unlike a CD player. Unfortunately, this player does not contain that feature. If you want to pick up where you left off, you have to hit the "Memo" button, and then hit it again when you start watching the movie the next time. Very poor in my opinion, as the couple of times I've powered of the player, I forgot to hit this button first, and hard to search around the next time.
Chapter advance - Very slow and clunky.
Time - Curiously, the running time is listed in an odd way. When you go past an hour, instead of changing to 1:00, it continues on to 60:00, and so forth. Not a big issues, and definitely better than the Sony that didn't have a running time at all, but an odd choice.
Those are the main issues I have with the player. I won't classify the remote control as a con, as I've yet to find one DVD player that has a good remote control at all. It's just as awkward as all the rest of them.
So, what's the verdict? The pro's definitely outweigh the cons, and having the ability to play any region disc is a huge huge bonus. And not just anime discs, as there are a couple of Hollywood shows and others that are worth owning. There is no other way to get the uncut version of Luc Besson's "The Professional", or as the region 2 copy is known as, "Leon: Integral Version" or such compilations as all of Mr. Bean. These things make the player, even at a 499$ price tag, easily justified in my mind.
For references sake, and since I know I'll get some emails, I bought the codefree player from DVD City. If you pick one up from them, let them know you read the review of it here!