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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
April 04, 2002
What They SayThe Review!
Review by Julian Tacher
OK. I have now been using this player for the past 8 months and feel comfortable talking about it in detail. First off I'd like to say that I bought this particular model for the built in AC3 decoder that I never ended up using, while originally thinking the component output was a waste, but alas, is now my video output to a very nice Wega TV (If you have the 1400 US lying around, go get one. Don't think about it.)
OK, First off the specs on the system itself. Not fancy numbers, just cold hard facts. The unit has a component video output, 5.1 Audio outputs, 2 regular stereo line outs, 2 S-Video outputs, and 2 composite outputs. It also includes a Copper SPDIF output, as well as an optical AC3 out. Pretty much everything you could possibly ask for I think. Especially nice is the fact that some outputs are doubled. Nice for pumping on S-Video out to my TV in the bedroom. Or audio to the VHS deck if need be to record something.
Next the front panel. Very simplified control's as is the norm with most consumer devices nowadays. Just trying to screw us with losing our remotes and charging an outrageous fee for replacement. But that's just my theory.
Also something that attracted me to this unit was the fact it supports 96Khz audio. Always a plus in my book. Considering I tried making a DVD-Audio disk with my CD-R and it worked like a charm. I got 4 hours of stereo Audio onto it sounding great, and with chapter stops at the beginning of each track. Very nice to impress people with. If your Authoring software supports it, you can even insert graphics and the player will read them. And naturally the obvious plus that it reads CD-R disc's, albeit only good quality ones. Those cheap 70 cent ones will NOT WORK. Get some well coated Sony or TDK if you plan on playing them in this player.
Now, on to the remote. The remote is your typical "phaser" like remote. It has the arrow and enter buttons on the top part, and a slight bend in the case to make it more anatomically comfortable. The control is rather comfy to hold and use. My biggest gripe is the arrow buttons are almost perfectly flush with the remote body, making it sometimes actually hard to find them by touch alone. Once you get used to it though, it gets much easier. Naturally the remote basically control's everything on the player, allowing you to program tracks, change preferred outputs, setup screen color, screensaver, and a few other extras. Like if you do the region remove hack (easy as pie and works like a charm) from the settings menu is where you get a hidden option to change your region. Also, the player includes a Condition command, that basically, if it's time to go and you don't want to hunt for the point of the movie you where watching, just condition it and then you can resume right there. Not that big a deal really, and rather ugly to use. SO put that as a if you care type feature.
Now, a lot of pro-review sites have ragged on Pioneer claiming that they have a lip sync problem. personally I have not been able to see this. I even once digitized some video with a high end capture system and frame stepped, and didn't even notice any kind of delays. So I'll leave that to complaints about an older system, or people that don't know how to properly wire their AC3 systems, and use cheap cabling.
So, about the output on this player. All I can say is that it is flawless. From the relatively good composite output (but then again, when has composite ever been any good?) to the crisp S-Video to the flawless Component output, all the video outs are great. I tested this player with my older Sony KV40 TV with both composite and S-Video and it always looked above average. With the Wega and the component set, it's absolutely gorgeous. I also ran the signal clean, very nice. Basically my unit at least, has the same levels as a nice little Sony UV-1800 betacam deck. So I am rather happy. And the audio. Even the AC3 decoder built in is nice. But if your REALLY into movies, you'll ignore it and get a good AC3 decoder. This is what I did and the sound is just awesome. I used to have some Bose Acoustimass 6 speakers and they are so-so speakers, but the sound was nice. Now I have 2 JBL THX subs that shake the windows, and the rest of the speakers are a set of Warfdale Valdus that I got off Ubid.com for only 150 each. I got 4 of them, and the center is from the same guys. Makes fer a hell of a audio setup for about a grand. Piss the neighbors off I say. They do the same.
Added to the beauty of this unit, is the fact that you can get it for about 340 if you look around, making this an excellent deal. While not as good as some Onkyo units (personal preference) for the money I spent, this things kick's ass.
Finally Score on the unit B+. Could have a A+ if the unit itself had more control options. I hate depending on the controller.