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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!
This is a relatively consumer oriented review of this unit. I chose the Pioneer brand and combo LD/DVD player mostly because it was replacing a solid nine year old Laserdisc player. I will mention some of the LD features, as people interested in this type of player may want to know it. Note that this product number is not made anymore, but is available as refurbished or old stock on the Internet.
Positives / Features:
Faceplate display as well as optional on screen display
Both side LD playback, as well as digital frame memory
Lots of redundant outputs!
Four display modes, two theater, one animation and one 'standard'. Both of the theater modes turn off the display on the face plate, presumably to provide a less distracting movie experience. The animation mode simply makes the colors brighter for playing animation. This is still no substitute for a properly tuned video display.
Layer changes so far have been imperceptible.
The 56 page manual is thorough, although in places a bit confusing.
Two pair stereo RCA audio jacks
Two RCA composite video jacks
Two S-Video jacks
One optical digital output
One AC-3 RF-out RCA jack for AC-3 laserdisc playback
one PCM digital out, RCA jack
One PCM/AC-3 digital out, RCA jack
Two 'control' jacks, one input, one output, it looks like a mini mono headphone jack, no doubt using some proprietary Pioneer interface for use with a Pioneer receiver.
Given that no DVD remote I have seen is exactly a joyride in simplicity, the remote looks fairly normal to me, there is one caveat: to turn subtitles off, one must press the 'subtitle' button and then the 'clear' button, rather than simply cycle the subtitle button. The remote seems to function well even at 20 feet (about 6 meters) from the unit.
Does not have DTS capability, but is not a major issue as all DTS DVDs should technically have a Dolby Digital track to be a legal DVD.
This player doesn't seem to check the DVD ECC data thoroughly, a speck of dust on a disc can occasionally make a visible artifact. My Bubblegum Crisis DVD volume works on other players, but doesn't function properly on this one. This is the only DVD to have this problem with me, so I suspect that the disc is slightly flawed.
I have yet to see region modification information on this player anywhere. Maybe my Electrical Engineering degree may come handy to make my own, but I don't want to risk such a nice player. I do know that there is a trick on similar models to change the region, I have tried, it does not work on this one.
This is a first generation Pioneer, known to cause specific troubles with a handful of titles - none of which I have, at least 'The Matrix' bug on other brands of old players certainly does not seem to be in this one.
Also, a problem with many first generation players, it will not display signals that are technically 'blacker than black', the only reason this is a problem is when using a disc like 'Video Essentials' on DVD to tune your video display. Fast-forward and rewind is slow, it only seems to advance at about 2x normal speed, worse yet, you only see one frame per five seconds of footage on DVD playback. LD fast-forward and rewind seems very normal and very good on both CAV and CLV encoding. In some situations on DVDs I cannot step frames in reverse. Since I have not tried this with other players, I do not know if this is a player-specific malady or not. This player WILL NOT play MPEG-1 Video CDs, and this is also explicitly stated in the manual. I only have one title on VCD, and even then, I now have the laserdisc version of it, so this is not a concern for me.
Although I do like this unit, I would suggest prospective buyers look for a DVL-909 or DVL-919 as both are next generation versions of this one, unless you find a spectacular deal on a DVL-700. I have heard that their CPUs are faster and have many minor improvements over this one, I have seen one with component video outputs and I believe DTS capability is also available.
Maybe this review will seem negative due to the number of drawbacks, I want to be as thorough as possible. I still would not trade it for any DVD-only model, only trading up for same with multi region hacks or the features of the newer versions.
I do not have home theater or powerful test equipment, so I still cannot say much about the technical aspects of signal accuracy or capabilities.