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Kris Deering Posted: Dec 15, 2008 0 comments
Price: $599 At A Glance: Slow disc loading and operation • Great build quality • Improved HD and SD video processing • Full 7.1 analog and digital audio support

Pioneer unveiled its first non-Elite Blu-ray player with the BDP-51FD. At first glance, its large chassis and high-gloss appearance might make you think it’s an Elite line player. However, this player is the first of the classic Pioneer line.

The BDP-51FD is a Profile 1.1 player that supports Bonus View features but lacks a LAN connection and BD-Live support. At $599, I was a bit surprised that it lacks BD-Live or an upgrade path to BD-Live, but the rest of the feature set is pretty impressive.

David Vaughn Posted: Oct 30, 2008 0 comments

Founded in 1938 in Tokyo, Japan, Pioneer has a long history of making quality audio and video products. Its involvement in optical-disc technology started with the development of Laserdisc and includes a prominent role in DVD and Blu-ray technology.

David Vaughn Posted: Dec 14, 2011 2 comments
Price: $400 At A Glance: Solid build quality• Speedy loading • Plays SACD, DVD-Audio and Blu-ray 3D • Streams Netflix, Pandora • Possible connection issues

Pioneer’s involvement in optical-disc technology started with the development of Laserdisc late in the 20th century, and the company has continued the tradition with CD, DVD, and Blu-ray. Surprisingly, despite the company’s background and solid history of new product development, it hasn’t been at the forefront of Blu-ray player innovation. The last player I reviewed from Pioneer was in 2009 (the BDP320). It offered fantastic audio and video, but its load times were poisonously slow and it offered no add-on features like streaming or DVD-Audio and SACD support.

Al Griffin Posted: May 29, 2015 4 comments

PRICE $2,000

High-quality 4K video upconversion
Superb detail enhancement and noise reduction
Excellent digital-to-analog audio conversion
As pricey as it is heavy
Slim feature set compared with competition

Pioneer’s flagship 4K-upconverting universal disc player is something special, even if it’s late to the party.

What’s new in the world of Blu-ray? 4K, that’s what. Expected to arrive sometime in late 2015, the UHD Blu-ray format should offer not just UHD-resolution video but also high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities, an extended color gamut, and up to 16-bit color encoding, among other advanced features. Something to get excited about, right?

Now that I’ve dropped that tidbit, let me tell you about the Pioneer Elite BDP-88FD, a universal player that can handle Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, SACD, DVD-Audio, regular DVDs, and CDs—just about everything except UHD Blu-ray. And it lists for $2,000. Excited? No? Well, let’s see if we can work you up.

Posted: Sep 16, 2007 0 comments

I know that technology moves fast these days, but we can hardly get a review of a Blu-ray Disc player out the door before a new model that supersedes it is released. And indeed, I received this Pioneer Elite BDP-94HD in August, just ahead of the rumors that a new player from Pioneer would be making its debut at CEDIA 2007 in early September.

Ultimate AV Staff Posted: Jul 16, 2006 0 comments

<UL CLASS="square">
<LI>Digital Video Output: HDMI</LI>
<LI>Video Upconversion: 720p, 1080i/p</LI>
<LI>Audio Decoding: DD, MP3, WMA </LI>
<LI>Ins and Outs: HDMI, component, one each composite and S-Video, coaxial and Toslink digital audio, two-channel and 5.1-channel analog audio, Ethernet </LI>
<LI>Feature Highlights: Blu-ray Disc Player, upconversion of standard-def DVDs to 720p or 1080i/p via HDMI</LI>
<IMG SRC="/images/archivesart/706pioneerbdphd1.jpg" WIDTH=450 HEIGHT=135 BORDER=0>

Posted: Dec 18, 2006 0 comments

Even though this format war is a pain in the butt, I have to admit that it's funner to come in to work than it's been in years. I'm getting a charge out of seeing the hardware and seeing my favorite movies come out in HD on a silver disc that I've probably not felt since my Laserdisc collection gave way to DVDs back in the late 90's. To the cynic the next-gen HD formats are an Enron-esque scheme to perpetuate royalty streams and to keep selling movie libraries over and over (and over) again. I acknowledge all that, and say, "hooray!"

Posted: Dec 15, 2006 0 comments

In the years I've been covering consumer electronics I haven't seen anything like the introduction of Sony's PlayStation3 game console. The thing is a bonafide rock star. At the PS3's gala introduction in San Francisco gamers who had been camping out on the street for days actually cheered as an 18-wheeler with a full police escort rolled up carrying the game consoles, which went on sale at midnight and sold out Sony's initial US run of 150,000+ units within minutes.

John Sciacca Posted: Jan 30, 2012 0 comments

First impressions can be a dangerous thing, especially for an A/V equipment reviewer. Allowing yourself to become predisposed to thinking that one company’s component will be this and another company’s component will be that can cloud a review and allow for the praising of some unworthy products while subjecting others to unfair criticism.

Al Griffin Posted: Jul 13, 2011 0 comments

Blu-ray players are becoming less a means to play discs than a gateway to online services — and to any media stored on computers, smartphones, and iDevices lying around your home. Take LG’s BD670. You might pick up this modest-looking machine thinking you’d use it to play Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D discs, along with DVDs and CDs.

Al Griffin Posted: Jul 24, 2012 0 comments

Most new Blu-ray players are cheap enough and perform well enough that there isn’t an urgent need to differentiate between (read: review) them.

Al Griffin Posted: Mar 25, 2013 0 comments

When I reviewed Oppo’s BDP-93 — the company’s first universal player to support Blu-ray 3D and high-rez FLAC audio playback — I wrapped things up by saying it could be the last disc player you’ll ever need. Turns out I spoke too soon, because Oppo keeps finding new ways to make the whole disc-player concept relevant.  Its most recent offerings include the BDP-103 ($499) and the BDP-105 under review here, a $1,199 version that has been hot-rodded for two-channel-audio enthusiasts.

Al Griffin Posted: Mar 23, 2011 0 comments
Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 20, 2011 0 comments
David Vaughn Posted: Aug 02, 2010 0 comments
toppick.jpgPrice: $350 At A Glance: Exceptional speed • Plethora of streaming services, including Netflix, Blockbuster, and VUDU • Built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi • Blu-ray 3D

Blu-ray 3D Is Here

To 3D or not to 3D, that is the question. Sorry to go Shakespeare on you, but I’m skeptical as to whether 3D is the next big thing on the horizon. Samsung is one of the major players vying for your 3D dollar, and I have to give the company credit for leading the charge on the next advancement in home entertainment. You may recall that Samsung was the first company to release a Blu-ray player (BD-P1000). While that launch wasn’t as smooth as the company would have liked due to a faulty noise-reduction setting, Samsung eventually fixed it, and the format has now become mainstream. Is history going to repeat itself for Blu-ray 3D? And if not, is the BD-C6900 worth your 2D investment?


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