Elite Blu-ray Weighs In

In today's world of MP3 players and Playstations, there is still something reassuring about big, heavy, old-school components. Does a 50-pound device reproduce audio better than a 5-ounce device? Who knows? But it sure makes your back hurt when you lift it, and that's really what it's all about.

Pioneer's Elite line has always taken the solid-and-heavy approach to building, so hopes ran high when they earlier hinted at a forthcoming massive Blu-ray player. Now hopes are fulfilled as the Elite BDP-09FD is unveiled. This player is ready to go (no stinkin' future firmware upgrades needed) with Profile 2.0, BD-Live and Ethernet for running internet-based content. Moreover, unlike some other BD-Live players that require SD cards, the BDP-09FD handles downloads with its own 4GB of internal memory.

There's lots more....

Other things you just can't live without: independent D/A converter for each 7.1 channel; two HDMI jacks; adjustable speaker preferences and other receiver-like tweaks; 1080p/24; upconverts 8-bit Blu-ray color information to 16 bits (be aware that most TVs only handle 10 bits at most); solid steel bottom plate that's a quarter-inch thick; all internal connections physically mounted from the circuit boards to the walls (said to reduce noise). Of course, in addition to playing Blu-ray, the BDP-09FD can also play CD and DVD. I don't think it can play SACD or DVD-Audio though . . .

Price? You just had to ask. Well, it's $2,200. Not cheap. But worth every penny when you consider those iPod Video weenies and how you can laugh at them all the way to the chiropractor. -Ken C. Pohlmann