Pioneer Pushes Price-Perfomance Envelope with DV-525 Disc Player

Not too long ago you had to fork over a grand or more for a high-performance DVD player. Pioneer has just sliced that ticket by more than half with their new DV-525, a player sporting 10-bit video processing and internal 24-bit/96-kilohertz digital-to-analog converters. The $425 player is said to offer "twice the picture quality of a VCR" and options "usually reserved for players costing much more."

The DV-525 features two lasers for compatibility with all varieties of CD (including CD-R and CD-RW), S-video and composite video outputs, and--in a bold move certain to provoke the ire of the entertainment business--a full-bandwidth 24/96 digital output to feed external processors and DACs. Most DVD players, even those with internal 24/96 DACs, limit the digital output to CD-standard 44.1 kHz/16 bit in deference to the music industry's fear of widespread high-resolution copying.

Home theater fans--and their technologically challenged mates--will enjoy a new feature in the DV-525's Graphical User Interface (GUI). Called Setup Navigator, the feature makes setting up the player for the first time an easy task. When the Navigator option is selected, the player asks five basic questions about your home theater, such as: "Does your audio system contain a Dolby Digital decoder?" and "What type of TV do you have?" and "16x9 or 4:3?" Answering the questions lets the Navigator customize its output for your home theater system. Enjoying movies and music at home couldn't be easier.