The line of Blu-ray players was first introduced at the 2010 CEDIA Expo. They seem to be designed for more high-end users. Pioneer’s website claims that the line was produced “for those who want to recreate a state-of-the-art theatrical experience in the comfort of their own homes.” The Pioneer BDP-430, Pioneer Elite BDP-41FD, and Pioneer Elite BDP-43FD all support HDMI 1.4a, 1080p/24 video playback and plenty of Internet streaming services that are available through a wired Ethernet connection or over Wi-Fi with a separately sold, optional adaptor. The company said that the Blu-ray players were “built with a focus on high quality audio and video reproduction.” They will also seamlessly stream content from Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and other online services. The company continued saying that additionally their “36-Bit Deep Color support with compatible content and displays features smooth gradation steps with more accurate color precision and adds to overall high quality color reproduction.”
The company is very proud of the fact that all three of their models feature Pioneer’s Precision Quartz Lock System. Pioneer claims that this system eliminates any jitteriness or inconsistencies that could possibly occur when converting a 24 frames per second film to 60 frames per second for the home. Pioneer’s website says, “For convenient integration of personal devices with a home theater system” the company added a feature that allows all of the Blu-ray players to be controlled by an iPhone or iPod Touch via their free Control AV app. The app is available free of charge at the App Store on either the iPhone or iPod Touch or online at www.itunes.com/appstore/.
The two Pioneer Elite models also offer RS-232C connections that allow users to incorporate the players with their own custom-installed home theater system. Users will then be able to control the player through a Control4 or some other home theater control system. The BDP-43FD, the most expensive of the models, features what Pioneer is calling “armored chassis build quality.” What they mean by this is that the player is heavier and sturdier than the other players.
The 3D players also support the very latest high-quality audio formats that include DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. Certain technology that is exclusive to Pioneer is also supposed to enhance the audio experience, which Pioneer says is “a critical component to complete a fully immersive 3D experience.”
Another great feature that has just been added is the continue mode. This mode allows users to easily resume where they left off when they were previously watching or listening to content. Users can resume playback but only if they do not remove the disc. At first I thought this was a convenient application, but when I found out that you couldn’t take out the disc if you wanted it to work, I was very disappointed. My extremely basic Sony DVD player will pick back up where I left off on a movie when I pop it back into the DVD player even after I have removed it from the player and played other content.
Right now all of the players are available to be shipped out. The Pioneer BDP-430 is available for a suggested retail price of $299, the Pioneer Elite BDP-41FD is available for a suggested retail prices of $399, and the Pioneer Elite BDP-43FD is available for a suggested retail price of $499.
That may seem a little pricey to you, but Pioneer EVP Russ Johnston admittedly said at a Cedia event, “While we are certainly not the least expensive, we are always pursuing our goal to be the best.”
I definitely think that Pioneer is offering some great features on this new line of 3D Blu-ray players, but they do seem a little pricey. The fact that my Sony DVD player has a better continue mode is just slightly disappointing, but maybe to some people features like that don’t matter. There are definitely some appealing features with these Blu-ray players, so I guess it just depends on what you’re looking for in a player and whether or not these Pioneer players offer it.