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Pioneer DV-410V DVD Player
Pioneer was the first to bring in Laserdisc players way back in 1980, so they sure seem to know about optical disc playback. 29 years later, their DVD players are still respected and purchased all over, even in our country. They might not be as common here though. Today we've received quite a promising looking unit, the Pioneer DV410V, for review.
The player comes with a straight up approach in the design department, with a simple 1 RU rectangular chassis, with a typical depth dimension like regular DVD players. The colors available are black and white. We received the black one for review. The chassis is made of thin black sheet metal, and is bare all over. There are no fancy curves or contours and no shiny labels and prints, which is a welcome change for me personally.
The front panel is crowded with numerous buttons and various aspects like a large central disc tray which is camouflaged with the rest of the fašade. Pioneer always has a knack for inconspicuous eject buttons, and this one too has a tiny black one near the tray, on the right. The extremities contain menu and navigation buttons, circularly positioned, while ‘play’ and ‘stop’ are small black ones arranged in a row below the tray.
There is a blue LED screen on the right side of the front panel while a lone USB slot is positioned below this. The left side has the single power button, though it is populated with logos of DivX, USB and the other available features.
Features and specs
The unit has all the basic connections needed in a modern player, including a single HDMI out, a component video out, S-video and Composite video out. For audio there is optical and coaxial digital audio outs. This player does not have Analog 5.1 audio outs, no decoding done inside. The video chip is a 108 MHz/12-bit D/A converter, plus the player supports Progressive Scan (PAL/NTSC), and they call it Dual PureCinema.
There is the usual 1080p upscaling with HDMI output found on almost every DVD player these days. It plays all versions of DivX( including 6), WMV, HD JPEG. __STARTQUOTE__The extreme blacks and whites were very much in control and quite intricately visible, thus no clipping of dynamic range.__ENDQUOTE__The max resolution it plays are SD files of this type, thus DivX and WMV files of only 720 X 480, or 720 x 576 resolution can be played. This is the case with all players.
It reads a variety of disc types. Please see specs for complete info. For audio we have a 192 kHz/24-bit D/A converter, plus it plays MP3, WMA and MPEG-4 AAC files. They also have a feature called Dialogue Enhancer, which plays around with mid channel, mid frequencies.
We connected the player to an LG Plasma HDTV, and connected via HDMI. The first steps were the usual test disc for patterns and video demonstrations. Thus this is where we encountered the GUI menu system of the player. We have something called initial settings, which is where we set the TV to 16:9, and audio out to Digital. You can optionally set the upscaling feature on here, which we did to full HD 1080p. In movies we used Ratatouille and Iron Man.
Then we put on a simple black and white grayscale pattern with 256 levels of grey from black to white. This is where the Pioneer started receiving its first points of praise. The menu has a video settings function, with brightness, gamma, sharpness etc. just like a TV, thus one can tweak to get a good image. The extreme blacks and whites were very much in control and quite intricately visible, with no clipping of dynamic range. Even in still photos of high detail, the player really comes out with very good detail in dark spots. In video demos, especially films that we saw, the player consistently belted out very vivid and crisp images in terms of light and dark sections.
With regard to color we realized that the player performs well here too. The colors are quite neutral and well set. There is not much dot crawl or other artifacts. Skin tones area are a tad redder and saturated, though not too much of an issue. In Ratatouille, the intense color was depicted quite well.
Where the player did lack, or rather was not really up to the mark was motion. Sometimes in fast moving scenes, like the Iron man flying frenzy being followed by the jet, artifacts were visible, like jaggies and a little blur. Beside the films, we ran the regular moving test patterns to see de-interlacing and how the player handles motion. There was a little blur as tested before.
There are some minor iffys also in the external usage aspect. The remote needs to be aimed absolutely directly at the IR receiever, which is positioned to the left of the tray. From Power On to eject and then Play, the DV410 took a little time, about 3-4 seconds more than usual.
At Rs. 6490, we are definitely impressed with the player, as the good points outweigh the cons, in number as well as extent. It does not have a fancy design, but definitely has nice video playback. It has a few minor quirks in motion, but not worse than the competition, and upscaled 1080p video does not look that bad. It is recommended for video enthusiasts who need something better than the run of the mill 5000 buck players out there.