Till this day, our Pioneer BDP-310 is still our primary Blu-ray player. While it doesn’t have access to paid video streaming services, it has outstanding audio and video performance for both Blu-rays and while upscaling DVDs. The BDP-310′s multi-channel analog outputs have given our Pioneer VSX-1014 receiver a few more years of life. The BDP-310 and its Elite counterparts were the last Pioneer Blu-ray players to be made by Pioneer themselves. After that, Pioneer simply sold rebranded Sharp players.
At their booth at CEDIA, Pioneer unveiled their new line-up of Blu-ray players, designed from the ground up by Pioneer once again! There are three players in the new line: the BDP-140 and two Elite models: the BDP-52FP and the BDP-53FP. The BDP-140 will ship this month and retail at $199. The two Elite models will retail at $399 and $499 respectively and ship later this year. The Elite models are designed to be paired with Pioneer’s Elite receiver line and can be interfaced with automated control systems.
Like most of the industry, these players no longer have the multi-channel analog audio outputs. There’s still S/PDIF and two channel analog outs. Also, the BDP-53FP adds a second HDMI port. This is handy if your receiver doesn’t support HDMI pass-through and you want to use your player without turning on the receiver. Also, if you own a Pioneer receiver and want PQLS, you will have to go with one of the Elite models.
For upgrades, all three players now have quick load times (our 310 is SLOOOW but we’re willing to wait for great audio/video). All three players work with Pioneer’s iControlAV2 app which runs on Android and iOS. All of them support SACD. While we don’t care much for 3D, the functionality is built-in. For streaming services, the boxes come with Netflix, YouTube and Pandora. For pictures, there’s Picassa.
Pioneer has also implemented the HTML5 interface for Netflix. It supports HD but there’s no sign of Dolby Digital or closed caption support yet. It’s still running the “old” HTML5 interface that we prefer. Netflix has been rolling out the new HTML5 interface, a device at a time (the WD Live boxes recently flipped to the new interface).
The YouTube client was written to auto-select the higher resolution videos available for play. The end result is that YouTube actually looks good on a large TV. It’s one of the nicer YouTube implementations I’ve seen out there. Video and stills follow: