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HD Disc Players:
Toshiba HD-XA2, Panasonic DMP-BD10,
Pioneer Elite BDP-HD1, Sony Playstation 3

Review Contents

Pioneer Elite BDP-HD1

The Pioneer Elite BDP-HD1 is the most feature-rich Blu-Ray player on the market, as well as the most expensive. Pioneer's flagship offering marks the pinnacle achievement for Blu-Ray players thus far.

The BDP-HD1's case is pretty standard, but elegant. The front panel is uncluttered, but a half-door flips open to reveal playback controls should they be needed. Outputs on the back include most every common connection - HDMI, Component, S-Video, composite, Analog 5.1, Analog 2ch, coaxial, TOSlink, and an ethernet port for firmware updates.

The BDP-HD1 had the best video capabilities in the roundup, because of the noteworthy addition of 1080p/24. This allows for film material from a Blu-Ray Disc to be transmitted natively to a compatible display, thereby eliminating any signal processing from the image. The problem is, we could not see a clear, discernable difference between 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 with the equipment we were using for this shootout. This is not to say that there is no difference, but after several hours of testing, we could not tell A from B with any degree of reliability or repeatability.

Surprisingly, there's no HDMI 1.3 on this player. So even after you get a state of the art 1080p/24 player and a state of the art 1080p display that will accept 1080p/24 (many will not), you still don't have HDMI 1.3 and Deep Color. However, this is another future-proofing feature that will become more prevalent as time goes on, so it is not critically important at the moment.

The Pioneer Elite will transcode TrueHD or DTS-HD out over HDMI, analog 5.1, coaxial, or TOSlink. It will not, however, output them natively over HDMI. So if you plan on upgrading to a TrueHD or DTS-HD compatible HDMI receiver in the near future, the BDP-HD1 may leave you out in the cold.

Of course, quality comes with a price, and the Pioneer Elite BDP-HD1 comes in at $1,499. Of course, if you want 1080p/24 output, options are not exactly in abundance. For the amount of features that it brings to the table, the Pioneer Elite is worth a look.

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Panasonic DMP BD10
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Sony Playstation 3
Review Contents: Introduction Toshiba HD XA2 Panasonic DMP BD10 Pioneer Elite BDP HD1
  Sony Playstation 3