Pioneer BDP-330 Blu-ray player
Pure and simple
Review If a recent survey for HP is to be believed, Britons remain committed to packaged media, with 75 percent wanting hard copies of films in a box. So despite the advance of video streaming and downloading, perhaps it’s not yet time to write off conventional disc players, like Pioneer’s latest Blu-ray offering, the BDP-330.
Minimalist in more than just appearance: Pioneer's BDP-330
A mid-level machine, for which read: quite expensive, the BDP-330 has a glossy black finish with a minimalist outline and a front display that can be turned off during playback. The accompanying remote control borders on the plain. Main playback controls are easy to find but many buttons are small and it’s overloaded compared to players that hide lesser features in on-screen options.
Speaking of which, the user interface is disappointingly dull, more like an early DVD player than a 21st-century HD deck. Although it’s clear enough to navigate, I expected more eye-candy given the price.
It’s a BD-Live Profile 2.0 player, so you can connect to the Internet from Ethernet or to a wireless LAN with the optional AS-WL100 dongle that plugs into one of the two USB ports. Wired is best because you’ll also need to attach a USB stick of at least 1GB if you want to use the BD-Live on-line extras that certain discs offer. As with numerous BD players, there is no internal memory allocation for this.
You can also play MP3 tracks and JPEG photos from USB sticks but no other multimedia. As expected, the player handles pre-recorded CDs and DVDs as well as nearly every recordable type for home-made footage, including the AVCHD camcorder format, which can be burned onto DVD. However, there is no SACD and DVD-Audio support or media streaming over the network.
HDMI 1.3 only on here, so no 3D titles support
Compensating for the underwhelming menu graphics is the nifty iControlAV remote controlling application for the iPod Touch and iPhones – if you run a Wi-Fi router and connect this player to the network.
Still far too expensive
Blu-Ray has been around for about 4 years now and it's still impossible to find a player (let alone a recorder) for under 50 pounds. At almost 300 pounds, the pricing of this should be considered "high-level" and not "mid-level" nowadays, but the prices of players/recorders have been moving far too slowly downwards really.
The problem Blu-Ray is now having is that average net speeds have been climbing more quickly than its price has been dropping, so there will come a point in the next few years where end-users will consider HD movie downloads as a viable option (they aren't really at the moment).
Blu-Ray movie discs need to cost the *same* as DVDs, IMHO - this would encourage more people to buy Blu-Ray players and drive the price of the players down more quickly. There has to be several "cheap and cheerful" 50 quid Blu-Ray players out on the market in the next year or two or Net downloads will start to hit the Blu-Ray market, IMHO. And I haven't even touched on the fact that most people think DVDs are "good enough" (especially whilst the discs and players are notably cheaper than Blu-Rays).
BD player vs PS3
As much as I hate Sony I can't understand how one could buy a BD player that doesn't have wi-fi nor any internal memory but costs more than a PS3 (that has the same or better audio or video specs).
Can't find mention in your review anywhere, does it have Source Direct for video output?
How fast is it?
I recently rented a film from iTunes on my ATV, I had to wait 4 hours before I could watch it, clearly downloads aren't really practical yet, however the wait was nearly as long as it take for my Sony BDP-S550 to power up, eject the drawer, load the disc and start the film.