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.