Pioneer BDP-330 Blu-ray player
Pure and simple
Either way, the audio performance is strong. I partnered the player with a Pioneer VSX-1019AH. The 2009 Star Trek movie's busy soundtrack packs an appreciably weightier punch in Dolby TrueHD compared to traditional Dolby Digital. Meanwhile the CD playback is enjoyably smooth. Whether the PQLS makes anything more than a subtle difference is debatable but it’s reassuring to have such tweaks available.
Playback menu options to suit your setup
The Blu-ray picture is good, with vivid quality from the likes of District 9 and The Hurt Locker. The Road, while still dark, appears clearer than on the Panasonic SC-BT735 I reviewed recently – so this Pioneer player is either doing something better or leaving the source as untouched as possible.
Motion is impressive, even if you switch away from progressive scan to 1080i resolution. Panning shots show less of the frame-rate judder that sometimes affects Blu-ray Discs, which is desirable if you don't have access to film-friendly 24-frame modes – Pioneer calls its edition Pure Cinema Progressive Scan – which, of course, this model also offers alongside 720p and 1080p at 50/60Hz.
The DVD upscaling adds decent levels of detail to DVDs without making a pig's ear of the overall picture in the process. You wouldn't mistake it for proper HD but it does a reasonable job in sprucing up your existing library.
In the marketplace it seems to be essential for disc players to have a features list longer than a rear-surround speaker cable. Although this one falls short on the kind of trimmings found even on cheaper players nowadays, this model’s purpose is to deliver a solid piece of technology that plays Blu-ray Discs very well. If that matches your main reason for buying one, then the BDP-330 fulfils the role admirably. ®
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