Pioneer serves up trio of new Blu-ray players

Pioneer is releasing three new Blu-ray players in April, including an entry-level model with Profile 2.0 and onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Editors' note: This post has been updated since initial publication, to include recently announced pricing information .:

Pioneer has been making Blu-ray players essentially since the format's inception, but we don't get around to reviewing many of them because of their hefty price tags.

The company announced three new Blu-ray players here at CES 2009, one of which features Pioneer's Elite label, and the two cheaper models look to be priced competitively with other manufacturers.

Pioneer BDP-120

Key features of the Pioneer BDP-120:

Pioneer BDP-320

Step-up features of the Pioneer BDP-320:

  • Deep Color support
  • Picture control suite (13 additional video adjustments)
  • Three noise reduction circuits
  • 7.1 analog audio outputs
  • Precision Quartz Lock System (jitter-free audio transmission for CD)
  • 1GB of internal memory
  • April release date, less than $400
Pioneer BDP-23FD

Step-up features of the Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD

  • RS-232C input
  • Designed for custom installer market
  • April release date, $600

Most of the features are straightforward, but it's worth looking at some of the step-up features on the BDP-320. Deep Color support can mostly be ignored, as we've yet to see any commercial Blu-ray discs that take advantage of Deep Color.

The additional video adjustments and noise reduction controls are nice for home theater buffs who like to tweak, although we prefer to make adjustments on the display, rather than the player. Pioneer's Precision Quartz Lock System might be a plus for some audiophiles, but we're generally a little skeptical about how audible CD audio jitter is.

The best step-up feature is the 7.1 analog audio outputs, which will enable buyers with older non-HDMI receivers to enjoy Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks at their full resolution.

 

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