Leave it to Pioneer to advance the state of the art for HTIBs. The HTD-630DV can play discs in the new high-resolution Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio/Video formats, and the system's single wireless surround speaker does a decent job of emulating two rear-channel units. The package also features a 100-watt-per-channel receiver, a five-disc carousel changer, and an above-average satellite/subwoofer combo. At a list price of $800, the 630DV is a hell of a value.
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While the 630DV's technology is impressive, the gear itself is not particularly stylish. In fact, it's generically bland and big. The curvy, silver-plastic receiver/DVD changer weighs 21.5 pounds and measures 16.5 inches wide, 5 inches high, and--gulp--17.5 inches deep, grabbing a substantial amount of shelf space. On the upside, the face's bold display imparts easy-to-read information about the surround modes, and the receiver's controls are likewise simple to use. Another plus is the unusually smooth and quiet disc-changing mechanism. However, like Pioneer's DV-563A universal player, the 630DV lacks SACD and DVD-A indicators on its front panel, so it's sometimes hard to be sure what you're hearing.
The wireless speaker, which resembles a small boombox with a stubby antenna, sits directly behind the listening position, where it covers the left and right surround channels. In truth, the unit does require one wire: an AC power cord that you plug into an outlet. You also run a pair of stereo cables between the receiver/DVD changer and a 6.5-by-4.3-inch transmitter, which sends signals to the surround speaker. The transmitter is powered by a little wall wart.
The 630DV's front box speakers are 9 inches tall and oh so ordinary-looking, but the slightly curved, 12.25-inch-wide center has a bit of style. At only 7.25 inches wide, the wood subwoofer rates as petite.
We loved the midsize remote. All of the frequently used buttons are logically placed, and you can control the various functions without constantly pressing different mode keys.
The 630DV's front-left and front-right speakers are two-way designs with 4-inch woofers and 2-inch cone tweeters. The center employs a single 3-inch driver, and the subwoofer sports a rear-firing 6.25-inch woofer. The 2.4GHz digital wireless surround contains two discrete channels, each with its own built-in 25-watt amplifier driving a 2.75-inch midrange.
It's worth noting that many competing devices crowd the 2.4GHz spectrum. The wireless surround speaker gave us clean sound during our entire testing period, but interference from cordless phones, 802.11b/g networking equipment, and even microwave ovens is possible.