The Good Great component video quality for a good price; video settings actually do make a difference; on-the-fly setup.
The Bad Bulky design; few setup options; no MP3 support.
The Bottom Line The DV-343 delivers solid video on a par with that of more costly players, but it lacks the versatility of the bigger guns.
The arrival of cleaner digital images has sparked a "me too" phenomenon among DVD players, but not everyone needs to buy a progressive-scan unit. For those who want to hop on the high-quality-video bandwagon without with worrying about a high price tag, Pioneer's DV-343 is a decent solution.The arrival of cleaner digital images has sparked a "me too" phenomenon among DVD players, but not everyone needs to buy a progressive-scan unit. For those who want to hop on the high-quality-video bandwagon without with worrying about a high price tag, Pioneer's DV-343 is a decent solution.
Component for the cost-conscious
Video is where the DV-343 shines, offering the standard composite, S-Video, and component video outputs. The image quality on the DV-343 is fantastic, with very vibrant colors on standard test discs with digital prints, such as A Bug's Life, as well as on newer discs, such as Hannibal and Akira. There's no way to manually tweak the video settings for the picture. Rather than offering you the ability to manually adjust films on the fly to your liking, the DV-343 provides three video settings to simplify the process. Despite the lack of manual controls, the three preset settings--hold onto something now--can actually make a difference to improve your image. Most noticeable in the animated titles, the component video's Standard setting tends to wash out the contrast, but it heightens some secondary colors. The Animation setting tightens the contrast, sharpens some lines, and brings out the primary colors, while Cinema has the most contrast but the darkest colors. All three settings are exceptional--some settings make certain titles look better (especially Akira on the Animated setting). Most live-action video, on the other hand, sees little change in color. However, these picture settings do a fantastic job of improving line sharpness, most notably in the Cinema setting. Though you may get a crisp picture, is it progressive scan? No. Does it have 3:2 pulldown? Again, no. But those features only matter to those who own digital TVs. For the rest of us, this player delivers a solid picture to a standard TV.
With such excellent video quality, the audio is sure to jolt you back to the reality of the budget-priced DV-343. While this player does come with the standard 96KHz/24-bit digital-to-audio converter, the digital output is piped out via coax or optical. Even at that, the sound quality isn't far above par. Any spectacular results you achieve here will be thanks to your own home-theater receiver, not this player. The DV-343 handles CD-Rs and CD-RWs for CD and VideoCD formats. That's nice, but many newer players offer the same abilities and play MP3s.
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