Pioneer HTZ-808BD review: Pioneer HTZ-808BD

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The Good Great picture and audio quality. Effective subwoofer. Easy to use.

The Bad No 3D Blu-ray playback. No built-in wireless networking. No wireless speaker option.

The Bottom Line With good looks, impressive audio and video quality and useable connectivity features, this Pioneer HTiB system is one of the better sub-$1000 ones out there. It lacks 3D Blu-ray playback and wireless speakers, but if neither of these features matter, then this is a fantastic system to partner with a quality flat-panel screen.

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8.6 Overall

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While Pioneer has been out of the plasma TV game for some time now, its current range of home-theatre electronics provide everything but the actual pixels. This, the HTZ-808BD, is a 5.1-channel Blu-ray system comprising head unit, subwoofer, five loudspeakers and more than a few connectivity tricks up its sleeve.

Design and features

It couldn't be more high-gloss black if it tried, which is standard finish these days. Although made almost entirely of acrylic, the Pioneer does have a solid and substantial feel to it all. Slimline is the minimalist look, with all of the HTZ-808BD's components, including the tall (101cm) towers that act as the main fronts and surrounds. These are joined by a slim, passive subwoofer, and the smallest speaker of the lot, the centre channel.

The receiver head unit boasts a fairly decent playlist, handling a variety of media, such as the regular disc formats, plus it supports iPod-video playback, DivX, DivX HD and MKV video formats. It also supports a range of surround-sound formats, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, and has HDMI, Ethernet and USB connections to allow digital links to HDTVs, home computer networks (to link to the internet for BD-Live applications) and to DLNA-compliant applications or storage devices and to portable music players. There's Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming, and, for those traditionalists amongst us, a good old FM tuner to listen to the cricket on.

On the video side, the Pioneer does pretty much the lot, including 1080p up-scaling via HDMI, with Deep Colour and HD Digital Film Direct processing to accurately handle 24 fps movie content. The one video omission here is that it won't handle 3D Blu-ray software. Another non-inclusion is the ability to run the surround speakers wirelessly, so you're stuck with a cable run.

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