2.Playback Compatibility: BD-Video, BD-R/RE, DVD, AVCHD, CD, CD-R/RW/MP3, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL.
5. Video adjustments provided for Detail, Noise Reduction, White Level, Black Level, Black Setup, Gamma Correction (The balance of light and dark across the entire image), Hue, and Chroma Level (Color Saturation).
7. Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS): Provides jitterless CD audio playback via HDMI with compatible Pioneer A/V receiver.
8. Audio output options, in addition to HDMI, include 5.1/7.1 Channel Analog (front analog audio outputs can also double as a two-channel-stereo-only analog output option), and one Digital Optical.
9. USB port provided for BD-Live memory expansion. 1 GB of internal memory is included. NOTE: The USB port of the BDP-320 cannot be used to access still image, audio, or video content stored on USB flash drives.
10. Wireless remote and onscreen menu. Remote IR in for control with other devices. Ethernet for BD-Live content access and firmware downloads.
Overview of the Blu-ray Disc Format
Blu-ray is one of the two major High Definition disc formats that were vying to replace the current DVD standard in the U.S. market. The other format was HD-DVD. However, as of February 19, 2008, HD-DVD was discontinued and now Blu-ray is the remaining high definition disc format available to consumers.
Blu-ray utilizes Blue Laser and sophisticated video compression technology to achieve high definition video playback on the same size disc as a standard DVD. For a more details on Blu-ray, check out my Blu-ray and Blu-ray Disc Player FAQs.
Overview of DVD Upscaling
In addition to the ability to play Blu-ray Discs, the BDP-320 can also upscale standard DVDs to 720p, 1080i, or 1080p (in addition to 480p) to your HDTV, provided you are using the HDMI connection option.
720p is 1,280 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 720 pixels down the screen vertically. This arrangement yields 720 horizontal lines on the screen, which are, in turn, displayed progressively, or each line displayed following another.
1080i represents 1,920 pixels displayed across a screen horizontally and 1,080 pixels down a screen vertically. This arrangement yields 1,080 horizontal lines, which are, in turn, displayed alternately. In other words, all the odd lines are displayed, followed by all the even lines.
The Practical Side Of Video Upscaling
The capability of the BDP-320 to upscale DVDs in 720p, 1080i, or 1080p format allows a closer match to the capabilities of today's HDTVs.
Although this is not the same as watching your DVDs in true-high definition, such as the results you get when watching Blu-ray Discs, it does provide a better DVD viewing experience on an HDTV, especially with today's larger screen sizes.
Home Theater Receivers used for comparison included, the Onkyo TX-SR705, and Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K (on review loan from Pioneer).
Loudspeakers used in different setups included:
Loudspeaker System 3 (5.1 Channels): Boston Acoustics SoundWare XS 5.1 Speaker/Subwoofer System (on review loan from Boston Acoustics).
Video Scaling Reference: Anchor Bay DVDO Edge
Level checks made using a Radio Shack Sound Level Meter
Blu-ray Discs: 300, A Bug's Life, Across The Universe, Bolt, Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian, Hairspray, Iron Man, Night at the Museum, Quarantine, Rush Hour 3, Shakira - Oral Fixation Tour, The Dark Knight, and Wall-E.
Standard DVDs: The Cave, House of the Flying Daggers, Kill Bill - Vol 1/2, Kingdom of Heaven (Director's Cut), Lord of Rings Trilogy, Master and Commander, Moulin Rouge, Outlander, and U571.
CDs: Al Stewart - Sparks of Ancient Light and A Beach Full of Shells, Beatles - LOVE, Blue Man Group - The Complex, Joshua Bell - Bernstein - West Side Story Suite, Eric Kunzel - 1812 Overture, HEART - Dreamboat Annie, Lisa Loeb - Firecracker, Nora Jones - Come Away With Me.