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Pioneer Elite DV-46AV DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio Player with HDMI - Review

Performance and Versatility in a Small Package

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Pioneer Elite DV-46AV DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio Player with HDMI  - Front Panel View

Pioneer Elite DV-46AV DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio Player with HDMI - Front Panel View

Photo (c) Pioneer Electronics
The Pioneer Elite DV-46AV is a DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio player with upconversion video output to either 720p/1080i via HDMI output. If you own an HD-compatible TV with HDMI or DVI input, you can watch DVDs in higher resolution. This works well with Plasma/LCD monitors and DLP video projectors. The DV-46AV offers extensive playback options, including: Most recordable DVD formats and CD/CDR/CDRW discs. However, does the DV-46AV perform well under actual viewing conditions? To find out the answer, keep reading.

Pioneer Elite DV-46AV Product Overview

The feature package of the DV-46AV includes the following:

1. DVD player with DVD-Video/Audio, SACD, DVD+R/RW/-R/-RW CD/CD-RW/Divx/WMA/JPEG playback.

2. DVD Upscaling to 720p or 1080i through HDMI output (adaptable to DVI-HDCP).

3. Progressive scan with 3:2 Pulldown Detection.

4. Component video (progressive and interlaced) outputs; S-video and standard composite video outputs.

5. Digital optical, digital coaxial, and 5.1 analog audio outputs.

6. Supports both Dolby Digital and DTS pass-through; built-in Dolby Digital and DTS decoders included for 5.1 channel direct output.

7. DVD-Audio and SACD (Super Audio CD) playback via 5.1 Channel Analog Audio outputs.

8. On-board adjustments for Sharpness/Contrast/Brightness/Gamma (Color Temperature)/Block Noise Reduction.

9. Wireless remote control. Easy-to-use onscreen menus.

10. Slim space-saving low profile cabinet design.

Overview of the DV-46AV's HDMI Output and Scaling Features

The Pioneer DV-46AV has two features that set it apart from many DVD players: HDMI output and Video Upscaling.

HDMI Defined

HDMI stands for High Definition Multi-media Interface. In order to transfer the digital video signal from a standard DVD player to a television, the DVD player must convert the signal from digital to analog, this results in some loss of information.

Pioneer Elite DV-46AV DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio Player - Rear View - HDMI, Analog Audio, and Video Outputs

Pioneer Elite DV-46AV DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio Player - Rear View - HDMI, Analog Audio, and Video Outputs

Photo (c) 2006 Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
However, the DV-46AV has the ability, with its HDMI output, to transfer the DVD's digital video signal directly, without conversion to analog. This results in a pure transfer of all of video information from the DVD to a HDMI or DVI (via a connection adapter) equipped TV. In addition, HDMI can transfer both video and audio signals.

Video Upscaling

The DV-46AV also features video upscaling. You can enable this unit to either feed the digital video signal as 720p or 1080i (in addition to 480p) to an HDTV. 720p and 1080i are the two main standards for HDTV display resolution.

720p represents 1,280 pixels displayed across the screen horizontally and 720 pixels down the screen vertically. This yields 720 horizontal lines on the screen that are 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 yields 1,080 horizontal lines, which are displayed alternately. In other words, all the odd lines are displayed, followed by all the even lines.

The Practical Side Of DVD Upscaling

The capability of the DV-46AV to output a video signal in the 720p or 1080i format allows the DVD player's video output to more closely match the capabilities of today's HDTVs. Although this is not the same as watching your DVDs in true-high definition, as current DVDs are not recorded in high definition, you will experience increased detail and color you didn't think was possible from a standard DVD player. That is why the DV-46AV is classified as HD-compatible.

This function works best on fixed pixel displays, such as LCD or Plasma sets, the upscaling may result in harsh images on standard CRT and Projection sets. In addition, if your television has a native display resolution other than 720p or 1080i, the TV's video processor will rescale the incoming signal to its own specification, which can also yield different results on the final, displayed television image.

Setup - Hardware

Additional components used in the review of the Pioneer Elite DV-46AV DVD player included a Yamaha HTR-5490 6.1 Channel AV receiver, Outlaw Audio Model 950 Preamp/Surround Processor paired with a Butler Audio 5150 5-channel power amplifier.

Video displays used: A Westinghouse Digital LVM-37w3 1080p LCD Monitor, Syntax LT-32HV 32-inch LCD TV, and a Samsung LN-R238W 23-inch LCD TV .

Comparison LCD TV/Monitors are HD-compatible. The Westinghouse LVM-37w3 (1080p) and Samsung LN-R238W (720p) both have HDMI input; the Syntax Olevia LT-32HV (720p) has a DVI-HDCP input. The Syntax was connected via HDMI-to-DVI Connection adapter.

Loudspeakers used, included: Klipsch B-3s, Klipsch C-2, Optimus LX-5IIs, Klipsch Quintet III 5-channel speaker system, and Klipsch Synergy Sub10 and Yamaha YST-SW205 Powered Subwoofers.

Pioneer Elite DV-46AV DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio Player - Digital Optical and Digital Coaxial Audio Outputs

Pioneer Elite DV-46AV DVD/SACD/DVD-Audio Player - Rear View - Digital Optical and Digital Coaxial Audio Outputs

Photo (c) 2006 Robert Silva - Licensed to About.com
Comparison Blu-ray players included the Samsung BD-P1000, and Sony BDP-S1.

The comparison HD-DVD player used was a Toshiba HD-XA1 HD-DVD player.

In addition, for comparison with standard DVD playback and upscaling performance, a Samsung DVD-HD931 DVD player with 720p/1080i upscaling (DVI-HDCP output) was also used.

Recordable DVDs used were made using: Sony RDR-HX900, Philips DVDR985, and a Presidian PDR-3222.

Connections between components were made with Accell, Cobalt, and AR Interconnect cables.

Setup - DVD/CD Software

DVDs used included: Serenity, Aeon Flux, The Cave, Kill Bill - Vol1/2, Pirates Of The Caribbean - Curse of the Black Pearl, Dead Man's Chest, Underworld, Moulin Rouge, Zathura, The Corpse Bride, V For Vendetta, The Promise, and The Italian Job (DVD, Blu-ray, and HD-DVD versions). In addition, video content recorded on DVD-R and DVD+RW discs were also used.

The Silicon Optix HQV Benchmark DVD video test disc was also used for more precise video performance measurements.

All video displays were calibrated using SpyderTV Software.

Proceed to Page 2 - Evaluation and Final Take

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