Home Theater Review


Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

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Pioneer's 2009 Blu-ray lineup includes three new models: the BDP-120, BDP-320, and Elite BDP-23FD. Happily, all three models are Profile 2.0, which means they support BonusView/picture-in-picture playback and BD-Live Web functionality. We have not performed a hands-on review of the mid-level BDP-320, but here is an overview of the player's features. In addition to BD-Live support, this model offers onboard decoding and bitstream output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks, as well as multichannel analog audio outputs. It does not support any type of video-on-demand streaming or download service, such as those offered by Netflix, Amazon, and CinemaNow.

In terms of video connections, the BDP-320 offers HDMI, component video, and composite video outputs. This player supports both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI, and it includes a Source Direct mode that outputs all discs at their native resolution. The BDP-320 offers 13 picture adjustments to fine-tune image quality, including progressive motion, several noise-reduction options, gamma correction, white/black level, and more. You can also choose between various picture modes that optimize the player's output when mated with different types of displays.

Audio outputs include HDMI, optical digital (no coaxial), and stereo and 7.1-channel analog audio (the less-expensive BDP-120 lacks the multichannel analog audio outputs). As I mentioned, the player features internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoders and will also pass these formats in their native bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The setup menu includes a lip sync function and the ability to adjust speaker settings (size, level, and distance) for the 7.1-channel analog audio outputs. The BDP-320 features Pioneer's PQLS technology to eliminate jitter with CD audio when you mate the player with certain Pioneer receivers.

The BDP-320's disc drive supports BD, DVD, CD audio, JPEG, MP3, and WMA playback. The back panel offers an Ethernet port for BD-Live features and firmware updates; the player doesn't include a wireless network connection option. You do get 1GB of internal memory for storage of downloadable BD-Live Web content, and you can add more storage capacity via the back-panel USB port, which does not support JPEG/MP3 playback. The BDP-320 lacks the RS-232 port found on the Elite BDP-23FD model, but it does have a control input for use with Pioneer receivers that have the SR control output.

Competition and Comparison
You can compare he Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray player against its competition by reading our reviews for the
Samsung BD-P2500 Blu-ray player and the Panasonic DMP-BD35 Blu-ray player.  You can also find a great deal more information in our Blu-ray Player section or on our Pioneer brand page.

Read The High Points, The Low Points and the Conclusion on Page 2

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