There is no chroma bug as in the old days of Pioneer players, but the Pioneer-sourced de-interlacing chip is very good with film material, and fairly good at video material. All of the audio was passed via the iLink, as the Integra does not support 5.1 channel audio via the HDMI connection.
When I moved on to DVD-Audio and SACD playback, the Pioneer worked as flawlessly as a transport. The previous iLink player I had in this system was the Integra Research unit, and that worked as beautifully as a transport. The Pioneer also does very well, as the music assumes the Integra RDC-7.1 processor's signature sound, and the Pioneer just disappears. In this setup, the processor is receiving a digital signal via the iLink, performing time adjustment and level adjustment as it normally does, and converts the signal to analog to send on to the amplifier. This eliminates dependence on the analog stage of the DVD player for good sound, and only needs the Pioneer to work well as a transport, which it does. This is the way high-resolution audio should have been from the beginning, and one can only wonder if DVD-Audio and SACD would have been successful with easier connections, such as iLink, from the beginning (only one of the problems these formats had was in their lack of proper support). Still, even though most of us are looking to the future and hoping for a properly supported audio format within the new high-definition DVD specifications, it is worth noting that there is still a lot of very good-sounding DVD-A and SACD material out there, so this player can get a lot of use. I still listen to a wide variety of high-resolution material that I have collected over the past few years, and it sounds absolutely glorious with this system.
I actually tried using the analog 5.1 outputs just to see how this player sounded via its analog stage, but my player was defective, and no matter what I did, I could not get it to output sound through these connections. Pioneer was actually very responsive, and immediately sent out another evaluation unit for me to try and review, but it arrived too late to meet the deadline. Still, as I said before, one of the main reasons to have this player is to utilize the iLink output.
With the DV-59AVi, Pioneer has successfully pushed DVD technology as far as it will go, and they have given us a preview of the technology that will be used in high-definition DVD. As there are no production units yet for either HD DVD or Blu-ray in the United States, it is important to have a good unit for your DVD and high-resolution audio collection, and this one should definitely be in the running.
Universal Player with support
for DVD-Audio and SACD
14-bit, 216 MHz digital to analog converter
HDMI out with up-scaling to 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i
Digital Audio out for all audio formats via IEEE1394 iLink
Analog 5.1 audio outputs
Burr Brown 24/192 audio DACS, S/N ratio 118 dB
Dimensions: 4.3" H x 16.6" W x 10.9" D
Weight: 12 lbs.