Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray Player Reviewed

The BDP-320 sits in the middle of Pioneer's 2009 Blu-ray line. This Profile 2.0 player offers BD-Live, BonusView, internal high-resolution audio decoding, and multichannel analog audio outputs, but it lacks streaming video-on-demand and wireless network connectivity.

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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

Highs Points
• The BDP-320 supports 1080p/24 playback of Blu-ray discs.
• The player has internal Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding and can pass these formats in bitstream form over HDMI. It also has 7.1-channel analog audio outputs, which makes this player a good choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI receiver.
• It supports BD-Live Web content and can play picture-in-picture bonus content.
• The player has 1GB of internal memory for BD-Live downloads.
• The BDP-320 includes a Source Direct mode to output discs at their native resolution, which is ideal if you'd prefer to use an external video processor.
• This model includes a number of video and audio adjustments not found in many Blu-ray players.

Low Points
• The USB port doesn't support JPEG/MP3 playback.
• This player does not offer any type of VOD streaming function, nor does it feature a wireless option for connection to your home network.

Conclusion
The BDP-320 has all of the Blu-ray essentials and is a better value than previous Pioneer players, but it lacks the VOD streaming and wireless connectivity you can find in other models around the same price point.

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