Although Pioneer's Home Electronics Division did not have a presence at this year's CES, the company did release a trio of Blu-ray players shortly before the show. All three players--two Elite models and one standard Pioneer-branded model--are 3D-capable and include a Web platform that features Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube. We have not performed a hands-on review of the entry-level BDP-430 ($299), but here is an overview of its features. The BDP-430 lacks the RS-232 port found on the step-up Elite models, as well as the higher-grade parts used to construct the top-shelf BDP-43FD. Otherwise, its features are similar to those of its more expensive brethren. This player supports a wired or optional wireless network connection (via an add-on USB adapter), and a future firmware update is supposed to enable DLNA media streaming. The iControlAV app allows you to control the BDP-430 using your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch.
In terms of video connections, the BDP-430 offers a single HDMI output, as well as component and composite video outputs. (Players released after January 1, 2011, are no longer allowed to have HD-capable component video outputs, due to copy-protection restrictions; the Pioneer models got in just under the wire with their December release.) The player supports 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI, but it does not include a Source Direct mode that outputs all sources at their native resolution (a feature that formerly appeared on many Pioneer models).
On the audio side, outputs include HDMI, optical digital (no coaxial), and stereo analog. The BDP-430 has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The player lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so the only way to pass decoded high-resolution audio formats is via HDMI. The BDP-430 features Pioneer's PQLS technology to eliminate jitter in both stereo and multichannel sources when you mate the player with certain Pioneer receivers.
The BDP-430 supports BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, Divx, WMV, MKV, MP3, WMA, and JPEG playback. You can add the player to your home network either by using the back-panel Ethernet port or by attaching the optional AS-WL200 wireless LAN adapter ($99) to the back-panel USB port. This USB port also supports the addition of a USB drive to store BD-Live content; the player does not have internal memory for BD-Live storage. A second, front-panel USB port also supports BD-Live storage and media playback. As I mentioned above, the BDP-430 lacks an RS-232 port, as well as IR ports, for integration into an advanced control system.
Read more about the high points and low points of the BDP-430 on Page 2.
• The BDP-430 supports 3D playback.
• It supports BD-Live and BonusView/PIP.
• It has internal decoding and bitstream output of high-resolution audio sources.
• The player is wireless-ready.
• The Web platform includes Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube.
• This model does not include dual HDMI outputs to send separate signals to your 3D TV and A/V receiver.
• It also lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so it's not the best
choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver.
• Web services are currently limited, compared with mainstream manufacturers like Panasonic and Samsung.
• The BDP-430 doesn't offer 2D-to-3D conversion or any advanced adjustment options for the 3D image.
• The USB WiFi adapter is sold separately.
• The player lacks internal memory and RS-232.
Competition and Comparison
Compare the Pioneer BDP-430 with its competition by reading the reviews
for the Vizio VBR333,
Panasonic DMP-BDT210, Sharp BD-HP80U,
and Samsung BD-C6900.
Learn more about 3D-capable Blu-ray Players by visiting our Blu-ray
If you're looking for a 3D-capable Blu-ray player to
match your Pioneer receiver, the BDP-430 is the most economical choice
amongst Pioneer's new models, yet it has most of the features offered
in the step-up Elite players. That said, the BDP-430 still lacks a few
features you can get in other players at the $299 price point--options
like integrated WiFi (or a supplied adapter), internal storage, and a
more robust Web package.