Pioneer Elite BDP-05FD Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Pioneer Elite BDP-05FD Blu-ray Player Reviewed

A follow-up to last year's Elite BDP-95FD, the new BDP-05FD is a Profile 1.1 player, with no network connectivity to access BD-Live Web content or to enjoy the DLNA media streaming that appeared on the BDP-95FD. It does have high-resolution audio decoding and multichannel analog outputs.

pioneer-Elite-BDP-05FD.gifIn mid-2008, Pioneer released two new Blu-ray models, the Elite BDP-05FD and the standard Pioneer-branded BDP-51FD. The two models share many of the same features, with the $799 Elite model adding a few high-end touches to distinguish it from the $599 Pioneer model. Both players are Profile 1.1/BonusView, which means they contains the necessary audio and video decoders to play picture-in-picture content; however, they lack BD-Live support to play Web content, which comes with the Profile 2.0 spec. The BDP-05FD supports Blu-ray, DVD, CD audio, MP3, WMA, and AVCHD playback. Unlike last year's Elite BDP-95FD, this player does not have an Ethernet port for firmware updates and support of the Home Media Gallery function, which allows you to stream digital media from a PC or DLNA-compliant server.

Additional Resources
• Read more Blu-ray player reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore plasma HDTV and LED HDTV options to pair with the BDP-05FD.

The Elite BDP-05FD's back panel features HDMI 1.3a, component video, S-video, and composite video outputs. Output-resolution options for HDMI are Auto, 480i, 480p, 1080i, 1080p/60, and Source Direct, which outputs each disc at its native resolution - including 1080p/24 for most Blu-ray movies. Options for component video are 480i, 480p, 1080i, and Source Direct (although 1080p discs are output at 1080i). Note that 720p is no longer offered as a dedicated output resolution. The BDP-05FD includes a Video Adjust menu that includes a number of advanced picture adjustments: Pure Cinema settings, numerous noise-reduction options, gamma correction, white/black level, detail, hue, and chroma, as well as a setting that optimizes the player's output based on the type of display connected to it.

Audio outputs include HDMI, optical and coaxial digital audio, and 2- and 7.1-channel analog audio outputs. 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, to be decoded by a receiver that contains the necessary decoders. Both the HDMI and analog audio outputs support the passage of 7.1-channel PCM audio. The player uses Wolfson Audio digital-to-analog converters, and it employs a special Pioneer jitter-reduction circuit and a feature called PQLS to eliminate jitter with CD audio when you mate the player with certain Pioneer Elite receivers.

The back panel lacks an RS-232 port, but it does have a control input for use with a Pioneer receiver that has a SR control output. Some of the step-up features that distinguish the BDP-05FD from the BDP-51FD are the use of gold-plated connection ports and a 12-bit/297-MHz/ video DAC, as opposed to a 12-bit/148.5-MHz video DAC. Also, the higher-end model sports an aluminum front panel, with capacitance touch buttons.

Read about the high points and low points of the BDP-05FD on Page 2.

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Highs Points
 Blu-ray movies look excellent, and the player does a good job upconverting standard DVDs. 
 This model offers the full complement of audio options: bitstream and internal decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, with 7.1-channel analog outputs for those people who own older A/V receivers.
 This player has excellent build quality and an attractive chassis and user interface.
 The Source Direct mode lets you output all discs at their native resolution.

Low Points
 It lacks an Ethernet port for easy firmware updates, and it does not support BD-Live or Pioneer's Home Media Gallery streaming feature. The menu does include a Home Media Gallery interface that makes it easier to play back and navigate digital music files, but streaming is not supported.
 The lack of a dedicated 720p output resolution could be an issue for someone who has an older, non-1080p-capable TV that does not have good internal video processing of HD signals.

Conclusion
There are Profile 2.0 Blu-ray players on the market that offer more functionality for less money. However, if you're not interested in BD-Live Web support and media streaming and simply want excellent video and audio performance in a well-built package, then the Elite BDP-05FD delivers.

Additional Resources
• Read more Blu-ray player reviews from the staff at HomeTheaterReview.com.
• Explore plasma HDTV and LED HDTV options to pair with the BDP-05FD.

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