Pioneer BDP-09FD Review Butte MT
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Pioneer BDP-09FD Review
July 27, 2009 By Geoffrey Morrison
Right now, you can get Blu-ray players for less than $200.
Well, you can, but do those players offer you onboard decoding of all the audio formats, upconverting of the 8-bit video to 16-bit, Marvell Qdeo processing, eight Wolfson DACS, tank-like build quality and pretty much everything else you can think of to eke out every last bit of performance?
That was a rhetorical question.
At just over 30 pounds, the BDP-09FD is nearly as heavy as the Rotel RSX-1560 receiver I reviewed here .
Just as the low weight of the RSX-1560 is impressive given its specs, the tonnage of the BDP-09FD makes it an outlier in its product category.
It's important, believe it or not, to make a high-end product feel like a high-end product. There was a time when manufacturers put sheets of lead at the bottom of a product to make it heavier (therefore feeling more "expensive").
Not that the BDP-09FD needs lead to feel hefty. It does that with its own guts and chassis. Pioneer really got the feel of it right, from the disc tray to the solidity of the unit itself.
Inside, there's a toroidal power transformer similar to what you'd find in a good power amp or receiver. There is even a power supply with massive capacitors dedicated to just the analog audio stage. In looking at the whole parts list, two words come to mind.
With the BDP-09FD, Pioneer seems to have decided to go all out in making the ultimate Blu-ray player. A similar attitude brought us the KURO plasmas (may they rest in peace). The question is, and this is one many companies struggle with: How do you make a high-end version of a commodity product?
The first step is making it look and feel the part, which, as mentioned, they've pulled off. The bigger issue then is the performance.
“But I thought Blu-ray was perfect,” you say. Well, sort of. The potential is there for the content on Blu-ray to be perfect. Let's say you have that perfect disc in your hand, can your player and display re-create that disc in all its perfection? Pioneer is betting no, and has a bunch of do-dads to clean it up before you send it to your display.
The first is an upconversion from the 8-bit video on the Blu-ray to 16-bit. This smoothes out the transitions between different shades of gray (and therefore, allowing more shades of colors). While this can be transmitted over HDMI, chances are your TV is going to neuter it back down to 8-bit to process it again; though, I suppose we can blame that on your display.
Suffice it to say, you'd be getting the best possible video to your TV. There are also extensive video adjustments and noise reduction circuitry. Sure most people wouldn't need this level of adjustment, but it's helpful in certain installs and probably won't hurt.
The real überness of the BDP-09FD lies elsewhere.
For the foreseeable future, most people's movie collections are going to be pred...