Ironclad deck goes back to basics with
Pioneer’s all-metal player looks like it could crush its
puny plastic rivals, but the truth is there’s very little inside that steel
casing: this is a stripped-down machine.
Audio CD and DVD-Audio! Alas, no 7.1
It feels well made with a sturdy chassis and vibration-absorbing
feet intended to improve performance by spinning discs more smoothly. Completing
its audiophile credentials, there’s Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio playback, too.
If you can find these vanishing formats, you’re in for a
treat because this deck makes a fine musical source, and stereo and
multichannel sound both benefit from its open and expressive qualities. There’s
no 7.1 analogue output, though, so you’ll need to utilise one of the two HDMI
ports to hear it all at its best.
Pioneer BDP 450
seen from the back
Clearly aimed at the old-school hardcore who have no need of
networking fripperies, this is without Wi-Fi – it’s Ethernet only – and just a few
key apps such as YouTube and Picasa.
As long as your router has Wi-Fi, you can at least control
nearly all the BDP-450’s functions via a slick mobile app for iOS and Android, though.
That’s a plus, as it means you can ditch the clumsy and none-too-responsive
remote that comes in the box. The onscreen interface is no great shakes,
You’re better off using Pioneer’s mobile app
But while it may lack extras, Blu-ray images are refreshingly
natural and realistic. The bright reds of F1 film Rush stand out, without looking
artificially dialed up. There’s an element of video noise around the moving cars
during the more frenetic scenes, but no serious motion problems. The 3D footage
in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is similarly believable.
So the Pioneer scores where it really counts, with its
picture and sound skills offering reassuring quality. But with few smart
features and no 4K, this hulking deck looks a little dated alongside the feature-packed,
future-resistant players that follow.
Love: Natural, jitter-free Blu-ray images and great audio.
Vibration-damping feet and steely carapace
Hate: No Wi-Fi or catch-up TV. The unsophisticated interface
and clumsy remote annoy
T3 Says Classic deck that delivers a decent picture and a highly
musical sonic performance, but not much else. One for old-school heads only
Smart TV Picasa, YouTube
Video Up to 1080p 2D & 3D
Connectivity Ethernet, coaxial digital, 2x HDMI, 2x USB
Audio Decoding Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD MA
Media Streaming DLNA