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MULTIMEDIA

Pioneer BDP-450 Universal 3D Bluray Player

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5/13/2014 5:08:42 PM

Ironclad deck goes back to basics with fair-to-middling results

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.

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Super 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.

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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, either.

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Remote: 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

Specifications

·         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

·         Height 90mm

·         Width 435mm

·         Depth 252mm

·         Weight 2.7kg

 

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