Blu-ray Players

Pioneer BDP-09FD Elite Blu-ray Player - Benchmark

ARTICLE INDEX

Setup

My previous Blu-ray player had reminded me how wonderful it was to setup new components now that HDMI is a standard. I simply removed my current DVD player, inserted the new BluRay player, attached a single HDMI cable and power cord, and everything was working. With the BDP-09FD I had a lot more work to do in able to get all of the extra performance out of it, hooking up 5.1 analog outputs, dual HDMI outputs (one straight to my display, and one to my receiver for bitstreaming audio), and an Ethernet cable.

Pioneer BDP 09FD Elite Blu-ray Player

Pioneer has built a nice setup menu that guides you though the configuration of the BDP-09FD in order and will grey out selections that don’t matter for your setup based on previous selections. After choosing a 16x9 aspect ratio, I decided to go with multichannel analog outputs, which opened up another list of choices for me. First choosing which speakers I had hooked up, whether they were large or small, and what crossover I would prefer for routing bass to the subwoofer (unfortunately a single global crossover and not an individual channel selection), then onto how far each speaker was from my primary listening location, down to inches and not the more typical half foot increments, and finally individual channel level settings. As many receivers and processors will bypass all internal crossover and level settings when you use a multichannel input, it’s very important that Pioneer builds this functionality into the player for those that will use the multichannel outputs.

Pioneer BDP 09FD Elite Blu-ray Player

Next I’d configure my video settings, including what I wanted to do with my secondary HDMI output, if I had support for Deep Color or Control over HDMI, which Color Space I wanted to use for output, and some additional options for if I was using a Kuro display or Pioneer receiver. Finally, one nice option that Pioneer has is the ability to test your Network Connection without having to download an update. With some previous players I have used, the only way to make sure that you are online correctly is to try to update the software, which can then take a long time, but the Pioneer lets you simply test to make sure it’s working correctly.

Outside of the Initial Setup menu, there is a separate Video Adjustments menu. It contains some presets for certain display types (LCD, Plasma, Pioneer Plasma, Projector) as well as three custom types that you can configure. These will let you easily change certain settings (Black Level, Pure Cinema Mode, Block and Mosquito noise reduction, Gamma Correction) to fine tune the output of the player based on the source material and your display.

As many of us are routing all of our components through a receiver or processor into a single input on our display, we can’t easily calibrate that input to be exact for all of our sources, but using the settings on the Pioneer we could adjust the Pioneer internally to make those small adjustments that it might need. You could also use the memory settings based on if you are watching a Blu-ray movie (which would typically have a much lower level of blocking and noise due to more advanced codecs and space) or a DVD, which might need more block noise reduction due to the lower quality MPEG-2 compression used.

Selecting your output resolution can be done while you are watching video, in addition to your initial settings. The Pioneer features all of the common output formats (1080p at both 60 and 24 fps, 720p60, 1080i60, 480p and 480i), but also features Auto, where the player chooses based on what the display tells it over HDMI, and Source Direct, which will output the media at whatever format it was recorded at. This is an option for those using an external video processor or scaler , but I chose to stick with 1080p60 as my display will not support 1080p24. The Pioneer always detected my display as 1080i60 for some reason, no matter if I was using the HDMI through my receiver or connected directly to the display, but that was simple to fix. While the BDP-09FD took a bit longer to setup than most players due to its plethora of features, the setup process was very intuitive and it didn’t have me jumping back and forth between different menus as some equipment can.