- Written by Chris Heinonen
- Published on 07 July 2011
After the BDP-43 was hooked up and ready to go, my wife and I settled in to watch the first part of the Harry Potter series finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows, Part 1. My main complaint with prior Pioneer Blu-ray players had been their lack of speed when loading a disc. It could easily take 2+ minutes for a movie to start playing from the time you inserted the disc, but thankfully delays like that are a thing of the past. Harry Potter spun up into action quickly and both looked and sounded fantastic. Watching at 1080p24 the picture was very detailed with good shadow detail and a very nice, film-like texture. The Pioneer was doing a great job of taking what was on the disc and presenting it on the screen without any apparent issues.
The Pioneer does have online content support, but at the current time that consists only of Netflix and Pandora. Those are probably the two most popular online content providers, but there is a lot of other content out there as well. Netflix support was quite nice, with the Pioneer being the first player I have used that allows you to both browse by category and search directly from the player. At a time when many other players are still locked into only using titles already in your Instant Queue, this is a welcome addition. They also have support for HD picture quality, though all audio is still Dolby Digital 2.0 at this point with no support for surround sound.
I launched my standard Netflix test clip of The Iron Giant to see how the Pioneer could handle it. The opening scenes are a pan across the earth from space, as well as a couple more pans down on earth that can cause issues for many streaming devices. The Pioneer rendered the pan incredibly cleanly, with virtually no hitching that was visible, and what was may have just been from the 24p speed of film. The HD detail in the picture was very nice as well.
Using the ability to browse through content, I found that the Ken Burns TV series Baseball was now available for streaming and so I sat down to begin to make my way through the series once again. Buffering was reasonably quick on the Pioneer, though a bitrate meter would be a useful addition to the information screen. One issue I did find is that hitting the up arrow takes you back to the menus, but when you resume playing a program, you need to hit the down arrow again, otherwise the picture continuously stutters until you do so. I imagine Pioneer can fix this with a firmware update in the future.