Blu-ray Players

Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player



The setup of the BDP-23FD is very straightforward. You only need to connect an HDMI cable, LAN cable, and power to make use of the player. One of the strengths of the BDP-23FD is the ease of setup. After connecting the player to my system and turning the player on, I was immediately presented with the player’s Setup Navigator wizard. The first screen prompts you to select your on-screen display language.

The next step prompts you to specify how you will be connecting the player.

If you are using HDMI, then the default settings are all you need and you can move on to the next screen. If you want to change your selections, you can easily do so at this point.

The BDP-23FD does not support simultaneous video output from both the HDMI and analog video outputs. If you plan on using the component video outputs on this player, then the HDMI output will be turned off. If you need to turn the HDMI output back on, you can do so by pressing the “Video Select” button on the remote and using the up/down arrows on the remote to change the setting.

The next step in the setup wizard is a prompt for high speed HDMI transmission.

This question is unexpected since most players simply adjust their output options based on the information exchanged between the connected HDMI devices. If you turn this option “On”, which is the recommended choice, the player will output 1080p resolution with support for deep color depending on the connected HDMI devices. If you turn the option “Off”, then the player will restrict its output to 1080i resolution regardless of the capabilities of your receiver and display. If your display and HDMI cable support 1080p, then turn the setting to “On” and proceed to the next step in the wizard. If the BDP-23FD is connected to a Pioneer AV receiver which supports PQLS, then an additional setup step will appear to configure that functionality.

The next step in the wizard is a final prompt before testing your selections.

If you are happy with your choices, select “Proceed” and continue to the next step.

The next step warns you that test tones will be output from the player. This is a friendly reminder to check the volume on your system so there are no surprises. Select “Yes” and move on.

If all goes well, you should see the following screen indicating that the setup is complete.

You can go back if necessary or just select “Finish”. The last screen that appears is a prompt to select your display type.

The first selection is for choosing a Pioneer display. The other choices are for plasma, LCD, projector, or other display types. After making your selection, you are presented with a final screen informing you that the optimum picture quality has been set based on your selection.

With the basic setup out of the way, exploring the menu system in the BDP-23FD is a pleasant experience. Menus are arranged in a logical fashion and the owner’s manual does a fairly decent job of explaining the options despite all the footnotes.

For example, the HDMI menu gives you an easy summary of all the HDMI setup options and thankfully the default values allow the player to work well with or without Pioneer equipment. The “HDMI Audio Out” setting of “Auto” instructs the player to output high resolution bitstream by default and the player will automatically transmit high resolution LPCM if the connected device can’t handle bitstream output directly. This setting will need to be changed to “PCM” if you plan on using PQLS or if you plan on using secondary audio during Blu-ray playback.

Since the BDP-23FD is a Blu-ray player, it needs to be connected to a network, and it is a good idea to make sure the player is running the latest firmware. Network configuration with the BDP-23FD was a breeze. I just plugged in my network cable and the BDP-23FD configured itself. A networking menu is available should you need to enter specific details about your network. As for updating the firmware, that option is available via the “Software Update” selection on the “Options” menu.

Once you check for an update, the BDP-23FD will let you know if an update is available and approximately how long it will take.

I was happy to see that the player tells you what firmware version you currently have and what version you are upgrading to. I chose to update the firmware and the player displayed a download progress bar and an appropriate warning message to not turn off the player.

The entire process was hassle free and took about 12 minutes to complete versus the estimated 75 minutes. I was very pleased with the progress indicators provided by the player via the front panel display. The player definitely kept you informed of what was happening during the update process.

I want to mention that updating a Blu-ray player to the latest firmware is generally a recommended process no matter what brand of player you have. Since a Blu-ray player is frequently running Java-based applications when you watch a Blu-ray disc, there are sometimes software problems that can occur depending on the individual media and studio provider. The Blu-ray player manufacturers will often provide corrections and enhancements to the players to deal with software issues, but the only way for a consumer to get these enhancements is to update the player’s firmware. The BDP-23FD makes that process convenient and simple for the user. Pioneer also includes a consumer-friendly page on the player’s “Home Menu” which also informs the user of the current firmware version and directs the user to Pioneer’s web site for more info.

The last items to check are the all-important video settings. The video settings of the BDP-23FD can be adjusted by pressing the “Video Adjust” button on the remote. This brings up a small menu which allows for the selection of standard video settings based on display type as well as a bank of 3 user-selectable memory options.

Selecting “Adjustments” on the “Memory1” menu brings up another menu which gives you full access to the video configuration parameters for the BDP-23FD.

I would highly recommend using a test disc such as the Spears and Munsil High Definition Benchmark disc to check the video settings from the BDP-23FD. I had no troubles dialing in a great picture, but I would have preferred a bit more than four adjustment points above and below the default values for finer tuning.