Pioneer has three BD-Live Blu-ray players out in April, the BDP-120 hits under $US300, but the step-up BDP-320 and Elite BDP-23FD actually sense the TV you’re watching and tweak video output for max awesomeness.
We love to talk about calibration, but soon, our TVs and disc players will calibrate themselves. Pioneer’s new sub-$US400 BDP-320 and the $US600 BDP-23FD sense the picture settings when it’s connected to a 9G Kuro plasma, and adjusts the video output. If you want to tweak it yourself, the disc players have 13 different video adjustment options. (Most Blu-ray players have like three or four.) And if you don’t have a Kuro 9G, not to worry: The same technology at work here will soon be able to sense what TV you do have, and—assuming you have the TV in some default or preset configuration—will be able to make adjustments there too. That same “Kuro Link” also lets you control Blu-ray, TV and Pioneer A/V receiver with one remote.
That’s not all these higher-end models can do. When paired with a soon-to-be-announced Pioneer Elite receiver, it will also stream perfectly jitter-free surround sound audio including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It uses the same Precision Quartz Lock System that makes Pioneer’s current flagship Blu-ray player one of the greatest CD players ever made, only now it can sync up multichannel, too, so that every packet of sound data that leaves the disc player is accounted for on the receiver end before it’s played.
The $US250 BDP-120 player is no slouch, with BD-Live, a 1GB flash drive, fast disc loading, USB expandable memory that includes bus-powered hard drives.
You may notice that there’s no Netflix or any other video-on-demand capability like the Korean Blu-ray players have; Pioneer noticed that too, telling us only to stay tuned, and that features like that are “definitely coming” later this year. I went so far as to ask for wi-fi, and was surprised to hear that even that may happen soon. But probably for way more than $US250. [Pioneer]