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In terms of picture quality, the DV-410V isn't the best we've seen from Pioneer but it does a pretty good job with the Gladiator disc on our Toshiba 40ZF355D LCD set, bringing out most of the movie's rich detail when boosted to 1080p. The scenes within the Roman coliseum are the most impressive, with the deck making light work of the various patterns and textures, such as the gladiators' chain mail and the densely populated crowd.
Also impressive is the player's reproduction of skin tones, which look utterly convincing throughout, and during the film's brighter moments (like the gladiator training scenes) colours look radiant thanks to the deep black level that gives the image a dense and cinematic feel.
It's not perfect though - the scene where Russell Crowe addresses his troops before the film's opening battle is fairly noisy, with some ringing around certain outlines, while shots of wide open spaces like blue skies reveal some pulsing noise. But on the whole the Pioneer's picture quality compares well with similarly priced players like the Samsung DVD-1080P8 or the Philips DVP5980.
We also ran through our gamut of test files and it played most of them without any problems, although we experienced a few lip sync problems with a couple of WMV files.
Finally, we're impressed by the deck's audio capabilities, delivering hugely enjoyable CD playback through the analogue outputs and crisp stereo sound through the HDMI output and TV speakers. MP3, WMA and AAC files also scrub up nicely.
It boils down to one question: does the DV-410V deserve your hard-earned cash? The answer is a resounding yes. Picture and sound quality are impressive and there are more features on offer than you'd normally get for £90 - but if that price still seems steep remember that you're getting a player from reputable and reliable manufacturer whose products stand the test of time - and on that basis the DV-410V is a sound investment.
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