We all know that Pioneer can conjure up incredible high-end DVD players (Exhibit A: the DV-LX50) but when the company turns its attention to the lower end of the price scale, it gives the AV community cause to celebrate. Every year the Japanese brand packs its budget decks with a dazzling array of features that make them really stand out from the crowd, combining them with slick performance and unbeatable ease of use. But with several other players on the market from the likes of OPPO and Denon boasting similarly impressive attributes, does the DV-600AV do enough to keep the competition at arm's length? Let's find out…
It gets off to a great start in the looks department. It's available in silver or black and both versions look slim and stylish, but to our eyes the silver model looks more attractive despite the current black renaissance. What jumps out is how busy the fascia is - Pioneer seems keen to remind you just what this bad boy can do, packing the front panel with more logos and labels than a WAG's wardrobe. Surrounding the disc tray is an array of playback and menu keys for up-close control, plus you'll also find a USB port nestling among them which enables you to connect USB pen drives or MP3 devices and play music and photos.
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the DV-600AV given its price is the inclusion of multichannel DVD-Audio and SACD playback, making it a great choice for music lovers as well as movie fans. There aren't many ‘universal' players at this price, a fact that earns the Pioneer a few more Brownie points.
But the compatibility list stretches even further. The extensive list of supported formats not only includes MP3, WMA, JPEG and all versions of DivX (with full Ultra certification), but also Windows Media Video (WMV) and MPEG-4 AAC files, the format used by iTunes - but it won't play protected content, so don't expect to play stuff you've bought from the iTunes Store. The player also supports all the common disc formats except DVD-RAM.