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Pioneer DV-600AV DVD Player - Pioneer DV-600AV
The 1080p upscaling gives the picture a fresh, crisp appearance, which doesn't quite look like high-definition but really brings out the best in the detail on offer. Try though we might, we couldn't find any artefacts like jaggies or haloing around edges, and elsewhere MPEG noise is kept at bay, resulting in smooth movie playback. True cinephiles may feel inclined to pay more for a player with even better upscaling but for most needs this does a great job.
Colour reproduction is also magnificent, with the DV-600AV conveying the vivid, mind-warping palette of Tim Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with consummate ease without making it look garish or over-egged. But the deck is also sensitive enough to pick out the picture's finer nuances, from the subtle shading on Johnny Depp's pale face to the layered shadow detail lurking in the background at Charlie's house.
The player also makes DVD-Audio and SACD playback sound sharp and silky enough to distinguish it from CD playback, effortlessly eking out the extra sonic detail contained in these hi-res discs. Again, golden-eared audiophiles might look for something a little more refined, but we think it works miracles for a deck costing little more than £100.
We wondered at the start of this review whether the DV-600AV has what it takes to stave off the challenge of players like the OPPO DV-980H or the Denon DVD-1940, and we can only conclude that it does. The key is price - at just over £100 online, it's much cheaper than these two rivals but offers the same amount of features and doesn't compromise its picture or sound quality in any way. So if you can't be bothered with Blu-ray yet and want a DVD deck with 1080p upscaling, DVD-A/SACD support, a USB port and the ability to play a wide range of media formats, then do yourself and favour and give the DV-600AV a try - you won't regret it.
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