Pioneer BDP-450 - Features

By Danny Phillips

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Pioneer BDP-450

Summary

Our Score:

9

User Score:

Pioneer BDP-450 Features

Blu-ray players from ‘audio’ brands like Pioneer, Denon and Yamaha usually prioritise performance over flashy features, but the Pioneer BDP-450 has surprising amount of tricks up its sleeve.

Firstly, the player is DLNA certified and can therefore stream music, video and photos from servers on your home network or directly from smartphones as a Digital Media Renderer.

Pioneer BDP-450 Pioneer BDP-450

By the same token the player can also be controlled over a network by Apple and Android smartphones and tablets such as the iPhone 5 or Samsung Galaxy S3 after installing Pioneer’s iControlAV2012 app on the device. You can control all the basic functions from a set of great looking menu screens.

Pioneer BDP-450

However, the Pioneer BDP-450 doesn’t offer built-in Wi-Fi, which is disappointing given that many of its cheaper rivals do. All is not lost however, as Pioneer offers an optional wireless LAN converter (AS-WL300, below), which unusually isn’t a USB dongle but a separate box that connects to both the Ethernet port and rear USB. It requires its own power supply, which could be a bit of a pain, and costs between £50 and £70.

Pioneer BDP-450

Pioneer has long been a champion of wide-ranging format support (it was one of the first to launch a universal DVD player with DVD-Audio and SACD support) so it’s no surprise to find that the Pioneer BDP-450 will play a long list of file formats. We connected a flash drive containing a variety of file types and it happily played WMV, AVCHD, MP4, AVI, XviD, DivX, FLV, 3GP and MKV, as well as MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC and WAV. Sadly it won’t play FLAC over a network, but that’s the only blot on the format support copybook.

Talking of DVD-Audio and SACD, the Pioneer BDP-450 plays both of these high-resolution disc formats, which will quite literally be music to audiophiles’ ears.

Next on the list is a modest but very welcome selection of internet content. There are three services for your enjoyment – YouTube, Picasa and Netflix. YouTube is the Leanback version that often crops up on Blu-ray players, with a stripped down interface that’s easy to navigate with a remote control. The YouTube GUI offers four options on the left hand side – Discover Channels, Search, My YouTube and Featured. When using the Search function, you have to enter words using the virtual keyboard, which takes time, but as you’re typing the relevant results pop up on the right. Both SD and HD videos can be streamed.

Pioneer BDP-450

Netflix offers a bright engaging main menu, with cover art for all the available movies and a decent search mode – if only it had a better choice of movies. Picasa’s menu is similarly attractive. You can punch in keywords and the relevant results fill the screen in large full colour thumbnails. Although this web content won’t give Sony or Samsung any sleepless nights (there’s no BBC iPlayer here for starters) it’s a welcome bonus – and it could be argued that Pioneer’s quality not quantity approach is more sensible than cramming the screen full of apps that you’ll never use.

Of course, the deck also supports 3D, BD Live, 1080/24p output, HDMI CEC, Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio. You can output these HD audio formats as a bitstream or as PCM (up to 7.1 channels). Other useful features include a Continue mode, which lets you resume playback from where you stopped even if you turn the player off (still one of the annoying things about the Blu-ray format). You have to remember to hit the ‘Continued’ button at the point you want to resume, but it won’t work if the ‘Last Memory’ mode is turned on. The Quick Tray feature lets you open up the tray and load a disc while the deck is booting up, saving you time.

Ever since DVD’s heyday, Pioneer’s sophisticated video processing has made it the go-to brand for AV purists and the Pioneer BDP-450 looks to continue that trend. It boasts Marvell’s QDEO chipset for video processing; PureCinema and Motion Adaptive I/P conversion modes; Triple High-Definition Noise Reduction to remove Gaussian, block and mosquito noise in the picture; and Stream Smoother, which has been developed specifically to tidy up web-streamed video (from the likes of YouTube).

On the audio side, Pioneer’s Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS) eliminates distortion caused by timing errors when connected to a compatible AV receiver over HDMI, a feature not found on the BDP-150. Sound Retriever Link allows a Pioneer AV receiver to detect the audio signal from the Pioneer BDP-450 and automatically select the appropriate Sound Retriever mode (Advanced Sound Retriever for Blu-ray/DVD, Auto Sound Retriever for everything else), in order to enhance sound quality.

Head to the Video Adjust section of the setup menu and you’ll find a wealth of image tweaks. Initially, there’s a choice of presets – LCD, PDP, Projector, Professional and Custom. The latter takes you to separate menu where you can adjust brightness, contrast, hue, chroma level, detail and noise reduction for the luminance and chroma signals, as well as mosquito and block noise.

havy

December 14, 2012, 4:48 am

Danny, I just bought this player (two, actually) and am very pleased, agree 100% with your review. One thing I haven't been able to confirm works is the SACD/CD function, switching between the two (any hints would be appreciated....I want to validate the sound quality on some hybrid SACD discs). I was hoping there would be an indicator on the front panel screen indicating the format being played back (i.e. SACD, CD......). The only other (and its slight, frankly) frustration is it will not play AIFF audio file format (Apple), but easy to work around that if known upfront. Setup, operation and performance, as you say, all very good.

Ç

December 18, 2012, 10:19 pm

does this player support 1080p mkv files? somewhere i read that it only supports 720p for mkv files..

Tom

January 6, 2013, 4:05 pm

Havy, I bought an BDP-150K a few days ago. I tried a SACD / CD hybrid disk and I must say that the disk is always played using the SACD format (there is a "SACD" indication). I tried the CD SACD button on the remote control, but it didn't work for me (I expected it to switch to a CD format and back). On the other hand, I can't realy work out why one should want to downgrade the sound quality from SACD to a CD format.

There's one thing that really makes me mad - it always switches a TV on (connected vie HDMI) and there's no way to get rid of it. If I play an audio CD, I don't need a telly, do I? It's even worse, there's Pioneer logo at a fixed position, so I expect after a few months of audio playing I'll have a Pioneer logo deeply burnt into my TV. Or can anyone help with a hint?

havy

January 8, 2013, 2:05 am

Tom, thanks. I sorted out the SACD / CD playback issue - - as usual, "operator error"! Disc I had was marked SACD, but finally I checked with the distributor of the disc and they confirmed they never issued that in SACD!! Anyway, the reason I wanted to test the on/off of SACD was just to listen to audio quality differences, which there of course are. Done. Regarding your TV on issue, I don't get that, so there must be a way to set it up so the tv doesn't automatically turn on. I am using the separate HDMI set up (HDMI main to the TV, HDMI sub to my receiver). Also, I have tried the "pure audio" setting on the player and it does seem to enhance audio quality, and it removes the Pioneer logo if your tv does happen to be on. I'll sort through my set up to see if I can discern anything else helpful.

One other update - - I had to return and replace one of the two BDP 450's I bought - - on two occasions after switching the unit off at night, the next morning it wouldn't turn back on (either from the remote or on the front panel. The cabinet above where the HDMI plugs are was extremely hot, so I unplugged the power supply. waited for it to cool, plugged it back in and all worked. This unit as well had stopped playing video files, sound would come through, but no video feed. Again, after doing the unplugging, cool-down routine, video playback came back. But I didn't want a fire hazard so I returned it for a replacement (no problem to do so at my retail seller here in Thailand, thankfully).

Finally, I've not had any success playing .mkv files, have tried quiet a few and no dice (though I didn't check if they were 1080 or not). Hope Pioneer puts out a fix.

havy

January 10, 2013, 4:05 am

UPDATE JAN 10 2013 - **WARNING** - As I reported a few days ago in reply to Tom's comment, I had returned for a replacement one of the two players I purchased due to malfunction / possible fire hazard. Today I had the same problem occur with the replacement unit, so I believe there is a firmware / software problem with this player. I am going to try to report it to Pioneer. The issue appears to occur when using the player's options for changing via the remote the HDMI setting (Dual, Separate, and Pure Music). Quick summary - - I have the player hooked up via 2 HDMI cables, one to my plasma TV and the other to my Yamaha AV receiver. I also have a 500 GB external USB drive attached to the front jack. When playing CD's, I switch, using the remote, the HDMI setting to "pure music", which I used for a good part of the day for listening to discs. In the evening, I wanted to watch a video from the USB drive, so I switched the HDMI setting to "separate" - - however, the video's picture was "frozen" on my tv screen, although the sound worked. I then switched the HDMI setting to "dual" and both picture and sound worked. after watching several videos, I shut off all the components and the player. This morning, the player would not turn on from either the remote or the front panel. I felt the player's cabinet above the HDMI jacks at the back, and it was very hot. I then unplugged the player from the power supply, let cool, then plugged it back in. The player is now working. If you have this unit, be very careful about changing the HDMI settings as it seems to confound the player's firmware or software, and causes overheating in the back of the player, a potential fire hazard. I'll update this site again once I get any further information from Pioneer.

Ian Harland

April 1, 2013, 12:09 am

There
is definitely a problem with this machine when it is configured to run both the
HDMI outputs in "separate” mode: It locks up consistently on Blu-ray menus.
Refuses to play Blu-ray discs - ejecting the tray - as if no discs are there
(which is only cured once the power is removed from the wall socket) and the HDMI
"control" functions fail operate anything!

GL

October 18, 2013, 9:25 am

What's picture quality like compared to lower priced players from Samsung and Panasonic?

GL

October 18, 2013, 9:42 am

What's picture quality like compared to the Panasonic 500 and 330?

AYap

October 4, 2014, 1:29 pm

Can the USB Ports read external hard-disks (ie not just thumb drives)?

comments powered by Disqus