Pioneer PDP-435HD

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Pioneer PDP-435HD

Pros

  • Superb DVD pictures, great audio, plenty of connection options

Cons

  • Low visual performance for HDTV

Bottom Line

While the swanky PDP-435HD is a fair performer overall and a good screen for DVDs, we've seen better image quality from Pioneer.

Would you buy this?

  • Buy now (Selling at 1 store)

The PDP-435HD displayed DVDs and standard definition TV with finesse. For high-definition content, however, the Pioneer was disappointing, largely for its lack of ability to display detail--the hallmark quality of HD.

This set deeply saturates reds and greens. The effect was nice when it displayed candy-apple-red autos in HD footage from a classic car show or the deliberately pumped-up colours in the dramatic final race scene of the Seabiscuit DVD. But it often made people appear a bit flushed and vegetation somewhat artificial.

One notable visual feature is the set's PureCinema technology for smoothly displaying film content, which is usually shot at 24 frames per second, not the 50 interlaced fields per second of PAL TV, or the 60 of NTSC. To fit this material into a standard digital TV, the display has to use a syncopated pattern that makes all films look a bit jumpy on TV. But Pioneer sets with PureCinema can refresh 72 times per second in order to show all frames an equal number of times (since 72 is a multiple of 24). Though the result is subtle, films do appear somewhat steadier and smoother when PureCinema is turned on.

The set's audio performance was delightful. The two 13-watt speakers put out clean sound, even at maximum volume and with SRS surround sound and bass enhancement enabled. We could hear subtle undertones clearly, such as the sound of car engines in Kill Bill Vol. 1 under the twang of Al Hirt's "Green Hornet," or the faint, ominous string tones that well up in parts of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.

The PDP-435HD has a slick design. A glossy black frame (which catches some distracting glare) is the only adornment on the elegant panel. Rather light at 29kg, the screen should be easy to wall-mount. The included speakers are detachable, so the TV can have a streamlined look for users who opt to pair it with a separate surround-sound audio system.

One definitely positive aspect of the receiver is its plentiful connection options, including one HDMI input, three component input sets, and four each of S-Video and composite video jacks. It also accepts analog computer signals via a VGA input. Additionally the PDP-435HD has an analog TV tuner.

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