Pioneer HTZ929DVR

Pioneer HTZ929DVR
  • Pioneer HTZ929DVR
  • Pioneer HTZ929DVR
  • Pioneer HTZ929DVR
  • Expert Rating

    4.00 / 5

Pros

  • Small, very functional, reasonable sound

Cons

  • Poor surround options, back speakers tiny

Bottom Line

A great, all-encompassing package, the HTZ929 is a good choice for anyone who wants to bring their lounge room up to speed with the latest technology.

Would you buy this?

For many people, their first foray into modern home video technologies, such as hard disk recorders or DVD recorders, will be a jump to a full home theatre system. The Pioneer HTZ929DVR home theatre system makes this transition as painless as possible, as it combines almost every device you could need into a single, slim unit that still manages to offer full receiver support. Of course, all these functions add to the price, but if you're still running just an ordinary VHS player, or perhaps just VHS and DVD players, the HTZ929DVR offers a great, multifunction package to bring you up to date with the latest technology.

We were very impressed with the compact size of the receiver unit, considering the features it offers. It combines the functionality of a DVD player, DVD recorder, TV tuner, hard disk recorder (with 80GB of storage capacity) and receiver in a device that is barely bigger than a standard DVD player.

It also has all the inputs and outputs you expect from a top-of-the-line home theatre system--including digital audio, component, composite, S-Video and RGB--which ensures you can connect any kind of device with any kind of cable you want. This is a very important factor to consider when buying a home theatre system, as a good system will centralise control of all your devices in a single box.

Not only is the receiver functional but it's attractive too. Brushed silver with a curved design, it has buttons along the front in a fairly standard layout. We were, however, disappointed to see a lack of real controls on the face of the player. As there are no menu buttons for manipulation of the player's functions, the user must rely on the remote, which is a bad idea considering how easily remotes go missing.

The speakers were one of our favourite parts of this package. They are long, freestanding speakers that required bolting to a base, but the speakers themselves clip together very easily, which greatly reduces setup time. First impressions led us to believe there were just three speakers to cover the full 5.1 soundscape, but upon closer inspection we discovered that the top of the speakers twist free to form the two surround speakers. The small size of the surround speakers bothered us. They became caught up and weighed down by their cables, which made setting them up quite difficult.

Sound quality was above average in our tests. The back speakers are tiny, and this seemed to influence the strength of their sound, which was slightly drowned out. The front speakers are very robust, and produced the rumbling bass and high-pitched sword rings of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon with clarity and sharpness.

The lack of sound options the system presents was disappointing. There is basic Dolby, Dolby Pro Logic and DTS, and a few preset sound modes such as game, sports, movie and music, but in this regard the HTZ929DVR is left behind by the many receivers that offer upwards of 15 or 20 sound modes, and multiple ways to tweak the sound options.

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