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Pioneer DV-410-V review

A rare lapse in quality from Pioneer. You can buy much better for the money Tested at £100.00

Our Verdict

We weren’t expecting the Earth, but we were expecting a bit more than this

For

  • Sturdy build and good spec for the money
  • engaging movie sound

Against

  • Picture quality leaves a lot to be desired

Nowadays, when the shelves of your supermarket are groaning under the weight of cheap DVD players, a machine with the chutzpah to cost £100 needs to offer more than mere competence.

Pioneer, DVD front-runner since day one, certainly has the track record to suggest it can pull that particular trick off.

The DV-410-V looks and feels a cut above the no-name bargains. It's compact, nicely finished and supplied with a clear remote control.

Specification is good, with video upscaling all the way to 1080p and a USB port on the front fascia for enjoying a slideshow. Menus and set-up procedures are standard Pioneer: simple, logical and comprehensive.

First impressions good, but…
It doesn't take long (the deliriously violent opening of No Country for Old Men should do it) for the good first impressions to be forgotten.

From the off, there are stability issues: motion is tracked without certainty, and the most vigorous movement leaves smears and traces behind.

Testing patterns are fidgety, with many types of picture noise (dot crawl, edge shimmer, mosquito noise, blocking, you name it) represented. The same film's wide-open shots of sky and desert floor are restless too.

Unfortunately, the bad news doesn't stop there. Dark scenes remain a mystery – no matter how you fiddle with the player's video adjustment, black tones are uniform and bereft of detail to the point that Javier Bardem's spectacular bowl-cut looks as if it was painted onto his head.

Distinct, full-bodied sound
There are positives: this Pioneer sounds quite full-bodied and distinct, and when it isn't struggling with dark tones the colour palette is convincing.

But we were startled by how inept the DV-410-V is for much of the time – so much so that we can almost see the point of those stacks of £25 supermarket specials.

What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, New York and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.


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