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joerod's Avatar joerod
09:32 PM Liked: 117
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01-23-2009 | Posts: 22,129
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Part 1 - Intro.

It must be that crazy time again. I lock myself in the man-cave and only exit for food and the occasional need to see sunlight. For preparation I set up 3 clipboards at 3 different locations in the theater. A section is dedicated for each player where I write notes and grade them. In part 1 I am mainly going to discuss the 09FD. Part 2 tomorrow will consist of the comparison study. Your enthusiasm here at AVS drives me and makes me want to do the absolute best review I can. Thank you.

First off... The 09FD is HEAVY. That is actually an understatement. It is a tank (I think I can get away with using that word here). I was expecting it to be BIG but once you see it and pick it up in person then you know! I am pretty sure you could drop one down a flight of stairs and it wouldn't even phase it. So does size truly matter? In this case the answer is a definite YES! Let's begin with the 2 HDMI outs. Being able to send one for audio and one for video does indeed make a difference. The amount of difference may depend on your set up. I sent the MAIN HDMI to my 886 PRO while sending the SUB HDMI straight to my Sony VW200 PJ. I am still going back and forth between my VP and PJ but more on that later...

Audio... I am getting exceptional sound. I will say the absolute best I have heard in my theater to date. And that goes for using both Analog and HDMI. Bitstreaming and or decoding. I first began with King Kong (Blu ray) and I did some direct comparisons to the HD DVD using the HD805/XA2. I know the soundtracks are different but the 09FD blew the HD DVD player's out of the water. In percentage terms I would say 15% to 20% better. I know the DTS-HD Blu ray soundtrack may have played a large part but by putting in other movies it proved the 09FD is a considerable reason why the sound is this good! Without sounding (no pun intended) like I am reviewing a receiver or per/pro the soundtracks are more intense with very accurate levels. Voices have better clarity. Details in all the speakers is more evident. The soundtracks are more enveloping. I could easily tell which player is on from the sound alone! Speaking of King Kong lets segway into pic Q...

Without being to creative in trying to describe the picture I will just say the 09FD is worth every penny. I am seeing more depth to the image. I have Highspeed set to ON, YCbCr 4:4:4 enabling deep color upconversion, and of course going at 1080p/24. The higher end Blu ray players are starting to have more picture adjustments then you shake a remote at! They really do give the edge over the more cost effective players on the market. Having sharpness adjusting for High (high frequency elements) and Mid (mid frequency elements) does truly help sharpen the picture without hindering it. Same goes for the Detail (probably my favorite). It adjusts contours of the image. On a larger screen it will make a difference. For those of you keeping score there is also YNR, CNR, BNR, MNR, white & black, black level set up, Gamma correction, Hue, Chroma level and finally Prog Motion and Pure Cinema options. Not to mention you have your memory settings with Pioneers others for LCD, PJs, Kuro, Professional and etc... No matter what display you have you should be able to dial it in. The 09FD can put out a terrific image that is both vibrant and sharp as well as within the construct of the "laws" of video. It is natural yet makes very pleasing eye candy. It beat the HD805/XA2 in overall pic Q. I was pleasantly surprised that it was more than by a slight margin. I know I said comparisons would come in part 2 but I since this is a HD DVD player (the best one at that) I figured why not now.

Other things about the 09FD...The remote is just like the 05/51 series. It has a nice gloss black finish with a comfortable directional pad which is silver. I don't fuss about remotes anymore since most (like myslef) will use a universal type. The 09's remote will get the job done if you are not part of the universal remote crowd yet. It is very responsive. Yes the 09FD will need an update for BDLive to become active. That could be a factor for some who are spoiled with those Disney titles (like my family). This is definitely not a dealbreaker for my theater since Pic Q & Audio Q are my number one priorities. Though it is helpful and makes a nice shortcut when firmware updating.

Resolution Changing... This is one of (if not the) my favorite Pioneer features. Changing your resolution on the fly really can make your life easier. No stopping and going into the set up menu. This is helpful especially when you are testing! Kudos again to Pioneer for continuing this great feature.

What else... SD dvds. They look exceptional. This may be the main reason I decide to bypass my VP and go straight into my PJ. I have seen many SD dvd players and to my eyes the 09FD is the best I have witnessed. I have a SP1000 in my set up (which I will keep for slideshows before the feature presentation) and besides the dreaded layer change the 09FD is superior in every way.

Any complaints? I still don't like the fact that if you hit Stop on the remote (by accident) you have to completely reload the entire movie again and start from scratch. I wish Blu ray player remotes would lose the Stop button. These are not VCRs! Speaking of load times the 09FD is not bad. It is not as fast as a couple other players but more on that later...

Part 1 conclusions... I am enjoying the 09FD. It is very flexible especially with having two HDMIs to play with. I keep finding myself grabbing Blu ray movies to see what a difference it makes. Forgetting Sarah Marshall which to me is not one of the better looking titles (though it is funny) looked better than ever. If this player can consistently make average titles look good and good titles look great then it is a winner... TheBland may have been on to something when he saw this player at the show last year and said this may be the player to beat!

I would like to thank Robert from VE for helping expedite my 09FD so I can get this review/comparison done on AVS. I would also like to thank Chris Walker for consistently being here and not running for cover when the waters get rough. His courage to keep coming back here has won my respect! I also think the engineers at Pioneer need a thank you or at least a hard pat on the back for squeezing out every last drop of pic Q and audio Q!

Tomorrow part 2 with comparisons and some Dark Knight screen shots...
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Franin's Avatar Franin
09:44 PM Liked: 297
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01-23-2009 | Posts: 17,568
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Thanks for that, sounds and looks quite impressive
MXM's Avatar MXM
09:52 PM Liked: 10
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01-23-2009 | Posts: 118
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Hi joerod


Great intro review!!!

I have the UK model(LX91),but BD-live is not enabled at the moment,is the US version enabled?

MXM
gbaby's Avatar gbaby
10:02 PM Liked: 35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

Audio... I am getting exceptional sound. I will say the absolute best I have heard in my theater to date. And that goes for using both Analog and HDMI.

Thanks for your review. But, I don't remember you ever talking about the analog sound of the 5000ES, and if you did, please let me know where it is on the 5000 thread. In fact, I remember asking about the sound of analog on the 5000, and your response was that you only used HDMI. Please explain.
blownaway's Avatar blownaway
10:16 PM Liked: 10
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01-23-2009 | Posts: 158
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Thanks for your efforts joerod!

Great review, keep up the good work. Looks like an 09FD is in my future.
c722's Avatar c722
10:30 PM Liked: 10
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01-23-2009 | Posts: 1,001
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joe did u try the 24p mode for dvd ? does it work well ?
Looking forward to your compares with the sony.
joerod's Avatar joerod
11:20 PM Liked: 117
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I will post more details tomorrow but to answer the analog audio question... Yes, I began testing analog and comparing it with the latest high end players. I am using a switcher to make it easy for me... And in my intro I mentioned the BDLive is not active...
Franin's Avatar Franin
12:27 AM Liked: 297
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01-24-2009 | Posts: 17,568
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

I will post more details tomorrow but to answer the analog audio question... Yes, I began testing analog and comparing it with the latest high end players. I am using a switcher to make it easy for me... And in my intro I mentioned the BDLive is not active...

Thanks Joerod, will be looking forward in reading some more.
Waboman's Avatar Waboman
12:32 AM Liked: 766
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01-24-2009 | Posts: 7,234
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joerod, excellent as always. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your review.
gostan's Avatar gostan
04:42 AM Liked: 11
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01-24-2009 | Posts: 937
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joerod,

We all hope that your headache is gone and that your beard is not too long.

Just three questions:

1. Any SQ difference in bistreaming or decoding in the player. Since King Kong is a DTS-MA soundtrack, that one was obviously bitstreamed.

2. More on the sound differences, if any, using hdmi and analog will be appreciated by many.

3. Your additional comments today on load times, etc.

Thanks for all of the hard work. Where do you find the time??

I hope to have mine in play on Tuesday, if all goes according to plan
wasserkool's Avatar wasserkool
04:43 AM Liked: 10
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01-24-2009 | Posts: 124
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

Part 1 - Intro.

Let's begin with the 2 HDMI outs. Being able to send one for audio and one for video does indeed make a difference. The amount of difference may depend on your set up.

thanks for the review! I am wondering with the dual HDMI feature, I guess the only way to do it is one cable directly to TV and one to the receiver? Can you do the sound and video using two HDMI cables directly to the receiver?
RickAVManiac's Avatar RickAVManiac
05:50 AM Liked: 29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by franin View Post

thanks joerod, will be looking forward in reading some more.

+1
Jrunr's Avatar Jrunr
06:14 AM Liked: 12
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01-24-2009 | Posts: 917
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I am in the market for a new BD player and this seems like the one to buy. I am subscribing to this thread and I am anxious to read the great review!

One off the wall question though: Does it make a difference hooking this up to a Kuro plasma, with kuro link, or will it have have the same performance on most high end plasma screens?
RickAVManiac's Avatar RickAVManiac
06:47 AM Liked: 29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

What else... SD dvds. They look exceptional. This may be the main reason I decide to bypass my VP and go straight into my PJ. I have seen many SD dvd players and to my eyes the 09FD is the best I have witnessed.

Better than your DVDO Edge?
ss9001's Avatar ss9001
06:57 AM Liked: 343
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joerod,

Thanks for the 1st part of your review. I fully believed the PQ from the 09 would be killer and you're confirming this. My reservations all along was strictly Pioneer deciding not to pursue universal player aspects in the design.

I missed what players you are comparing it with..will the 05/51 be one of them? Will you be able to post comments on the 09 vs. the Oppo?

ss9001
joerod's Avatar joerod
07:13 AM Liked: 117
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Better is a strong word. I would say that if it is just as good then why go thru the VP at all? I do like the Edge's picture adjustments but still I can do them from the 09FD and get just as good results. I am still playing with it and have not decided which way yet but I am damn glad my VW200 has 2 HDMI inputs. On the other hand I could send 480i into the Edge for pretty good results to. The other bonus is being able to completely calibrate the other HDMI strictly for Blu ray and SD dvds... Like I mentioned, the 09FD can make any set up very flexible... I have to get down there and get back to work.
RickAVManiac's Avatar RickAVManiac
07:19 AM Liked: 29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

Better is a strong word. I would say that if it is just as good then why go thru the VP at all? I do like the Edge's picture adjustments but still I can do them from the 09FD and get just as good results. I am still playing with it and have not decided which way yet but I am damn glad my VW200 has 2 HDMI inputs. On the other hand I could send 480i into the Edge for pretty good results to. The other bonus is being able to completely calibrate the other HDMI strictly for Blu ray and SD dvds... Like I mentioned, the 09FD can make any set up very flexible... I have to get down there and get back to work.

Thanks for the clarification...
GmanAVS's Avatar GmanAVS
07:23 AM Liked: 14
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Joe,

Thank you for the review and all your efforts and enthusiasm!!!!

Just an fyi, in the 05/51 thread, is has been reported often that with the latest fw 1.21 setting the player to 4:2:2 gives the best PQ (on plasmas). Perhaps you may want to test this out since the 09 has a similar (if not the same) video chipset.

Gman
JonStatt's Avatar JonStatt
07:31 AM Liked: 48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ss9001 View Post

joerod,

Thanks for the 1st part of your review. I fully believed the PQ from the 09 would be killer and you're confirming this. My reservations all along was strictly Pioneer deciding not to pursue universal player aspects in the design.

I missed what players you are comparing it with..will the 05/51 be one of them? Will you be able to post comments on the 09 vs. the Oppo?

ss9001

joerod gave too much away in his first post. At least he should have had us all guessing which one he would consider the best out of the big 3 (Denon, Sony Pioneer).
joerod's Avatar joerod
07:56 AM Liked: 117
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For the record I still haven't claimed which I think is the overall best Blu ray player. On another note, I have also been experimenting with sending the Main HDMI (audio) into my VP and then sending the Sub (video) straight to my PJ. Since the Edge handles the new audio codecs I am having it send them to my 886 PRO. Have I mentioned how flexible the 09 is yet? I will get back to work and will not post again until part 2 is ready. Have a good day everyone.
JonStatt's Avatar JonStatt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

For the record I still haven't claimed which I think is the overall best Blu ray player. On another note, I have also been experimenting with sending the Main HDMI (audio) into my VP and then sending the Sub (video) straight to my PJ. Since the Edge handles the new audio codecs I am having it send them to my 886 PRO. Have I mentioned how flexible the 09 is yet? I will get back to work and will not post again until part 2 is ready. Have a good day everyone.

Hey Joe..wasn't meaning to put words in your mouth! Its just you started by saying you heard the best sounds ever with the 09FD, and then went onto say it was worth every penny when discussing the picture. So I just assumed from those comments...that your outcome was clear! Apologies. I am still looking forward to your comparison review....
Tim Glover's Avatar Tim Glover
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Excellent beginning report joerod....looking forward to the rest!
dogone's Avatar dogone
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Wouldn't the sound from HDMI be the same as the 05?...I would expect the analog 7.1 outs to be better, but wouldn't audio on HDMI have to be the same?...Also, can you get sound "and" audio from both HDMI outs?
Tim Glover's Avatar Tim Glover
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On the King Kong discs, joerod does mention the BD has DTS-MA, while the HD-DVD is DD plus. I think it's safe to say that on most DTS titles, it's a louder mix. The only DTS-MA track where each channel is really low is on the UK Blu-ray import of Were We Soldiers. Normally, a little tweaking/leveling is done but I had to really get each channel raised significantly! Sounded great but it took some time.
JonStatt's Avatar JonStatt
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim Glover View Post

I agree the sound should be the same bitstreaming but on the King Kong discs, joerod does mention the BD has DTS-MA, while the HD-DVD is DD plus. I think it's safe to say that on most DTS titles, it's a louder mix. The only DTS-MA track where each channel is really low is on the UK Blu-ray import of Were We Soldiers. Normally, a little tweaking/leveling is done but I had to really get each channel raised significantly! Sounded great but it took some time.

The fact that the 09FD cannot do internal decoding of DTS-HD MA yet will also be a limiting factor in his review.
dogone's Avatar dogone
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Here is the owners manual...apparantly the two HDMI outputs do not both output equal complete audio and video...unless I'm reading this wrong, only one HDMI output does "complete audio". the other is only 2 channel?

http://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PU...G+INSTRUCTIONS
joerod's Avatar joerod
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Quickly, yes on the HDMI audio question. One does it all and the other will only do 2 channel. One is pretty much made to go straight into your AVR/prepro while the other can be assigned to go straight into your display or VP. Again, more to come...
gekke henkie's Avatar gekke henkie
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A little addition to the 2 HDMI ports. As I understand it, according to the manual both HDMI-ports can output the video signal but not at the same time. According to some posters on the LX91-thread however, both ports do in fact output the video-signal at the same time. Something Joerod might be able to confirm?
Scott Wallace's Avatar Scott Wallace
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joerod View Post

Quickly, yes on the HDMI audio question. One does it all and the other will only do 2 channel. One is pretty much made to go straight into your AVR/prepro while the other can be assigned to go straight into your display or VP. Again, more to come...

joerod, on my video display, I get terrible combing on standard def film-based DVD WHEN PLAYED BACK AT 1080p/60. At 1080p/24, it looks great.

I have a Runco RS-1100. I also tested it on a Sharp LCD TV that does not accept 1080p/24 (only 1080p/60), and it looked equally poor with horrendous combing. With it obviously there is no option to go to 24 to get rid of the problem.
ssabripo's Avatar ssabripo
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so what are you going to do with the 3800 now?
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