I bought the BDP-440 a few weeks ago. There was almost no info about this player to be found anywhere. So I thought I'd post my impressions, as hopefully it might be helpful to others. Bear in mind that I was primarily looking for a high res multichannel audio/music player. Video playback was a secondary concern. I had no interest in the BDP-140 as it doesn't play DVD-A discs, and the Elite is too expensive. If I'm going to pay that much for a Blu-ray player I'd rather get a superior enthusiast player from Oppo/Cambridge.
I have to say I'm both very impressed and somewhat disappointed. Impressed with it's high end audio capabilities at such a low price. Disappointed that actually using many of these audio features is way too much of a hassle: A TV is required to be connected and turned on at all times and files need to be renamed. Turning on my projector when I simply want to listen to music is out of the question, and I have no intention of re-burning dozens of flac DVD's.
- No way of playing mp3/flac files without a TV connected and turned on. If I insert a data disc the player automatically enter a GUI mode that is impossible to navigate without a TV. There's no way of switching to the first track in the next/previous folder using the remote without a TV. It doesn't even autoplay the first track when pressing play on the remote (!).
- There's a button on the remote that supposedly lets me toggle between the CD/Stereo/5.1 layers on SACD's. It doesn't work on any of the discs I've tried. (Not much of a problem for me personally though, since it plays the 5.1 track by default and that's usually what I prefer anyway.)
- There's no button on the remote that lets me switch between different "groups" on DVD-A discs. Again a TV is required.
- The BDP-440 was advertised in EU with full flac support, yet flac files will only play if the extension is renamed to mp3 or wma. Hopefully this will be fixed in a firmware update.
- Doesn't play wma lossless audio files or ogg files.
- The remote control has to be pointed *directly* at the player or it won't work. I don't think I've ever owned such an unresponsive remote. This was really annoying when first setting the player up and adjusting various settings. But I find it to be less of a problem in daily use.
- The players display is (currently) absolutely useless, and it makes me wonder why Pioneer included a display at all. It doesn't even display the current track number when playing a CD (!).
- When I disabled the BD Live feature, there was an annoying error message displayed every time I inserted a Blu-ray disc.
- No samba (Windows networking) support.
- DVD upscaling cannot be disabled. The player will automatically scale DVD's to the Blu-ray output resolution set in the menu, but doesn't convert 50Hz to 60Hz. Very annoying for those who intend to use an external scaler for DVD's, or those who own HD TV's that only support HD resolutions at 60Hz.
- No WiFi, no component video or analog multichannel outputs.
- DVD-A, SACD, and 24/96 multichannel flac support (extension must currently be renamed to mp3/wma). It even plays homemade SACD-R's, incorrectly authored DVD-A discs, and there's no DVD-A watermark protection
- Plays all video files I've tried so far without a problem, including 1080p mkv's with srt subtitles. (Though I hear it won't currently play mkv's with flac and DTS-HD Master Audio.)
- Terrific at reading low quality DVD/Blu-ray media without any skipping. Tried several very problematic discs that all played flawlessly. The player seems to use a very high quality laser. This is something I've come to expect from Pioneer, but I was still impressed.
- Even though it apparently doesn't have the QDEO Marvell chipset, the quality of the DVD upscaling was surprisingly good, better than my PS3 I think.
- Supports NTFS file system, at least from an USB thumbstick.
- Can be made fully region free (both Blu-ray and DVD) with a hardware mod that's very easy to install (no soldering).
All things considered I think this player is a real steal for the audiophile on a low budget. It offers DVD-A, SACD and (currently limited) flac support for less than half the price of an Oppo 93 (in my country), as well as PQLS. And it's a pretty good above average HD video player as well.
Still, those of you who doesn't care about high res music will likely find equally good video players at much lower prices from other manufacturers. And many audiophiles will be severly turned off by the fact that a TV is required in order to use most of it's high end audio features, not to mention having to rename flac files.
BTW, one thing I didn't test was video_ts/BDMV playback from folders or iso files. I don't have an external drive at hand right now, and as expected I couldn't get DLNA to work. The BDP-440 picked up my Logitech Squeezebox DLNA server, and I could browse folders fine, but there was nothing displayed inside the folders.