Some other issues I've noticed...
In addition to forgetting the way 4:3 content is configured, and the firmware-related issues with DVI, these are a few other issues I've run across with the 400V.
Some advantages of the Pioneer DV-400V vs. Sony NS77H...
- Deinterlacing of unflagged and video/field-based DVD content does not seem quite as good as on the Sony 77H. The Pio seems to produce more combing on movie trailers/previews at the beginning of DVDs, and more noticeable jaggies on my home-authored field-based DVDs than the Sony. The Pio does fine on most film-based "main attractions" though, including feature films with flagging errors/bad edits that I've tried, such as chapters 2 & 3 on Star Wars ANH.
- Chroma shift? I can't be 100% sure whether this is a problem with the player or my TV. For the record, I get the exact same effect with the Sony 77H. Both players I suspect use the same Mediatek chip though. The shift seems most noticeable on the edges of blue objects or backgrounds, and usually manifests as a red, orange or green outline a pixel or two in width along the vertical edges of the object.
- Picture sometimes becomes garbled if I turn the TV off and then back on while a DVD is playing via HDMI/DVI. Turning the player off and on usually fixes it.
- Player is a bit on the noisy side. It makes a constant hum/whirring noise that's audible in a quiet room from a couple yards away.
- As others have mentioned, paused images look rather jagged/pixelated because the player displays only half the vertical resolution of a frame when the picture is stopped. Unlike the Sony 77H, there appear to be no options for adjusting this behavior on the Pio 400V.
- When using the Repeat/Title function, a reminder message pops up at the beginning of each chapter.
The main advantages I've found on the Pio 400v over the Sony 77H so far are:
- Gamma control.
- Support for 480i via HDMI.
- USB input.
- DivX support.
- WMV (SD) support.
- Zoom mode does not leave icons on screen.
- More controls on front panel.
Some users also report a bit of graininess when using 1080p on the Sony. However, results seem to be a little inconsistent. Haven't been able to compare this to the Pio since my 34XBR800 TV only goes up to 1080i.Reasons I'll probably go with the Sony NS77H instead...
- Fewer jaggies on my homemade field-based DVDs.
- Less combing on movie trailers. (The Sony still combs a little on some, but it doesn't seem as frequent as the Pio.)
- Full resolution (ie no jaggies) in pause mode.
- Less noisy drive.
- More reliable 4:3 stretch mode.
- A/V sync.
- Optical audio out.
- Sony seems more DVI-friendly, and generally more reliable and trouble-free with my TV (so far). Unlike the Pio, I've rarely encountered situations where the Sony needs to be turned off to fix something. (Think this only happened once on the Sony.)
- Gamma control on Pioneer is not quite as convenient/useful as I hoped due to issues with color decoding and black level mentioned in last post.
Comparing these two players has been an arduous, and also sometimes interesting process. Both have their strong and weak points and the picture quality on regular film-based motion pictures is very similar (perhaps because they're both Mediatek-based), so the decision which to go with has not been an easy one.
The two features that initially drew me to the Pioneer were the Gamma control and 480i support via HDMI. However, after finetuning the lighting and picture on my display a bit more, I think the Gamma control may be something I can do without. The Sony player also generally seems to do a better job of upconverting video (and film) based DVD content than my TV, making the lack of 480i HDMI support on that player basically irrelevant. USB and Divx support are other cool features on the Pio, but I don't really have a use for those at the moment.
For the record, some of the issues I've encountered with the Pioneer 400V could possibly be related to using the older firmware, the RGB Color mode (instead of Component), and DVI rather than HDMI. Pioneer's documentation states that: "...using a DVI connection may result in unreliable signal transfers". Using the newer firmware or HDMI (with Component Color setting) was not an option for my TV though.
There are undoubtedly other facets to these players that I've overlooked that could be of greater significance to other users as well (perhaps particularly on the audio side, which I haven't explored in as much depth). Anyway, this is just my personal 2¢ on the Pioneer 400V. Hopefully some will find it useful. As always, YMMV.Pioneer Player Details
Date Mfr'd: April 2007
HDMI Color Mode: RGB
Display: Sony 34XBR800 CRT