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Appeared on: Friday, July 02, 2004
Pioneer DV-370


1. Introduction

Pioneer DV-370 DVD Player - page 1

Pioneer develops and manufactures innovative products for all your hi-tech entertainment needs ? home, car audio, multimedia and DJ equipment. By combining cutting-edge technology with sophisticated design, those products can transport you to a world of fun.

This year, Pioneer has given a new meaning to the phrase ?home cinema?. With the new digital home cinema packages and systems, home entertainment has become extremely attractive and practical. The consumer will become addicted to the effects possible with surround sound and razor sharp images with vivid and intense colours. For state-of-the-art DVD, look no further. With new additions in Pioneer's range, the consumer is sure to find just what he/she wants ? from the latest DVD-A/DVD-V/SACD machines to portable DVD players.

The DV-370 is one of the latest players in Pioneer's product list. It is an affordable solution for a DVD player with a very large list of characteristics.

Click to enlarge

Features


- 24-bit/192kHz compatible DAC
The on-board 24-bit/192kHz DAC means that this player is fully compatible with high sampling-rate discs, capable of delivering exceptional sound quality in terms of dynamic range, low-level resolution and high-frequency detail.
- Surround sound entertainment with Dolby Digital and DTS software
When connected to a suitable AV amplifier or receiver, this player gives great surround sound with Dolby Digital and DTS discs.
- Pure Cinema progressive scan video
When connected to a progressive scan-compatible TV or monitor using the component video outputs, you can enjoy extremely stable, flicker free images, with the same frame refresh rate as the original movie.
- New Disc Navigator with moving pictures
The new Disc Navigator enables you play the first few seconds of each title ot chapter in a thumbnail image on screen.
- DSP effects for enhanced playback
- Picture zoom
- MP3 and WMA compatibility
- JPEG compatibility
- Energy saving design

An auto power-off function switches the player into standby if not used for about 30 minutes.Technical Data

Specifications




2. Unpacking - Control Menu

Pioneer DV-370 DVD Player - page 2

Unpacking - Control Menu

The European retail package includes the unit, the remote control, two AA/R6P dry cell batteries, the power and the Audio/video cable (red/white/yellow plugs). We would like to see a coaxial cable included as well. Full multilanguage manual and warranty are also included.

Below we can see the inside of the DV-370, after opening the cover, an action which is not recommended since you void the manufacturer's warranty.

Click to enlarge

Below are the main chips used in the unit.

 

On the rear panel are the audio/video outputs. Analytically there are: a coaxial (digital) audio output, the S-Video, component video, a stereo audio output (L & R) with video and last the universal (Scart) line out. There is no 5.1CH decoder, but this is something we wouldn't necessarily expect to find on a low-priced DVD player.

For excellent sound, we recommend you use the coaxial output for digital sound, with the use of an A/V 5.1CH (or more) amplifier. Pioneer offers a wide variety of home theater solutions.

If you are about to connect the DVD player straight to your TV you can use one of the above provided connections, composite video output and audio (RCA), or the scart, which also includes stereo sound.

Click to Enlarge

The retail package also includes the excellent remote control. Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Below is a screenshot of the main screen from the player, the one you see every time you turn the player on.

Below can been seen the provided information while playing back, almost everything you would want to know. During the playback you can change the audio, subtitles and viewing angle from the remote control.

The player can play MP3 files. Pioneer provides a convenient and user-friendly menu for fast navigation through the MP3 files or folders on a data disc (CD/DVD). Below is an example with an MP3 audio CD where there are different MP3 encoding parameters.

ZoomX2,X4


3. Reading Tests

Pioneer DV-370 DVD Player - page 3

Reading Tests

When it comes to a DVD player, the main focus lies in the reading performance of the device. Technical performance tests could include detailed testing of the performance of the player with various video and audio input signals (MPEG-1 /2 Video/Audio, VBR High/Low switch, CBR, AC-3 implementation, LPCM multichannel audio, A/V synchronization navigation commands, transitions etc). However, such detailed testing is out of the scope of this review which attempts to offer testing procedures directly resembling the average user's everyday needs and tasks. Thus, the performance of the DVD player can be described in terms related to reading speed, reading accuracy, compatibility with various CD/DVD recordable/rewritable formats as well as data/audio playback support, stored in any common medium.

DVD support

The Pioneer DV-370 we have in our hands is a region-2 drive, which means that the player is able to decode (play) only the pressed DVD-Video discs coming from the European region. However, the player is widely available in the European market through retailers as region-free, meaning that you will be able to use it with any disc regardless of the regional restrictions applied on it.

The next question would be whether the player supports both PAL and NTSC transmission formats. The answer is yes, although since the player is already restricted to region 2, it is originally setup to support the PAL transmission format used throughout Europe. Unlike some multi-regional players, the DV-370 has an internal transcoder that will automatically modulate the source signal to a derivative of PAL or NTSC. Of course, the player will recognize only the region 2 NTSC DVD-Video discs. What we would like from Pioneer is to make this feature adjustable through the setup menu, in order for users to manually set it to PAL, NTSC or to Auto select.

We connected the DV-370 through the Scart interface with the corresponding cable, which was unfortunately not included in the player's package. Of course, the player supports the DVD-Video format. We recorded a 4.35GB DVD-Video file on various DVD+R/-R, DVD-RW/+RW media. The recorders we used are some of the latest dual-format available on the PC market, as well as some 1st generation recorders. Pressed single / dual layer DVD-Video discs were also included in the test. Here, we remind you that the Pioneer DV-370 supports DVD±R/RW and DVD-Video playback. All the test discs were created with the same PC /software in the DVD-Video mode.

We checked the player's disc recognition as well as smooth navigation and playback. The results were very impressive, since all the discs were read completely. See the drives and media we used in the table below:

Recorder
Media
Speed recorded
Recognition
Playback
Pioneer DRX-500UL v1.0c
TDK DVD+RW 2.4x
2.4x
OK
Pioneer DRU-530A v2.0h
Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD+R 4x
4x
Taiyo yuden DVD+R 4x
4x
N-Tech DVD+R 4x
4x
Philips DVD+R 4x
4x
Pioneer DVR-107D v1.05
JVC DVD-R 8x
8x
MKM DVD+R 8x
8x
CMC DVD-R 4x
4x
CMC DVD+R 4x
4x
NEC ND-2500A v1.06
JVC DVD-RW 4x
4x
Maxell DVD+RW 4x
4x
Ritek DVD-R 4x
4x
Mam DVD-R 4x
4x
TDK DVD-R 4x
4x
Plextor DVD+R 4x
8x
Mitsubishi Chemicals DVD-R 4x
8x
Taiyo Yuden DVD-R 4x
8x
Optorite DD0401 v1.30E
MKM DVD+R 8x
8x
Hi-Space DVD-R 4x
4x
Verbatim DVD-R 4x
4x
BTC DRW1008IM v0.55
Pioneer DVD-R 4x
4x
LiteOn LDW-811S vHS0K
FujiFilm DVD-R 4x
4x
Philips DVDRW885K
MKM 2.4X DVD+R DL
2.4x
NEC ND-2510
MKM 2.4X DVD+R DL
2.4x
BenQ DW-1600A DL
MKM 2.4X DVD+R DL
2.4x
Sony DRU-700A
MKM 2.4X DVD+R DL
2.4x
LiteOn SOHW-832S
MKM 2.4X DVD+R DL
2.4x

The results were nevertheless to be expected from a newly released player like the Pioneer DV-370. A DVD player offers limited features by its own nature, meaning that it lacks the DVD recording capabilities and advanced video authoring/editing features found on DVD recorders. Thus, reading reliability as well as compatibility are the key factors which will encourage most users to run out and buy a player. What is really interesting in our case is that the Pioneer DV-370 did not face any problems reading even the latest 8x DVD±R and 4x DVD±RW discs.

The Pioneer DV-370 does not support reading of DVD-ROM discs, even if they hold MPEG-1/2 video files or MP3/WMA files. This is usual for most DVD players since native DVD-ROM format is not supported.

The Pioneer DV-370 supports AudioCD, CD-R/-RW, VideoCD and Super-VideoCD playback. The cda files of any audioCD are recognized flawlessly, even when the disc is factory pressed or is a CD-R/RW. In addition, CD-Text is supported.

In our case, when talking about data CD (CD-R/-RW), we refer to either compressed audio files (MP3, WMA, Ogg Vorbis..) or pure *.wav files, or to VideoCD and Super VideoCD.

In the case of pressed AudioCDs, the player recognizes and plays all the tracks, offering additional features such as CD-Text reading and navigation between tracks, as already mentioned in the previous page. This also applies to CD-R and CD-RW discs. The device played audio files from CD-R, 10x HS-RW, 24x US-RW and 32x US-RW discs we inserted in the disc tray.

In addition, no problems were noticed when we played 8cm CD-R/-RW (185MB), 90/99min CD-R as well as CD business cards, as long as they are round shaped. The player's tray is not designed to accept any other media shapes, as is sometimes the case with smart cards or business cards.

For anyone that has purchased any protected audio discs from a music store, the Pioneer DV-370 will not let you down. The discs we tested were "Natalie Impruglia - White Lilies island" protected with Macrovision' Key2Audio system, and the the "Celine Dion - A New Day Has Come" protected with Cactus Data Shield 200. Both titles were recognized and played flawlessly. After all, those protection schemes are designed to discourage PC users from copying them and as such are not playable only on PCs.

The Pioneer DV-370 does not support Super AudioCD.

Let's see now how the player reacts to various compressed audio files stored on data CD-R/RW. Although the specifications of the DV-370 clearly indicate MP3 support, it is not certain whether the drive can handle all MP3 compression modes. CBR or VBR encoding mode and variations in the sampling rate could be hard for any reader to decode. Below is available the response of the player to various MP3 and WMA files.

Compression type
Compression settings
Recognize / Play
MP3
CBR 20kBit 11025Hz Mono
Yes
CBR 20kBit 11025Hz Stereo
CBR 32kBit 11025Hz Stereo
CBR 32kBit 22050Hz Mono
CBR 40kBit 22050Hz Stereo
CBR 48kBit 22050Hz Stereo
CBR 48kBit 44100Hz Mono
CBR 56kBit 22050Hz Mono
CBR 56kBit 44100Hz Mono
CBR 64kBit 22050Hz Stereo
CBR 96kBit 22050Hz Stereo
CBR 96kBit 44100Hz Mono
CBR 96kBit 44100Hz Stereo
CBR 112kBit 44100Hz Stereo
CBR 128kBit 44100Hz Mono
CBR 128kBit 44100Hz Stereo
CBR 160kBit 44100Hz Stereo
CBR 192kBit 44100Hz Stereo
CBR 224kBit 44100Hz Stereo
CBR 256kBit 44100Hz Stereo
CBR 320kBit 44100Hz Stereo
VBR - High compression
VBR - Highest compression
VBR - Low compression
VBR - Lowest compression
VBR - Medium compression

Windows Media Audio

(WMA)

WMA 48kbps
WMA 64kbps
WMA 96kbps
WMA 128kbps
WMA 160kbps
WMA 192kbps
WAV
WAV
No

The player supports decoding of the most popular CBR and VBR MP3 modes. All the files sampled at 44.1 KHz CBR were playable despite the quantization resolution (112-320 Kbits).

Note that the DV-370 is equipped with a 192 kHz 24 Bit Digital to Analog Converter for audio.

As presented in the player's specifications, both VCD and Super Video CD formats are supported by the player. The discs are recognized and played by the drive without any particular problems.

DV-370 is capable of images playback, not only for Jpeg format.


4. Error Correction Tests

Pioneer DV-370 DVD Player - page 4

Error Correction Tests

Here, we try to simulate one of the most interesting problems faced by the average user while using a DVD player, the reading accuracy of a DVD player when accessing a defective or scratched DVD or CD disc. Of course, the performance of the drive here has to do with the quality/precision of the mechanical parts (Optical Pickup Unit, sufficient servo control, etc) as well as with the drive's reading strategy under abnormal conditions, controlled by the main chipset and firmware commands.

In the case of a reader and especially a high-priced stand-alone reader, we do expect better control during the reading process. We tested the Pioneer DV-370 with a number of pressed DVD-Video and AudioCD test discs. The ABEX series from Almedio offer a good picture of the error correction capabilities of a CD/DVD reader. In addition, we used the SBC444A test disc from Philips and the CD-Check test disc from Digital recordings.

DVD-Video

This is a single-sided, dual layer (S-2 type, OTP) disc with 8.5GB capacity. The disc can be used for checking the layer switching operation from layer1 to layer 0. The disc also includes test pictures and test signals for Dolby Digital, linear PCM (48kHz/24bit, 96kHz/24bit) and others to check for high quality picture and sound. The disc contents is a MPEG-2 NTSC DVD-Video file. Apart from the disc contents, the TCD-545 includes defects on the disc area (black dots and fingerprints). The size of the black dots varies from 0.4mm to 1.0mm. Fingerprints are sized from 0.065mm to 0.075mm.

Although a graphical presentation of the transfer rate when reading the test disc is always enlightening, it is not an easy task when you test a non-PC DVD player. As a result, we used the test disc as a normal DVD-Video disc and checked whether it is recognized and played correctly, with detailed navigation through the tracks and forward/reverse operations. Note that the size of the defects increases as we sequentially play the tracks.

The Pioneer DV-370 read the disc successfully, and no skips, picture stills or glitches were noticed. This good behavior is also prominent amongst most PC DVD recorders/players. We proceed to the next test disc, the Abex TCD-541.

This disc is exactly the same as the Abex TCD-545 tested previously, except that the defect is a scratch of dimensions varying from 0.4mm to 3.0mm, increasing by steps of 0.2mm/step.

The Pioneer DV-370 showed very good performance again. All chapters of the DVD-Video were played correctly. Here we should say that not all PC DVD/CD players are able to read the specific disc.

AudioCD

This is an AudioCD disc used for measurement and adjustment of the error correction ability and tracking/focusing servo characteristics of a player against the defects included in some CDs. Three kinds of defects are included on this disc, interruption in information layer, black dots and fingerprints. The interruptions are fabricated by intentionally varying the lengths of pits in the disc fabrication area. Their size varies from 0.5mm to 1.0mm. The diameter of the black dots have sizes of 0.4mm to 1.0mm. Last, the simulated fingerprints are small, gathered dots, of diameters sized from 65 micro-meters to 75 micro meters. 160 such black dots in total construct the artificial fingerprint.

All audio tracks were played in the Pioneer DV-370 deck. No audible read errors (clicks, skips) were reported.

The test concept with the Philips SBC 44A is the same as in the previous test disc. Interruptions on the information layer vary from 400 micrometer to 1000 micrometer, while the black dots have a size of 300 micrometer to 800 micrometer. No audible click or skip was audible while playing back, indicating very good performance.

 

 

Same contents as with the Abex TCD-726, but different defect. A scratch sized of 0.4mm to 3.0mm is on the disc's surface. Error symptoms expected when playing this disc are noise, sound skips, same sector repeatedly played, start of tune cannot be detected etc.

The Pioneer DV-370 surprised us by playing without us being able to detect (with the human ear) any audible clicks or skips on any of the tracks on the specific test CD. This is the best performance we have ever encountered from a standalone player. However, we are certain that if we could perform this test under the same conditions as we do with the PC drives, where the extracted file is analysed by comparing it to the original error free file, then we surely would have seen error counts and skipped samples.

We finish this testing cycle with the CD-Check disc from Digital Recordings. Five audio signals (5 tracks) in combination with disc error patterns to rate the player's ability to read music and reproduce it completely. The five tracks contain a sequence of progressively difficult tests.

 

 

 

Check level 1 (track 1): Standard manufacturing errors

Check level 2 (track 2): 0.375mm scratch

Check level 3 (track 3): 0.750mm scratch

Check level 4 (track 2): 1.125mm scratch

Check level 5 (track 2): 1.500mm scratch

Any clicks, interruptions or looping during audio reproduction indicate failure of a Check level (audio track). Below you can see the test results:

Check level
1
2
3
4
5
Result
OK
OK
OK
OK
one click

The Pioneer player had good behavior with this disc. The first four tracks were played flawlessly, while in the last track, out of five playings we heard one audible click per play. The overall performance of the DV-370 in our CD error correction tests is very good, if not excellent.


5. Conclusion

Pioneer DV-370 DVD Player - page 5

Conclusion

The DV-370 is a compact DVD player, nicely designed, and with a large list of features. It came in two colors, silver and black with names DV-370-s and DV-370-b respectively. The menu inerface is excellent as it is the remote control itself.

According to our reading tests, the player is capable of reading almost everything. Advanced formats such as DivX, Xvid, SACD and DVD-Audio are not supported, logical for such a low price. The player managed to also read our new DL media burned with the latest DVD DL recorders available on the market, such as Philips DVDRW885K, Sony DRU-700A, LiteOn SOHW-832S, NEC ND-2510 and BenQ DW-1600A DL.

The error correction is one of the strong features of the DV-370. It managed to playback successfully all of our defective test media reporting negligible errors. As we described in the appropriate part of this review, we couldn't detect, visually or audibly, any errors. Only in case of the CD-Check audio CD, there was a single click in the last track.

The player is priced at about 115 euro. A very good choice for someone who wants an affordable and reliable solution.

- The Good

- The Bad

- Like to be fixed



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