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Home > Hardware Reviews > Consumer Electronics

Friday, July 02, 2004
Pioneer DV-370

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
  • DVD-Video

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.

  • DVD-ROM

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.

  • CD support

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.

  • AudioCD

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.

  • Super AudioCD

The Pioneer DV-370 does not support Super AudioCD.

  • Compressed Audio (data CD)

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.

  • VCD/SVCD

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.

  • JPEG

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




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