updated 10:55 am EST, Wed December 22, 2010
Pioneer ships 3D Blu-ray players in Elite family
Pioneer hoped to seize on last-minute Christmas shopping Wednesday by shipping its promised 3D-capable Blu-ray players. The regular BDP-430 as well as the Elite BDP-41FD and BDP-43FD all have HDMI 1.4a both for stereoscopic 3D and for 36-bit color when the source and the TV support it. The electronics giant's iControlAV iOS app (free, App Store) will also stand out by giving iPhone and iPod users a way to steer the player over a local network, although this needs a firmware update.
All support a relatively new continuous mode that, like a PlayStation 3, can remember the playback position on a movie and resume where it left off. Pioneer's implementation is limited to keeping the disc in the drive and needs the user to manually mark the position.
Every player has an Ethernet jack with access to Netflix, Pandora and YouTube on its own. A USB Wi-Fi adapter is available if necessary for the trio, which also share DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD surround decoding, anti-jitter correction and 1080p upscaling. Differences are slight and mainly add an RS-232 serial port for home automation on the Elite models; the 43FD has a higher-quality chassis and internal components.
The similarities keep the price spread relatively tight and start at $299 for the BDP-430, moving to $399 for the 41FD and $499 for the 43FD.