Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Pioneer DV-430V Upconverting DVD Player with HDMI

Pioneer DV-430V Upconverting DVD Player Reviewed by Dmiko on .

Not too long ago I discovered Pioneer DVD players. Not in a sense that I stumbled upon them while hiking up a mountain in my vicinity, but in a sense that I found out that they were really good. Previously, I mostly used Panasonic DVD players and, later, Philips.

Panasonic players were always producing top-notch images, were easy to use and pretty reliable. I saw "pretty" because I had at least two of them die on me with a drive motor failure. Granted they were in severe use for over 3 years each,  but still, when you shell out decent bucks (Panasonic DVD players were never exactly cheap), you expect the product to last.

In light of the above and for DivX, MPEG/AVI, PAL, etc. playback I switched to Philips players. They were pretty inexpensive and played the aforementioned formats well. But their ergonomics/menus/displays/remote controls were not exactly pleasing.

And then I discovered Pioneer DVD players. I have used the Pioneer DV-400V, the Pioneer DV-410V and the Pioneer Elite DV-48AV (which I currently use for DVD-Audio playback among other things). I also tried out the Philips DVP5982, 5960 and DVP5990 (which my mother is currently using). Although Pioneer players are somewhat more expensive, it is easy to see why.

Whereas the Philips models have usability shortcomings and some previous models had DivX files stuttering and freezing on them, both the DV-400V and the DV-48AV were much better in some aspects. From there on, the trend continues as I compare the latest model (Pioneer DV-430V, a.k.a. DV-430V-K, where K stands for black color, perhaps due to the word Kuro having it as a first letter) with my current Pioneer Elite DV-48AV and the Philips DVP5992.

I have to mention that I have been using the original king of DivX, a.k.a. Philips DVP642, although now I use it exclusively for CD playback. Considering its impressive feature list (including PAL playback on NTSC TV, DivX playback and progressive scan), I was relatively happy with it for $41 that I paid. And unlike my past Panasonic players, this Philips is still very much alive.

As mentioned before, I was not happy with it overall however, and would not have paid its original price (my unit was Philips-refurbished). Things have improved significantly since then, Both Philips and competition produced numerous DVD player models with similar features and added even more to the mix: USB ports, HDMI outs, upconversion and better DivX playback, while retaining things like PAL playback on NTSC TVs.

One of the issues I had with the original DVP642 was the fact that although it played most DivX videos, it stuttered on some others and showed terrible block noise on some others, making them unwatchable. That was in addition to it having fast scan speed of no higher than 8x and its resume functionality requiring you to push Play while it said Loading.

If you miss Loading and you are stuck trying to find the point where you stopped watching last time. Exciting! I will not miss having to use the DVP642 for video playback much since there are so many great choices. And with large HDTVs and the advent of HDMI, I replaced my DVD players multiple times at this point.

I personally use the 50-inch 1080p Hitachi P50H401 plasma TV, and I tried to get a DVD player that would further improve on DivX playback, would have HDMI and upscaling to 1080p (or at least to 1080i) and, for the love of progress and file sharing, a USB port. In doing so I went through some Philips models and some Pioneer models as well.

I tried some Philips DVD players, e.g. Philips DVP5982 and Philips DVP5960 and, although they were both improvements on the DVP 642, they were not perfect. I got the Pioneer DV-400V in black color and used it for quite some time. The Pioneer Elite DV-48AV replaced it since I like to listen to DVD-Audio, but I tried the new Pioneer DV-420V and DV-430V and found them remarkably similar to the DV-400 and not much worse than my Elite DV-48AV (sans DVD-Audio and SACD). Having cool features of Philips players without ergonomics shortcomings, Pioneer models are my current players of choice.


The Pioneer DV-430V - All Multi Region Code Free 1080p DVD Player with HDMI 1080p Upconverting & USB - Black is a DVD player with upconversion to 480p, 720p, 1080i or 1080p over HDMI. It can play DivX, Xvid and JPEG files, WMV, MP3 and WMA. You do not need to create a VCD disc structure, just copy the files to a CD-R/W disc or DVD and insert it into this player and it will play them. Same applies to the USB port that the player has: you can copy files onto a USB drive and the player will play them, albeit with some slight issues in that regard.

The DV-420 supports slow and fast scan, even in DivX files. Even though the manual does not say anything about it, it will play (and even upconvert) European PAL discs on an NTSC TV. It has a coaxial digital audio out, HDMI out, component video out, S-Video and composite video out. Unlike so many recent DVD players, it has buttons on the front panel to control its menus, USB/DVD switching and playback and has a very intuitive remote control.

It is slightly heavier than the older DV-400 but lighter than the DV-48AV and lacks the latter's optical digital out and 5.1 analog outs, the latter of which is not important since it does not play DVD-Audio or SACD and I don't even use the 5.1 out on my DV-48AV, since I play DVD-Audio over HDMI (hurray to the progress).


The DV-420V is medium-sized and is not too lightweight, which gives it a solid feel. The front panel is not Spartan like so many recent DVD players. It has menu control buttons as well as playback control buttons, all of which look stylish and have good tactile response.

The player features a display that is bright and informative. The onscreen displays are excellent and are very well designed. They are very similar to the ones of the other recent Pioneer DVD players and are better than the ones on recent Philips models.

As usual, adjustments were required for the best image quality. I had to switch the DV-420's sharpness mode to "Soft" to get rid of oversharpening. The player also has adjustments for brightness/contrast and Gamma. There are a lot of other settings to play with, or leave alone.


When unpacking the player I was pleasantly surprised that unlike the DV-400 or the DV-48AV, this model has a detachable power cord. This makes it easier to replace if broken and easier to unplug if the unit is placed or removed from an entertainment center.

I saw the usually-impressive (for Pioneer), convenient and informative menus and onscreen displays. From colors to presentation, the menus are among the best I have seen. For example, the onscreen display shows at the same time the total time of the current chapter, remaining time and running time. It also can show bit rate in real time, which is not always useful (DVD), but interesting nonetheless.

And another impressive asset in this player is how Resume functionality is implemented. In some DVD players you have to jump through the hoops to ensure the movie starts playing from where you left off last time. This Pioneer just does it seamlessly and it has resume functionality even in the MPEG or DivX files! Very convenient. I wish my DV-48AV had this functionality in DVD-Audio files. The DV-420V remembers it for up to 5 different DVDs (or one MPEG/DivX disc).

Remote Control

Most DVD players have remote controls you have to look at when using or struggle to remember the button locations. The player has a remote control that is pretty close to perfection. The buttons have excellent tactile response. They do not require high effort yet have good positive feedback.

The buttons are located in intuitive order and the most frequently used buttons are larger than secondary ones. The remote is almost perfect, aside from the location of the "0" button, which I never use anyway. And unlike the older (DV400) model's, the remote control matches the player color (black).

The remote of my Pioneer Elite DV-48AV is larger and has buttons to control TV's power, volume, channel and input select - features that this remote lacks. But the button layout and weight of this remote are better.

Picture Quality

I tested the player with my 50-inch Hitachi plasma (P50H401). The 1080p output over HDMI is excellent: razor sharp and clear. It does not quite have the smallest detail of the HD DVD or Blu-Ray, but it is rather good and definitely better than that of the non-upconverting player over an analog connection.

I saw definite improvement over passing 480p signal from my old Philips DVP642 over component out to my TV. The latter looked foggy by comparison and generated significant artifacts in scenes with motion.

The in-player 1080p upconversion of the DV-420V is very good. It is not perfect though. You can see the stairstep artifacts, especially obvious when watch "South Park" - the diagonal lines are not smooth but resemble steps. But what can we expect at this price point?

Since I have not expected it to rival an HD DVD disc in my Toshiba HD-A3, I am very happy with the image quality. But, later I tried a comparison with the upconversion of regular DVDs by my Toshiba HD-A3 and the A3 does have a small, but distinctive edge.

The sound is excellent as well (using coaxial digital connection to my Panasonic XR57 receiver). The player also passes sound over HDMI, which is convenient. The player plays most of my MPEG and AVI computer files flawlessly.

Well, make it semi-flawlessly. It doesn't play some DivX files that my mother's Philips DVP5990 plays fine. Still, the DivX playback is very good overall.

The files can be burned on a CD-R/W disc just as a regular data CD with no VCD structure needed. I say most, because although it stutters on fewer files than my Philips did, it still has issues with some files, which it refuses to play completely.

The front USB port is a great feature and lets you use a USB drive or any similar device, provided it does not require much power. USB-powered hard drive will most likely not work. Still, it is a great feature as I can copy over a bunch of MP3 or WMA files onto a USB drive, plug it into the USB port of this player and play it through my receiver and speakers. Ditto the video files. The only issue is the player asks you if you want to play audio or video when the USB mode is turned on. So you have to use the onscreen menu to select that. But after that you can switch the TV off and just play your music.

I am not quite sure why they moved the USB port location from the left of the player to lower-right portion (comparing to the DV-400V).


Unlike many other DVD players, which only have 90-day labor warranty, this Pioneer has 1-year warranty for both parts and labor. My Pioneer Elite has a 3-year full warranty though, but Elite models are more expensive.

What I Like

I like the player's relatively low price for feature set, its connectivity options, features, PAL playback and conversion to NTSC, computer video file playback, USB, 1080p. Very good build quality, excellent video and sound, great remote control, menus, and responsiveness are also very impressive.


The startup time is stll longer than with most other DVD players. I noticed this about other Pioneer DVD players also. Perhaps caused by having to load the extensive menu system. At least it is nowhere near as bad as the startup times of HD DVD or BluRay players.

Pros: Price, features, performance, build quality, USB, up to 1080p over HDMI, DivX, MP3/WMA, good remote.
Cons: Some newer Philips players play DivX better, slightly slow startup.

Bottom Line

Unlike the Philips DVP5990 or DVP5992, the Pioneer DV-430V is simply excellent. There is no need to sacrifice usability for DivX playback and the price is right. This Pioneer is a very good 1080p upconverting DVD player with a USB port, DivX playback and even PAL playback on an NTSC TV. It is an excellent choice for regular DVD playback as well and I highly recommend it.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5.

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