Sunday, August 3, 2014

Pioneer DV-410V Upconverting DVD Player - 1080p over HDMI, MP3, DivX and USB

I have used both the Pioneer DV-400V (the DV410's predecessor) 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, can see why. 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. I will compare the new Pioneer DV-410V with my current Pioneer Elite DV-48AV and the Philips DVP5990.

For a long time, I have had the original king of DivX, a.k.a. Philips DVP642 and still use it 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. 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 plyback.

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 Loadining. 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 much since there are so many great choices. And with large HDTVs and the advent of HDMI, I replaced my DVD players several times already.

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, 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.

I tried newer Philips DVD players, namely 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-410V and found it remarkably similar to the DV-400 and not much worse than my Elite DV-48AV (sans DVD-Audio and SACD).


The Pioneer DV-410V is an upconverting 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.

The player 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 DV-400 but lighter than the DV-48AV and lacks the latter's optical digital out and 5.1 analog outs, 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.


The player 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 display 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.

I had to switch the 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 was immediately impressed, albeit not surprised, with how convenient and informative the menus and onscreen displays were. 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.

Remote Control 

Most DVD players have remote controls you have to look at when using or struggle to remember the button locations. The DV-410V 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 previous model, 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-410 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.

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).

One other convenient feature: the front panel display says GUI when you are using the menus or shows numbers if the GUI mode is off.


Unlike many other DVD players, which only have 90-day labor warranty, this Pioneer has 1-year warranty for both parts and labor.

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 longer than with most other DVD players. I noticed this about other recent Pioneer DVD players as well. Perhaps caused by having to load the extensive menu system.

Pros: Performance, features, excellent build quality, USB, up to 1080p over HDMI, DivX, MP3/WMA, remote
Cons: Slightly slow startup, some newer Philips players play DivX better

Bottom Line 

Unlike the Philips DVP5982 or DVP5990, the Pioneer DV-410V excels in all areas. There is no need to sacrifice usability for DivX playback anymore. The DV-410 is a very good upconverting DVD player with a USB port, DivX playback and even PAL playback on an NTSC TV. If you need to play PAL discs on an NTSC TV, play computer files and DivX, play media files from a USB drive and upconvert up to 1080p, the DV410 is an excellent choice. And it is an excellent choice for regular DVD playback as well.

I highly recommend it. But if you want a very similar DVD player with DVD-Audio and SACD playback, check out my favorite: the Pioneer Elite DV-48AV. I have had it for years and it is very good.

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