Blu-ray Players

Pioneer BDP-43FD Blu-ray Player


Design and Setup

Compared to the Pioneer players that I reviewed a couple of years ago, the BDP-43 is radically smaller in size. Despite the reduction in size, the Elite model is still a very solid feeling player that weighs in at close to 8 lbs., far more than many other players of the same size. Much of this is due to its Armored Chassis Construction, which features a double-layered chassis, center mounted drive mechanism, drive stabilizers and shock absorbers, all designed to help reduce possible vibration and interference.

A look at the back panel of the Pioneer reveals not much of a surprise, but it contains all the standard features we are looking for in a Blu-ray player: HDMI and Component outputs, RCA LR and optical outputs for audio, a 10/100 Ethernet port for BD-Live, streaming content, firmware updates, as well as device control, and an RS-232 port for control systems. Though no wireless is included, an optional adapter is available for a rear mounted USB port.

The front of the unit is the standard Pioneer Elite finish, but that is always a good thing. With a nice glossy black finish and amber display, the BDP-43 certainly looks classy in your AV rack compared to most players out there. The playback controls are all accessible on the front panel, though carefully integrated into the design to not draw attention to them. Also on the front panel is a USB port for playback of audio or video files.

Setup of the BDP-43 was very straight forward, as I connected it to my processor via HDMI and hooked it into my network by Ethernet. I ran through the settings menu quick to make sure that my preferred settings were selected (1080p, 24p compatible, bitstream audio) but there were some options missing in the menu system. There is no setting for color space over HDMI (4:2:2, 4:4:4, or RGB) and also no source direct mode. Though most people probably don’t know what these are or how to set the color space correctly, using an incorrect one for your receiver or display can cause you to suffer degraded image quality. The Pioneer uses 4:4:4 as it’s color space, and automatically engages Deep Color if the display supports it as well. The lack of a source direct mode means that the Pioneer would not be a good unit if you are looking to use it with an external video processor.