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I, like kevip6, bought mine from Techtronics because of their reputation and price competitiveness (I paid £198 with the full chip mods). Picture quality is truly stunning, sound quality equally so unless you put a CD in it - then it is meerly acceptable. But hey, you want it to play DVD's right? Look no further unless you want to spend a hell of a lot more money and get a comparatively small improvement in performance. I would whole-heartedly recommend buying from Techtronics. Why pay the same money and buy on the high street for a deck that only plays region2 and won't let you copy to tape?
Cuteness isn?t a word I would usually associate with DVD players. In fairness, its not normally used to describe any metal objects, except maybe if Cameron Diaz gets the lead in Terminator 3! However I recently purchased the DV-444 from Pioneer and it has a slimline aluminium overcoat that almost warrants a motherly wiggle of the cheek. I measured it and it?s only 55mm tall and shop assistant told me, its currently making it one of the thinnest DVD players on the shelves, although it would probably be hidden behind an equally good looking price tag. Standard DVD players these days are becoming increasingly cheaper. The on-screen navigator is a useful way to establish those all-important personal settings, but the menu system is a little basic and the controls aren?t always responsive to my requests. This doesn?t mean that things took too long to get my choices installed, as there are very few features to play with, but all the basic picture and audio fine-tuning facilities to get the best from my discs are on-hand. There are a few extra touches, though. The ?last memory? facility stores a particular time frame on a DVD, so that even if I decided to eject the disc, playback will continue from the exact point. If you have the maximum capacity of five DVDs tagged up, then a pen and paper will suffice as a particular time or chapter can be accessed in seconds with the search facility. In addiction, a conditional memory can store a selection of settings for 15 of my favourite movies, including parental lock-which may prove handy if you want to protect your kids from today?s seemingly acceptable level of movie violence. I actually don?t have any kids so I don?t have to bother with that quite yet. Oh yes I nearly forget about the remote control. The remote is a commendable assistant to a lazy day?s viewing. Whilst some may yearn for swirls of colour and flashing lights, all the buttons here are nicely spaced out and easy to use. Although sligh tly uncomfortable everything is in its rightful place and the playback, menu and search controls can be utilised in one flashing, colourful swing of the thumb. For you serious DVD hunters, I don?t believe this player is a big boy but it?s sharp enough, cool enough and good enough for me.
I had been watching dvd's on my pc for quite a while and enjoyed them apart from every now and again the sound would lose sync and the video would become jerky, mainly due to the fact my graphics card had no dvd support. Anyway i decided it was time to buy a DVD player, i spent alot of time reading reviews on the Internet, and seen the Pioneer Dv-444 do very well in reviews. There were some other players i thought carefully about from Sony and Panasonic, but the Sony didn't read Cd-r and the Panasonic didn't have RGB video output an absolute must if you want to get the best out of DVD! The first thing you notice about this player is its amazing good looks, It really is the most stylish DVD player i have seen. Now, onto how the Pioneer performs in Picture quality. But before i start let me tell you the connections the pioneer has available for picture. It has RGB through a scart connection, S-Video jack, and a composite jack, you can also send s-video and composite though the scart, but you would be crazy not to use RGB as it is so much better than the other two. So the video quality i am happy to say is just amazing, i played an old jackie chan film (police story) and was gob-smacked, this i can honestly say is how DVD should look, colour is spot on, image is so smooth and shiny thanks to RGB. I also tried a couple of VCD's and they also looked great, but this dvd player also plays SVCD (closer to the quality of DVD video but on CD). I have had the dvd player connected to a surround amplifier and surround comes through in excellent condition. However my own set up is just stereo, but the Pioneer has Dolby Digital stereo downmix and also a Surround sound simulator called Tru Surround, i think this is another great function that adds more depth to dvd's in stereo. The Pioneer DV-444 is also a great CD-player with MP3 support, which is nice as i have a big mp3 collection, you can have 256 mp3 's on 1 cd. They sound really good and plays bit rates up to 320kbps i have also listened to VBR mp3's with no hassle. To sum it up, this is a very capable player, with support for just about every format out there. Most importantly this is how DVD players should be! Pioneer should be congratulated for their high quality. Best Features Stunning Video/Sound Quality Great Looks Also Very Slimline RGB Video output MP3 Playback CD-R/CDRW support PAL/NTSC VCD/SVCD DTS/DOLBY DIGITAL OUTPUT (OPTICAL + COAXIAL)
I've played DVD's three different ways: Through my computer connected to a TV. Through my PS2 and now, through my shiny new Pioneer DV-444S and I tell you, nothing compares to this. Not long after I purchased my Thomson 32WF45UG TV, the PS2's DVD capabilites started to look a little poor. Giving myself a 200 quid budget, I set out to find a DVD player. As with my TV, I did a lot of homework finding a top notch model, reading reviews and pouring over other peoples opinions. I came to the conclusion that this Pioneer player was one of the best in that price range. Upon placing a shiny disc in the tray, I could instantly see how good this player is. Stunning is one word I could use to describe the picture. I watched The Phantom Menace again and I was noticing things in the background that I hadn't noticed before. One thing I can't comment on is the sound. I'm currently only using the speakers on my TV so I can't really say how good the DTS output is on it. Although, the my TV the sound is quite good. This player also plays VCD's and SVCD's brilliantly, not turning it's nose up to anything I've thrown at it so far. It's also capable of MP3 playback but I haven't tested that yet.... Lastly, the remote is excellent. It's layout is great and feel's good in your hand. Anyway, I'm running out of things to say now.... My opinion is BUY ONE!! You won't be sorry...
Overall though I am beyond impressed, the overall audio/visual experience is tremendous, especially to someone used to the PC DVD player. I believe though that anyone wanting to upgrade an older player would be pleased with this machine, the way it handles all fast paced action and the high resolution and sharpness make for a very pleasurable viewing experience. I would recommend anyone to have a look at this player and i am sure you wouldn't be disappointed if you purchased. as for the TV who i s now getting jealous, well we can all live happily together and share the electro joy ;) ©Deets some detailed specs for the "techy heads" among us ;) Available in Black (DV-444K) & Silver (DV-444S) - Advanced Pioneer player, compatible with CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW ('inc VR mode) - Burr-Brown 192kHz/24-bit DAC - Superb spec : 540 lines horizontal resolution - Picture parameter adjustments - Includes MP3 playback with on-screen navigator - On screen MP3 Bit-rate Meter - With an MP3 CD up to 250 folders with 250 files can be played - Sleek, super-slim design: just 55mm high - 54MHz / 10-bit video DAC - 27MHz clock reduces jitter and picture noise - Superb spec : 540 lines horizontal resolution - 1 x SCART socket with RGB output
Hi, I started in the DVD market with a simple DVD player and Decoder card in my PC. This was a great entry level as it allowed me to play DVDs from any region and was a very cheap (about 95 pounds) way to gain access to the amazing quality of picture and sound the media had to offer. I soon after got myself a DigiTheater from VideoLogic, which comprises of a Dolby Digital Decoder and a set of 6 speakers. This opened up the world of Dolby Digital sound and i was hooked on DVDs from that point on! I carried on with this setup for a while until recently when i decided to bite the bullet and get myself a decent stand alone DVD player. I have about a 50/50 mix of Region 1 (USA) and Region 2 (Europe) discs and so a multi region player was a must. Looking on Techtronics web site i soon decided the Pioneer 444S was the way to go as it looks fantastic and had all the features i could possibly want. So i went on some forums and found a good deal from www.homecinemaheaven.co.uk. The player cost me £220 in the end including delivery and full modification chip, which allows the multi region playback, as well as disabling the Macro Vision protection! The 444S is a beauty to look at, finished in a modern silver and is very slim at only 5.5cm in height. Buttons are at a bare minimum on the front of this player and most of the functions are performed via the remote. This is, i assume for design purposes and it works rather well. The on screen menus have a very intuitive feel and almost all functions can be performed without resorting to the manual. I did however have to look up how to change the output format from NTSC to PAL for an American disc, as this requires a non-standard combination of buttons to press. This was easy to find though and the manual is very well organized. Feature wise this player had everything i could possibly want, you can speed up or slow down play by a number of factors. Freeze frame pictures are very clear a nd the method in which freeze is achieved is configurable in the menus. It can put out Dolby Digital and DTS digital sound via either an optical or coaxial cable. There is also a Virtual surround mechanism in which the player will try and emulate 3D sound through the standard stereo speakers. Video outputs include a dedicated S-Video out, an RGB Scart that can put out RGB/S-Video/or A/V, and set of composite A/V out sockets so you can connect the player to a number of output devices. The menus allow you to specify what type of screen you have and the also the output type for the Scart. The actual picture quality is very good in both PAL and PAL60 modes, and it played the American discs with no problems at all. Sound is very good as well with the Dolby Digital signal being detected by my decoder with no problems. One of the best additional bonus features of this player though is the speed of the functions. This is very noticeable having used a Whalfedale 750 extensively, when you switch this player on it loads and then when you ask it to open, its almost instant! It make the usability so much better and it has a very well made and proffesional feel to it. To sum up i love DVDs and this player is best i have ever used. I can't think of a single bad point about it and am truly very impressed by the whole thing!