Pioneer Elite BDP-05FD Blu-ray Player User Interface
With the Elite moniker, looks are almost as important as performance, and in this department, the BDP-05FD doesn't disappoint. The elegant, touch-sensitive controls on the piano-black gloss finish look truly elite—Power and Play are the only traditional "hard" buttons. The front-panel display contains the usual text info, and it's dimmable. Regrettably, the blue light below the display is not.
The non-backlit remote is all but useless in a dark room. Although it sports glow-in-the-dark keys, they aren't bright enough to highlight the desired command. Thankfully, the Play button is the largest, but Pause and Stop are neighbors, which can cause problems since many Blu-ray discs don't support Resume Play—if you accidentally press Stop instead of Pause, the disc won't resume playing where you left off. Thank God for Harmony remotes!
The setup menu is well organized and easy to navigate. Initial setup involves specifying parameters in the Video, Audio, Speakers (for analog output), HDMI, Language, and Parental Lock menus.
The player offers a variety of HDMI color-space options, including Auto, YCbCr 4:4:4, YCbCr 4:2:2, RGB (16-235), and RGB (0-235), as well as HDMI audio options—Auto (bitstream) or PCM (for secondary audio and video)—and PQLS. I chose the Auto color space for most of my testing and used both internal and external audio decoding over HDMI as well as the 7.1 analog audio outputs.
Video output resolutions over HDMI include 480i, 480p, 1080i, and 1080p (24 and 60fps). Pioneer offers a unique Source Direct mode that outputs signals as encoded on the disc. Most Blu-rays are encoded at 1080p/24, and DVDs store their data at 480i/60, which is exactly what is sent when Source Direct is selected. Owners of 720p displays must choose a 480i, 480p, or 1080i output and have the display do the scaling.
The Auto setting uses the EDID (extended display identification) information from your display and outputs the highest supported resolution. In this mode, Blu-ray images are output at 60 frames/second if your display isn't compatible with 1080p/24 signals.
The component output supports 480i/p and 1080i/60. If you select the Source Direct option, 1080p/24 discs are output at 60 frames/second and native 720p is output at 720p/60—although I have yet to see any native 720p content on Blu-ray.
The BDP-05 offers five separate video-preset modes—LCD, PDP, Pioneer PDP, Projector, and Professional—plus three adjustable memory settings with many picture parameters, including Pure Cinema, Progressive Motion, Noise Reduction (four separate controls), White and Black level, Black Setup (0 or 7.5 IRE), Detail, Gamma Correction, Hue, and Chroma Level. I found the Professional preset to be the most compatible with my JVC DLA-RS1 projector. I expected the Projector setting to be best in my case, but the sharpness pattern from DVE: HD Basics revealed some ringing not seen in the Professional setting. All presets passed above-white and below-black with both HD and SD test discs.