Pioneer's luscious DV-578A-S is not merely a slim, high-performance movie and music machine--it's a highly affordable movie and music machine, considering the plenitude of formats it's equipped to play. We're talking DVD-Video, video CD, DVD-R, and video-mode DVD-RW. Then there's the specialty formats: super-high-resolution DVD-Audio and SACD (stereo and multichannel), as well as--in the opposite direction--compressed audio files (MP3 and WMA) on recordable CD. Slideshows of digital photos? Sure. Just load your JPEG digital photo CDs, Fujicolor CDs, or Kodak Picture CDs and you're off and running.
For sensationally great video, the DV-578A-S features virtually twice the video processing power of previous Pioneer models with its 12-bit/108 MHz video digital-to-analog converter (DAC), as well as Pioneer's PureCinema 2:3 Progressive Scan feature, and a range of video output types, plus 7 video adjustments for maximum versatility and performance. DVD mastering introduces a common distortion when adjusting 24 frames-per-second movies to 30 fps video; reverse 3:2 pulldown digitally corrects this distortion, removing the redundant information to display a film-frame-accurate picture.
Progressive scanning, referred to as 480p for the number of horizontal lines that compose the video image, creates a picture using twice the scan lines of a conventional DVD picture, giving you higher resolution and sharper images while eliminating nearly all motion artifacts.
The deck is even outfitted for CPRM copy protection (Content Protection for Recordable Media). CPRM permits the recording of copy-once broadcast programs, but not copying of such recordings. CPRM recordings can only be made using DVD-RW discs in VR mode and can only be played on CPRM-compatible players such as the DV-578A-S.
DVD-Audio and SACD media both offer super-high-fidelity sound. DVD-Audio discs provide high storage capacity, unique bonus materials not available on commercial CDs, and 192 kHz/24-bit multichannel and stereo sound (with audio harmonics conceivably extending all the way to 96 kHz, two full octaves beyond the highest frequencies found on standard CDs). DVD-A discs often have compressed Dolby Digital soundtracks for listening on standard DVD players, but true DVD-A decoding is required for full sonic appreciation.
Depending on the disc, Sony's proprietary SACD format provides extended-bandwidth multichannel and/or stereo sound, often presented in a dual-layer format compatible with both standard CD players (at standard resolution) and SACD-equipped players like the DV-578A-S (for full-resolution playback). Most high-res audio players offer compatibility with one or the other format, DVD-Audio or SACD. This player is happy with both.
As an anti-piracy measure, the player performs its own decoding of both DVD-Audio and SACD signals (not to mention standard Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 surround sound), passing high-resolution analog, not digital, audio to your integrated amplifier or surround receiver. This means you'll need an audio/video receiver with multichannel analog-audio inputs to fully appreciate multichannel DVD-A and SACD releases.
If you're not planning to use the DVD-A/SACD capability for multichannel programming, both Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1-channel surround-sound signals can be routed through the player's digital-audio outputs (one each of RCA coaxial and Toslink optical) for simpler connection with your receiver.
Other features include picture zoom, parental controls, disc resume, repeat, random play, track programming, dialog enhancement, a GUI disc navigator, a fluorescent display with 3-level dimmer, a screen saver, auto power off, track/time search, and 10-key direct search and play.