Gone but not forgotten are the undisputed kings of HDTVs, the hallowed Kuro plasmas from Pioneer. It's been years since Pioneer Electronics shifted their products emphasis to audio, but the company still has their AV receiver and Blu-ray player lines that draw on their video expertise.
At the top of their Blu-ray players is the Elite BDP-62FD. This high-end model deserves Pioneer Elite status because it includes features, like dual HDMI outputs, QDEO video processing and SACD playback, that you will not find on the standard Blu-ray players that populate the marketplace.
Please note that the Pioneer BDP-62FD is 3D compatible but the video processor does not upscale 1080p to Ultra HD.
Perhaps more importantly to the growing number of app happy streamers out there, the BDP-62FD only supplies links to Netflix, YouTube, Pandora and Picasa. If you desire a wider range of apps beyond these four major content providers, then look elsewhere or assure that another component in your home theater system, like your Smart TV, includes your desired apps.
One last point, even though the Pioneer BDP-62FD provides two HDMI outputs (useful for projector setups or dual monitors), the connection panel does not include Component video (YPbPr) outputs. If you are planning on connecting this Blu-ray player to your AV receiver or HDTV with Component cables, you are out of luck.
With that said, I am using our Blu-ray Buying Guide as a template for writing this review, (though I am adding two new boxes on the checklist, one for UltraHD upscaling and a second for Mobile Device Connectivity). The Pioneer BDP-62FD ticks almost all the boxes on the Guide's checklist.
The Pioneer BDP-62FD plays back 3D Blu-rays effortlessly. Of course, to watch 3D movies at home, you will also need a 3D TV or projector. But it doesn't matter if your 3D TV requires the active shutter or passive polarizing glasses, the 3D signal that this player sends is compatible with both types of 3D displays.
The 62FD does not recognize .MPO files, which are 3D still image photos captured by 3D capable still cameras. If you are a 3D fan, it's a nice feature to have, though many 3D TVs will playback .MPO images.
In addition, this 3D Blu-ray player does not supply the ability to convert 2D videos or photos to a 3D-like image, which is not a big deal to me because I usually find this fake 3D effect more gross than engrossing.
The Pioneer BDP-62FD provides a wired a LAN port method of connecting to the Internet but does not furnish an integrated Wi-Fi adapter. Pioneer does offer the AS-WL300, a wireless network adapter ($150).
Again, the 62FD only partners with four content providers, Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, and Picasa - no social media links like Facebook or Twitter.
I actually prefer this limited focused apps approach in a Blu-ray player.
As a reminder, to use an Internet capable Blu-ray player, you will need Internet service in your house. Then by connecting the player to your home network through a router, you can stream content like movies from Netflix through your player to your TV.
Also, if you are serious about obtaining good picture quality when you are streaming movies, you will need fairly fast and robust bandwidth from your Internet provider, ideally around 10Mbps - the faster, the better.
Once the 62FD is plugged into your home network, it is possible to play photos, music and movies directly from your computer or media server through this Blu-ray player.
You can also use this DLNA protocol to access DNLA enabled mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, though the process is often not as easy as connecting through Bluetooth or MHL options, which this Blu-ray player does not provide. Therefore, I would give this category a half-check.
As mentioned the Pioneer BDP-62FD does not include an integrated Wi-Fi adapter and the $150 added expense for the add-on AS-WL300 is too high of price to pay. You can find perfectly good players with integrated Wi-Fi for almost the same cost as the AS-WL300 alone.
The Pioneer BDP-62FD with its brushed black face highlighted by its cool blue power button is traditionally tailored.
The long non-backlit multi-function remote control (see below) is overflowing with buttons, tiny ones with small stenciled labels that are difficult to read in a dimly lit room.
The remote provides dedicated Home Menu, Home Media Gallery and Netflix buttons.
The Pioneer BDP-62FD performed both its 2D and 3D tasks reliably.
The manual lists that BDP-62FD supports a number of formats including BD-ROM/BD-R/BD-RE, DVD-Video/DVD-R/DVD-RW/DVD+R/DVD+RW, AVCHD/AVCREC, DVD-Audio/SACD, CD/CD-R/CD-RW/DTS-CD. I did not attempt to play any non-commercially produced media on this player.
The following is a table of file formats that it can handle.
The 62FD supplies two USB ports, one on the front right corner for convenient access and another on the back. There is no SD card slot.
The ports can accept USB 2.0 compatible flash drives or HDDs and the 62FD can playback photo, music or video files loaded on the USB devices.
The slideshow menu is good. It only offers three transitions speeds (Slow, Middle and Fast), but the 14 effects include the all-important Fade (which Pioneer labels as Blending). You also can play music behind your slideshow.
The 62FD only plays back JPEG files, but it handles both high resolution images and ones with varying compression with aplomb.
7.1 Analog Audio Outputs are only important to those audiophiles who still have legacy audio equipment with 7.1 analog audio inputs.
The Pioneer-BDP-62FD does not offer these connections. Very few, if any, of the new Blu-ray players do. You either send the audio out with the video over the HDMI cable or you relay it separately with the digital audio optical output.
And as a reminder, as you can see, the back panel does not supply Component or Composite video outputs.
The Pioneer-BDP-62FD does provide a second HDMI output, which is only useful in certain situations but not necessary for the majority of consumers.
For example, some older AV receivers may not relay 3D video. In that case, HDMI1 would send the 3D video signal from the Blu-ray player directly to the 3D TV or projector, while HDMI2 sends the audio to the receiver. Or, if you have two displays, you can run audio and video out of both HDMI outs on the 62FD.
Even though the Pioneer-BDP-62FD renders the video signal with the high-end QDEO processor, it does not upscale 1080p video to Ultra HD resolution. If you are a Pioneer devotee, many of their 2013 Elite AV receivers offer Ultra HD Upscaling.
My tendency is to leave the UHD upscaling to the Ultra HD TV.
The manual states Power Consumption at 23W, which is in the high range for Blu-ray players that I have reviewed. But Power Consumption during Standby is only 0.3 W.
To conserve electricity, you can make sure that the Quick Start Mode is turned off. This option, which shortens the start-up time when turning on the player, quietly sucks power in Standby mode, (which is probably over 95% of the player's life), because the player never totally powers down.
On their website, Pioneer lists the BDP-62FD at $399, which is in the ballpark for high-end Blu-ray players, but that tag is easily twice as much as well performing Smart Blu-ray players.
At the time of this review, I'm finding the BDP-62FD at various online retailers in the $250 range, which makes it a much more appealing value for those who need features like dual HDMI outs and SACD (Super Audio CD) playback.
The BDP-62FD is the current king of Pioneer's Elite brand of Blu-ray players. This solidly built unit features high quality QDEO video processing and Super Audio CD playback. With its dual HDMI outputs, this 3D Blu-ray player is a good choice for a home theater setup with a legacy non-3D AV receiver.