Pioneer DV-717 Review

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Parris1972's review of Pioneer DV-717

★★★★☆
Pioneer DV-717

“It's a few years down the line since the DV-717 was...”

Written on: 27/03/2005 by Parris1972 (9 reviews written)

Good Points
Rugged, solid construction
Superb audio output via plethora of outputs
Genuinely high standard picture output
Solid state components, great drawer mechanism

Bad Points
Too old to have PAL progressive scan
Too old to have DVI-D digital scart output
Too old to play other formats
Internal menu structure limited
Unlikely to play anything other than original CD, VCD or standard DVD.

General Comments
It's a few years down the line since the DV-717 was produced, so how does it compare to current Pioneer DVD players?

Well, you can forget PAL progressive scan & DVI-D scart sockets as technology has moved on a pace, however having worked in the A/V trade for several years I would STILL consider this a great DVD player. If you require an all singing, all dancing DVD player in order to play the vast array of DVD+-R, DVD+-RW, DVD Audio, JPEG, MPEG, WMA or other types then you'll find major draw backs. The draw backs? It won't play 'em!

What you have here is a DVD player, which so long as you purchase original copies from your local video store or DVD outlet, then no problem.

I am lucky to be able to test units against one another every day to view how systems perform. At work I have a bank of 12 Plasma & LCD screens, at home I have a projector, LCD screen and a conventional TV. Output is best from S-VHS (S-Video output) and using coaxial digital to AV Amp. Scart output is still fairly good, yet colour bleed can occur on cheaper scart cables. Through LCD S-VHS is fairly good, but SCART is rubbish and does the screen and player no justice. As always the projector is amazing through S-VIDEO in. Nothing quite beats a 48" Sandra Bullock, apart from perhaps the real version of course.

An original remote control is a must as without it you may not be able to access PLAY menu on the DVD. The PLAY button on the front panel doesn't always function, but it does vary from film to film. As such, avoid any second-hand units that don't have their remote control, otherwise most of your films will not play. This isn't a fault, just a design feature...Hmmm?

These days you can pick-up a 717 for less than £70.00 and as such it is a fantastic bargain, 10% of the original price and falling! The cheaper, the better and more of a bargain you get. Compared to DVD players in the £50-70 price area, it runs rings around most of them, however the new Pioneer DVD575a is really impressive at roughly £150. What lacks in newer units is the attention to detail. I think the new slimline units from all manufacturers are plain rubbish. I've looked inside them and they are frankly empty boxes with the odd PCB and a cheap mechanism (the drawer bit). They'll play practically every format you throw at them, but the output is poor. I'd rather have a unit that knew how to do one thing well, than everything badly! Manufacturers, please take note!!!

Of course things are easier & cheaper to build and design, so there's less opportunity to buy a £700 DVD player, but frankly most budget units feel cheap. These days I would consider a lobotomy before spending £700 on a DVD player!

Pick up a Pioneer DVD-717 and you'll know you have picked up a quality unit! There's plenty of space for the vast array of components to breath for a start! The mechanism in this beast is awesome, very rigid and reliable.

If I hooked up a 42" plasma to a 717, 525 and 575a using their individual best video outputs, then I am afraid I would have to accept that the 575a will impress more than a 717. As much as it pains me I'd have to be honest. Time marches on folks and what cost £700 several years ago can be beaten to pulp by a sub £200 unit these days. Sadly, Pioneer along with most other manufacturers appear satisfied to produce lack lustre plastic fantastics, devoid of charm, character or quality. What you gain on the output, you lose on the construction. Hence, for the time being I am sticking with my 717 & 525, aware that one day I'll be forced into buying a cheap looking, nasty bit of plastic with a wafer thin tray, noisy mechanism and dim LCD screen. Finally, if you own one, then (like me) you are probably reluctant to part with it. Regardless of the price, if owned from new you (and I) have enjoyed a really great machine and certainly I would have to say it has been the best DVD player of it's time. Even a £1000 Arcam DVD player didn't come close to it. If you are currently (2005) looking into purchasing one, then get a demonstration prior to purchase, test all it's functions, make sure you get a remote and consider a DVD575a, they have better picture quality (slightly poorer audio output and not nearly as well built), they'll also play a great many other formats. Frankly WHY you would need a DVD player to double up as a CD player, Image player, MP3 player instead of just enjoying a bit of flick, I don't know

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