Home > Product Reviews > Blu-Ray and DVD Player Reviews > Pioneer DV-563A Review

Pioneer DV-563A Review

Highs

  • Handles all video and audio formats
  • high-end sound and video for a mid-range price.

Rating

Our Score 8
User Score 9

Lows

  • Lackluster remote control
  • may be hard to find
Pioneer's DV-653A progressive scan DVD player brings high-end video and audio to the mid-level price range.

Summary

Pioneer’s DV-653A progressive scan DVD player brings high-end video and audio to the mid-level price range. At under $200 (and even under $150 if you look hard enough), the player really provides a lot punch.

With support for digital audio and even JPEG images, it easily handled every audio and video format that we tried, and we tried them all. True audiophiles may shy away from the DV-563A because of its “low price” alone, but this just might be one of those rare products in which its value far exceeds its cost.

Introduction

With so many different products and several different supported formats available, buying a DVD player can often prove to be a confusing endeavor. While most consumers may just want something that will play a movie they rent or purchase from the store, many others are discovering how much difference a high-quality, multi-format DVD player can make.

The Pioneer DV-563A is such a player. With an M.S.R.P. of $249, but a retail value of $149 to $199, the Pioneer DV-563A targets the average home theatre movie buff and audiophile without digging too deep into their pockets. The DV-563A is a progressive scan player that can support just about every current format including DVD, SACD, DVD-Audio, MP3, and JPEG.

Those with high-end systems or systems built around a tight budget will appreciate the quality and versatility of the DV-563. With its sleek silver styling and impressive performance it may be hard to find a player that can outperform the Pioneer DV-563A, especially in its price range.

Pioneer DV-563A

The Pioneer DV-563A with remote control

Design and Features

The Pioneer DV-563A comes in your standard 17″ home theater size unit, and can easily be incorporated into an already existing system. It features a silver casing complete with matching remote control.

Rear outputs feature the standard digital and analog audio connectors as well as S-Video, component and composite video out. The outputs are easy to read and hook up.

Pioneer DV-563A remote controlOne of the few downfalls of the Pioneer DV-563A is the included remote control. It is not universal and the buttons can be hard to read without proper lighting. It is small in size, however, and simple one handed operation is possible once you get accustomed to the button placement.

For video, the DV-563A features a 10-bit/54MHz Video D-A converter and PureCinema 2:3 Progressive Scan. This enables the player to double the amount of information displayed and then double it again horizontally and vertically to eliminate artifacts created from a film to analog (home video) source. This is a big step up from their previous PureCinema and PureCinema II converters.

On the audio side, it offers Virtual Dolby Digital with SRS TruSurround and digital coaxial and optical outputs for Dolby Digital and DTS surround. A high-end 192kHz/24-bit D-A converter ensures superb musical performance. What makes this player unique from other players in its price range are the 5.1 channel audio outputs that are used for DVD-AUDIO and SACD playback.

Flexibility is one of the major selling points of the DV-563A. This player can handle almost any format out there, and unlike some players that say they can read CDR and CDRW+,- and then have read problems with certain disks or setups, we had no issues at all with this unit. In our testing, we never had a disk that was properly burned not work on this player, something that

can’t be said for the majority of multi-format players we have tested.

Set up and Installation

The Pioneer DV-563A is easy to install. If you have component video inputs on you television then we would suggest using them. If not, then you can use the S-Video or composite video outputs of the player. The player has an advanced GUI system with a setup navigator that will easily help you configure the player according to your surrounding components. If you want to make sure you get the most out your player, the DV-563A’s menu is very easy to navigate and control every option you may want.

From the menu system you can designate which layers of an SACD you want to be read. For instance, if you do not have the six channel outputs connected to a receiver, then you would want to read the two channel layer. You are also able to determine your speaker size and crossover levels. Normally you would want to keep this at the defaults, and let your receiver handle those functions, but if your receiver is older, than configuring these options can greatly improve your sound quality. You also have the ability to read the DVD-Video or DVD-Audio data on your disks. The unit ships with DVD-Audio as the default setting.

Video Testing

Movie playback and picture quality on the DV-563A is excellent. The display is selectable between progressive scan (480p) and interlaced (480i). Thanks to Pioneer’s PureCinema de-interlacer chip, we had no complaints viewing DVD movies on a quality display. This is the same chip that was normally reserved for their higher end ELITE models.

For testing, we first popped in our copy of DVD Home Video Essentials, and from the opening sequence we knew we had a high quality video feed on our hands. The opening scene of a space shuttle launch was crisp and clear, and there were no visible distortions or noise in the picture what so ever. We decided to up the ante and try one of our favorite video reference movies; Finding Nemo. The player handled the computer generated characters perfectly, adding no artificiality whatsoever. The edges were sharp and smooth, and stayed that way throughout the movie. The player’s 3:2 pulldown had no problem keeping up, and there were no choppy lines or artifacts to be seen.

Audio Testing

The Pioneer DV-563A universal player plays multi-channel high-resolution DVD-Audio and SACD disks, and as is the case with video playback, it does it well. The sound quality of these two formats alone should make the $140.00 price tag worth it for must buyers. We’re well aware that high many audiophiles like to keep their audio players separate from their video players, but not everybody has enough money to do so. We ran this player into multiple receivers from a high end McIntosh to a Sony STRDE-895, and the sound quality stayed clear. Of course the higher-end receivers sounded a lot better, but that had nothing to do with the DV-563A.

The DV-563A can be switched to read the multi layer of a SACD or the 2 channel layer which comes in handy if you do not have a receiver with 6 channel inputs. It has Digital coax and optical outputs as well to handle the DTS and Dolby Digital aspects of movies. When it comes to setting up the DV-563A’s audio properties you have a lot of control. You can use presets and adjust your speaker size accordingly, or you can adjust the crossover yourself. When we popped in Pink Floyd’s SACD The Wall the sound immediately consumed us. Every channel is crystal clear, and you are really drawn into the music.

*Edit: Pink Floyd’s The Wall is not currently available on SACD. We used a demo disc which has some samples from this album. We apologize for any confusion this may have caused.

Conclusion

Pioneer’s DV-653A progressive scan DVD player brings high-end video and audio to the mid-level price range. At under $200 (and even under $150 if you look hard enough), the player really provides a lot punch.

With support for digital audio and even JPEG images, it easily handled every audio and video format that we tried, and we tried them all. True audiophiles may shy away from the DV-563A because of its “low price” alone, but this just might be one of those rare products in which its value far exceeds its cost.

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: