Blessed with similar components to the marvellous, but more expensive, BDP-450, Pioneer's BDP-150 aims to prove that you don’t need to shell out a small fortune if all you want from your deck is quality playback plus one or two extra entertainment tidbits.

Design-wise, the deck is non-descript, the connections roster falls short of built-in Wi-Fi (you'll need to get a dongle), and the remote control is cheaper than a night out in Skegness. It’s also painfully hard to operate in low ambient light, although the iOS/Android app makes for a pleasant experience.

Online entertainment consists merely of Picasa, YouTube and Netflix, which at least has no shortage of movies, TVs and original drama to watch, including the superb House of Cards. Multimedia support is reasonable using the front-mounted USB, with DLNA playback limited to MP3, M4A and FLAC audio files.

The BDP-150 features a quick start mechanism that sees the disc tray open instantly and close smoothly. The player takes audio discs in its stride, effortlessly delivering a wonderfully articulate and detailed rendition of Hilary Hahn’s The Lark Ascending on Super Audio CD. DVD-Audio playback has gone AWOL, though - this isn't a true universal machine.

BD playback is no less impressive. The BDP-150 performs well with my Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark test disc, faltering only with pans across strongly defined diagonal patterns. There's slight judder on the Super 8 Blu-ray but detail is strong and the colour palette is a revelation, with numerous subtle shades in the gloomily lit houses.

Overall, the BDP-150's forte is what you’d want it to be: playing optical discs. Similarly priced rivals from the likes of Sony and Panasonic offer more in the way of extra-curricular content, though.


HCC VERDICT

Pioneer BDP-150
Price:
£140 Approx
www.pioneer.eu/uk

Overall: 4/5