Pioneer Elite BDP-43FD 3D Blu-ray Player Reviewed

Pioneer_Elite_BDP-430FD_Blu-ray_Player_review_angled.gifAlthough Pioneer’s Home Electronics Division did not have a presence at this year’s CES, the company did release a trio of Blu-ray players shortly before the show. All three players–two Elite models and one standard Pioneer-branded model–are 3D-capable and include a Web platform that features Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube. We have not performed a hands-on review of the top-shelf Elite BDP-43FD ($499), but here is an overview of its features. This player supports a wired or optional wireless network connection (via an add-on USB adapter) for BD-Live and Web services, and a future firmware update is supposed to enable DLNA media streaming. The iControlAV app allows you to control the player using your iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. The BDP-43FD offers higher-grade construction than the two step-down models; it has an armored chassis with a bottom-insulating plate, drive-mechanism shock absorbers, a gold-plated HDMI terminal, and a higher-grade power cable.

Additional Resources
• Read more Blu-ray player reviews from’s staff.
• Explore the 3D HDTV options to pair with the BDP-43FD.

In terms of video connections, the BDP-43FD offers a single HDMI output, as well as component and composite video outputs. (Players released after January 1, 2011, are no longer allowed to have HD-capable component video outputs, due to copy-protection restrictions; the Pioneer models got in just under the wire with their December release.) The player supports 1080p/60 and 1080p/24 output resolutions via HDMI, but it does not include a Source Direct mode that outputs all sources at their native resolution–a feature that formerly appeared on many Pioneer models.

On the audio side, outputs include HDMI, optical digital (no coaxial), and stereo analog. The BDP-43FD has onboard Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, and it also passes these high-resolution audio formats in bitstream form over HDMI, for your A/V receiver to decode. The player lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so the only way to pass decoded high-resolution audio formats is via HDMI. The BDP-43FD features Pioneer’s PQLS technology to eliminate jitter in both stereo and multichannel sources when you mate the player with certain Pioneer receivers.

The BDP-43FD supports BD, DVD, CD audio, AVCHD, Divx, WMV, MKV, MP3, WMA, and JPEG playback. You can add the player to your home network either by using the back-panel Ethernet port or by attaching the optional AS-WL200 wireless LAN adapter ($99) to the back-panel USB port. This USB port also supports the addition of a USB drive to store BD-Live content; the player does not have internal memory for BD-Live storage. A second, front-panel USB port also supports BD-Live storage and media playback. The BDP-43FD does offer an RS-232 port for integration into an advanced control system.

Read about the high points and the low points of the BDP-43FD on Page 2.

High Points
• The BDP-43FD supports 3D playback.
• It supports BD-Live and BonusView/PIP.
• It has internal decoding and bitstream output of high-resolution audio sources.
• The player is wireless-ready.
• The Web platform includes Netflix, Pandora, and YouTube.
RS-232 is included.

Low Points
• This model does not include dual HDMI outputs to send separate signals to your 3D TV and A/V receiver.
• It also lacks multichannel analog audio outputs, so it’s not the best
choice for someone who owns an older, non-HDMI A/V receiver.
• Web services are currently limited, compared with mainstream manufacturers like Panasonic and Samsung.
• The BDP-43FD doesn’t offer 2D-to-3D conversion or any advanced adjustment options for the 3D image.
• The USB WiFi adapter is sold separately.
• The player lacks internal memory.

Competition and Comparison

Compare the Pioneer Elite BDP-43FD with its competition by reading the
reviews for the Sharp BD-HP80U,
LG BX580,
and Samsung BD-C6900.
Learn more about 3D-capable Blu-ray Players by visiting our Blu-ray

The Pioneer Elite BDP-43FD has the primary
features we like to see in a new Blu-ray player, such as 3D capability,
Netflix VOD, DLNA streaming, and WiFi-readiness. However, it lacks
features that you can find on other players in this price range–options
like dual HDMI outputs, SACD/DVD-Audio playback, internal storage,
multichannel analog outputs, and integrated WiFi (or at least a
supplied adapter). The Elite BDP-43FD’s features list is comparable to
that of the step-down Elite BDP-41FD ($399) and BDP-430 ($299); since
we didn’t do a hands-on review, we can’t speak to whether or not this
player’s higher-grade construction merits the price increase. If
possible, we recommend that you compare the products yourself before
choosing this higher-priced model.

Additional Resources
• Read more Blu-ray player reviews from’s staff.
• Explore the 3D HDTV options to pair with the BDP-43FD.