Purchased a Pioneer DV 350 as a replacement for my Proline 2000 which suddenly gave up the ghost! I was looking for a slightly better than budget multi-region player that would be able to handle VCD's, MP3's and all my multi-region discs. Researched on and offline and found that the Pioneer generally received rave reviews and had a reputation for being able to handle pretty much everything that you cared to throw at it so took the plunge and placed an order with amazon.co.uk for there ready modified model. First impressions were very positive. Despite being incredibly lightweight, which seeing as I ultimately had to send it back proved a positive aspect!, it was aesthetically pleasing with a very modern slim line design. Remote was a bit cheap looking and rather small but being a well known brand name I was able to tune in my amp remote anyway so no major problem. Menu nothing too exciting but the welcome message that pops up when you plug it in was a rather nice touch! On the whole pretty much plug and play so no technical know-how required either! As soon as I was wired up and running I experimented with a few discs of various regional codes and experienced no problems. Playback was good with good sharp picture and sound quality. Scan lines still appeared on many NTSC discs but were greatly reduced from those I had noticed on my previous player. Layer changes were remarkably smooth, on many discs I didn't notice them at all which is always a good sign!, and general running was exceptionally quiet - another positive as the player itself was too wide to fit into my cupboard unit and had to rest on an open shelf instead! Then came the negatives! Budget was a bit tight so decided to have a months online dvd rental rather than buy discs for a while - had done this before and found it to be an excellent way of saving money! Problem is the Pioneer is a bit fussy when it comes to discs, tiniest spot of dust or slight scratches and it
pixellates all over the place... cleaning each disc before playing helped but as the weeks went on I found these problems to be increasing rather than getting better.. then came the real bug-bear... This player doesn't like some Film Four VCI releases! Three discs in my collection; This Filthy Earth, Jump Tomorrow and My Brother Tom all refused to play! I was unable to find a work around so decided to contact Pioneer asking for help. Pioneer's online forum is excellent, so big thumbs up for that, very fast response time though ultimately not the answer I would have liked! Because the player is multi-region modified, albeit not by me!, they won't touch it and blame any problems on the multi-region modification. Only solution was to go back to the retailer I purchased from and the only solution they could offer was a refund! So I'm parting with my Pioneer DV350 in favour of something less finicky! Obviously its worth noting that the non-modified player may not experience the same problem, would certainly be interested to know if it did!, but seeing as most of us these days want the latest releases as soon as we can then generally modified players are the only ones we buy! So summing up a nice looking player at a good price with good quality picture and sound but a trifle finicky for those with less than pristine discs and not good for those that like Film Four VCI titles!