Pioneer BDP-V6000 Professional Blu-ray Player Review 
Home Theater Video Players Blu-ray Players
Written by Thomas Spurlin   
Tuesday, 08 December 2009

Alluring more to venue displays, museums, and custom home theater construction, Pioneer’s BDP-V6000 veers little from Pioneer’s other home theater application Blu-ray players.  That, however, is a compliment in itself, as the quality screams from the rooftops much like their high-quality BDP-320.  Sporting proficient Profile 2.0 connectivity underneath the hood, spectacular visual attributes, and a few earmarks like RS-232 connectivity and their enhanced GUI, it takes a few strides beyond its little brother to accommodate for more complex situations.  They all come at a commerical price, however, at $999.99; it’s a player to consider for its added enhancements and build longevity, not to mention the easy-to-apply rack mounting equipment included.  Home theater enthusiasts will find that Pioneer’s other units will be just as comparable in quality, though it should find its place with home-theater constructionists.  

Out of the Box:

As far as built goes, the V6000 looks nearly identical to Pioneer’s BDP-320 in just about every way.  It measures the same dimensions (17in wide, 3 inches tall, nearly 12 inches deep), fairly standard values, while button placement and display attributes are also akin to that model.  Its only real difference comes in the fact that the lower half of the Professional unit is matte black instead of the glossy material that coats the BDP-320’s face from top to bottom.  That translates to the unit being very attractive and sleek, with an attentive edge that at least keeps the lower panel from being a magnet for smudges – while also serving as a bit of a cooling addendum, due to the temperature of the metallic type of material.

Thin Stop/Play/Pause buttons appear in a thin strip at the left of the unit, while the LED display appears in soft, adjustable blue lighting to the side with a gentle glowing blue lamp appearing just above the Blu-ray logo at the center.  Both the lighted elements are able to be toggled to pitch black levels for cinematic viewing. Again, the V6000 also suffers from many of the drawbacks as the BDP-320, including a lack of USB 2.0 port to the front of the unit.  Alongside the unit, we’ve got analog stereo cables, an instruction manual, Pioneer’s stock remote – the long and lanky VXX3333 – and a rack-mounting kit.

The rear of the V6000 showcases only a few addendums over the BDP-320.  Along with HDMI, component, and 7.1 channels of analog connectivity, it includes a USB storage port, a LAN Ethernet connect, and an IR remote Control In port.  Its only real boost over Pioneer’s lower-level models is an RS232 pinout jack, an addition that’ll satisfy many home theater enthusiasts and custom installers (discussed later); otherwise the rear panels look just about identical when compared to one another.  For the purposes of this review, the BDP-V6000 will be hooked via HDMI to Onkyo’s SR-605 bitstream-capable receiver.

Pioneer V6000 Left Front Side
Remote:

The remote included with the BDP-V6000 mirrors that of other current-model Pioneer players.  It’s a streamlined, unaffectionate remote that’s a bit on the long and heavy side, yet it packs in most of the options you’d want.  Along with the typical assortment of Start/Stop, Skip, Fast Forward (containing four different speeds) and Top Menu buttons, it also contains a side Pop-up Menu to access the on-screen JAVA-based menus available during the Blu-ray presentations.  Near the bottom, the four-color options for Bookmarks are available, along with the aforementioned “Video Adjust” button   

At the center is the main directional hub, made of a ridged texture that might cause a shiver or two down the spine if fingernails are run along the ridges.  As per usual, four central menu buttons are available at different corners of the circle: Top Menu, Home Menu, Return, and Tools, which  brings up the GUI during the program being watched.  In addition, a Display button is available to monitor the types of files, bitrate flow, and codecs used for Blu-ray media.

Also, we’ve got two other appealing features: a Resolution Toggle button to select between 480i/p to 1080p/24 (no 720p option available), as well as a Secondary Audio/Video toggle.  Furthermore, a well-tuned FL dimmer can toggle the brightness of the LED display all the way down to black.  The remote certainly lacks a few functions that we’d like to see, including a backlight for the buttons and a manual zoom for non-anamorphic discs, but it serves the purpose well and appears to be a one that’ll withstand the test of time.  It’s simple and frill-free, yet comfortable and versatile enough to do the job.  

Setup:


The Pioneer V6000 utilizes the same Initial Setup GUI that the Pioneer BDP-320 implements, with a few addendums.  It has the same array of options down a menu on the left side of the screen (Video, Audio, Speakers, HDMI, Network, Language, Data Management, Setup Navigator, Playback, Parental Lock, Options, Advanced Setup), as well as the same moderate-level tailoring features underneath.  Within, you can adjust the television aspect ratio, set the audio functions to either decode or bitstream via HDMI, and turn on KURO Link for the Pioneer player to interact with other Pioneer products.  One notable difference between the two is the availability to play NTSC signals on PAL televisions, as well as a toggle to adjust Hybrid Disc Playback and a Baud Rate gauge in the Advanced Setup feature.  Aside from that, it’s a simple and straightforward process that offers very little advanced adjustment underneath the hood.  The player indeed handles Deep Color, as well as 30-24 fps content.

When you’re presenting material on-screen, the Pioneer can open up a “Tools” menu that makes Audio / Video adjustments capable.  Audio can tweak the Dynamic Range Control and Lip Sync, while the Video can tailor gamma, chroma levels, hue, black level and white level depth, and several color noise reduction levels.  Along with those, Time / Title / Chapter Searches can be performed, as well as adjustment of the video resolution on the screen.

Professional Player Upgrades:

Touting the label as a ‘Professional” Blu-ray player, the Pioneer BDP-V6000’s strengths mostly center on longevity, cool operating temperatures, and build quality to support extended running times in professional arenas. It operates at 32W power consumption when in play mode and .3W when in standby, while also operating in 5% to 85% Operating Humidity – excluding condensation.  Its structural differences seem slight when comparing to the domestic models, but the player itself operates on extraordinarily cool levels.  

A few pro-grade elements will certainly assist installers and custom-build home theater enthusiasts.  The V600 comes with RS232c compatibility to the rear of the unit for enhanced communication, a step beyond their domestic models.  In the same vein, Pioneer’s player also comes with a metal-based rack mounting unit set to the standards specifically for that player.  It’s a sturdily-built mount offered in a cardboard box alongside the player.  Along with that, the GUI interfaced discussed in the spec sheet seems to be the same GUI utilized for the BDP-320; it’s a very user-friendly, sharp-looking navigation that easily bests most others on the market.

One caveat to the unit: the product specs list that it offers support for PAL and NTSC signals.  That’s true, but only to a certain degree; while the player will support PAL signals on PAL-capable televisions and NTSC signals on NTSC-capable televisions, it will not convert PAL to NTSC.  This was tested with both a copy of Bittersweet Life from the UK and the special features from the UK’s copy of I’m a Cyborg.  This becomes problematic if the receiver can only translate NTSC signals.

Pioneer V6000 Right Front Side
Blu-ray Performance:

So, how does the V6000 perform against other Pioneer models?  The long and short of it pretty much leans to a marginal increase in quality over the BDP-320, a phenomenal unit, with improved load times and an ever so slight step up in audio/visual quality.  That’s a positive thing, however it’s certainly not enough of a justification to invest extra income into this unit.  It’s a full compliant, Profile 2.0 1080p unit that flexes plenty of muscle, certainly, but home theater enthusiasts should likely look in other directions for other high-quality, more versatile units.  It passes Spears and Munsil’s barrage of tests exceptionally well, from deinterlacing and jaggies to 480i motion sequences.

First in the V6000 is Fox’s recent release of Fight Club, a disc that emphasizes dark contrast and film-like texture within its 2.39:1 AVC encode.  It supports the deep levels of fluctuating black levels impeccably, never blocking to unnecessary levels or showcasing grain beyond the source’s intent.  Several of the acid-washed colors within the cinematography look spectacular, while the splashes of almost brown-red blood coloring always looked natural to the color timing within the picture.  Where the disc really power forward is with a awe-inspiring DTS HD Master Audio track, and it sounds phenomenal in Pioneer’s player.  Activity barrels out in droves throughout the surround channels, tapping into the lower-frequency channel and surround points with breadth.

Next up comes Disney/Pixar’s reference-quality presentation of Up, a charming and boldly colorful presentation that looks exceptional in its 1.85:1 AVC encode.  The rich palette showcases the V6000’s ability to render impeccable shades from all across the rainbow, from exceedingly vivid colors within the crazy bird running around paradise, the myriad of balloons dangling above the house, and a few stunning gradual fades from empty saturation to full-blown color.  Everything looks astonishing, while etched details are crisp within backdrops and other assorted textures.  It also exercises a robust and vibrant Master Audio track that’s crammed with delightful sounds effects – rubbing of balloons against each other, creaking of wood boards in the house, etc – and the Pioneer player does a fine job of exercising them.

Finally, the last test gives the V6000 a workout with grayscale, 1.33:1 content in the form of The Criterion Collection’s Wages of Fear Blu-ray.  It’s a classic ’50s suspense film that’s beautifully photographed, but also showcases a fair level of grain inherent in the source.  Pioneer’s player preserves the natural grain to impeccable levels, never smearing the textures nor distorting the image to any degree.  Depth and dimensionality both look spectacular in the 1080p black and white image.  Audio comes in a Uncompressed PCM sole-channel track that wears its age well, and it receives a fine, buoyant carriage through the Pioneer’s sound capacity.  

The BDP-V6000 is also Profile 2.0 compliant and up-and-running for BD-Live via Ethernet connection.  Sadly, this high-tag commercial unit doesn’t come with a built-in wireless adapter, a feature that really could be implemented well considering the direction of consumer that it’s going for.  Instead, the process of hooking up via Ethernet is simple: plug in, register the connection, and off it goes.  Testing the BD-Java via Warner Bros’ The Matrix Blu-ray worked out seamlessly, activating both the audio and video during the Picture-in-Picture feature.  Bear in mind that the unit must be set to PCM in order to hear the secondary audio.   Also, the V6000 doeswith a USB port to the rear for BD-Java material, but it’s also got 1GB of internal drive space as well.

The V6000 has been Region-A locked, as tested with a trusty copy of Fox’s Region-B locked The Fountain, and it also cannot support PAL-encoded special features through NTSC-locked systems.

DVD Performance:

Along with being expectedly fluid in rendering Blu-ray tech, the Pioneer V6000 also upscales standard-definition DVDs to 1080p with exceptional precision.  First tested was the DVD edition of Up, which sports many of the same pop-worthy colors and intricate CG-built elements.  It rendered detail exceptionally well, with only marginal jagged edges cropping up here and there, while several of the intricate colors spread out with robustness across the image.   It renders the Dolby Digital 5.1 legacy track immensely well, pushing it through the speakers with about as much energy as it can muster. 

Keeping up with the Blu-ray to DVD comparison theme, the standard-definition presentation of Fight Club came into the player for evaluation.  It’s a bit harder to evaluate, since it’s an older DVD with some issues.  The V6000 handles the material about as well as you could expect, attempting to contain the edge-enhancement and fluctuating film grain to the best of its capacity.  What’s impressive is the level of color it presents in standard definition, approaching near-HD levels.

Finally, Young Frankenstein enters into the player for evaluation of non-anamorphic content (a disc recently replaced over Black Friday for the anamorphic version, but that’s neither here nor there).  The V6000, just like the BDP-320, doesn’t have an internal zoom mechanism, so the television itself must do the scaling.  With the 4x3 material toggle turned to “Normal” in the setup and the image blown up across the screen, the results were actually very pleasing.  The black and white tones stay crisp and clean throughout, all while trying its hardest to preserve the grain structure within the image.
 
Bear in mind that Pioneer’s V6000 player is, in fact, a Region 1 machine that cannot play discs from other zones.  It also cannot convert PAL-encoded material, even if the DVD is region free.  

Pioneer V6000 Rear Panel
CD/Media Performance:

Utilizing the Pioneer’s V6000 Home Media Gallery provides a fluid and simple-to-adjust framework for photographs and MP3s.  However, the material all has to be made available via disc, as there isn’t a data-compatible USB port for usage (the rear USB port is for Blu-ray storage only).  Entering a disc with photographs made the process of selecting and viewing a simple affair, though waiting on the shots to load took a while longer than anticipated.  Selecting one of the shots made the slideshow available, cycling through at a pleasant pace.  MP3s operate on about the same level, playing seamlessly through the uncomplicated yet highly functional framework.  Sound quality wasn’t too bad with the files, though that’ll largely depend on the record quality.

CD and music playback also works rather well, opening into the same standard playlist function as the MP3 files.  First tested was 2L Nordic’s Nystedt: Immortal Bach and Mozart’s Violin Concerto in D Major.  Both express fluid range of sound throughout in DTS HD Master Audio quality, preserving the hearty mid-range elements to finely-pitched levels.  The sound level is actually a few marks higher than in other players, so that’ll need to be adjusted as per user temperament.  Hopping to 5.1 and 2.0 LPCM sound functions showcase the difference in clarity and surround presentation, showcasing the slightly heightened clarity and dimensionality in the Master Audio track.  For a standard CD, Portishead’s “Dummy” CD was given a spin.  Quality from the CD was rigid but not too shabby, handling middle-frequency bass and crisp soprano and alto elements with flamboyant splashes of clarity.  Each track can be selected with the “Add to HMG” Playlist, so that you can create your own registry of tracks to access from the disc.   Note that the player isn’t compatible with the likes of SACD or DVD-Audio.

Impressions:

Pros: Superb Audio/Video Quality, Profession-grade Enhancement, Decent Load Times

Impressions with Pioneer’s V6000 are overwhelmingly positive on the Blu-ray quality front, as to be expected.  The crispness of its visual quality easily stands toe-to-toe with many of the heavy hitters in the market, rendering classy lines and sublime blasts of high-definition color in 1080p/24.  Audio comes out of the gate with an equally strong presence, offering high-definition sound to phenomenally robust degrees.  Standard definition material also pours through well with this player, taking comparable high-definition/standard-definition discs authored at the same time and making the lower-grade resolution look ever so close to its counterpart.  Furthermore, though it’s not terribly flexible with sound files, disc options, or adjustment of the core music itself, it plays both high-definition and standard-definition disc with a respectable level of clarity and depth.  On top of that, load times and BD-Live fluidity are great.

Now, this player has been crafted with a few other purposes in mind, and that’s where many of its other strong suits find their footing.  The V6000 is considered a “professional” level player simply because, well, it’s a workhorse; its construction quality for the unit is impressive, cradling the player’s innards in a stable and lasting body that keeps energy consumption and moisture levels in check.  Along with a mind for duability, it’s also an installation-friendly unit.  A mounting bracket comes packaged with each player, making integration into the wall or in a remaining rack a snappy process.  It also sports a RS232c communication port that the consumer-level players don’t offer, which heightens the possibility for custom builds with this player.  

Cons:  Somewhat Expensive for Feature Set, No Wireless, Lacks Access to Photos/MP3s via Storage

However, it all comes at a cost.  Since the player is, at the very least, comparable to Pioneer’s BDP-320 for quality, it’s hard to look at the benefits from a consumer level and justify the spike in pricing.  It’s certainly a well-built unit and the additional elements certainly make it a worthwhile machine, but the $999.99 price tag makes the step up a bit hard to swallow for those not looking for custom installs.  Again, it has to be called to attention that this higher-priced Blu-ray player doesn’t have wireless connectivity,  or the ability to internally convert PAL signals to NTSC.  It also cannot access a storage device to display photographs and play mp3s, relying purely on discs for that function.

Final Thoughts:


Pioneer always have their ducks in a row when it comes to offering a polished, high-quality video machine, and the professional-grade BDP-V6000 certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard.  The construction of the unit itself and its ease for custom installation are its two calls to action, sporting build quality and addendums to its construction (including RS232c compatibility) that appeal to venues and full-blown assembly of an advanced home theater.  To justify its price tag in terms of quality, it’s a top-shelf Profile 2.0, 1080p/24 unit that stands toe-to-toe with the company’s other players in that respect, presenting both Blu-ray discs and standard-definition DVDs and CDs to phenomenal degrees.  It’ll all come down to the implementation that the V6000 will be used for; enthusiasts looking for versatility on top of top-notch quality from their consumer-grade player will be far more satisfied with the likes of Pioneer’s BDP-320 or from OPPO’s phenomenal BDP-83, but those looking for Pioneer-level class in a commercial enviroment or custom installation will indeed find what they’re looking for in the V6000.
Manufacturer Pioneer





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