Pioneer’s replacement for
the CLD1750 is the CLD-1850, which offers most of the usual PAL/NTSC
capabilities but drops the playback of analogue sound PAL discs. The price - £579.95
- is the same as before and just about the only new feature you get is a
two-part loading drawer, the centre of which is dedicated to CD use to save
having the whole thing push out just to load one of the smaller discs. This
feature is brought into play by pushing the Direct CD button which then
illuminates. In this mode all the video circuits are disconnected and Pioneer
reckons the sound quality is improved as a result.
for the bulk of people who have both analogue and digital audio PAL discs in
their collections, the new machine is not a terribly exciting introduction.
Anyone looking for a basic PAL/ NTSC Pioneer player would be better of with last
year's CLD-1750, though by October 1993 Pioneer UK reckoned it was down to its
last 100 units. Effectively, Pioneer has said goodbye to the old technology;
old, that is, if you think discs released only 4 years ago qualifies as old. It
is mainly for this reason this review will be briefer.
been enough of a shortcoming that none of the standard consumer combi players
has incorporated CD+Graphics (which should have occurred as part of the CD-V
Clip endeavour, to brighten up the visually dead portion of the disc) and
possibly also CD-I/Video CD, though it may be too soon to embrace these as yet
is only one operational gripe about the machine worthy of mention: the slowest
scan mode no longer offers a continuous image on screen. Instead one sees blank
screens every other frame which is a strain on the eyes as well as less
informative. There is an improvement to go with this, however, in that the sound
is now audible at this slowest rate. The player has a similarly lightweight
style of construction as last year's 1750 but, mechanically, runs a lot quieter.
audio sounds perfectly reasonable but there are causes for concern over the
video performance. There just isn't the detail in the 1850 picture that can be
achieved with either the CLD-1450 or the
CLD-1750, or come to think of it, most
earlier Pioneer players going back to the old CLD-700. Pioneer can obviously
make players that resolve all the required detail but chose not to here. It
seems a mistaken decision.
promotes the 16:9 button
both the new players Pioneer has put the 16:9 button for those as yet
non-existent 'squeezed' wide-screen discs into a very prominent position on the
remote. Why should it be doing this when there is so far no suggestion of such
software being introduced. Pioneer UK says it will only release such discs when
wide-screen TV takes off, which it considers to be some time away Pioneer
itself is not pinning to introduce any widescreen TV’s yet.
that makes a certain amount of sense but is there actually any need for
widescreen TVs to justify the release of squeezed widescreen. The principle
behind these discs is that the unused scanning lines above and below the image
(the black strips) could be used for picture information. In manufacture the
image is stretched vertically and spread over all the normally unused black.
When played back the image is compressed back down to the correct height. The
consequence is that maybe up to 100 previously redundant scanning lines are
brought into use to generate the image, thereby increasing the vertical
resolution. (You must have noticed bow vertical detail is sacrificed in
if this is bow the squeezed laserdisc can be made to work there is, in fact, no
reason to delay introduction to coincide with wide-screen TVs. Providing some
black can be generated by other means to fill the top and bottom of the screen.
the picture resolution advantages could be equally enjoyed on a standard 4:3 TV.
Squeezed LD’s don't need widescreen TVs to be viable. What is needed to make
them viable is to avoid any requirement for double inventory - to make both
standard and squeezed versions of the same title. This is not economic and
retailers would throw up their bands at such a prospect here in the UK where the
product is hardly established as it is. However, if Pioneer fits the 16:9 button
on all its players or TV manufacturers achieve the same result by putting the
function on TVs for example, many new Sony TV’s do this), then it might be
possible to introduce such a format without undertaking two-version release. The
only consumers who would be inconvenienced by the new type disc would he those
without either a switch on their player or their TV.
has developed a modification for both the new Pioneer players to restore the
analogue sound, which it is claimed does the job better than the usual quality
of sound circuits in production players too. Audio improvements are often very
difficult to pin down but it has become apparent that recent players do often
have trouble with sibilance on analogue discs. This is one quantifiable
problem that Videotec claims to improve by increasing the number of components
it employs in its analogue soundboard.
can also fix the video side of the new Pioneer players by installing its S-Video
board (which needs to be used with an S-capable TV, of course) and, though the
finished product has not been tried as part of this review, one could well
believe the result to be closer to the normal expectation of LD quality.
That aside, as far as off-the-shelf machines are concerned, neither of these new Pioneer models has impressed in respect of laser's most important feature -the detail and clarity of the picture.