I think I would call Pioneer, distributor and/or place where you bought it. Something doesn't sound right.
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I tried to connect the player to the TV and see no difference. There might be a few problems why the regular DVD movies don't look so good.
1. I am testing out a DVD movie that was made about 13 years ago. "Twister" with Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt.
2. My TV does not put out 1080p. My TV I believe puts out only 720p or 1080i.
3. I am using stock HDMI cables that came with the player. I ordered Monster Cable and see if it will make a difference.
The blu-ray movies looks really good though. Than again, all blu-ray movies will always looks better than a regular DVD movies.
Actually, there is another number:
4. It is called a BLU-RAY player and NOT a DVD player. HA HA HA
I am thinking maybe all blu-ray players just don't do so well with regular DVD movies.
When I tested out my regular DVD player which has the same 1080p output with HDMI connection, my regular DVD player out performed the video quality against the blu-ray player. I am still using the same movie "Twister" with Bill Paxton, Helen Hunt.
It's quite possible that the player you have does a poor job of upsampling DVDs, doesn't do it at all or you don't have it enabled.
One criteria for buying a Blu-ray player is its ability to upsample SD to HD. You'll see from reviews that many players do not do this as well as they could.
Players with the HQV Reon chip or the Anchor Bay chip will do this well. The newest Panasonic players can now pass these benchmark tests. So your assumption about ALL Blu-ray players not handling DVDs well is incorrect. $300 is all it takes for this capability.
I'll be amazed if the HDMI cable makes any difference since Blu-ray discs look fine.
I have this player feeding through an Elite 07 receiver then onto an Elite FD151 display. DVD's look better than they did with my old system but that's hardly a fair comparison. I saw very little, if any, difference between high dollar Audio Quest HDMI and my current Blue Jean HDMI cable.
If DVD's look worse than you previous player I'd guess there's a problem with the 05 player.
Alright, I found the problem. My TV picture setting was all off. My 3 year old girl must of push around the remote buttons and got everything messed up.
Once I put back on the original picture settings back on the TV, BAM, everything looks terrific!!!!
Picture is the clearest I have ever seen on a regular DVD movie.
So, it's not the HDMI cable, it's not the blu-ray player or the receiver.