Pioneer BCS-424 review
With four free-standing satellite speakers, Pioneer’s BCS424 all-in-one system is more suited to a medium to large-sized home cinema than a small bedroom or study. Set at the perfect height for sofa-based viewing, and with 1,100 watts of power, it could potentially transform your film watching experience.
The black glossy plastic might not be to everyone’s taste, but each speaker has fantastic build quality for the price. The floor stands have real weight to them, which means a misplaced arm or adventurous pet is unlikely to topple one. They all have spring terminal connections, but connect to the main unit using a proprietary connector.
As well as speaker inputs, the main unit also has two HDMI inputs and a single HDMI output with Audio Return Channel support for high-definition playback. A single composite video output limits the system’s usefulness with older TVs, but there are plenty of audio inputs. Indeed, its two optical digital ports and analogue RCA phono input should cover most situations. There’s also an FM antenna, an Ethernet port and adaptor port for the optional Bluetooth receiver (Pioneer ASBT200 Bluetooth audio adaptor, £50 from superfi.co.uk). The front has two USB ports and two 3.5mm audio jacks: one for the bundled calibration microphone and another for an auxiliary audio input.
File format support was certainly mixed. We played DivX and MOV files, but MKV videos refused to play and H264 files only played audio. You can stream content from a networked PC or NAS device, but only when you run an Ethernet cable to your router because the BCS-424 doesn’t include integrated Wi-Fi.
Pioneer doesn’t have the same experience in creating Smart TV platforms as some of the competition, so it should come as no surprise that its features are rather lacking. You’re limited to two options: YouTube video streaming and Picasa online photos. Without catch-up TV services or on-demand video, the BCS-424 suitably complements existing Smart TV owners who can already access such content.