15th Mar2013

Pioneer BCS-SB626 3D Surround Sound Blu-ray Player Review

by Phil Wheat


Along with Blu-ray playback and 2.1 Virtual 3D Sound, Pioneer BCS-SB626 offers HDMI, built-in wifi, a mini jack for portable music devices, Bluetooth compatibility, a front USB input and an iPod / iPhone cradle. It even includes a microphone input for karaoke singing, allowing you to adjust Mic Volume and Echo Control. On top of all regular formats, the Pioneer BCS-SB626 also plays your SACD discs, DIVX Plus HD, MKV and FLV video files! 

  • More sound with fewer speakers
    Virtual 3D Sound lets you enjoy full surround sound without the need for additional speakers. By turning on Virtual Height, Virtual Surround Back, Virtual Depth and Virtual Wide modes, you can experience truly rich, virtual sound.
  • Stream with DLNA
    DLNA is widely supported on PCs, laptops, smartphones and other devices. As this receiver is DLNA certified, you can easily stream audio from such a device using your home network.
  • The latest HDMI technology
    With HDMI version 1.4a, you can use this receiver to watch 3D video from a Blu-ray disc. Other convenient features include an Audio Return Channel for TVs with DVD player or Tuner built-in, for example.
  • Use YouTube, Picasa
    When you connect the system to your home network via LAN, you can watch YouTube videos and view your pictures on Picasa. Net Contents Mode optimises low-grade, digital video formats as you play them.
  • Built-in Wireless LAN
    This system has built-in wireless LAN connectivity. Just link it to your home network to enjoy the internet-related features.

Check out the full specs of the Pioneer BCS-SB626 here.


Upon opening the box, the first thing that strikes you about the Pioneer BCS-SB626 is the simplicity of physically setting up the system – all the wires are colour coded and it’s a simple case of plugging in each device to the Blu-ray player and then connecting that to your TV via HDMI. There’s also the option to connect an iPhone/iPod dock should you wish to do so. Setting up the player so you can actually start watching Blu-rays in virtual surround sound is, at first, quite easy thanks to the initial setup options. However it will take some tweaking to get the best out of the Pioneer BCS-SB626. Hence the huge manual!



Whilst there were many pluses to the Pioneer BCS-SB626, such as ease of setup, Blu-ray picture quality, and actual sound reproduction, there were also a number of issues – not being able to play a number of recent Blu-rays (although that may be solved with a system update), and the clumsiness with which the iPhone/iPod was connected to your TV and the Pioneer unit. Plus, despite Pioneer’s claims that the BCS-SB626 was capable of upscaling DVDs, I have picture problems with all the DVDs I threw at it, most notably a heavy amount of artefacting in fast-moving scenes.

In the end the Pioneer BCS-SB626 is a great starter setup for those wanting to dip their toes in surround sound or those, like us, unable to mount rear speakers in a rental property. It does have it’s faults but no doubt with a lot more effort and some google searching these can be overcome by more experienced audiophiles.


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