Pioneer releases 3D Blu-ray players controlled by iOS app
Pioneer has shipped out some brand new 3D Blu-ray players just in time to catch the tail-end of the holiday season (maybe they're hoping people making returns after Christmas will pick these up instead of whatever else they got). The players are actually pretty awesome, if indeed a Blu-ray player is what you want in this age of Netflix and Hulu. There's an Ethernet jack to watch those services, and of course they spit out the highest quality audio and video, with DTS-HD and Dolby TrueHD surround, along with 1080p video upscaling.
So why are we mentioning these players here on TUAW? Because Pioneer has also released an app on Apple's App Store called iControlAV, designed specifically to control these devices. The app connects up over the network connection, so there's no actual IR device needed. Unfortunately, according to the iTunes reviews, that comes with its own set of problems -- you can't use the app to power on the devices, and while the app does receive information from the player (like custom labeling of input names), it's pretty limited in terms of what it can send back -- basically just adjust volume and balance controls. Not an all-in-one at all, it sounds like.
When you look at the prices on these players, from US$299 for the basic model up to $499 for the best version, the app isn't much more than a novelty. Not that I'd refuse one found underneath my Christmas tree this weekend (and if you want a Blu-ray player, I'm sure it's a nice one), but I think there are probably better and cheaper solutions for home video around these days.