Pioneer AVH-P4100DVD 7-Inch In-Dash Double-DIN DVD Multimedia AV Receiver with Widescreen Display
Posted by pinathablog on June 25, 2009
7-inch Touchscreen Double-Din DVD Multimedia A/V Receiver with Motorized Touch Panel
Pioneer AVH-P4100DVD Customer Reviews
Generally a good unit, but has a couple shortcomings, April 8, 2009
By D. Edwards (Nashville, TN United States)
I have had this unit for about a week now, and generally it’s a pretty impressive unit. I also purchased the Pioneer GEX-P10HD HD Radio Tuner for Pioneer HD Radio-Ready Head Units, the Pioneer CD-BTB200 Bluetooth Wireless Adapter, and the Pioneer Car CDIU200V 2 Meter USB iPod Cable for AVH-P4100DVD.
Installation for the product was generally clear. I am using the unit in a 1999 Nissan Altima. Had plenty of room for all three pieces either below the stereo or below the steering column.
You’ll need to buy an 1/8″ headphone extension cable if you plan to use the aux input to connect to a normal player since the AUX input is in the back of the unit. You can also use a normal RCA stereo to 1/8″ cable like for a home stereo as well. The unit accepts both and you can use them for different units, so you can have an ipod hooked up and another player at the same time.
* Album covers from ipods are okay. A bit fuzzy, but okay.
* DVDs look awesome on this unit. Every bit of what you’d want. Plenty of control options. I have no complaints on this one.
* Color on the screen is bright and easy to read and selecting things on the screen is also easy. It’s a senstive touch, so I never have to press hard. Most of the text is very large, so it’s easy to read and select on the screen in a moving car. Has a clean look, will be impressive to passengers, but when off, nothing that makes it look fancy (in my ideal world hopefully that’ll reduce theft potential). If you go to the Pioneer Electronics website, they have many more images of the screens. And the unit looks just as good in real life as it does in those pictures.
* EQ is parametric, only three bands, but it allows you to choose what frequency and how many frequencies on either side of that one are affected. Provides enough flexibility if you may be used to a 7 or 10 band EQ like I am.
* Also, for external players, the feature that compensates for MP3 compressed audio is great. Really helps improve the sound from ipods.
* The Loudness feature has three intensity levels–quite helpful since on some units the difference between it being on and off can be crazy.
* The sub woofer settings allow you to choose the sub frequency you want to accent or reduce–assuming you have one with an external amplifier connected.
* Clock is only military time with no option to change it to am or pm. And it has a “just” option that drops the minutes and rounds the hours up or not. At least in the U.S., why would someone want to know a rounded hour. Not sure how that helps with anything.
* The automatic station presets (BSM) only work in each preset group. Each group only has 6 options. So, you can’t have it find the top 18 strongest signals. For example, if you use BSM setup for FM set 1, and then do the same for FM set 2, they have practically the same stations in them.
* HD radio is great, but when selecting presets, it doesn’t insert the name of the station like it does with normal FM. All you see is P1, P2, etc. And I have yet to find a way to manually add it in. I don’t expect to. If you use the HD unit, the normal radio functionality in the unit is disabled. You can still get the analog signals, it just works a little differently. It seems like they forgot to dot a few i’s. But it switches back and forth between the analog signal and digital signal pretty well. With strong FM signals, I really can’t tell much of a difference. Generally speaking, I probably wouldn’t buy this item again if I had the choice. Most stations don’t provide song title and artist information, plus most average stereos have that capability anyway. And on the display, what information is available from the station is really small and cluttered at the top while tremendous space is wasted in the main areas. Poorly thought out for such a excellently featured unit.
* AM stations don’t come in well. When they come in, they sound great. It basically acts like a digital signal, so it either comes in and out quickly so you can’t catch the words, doesn’t come in at all, or it’s on perfectly. When perfectly, it sounds much better than a normal stereo. My guess is that there’s a processor in the unit that tries to clean up the signal. But as a result, weaker signals are simply cut off. You can’t turn this feature off. Pretty tough since AM signals are so weak in the first place. My last stereo was much better. AM HD certainly sounds better, but it requires a stronger signal than the analog AM. So, it doesn’t help you either.
* iPod controls work just like on the ipod except the scroll wheel action. In playlists, you can’t see title and artist together. It also truncates titles and shows only 5 at a time. It’s hard to find artists on the screen if you have a lot and scrolling is time consuming. There’s really nothing special with this feature. It’s better on the ipod because you can use the scroll action. The stereo allows you to use the ipod to select songs instead if you want. I didn’t find any significant bugs when using this feature.
* The unit allows you to play videos from your iPod or iTouch if you have video capability. I have a 5th generation ipod video (The stereo does have requirements as to what ipods can be used. Basically if you have one manufactured in the last two to three years, you’ll be fine.). I used DVDFab’s software on a PC to convert my DVDs to a format for the ipod. But for some reason, the videos wouldn’t play via the stereo like they should. I have the same problem on exercise units with the same feature. It’s probably a problem with my encoding. Just know you may have some adjustments to make. I haven’t bought a video from iTunes yet. I’d assume the videos would work just fine then.
* I found a way around the parking brake requirement like a couple other reviewers. It is as simple as connecing the parking brake lead to a switch and the switch to the car chasis. The switch will have to be on (i.e. grounded) when you start your car. Then you’d switch it off and then on again. Most product descriptions on sites about this unit talk about it blocking DVDs, but if you don’t hook it up at all, it actually blocks other features in the unit as well, such as changing the display intensity and setting up the bluetooth module. Even after you engage the “parking brake”, there is a compliance screen prior to watching a DVD that requires you to press OK saying you’re parked. It’s good they do that. They shouldn’t be liable in an accident caused by us going around their system and watching a DVD or trying to dial a number while driving. By going around their system, we are certainly fully responsible for the consequences.
* It allows you to dump your phonebook into the unit if your phone has that option. Wasn’t too hard to do that on my Treo 700p. The microphone sounded great on the piece and callers through the stereo sounded ok. I wouldn’t say it’s clear, but not much better than what you hear through your cellphone. The unit disables the EQ, however. So, you’re stuck with the default cellphone sound. The only thing you can do is balance the signal volume with the other equipment, which for the Treo is unnecessary since you can control that on the unit.
* The default set of background options are really good, except for the animated versions. They are very pixelated–very poor quality. The are still pretty cool, though. I still use one of them for some sources.
Overall, I’m glad I bought the unit. The radio shortcomings and ipod clumsiness are pretty big ones for me. But considering the price here on Amazon vs. other options in the same price range, I still would have bought the unit again.
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