Really we could go on for days about all the various tricks up the 508XD’s sleeve, but with the weekend beckoning (!), we’ll restrict ourselves to wrapping up with a mention of a quartet of specialist noise reduction routines: Field NR, 3DNR, Block NR, and Mosquito NR.
And so we finally sit down and watch the 508XD in action. At which point it occurs to us that some days our job really isn’t too bad…
Not to put too fine a point on it, this TV’s pictures really are the very best we have ever seen on a flat TV. No probably, no arguably – they just are. By some margin, in fact.
Not surprisingly the single biggest driving force in this unique performance standard is the black level response. Really dark areas of the picture look just totally black, in a believable, grey-free way that suddenly makes us realise just how far away from a true black all previous flat TVs have been.
This means you can watch dark scenes without having to squint through even a trace of greyness, and without any loss of background shadow detailing.
There’s a further stunning side effect to the black level response during dark scenes, too, in the shape of outstandingly natural colours. It’s a simple law of TV pictures that if you can’t reproduce something approaching a true black, you can’t reproduce a totally true rendition of the colour spectrum. So by getting the closest we’ve seen to a true black, the Pioneer also produces the most expansive and natural colour palette we’ve seen. And so even skin tones during dark scenes – usually such a problem for flat TVs – here look completely believable.
Similarly, rich reds and greens avoid respectively the orangey and radioactive look that blights to some extent every other plasma TV around.