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These facts are enough in themselves to make the 508XD at a stroke the most cinematic TV with predominantly dark films like Alien that we’ve ever seen. But the black level prowess certainly doesn’t only impact dark scenes. We’ve seen a moment ago how it helps the set deliver a wider colour palette, and this shines through during bright scenes gloriously – especially as the colour richness and brightness is given such a stark and dramatic counterpoint by the perfect black depth of any dark picture areas an otherwise bright shot might have.
Moving reluctantly on from the genuinely groundbreaking black level story, we also find the 508XD excelling in plenty of other areas. Its picture is remarkably sharp for a 1,366 x 768-resolution screen, with the most minute high definition details rendered beautifully without a trace of softness or noise. In fact, so crisp do HD pictures look that you can’t help but reflect that having a full HD pixel count can potentially have rather less impact on perceived resolution than other factors such as noise suppression and immaculate motion handling.
For yes, the 508XD does handle moving objects immaculately. There’s no sign of plasma’s tendency to produce dithering dot noise over motion, and remarkably little of the sort of judder you often see while watching films on a big TV. The Pioneer’s fluidity is particularly apparent while watching 1080p/24fps movies such as Casino Royale on Blu-ray in the TV’s special 72Hz mode.
Normally we like to counterbalance our praise of even the very finest TVs with a negative point or two. But try as we might, we simply can’t think of anything bad to say about the Pioneer’s pictures at all. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that Pioneer is flogging the screen at what has to be considered quite a premium price point, the only problem the brand might have with the 508XD is making enough of them.