We're only too aware that what we've said so far has probably killed the LX70 stone dead in most of your minds before we've even got it out of its box. But actually, before you completely write it off, it does have a few things to commend it.
The first is a LAN socket that lets you hook up a PC and playback a wide variety of AV file formats through the LX70 (and its sophisticated Home Media Gallery software) and then on to your home cinema screen/audio system. Those file formats include WMV9, MPEG2, and MPEG-1 video formats; JPEG, PNG and GIF image formats; and WMA9, WMA9 Pro, MP3 and Linear PCM audio files.
Also very significant is the deck's ability to output films in 1080p/24fps. This is the format practically all films are encoded in when mastered to Blu-ray disc, so by outputting this format the LX70 can pass on a completely ‘pure' version of the picture to any TV able to receive 1080p/24fps signals.
Such TVs include, of course, Pioneer's last couple of generations of plasma TVs. In fact, these TVs not only accept 1080p/24fps, but they also carry 72Hz playback modes (allowing a simple and therefore clean 3:3 progressive scan pull-down routine) for showing 1080p/24fps sources with greater smoothness and clarity than most rival 1080p/24-capable screens can deliver.
The LX70 will also upscale old DVDs to 1080p, and contains a long list of picture tweaks for the eternal tinkerers among you, including white level, black level, hue and chroma level adjustments. Finally, the LX70's HDMI is enabled with the electronics industry's CEC standard, allowing it to be operated by the remote control of any connected, CEC-enabled TV.
Finding out how well the LX70 performs is sadly delayed by the seemingly inevitable long wait while the deck ‘boots up'. During our tests it took 35 seconds for a disc to load, and depressingly this rose to over a minute when turning the player on from standby. Yawn.
The LX70's picture quality, though, soon snaps us out of our doze by being simply the best that we've yet seen on an HD disc player. Unable to resist, we kicked off our tests by running the LX70 in 1080p/24fps mode into a Pioneer 508XD plasma TV running in 72Hz mode. And the results were nothing short of spectacular.