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The meticulous attention to detail continues with the Video Adjust menu, which enables you to match the player's picture characteristics to those of your display. There are specific presets for Pioneer KURO plasma, a ‘regular' plasma, an LCD set and a projector, plus three memory settings that allow you to alter the parameters yourself - and the list of tweakable options will send videophiles into rapture.
The look and layout of the user interface is stunning and matches the menu system found on Pioneer's latest KURO plasma TVs, giving your system some very welcome uniformity if you're lucky enough to be pairing it with one of their sets. The cursor darts around the menus with pleasing speed and the use of white text on a moody black background makes it easy to read.
The attractive remote also plays its part in the LX71's effortless operation, sporting clearly labelled, well-spaced buttons and excellent silver menu controls. There are keys to control of all the crucial functions, including up/down buttons to change the resolution as you watch, plus buttons to turn the BonusView secondary video and audio on and off. If we're being honest, we'd like the buttons to have been a bit bigger but on the whole it's a very likeable zapper.
The LX71's disc loading times are a lot faster than its predecessor - with the Transformers disc, we clocked it at 49 seconds from the moment we pressed the Close button to the disc's language selection menu appearing on screen. With Spider-Man 3, it took 1min 22 seconds for the Sony logo to appear. It's a bit slow to skip chapters and move through the search speeds but we've yet to encounter a Blu-ray deck that does this as quickly as a DVD player.
To see LX71's pictures at their best they should be viewed on a Pioneer KURO plasma, and we were lucky enough to get our hands on the company's latest flagship set, the 60in KRP-600A. And from the moment Transformers cranked into life, we were simply staggered by what we saw.
Most players do a decent job of bringing this disc's abundant detail and lively colour palette to the screen, but few can do so with such intensity, depth and transparency. The richly textured robot CGI looks sharper than ever before, allowing every nut, bolt, scuff and scratch on Optimus Prime's bodywork to be clearly visible.
But it's not just stuff knocked up on an Apple Mac that looks great - the deck easily picks out the pockmarks and stubble on Shia LeBoeuf's face, and lends his skin a satisfyingly realistic hue. Reproduction of bolder colours is also fantastic, with Bumblebee's bright yellow paintwork jumping from the screen and Optimus Prime's red and blue body looking deep and radiant, without a hint of garishness or edge bleed.
Skipping to the end battle scenes, the LX71 tracks the frenetic, fast-moving action without any sign of judder. The dense colours and solid blacks give long shots of the city streets a real sense of depth and distance, while the forceful detail handling continues to make those robots and the surrounding buildings look crisp and focused at all times.