Like all Pioneer DVD-based products, the DV-LX50 boasts wide compatibility with digital media formats, including all versions of DivX, MP3, WMA and hi-res JPEGs. Aside from these fairly common file types, the Pioneer will also play lesser supported formats like WMV and MPEG-4 AAC as used by iTunes, but it won't play copy-protected files (bought from the iTunes Store, for example) so you'll have to stick to home-ripped music.
As for disc compatibility, the unit supports DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+R, DVD+RW and the dual-layer variants of these four formats, plus CD-R/RW, Super Video CD and Video CD.
Elsewhere, you'll find a range of advanced picture and sound tweaks that let you fine tune picture and sound quality. Delve into the Video Adjust menu and the deck allows you to adjust sharpness, brightness, contrast, gamma, hue, chroma level and block noise reduction - basically the sort of flexibility that you don't find on most budget players.
Audiophiles can also twiddle to their heart's content. There are basic bass management facilities where you can input the size of your speakers, the distance between the speakers and the listening position.
Based on the evidence so far, it was with a great deal of excitement and anticipation that we loaded our first DVD into the smooth disc tray - and we were not disappointed. With a 46in 1080p Toshiba LCD as our display of choice, the DV-LX50 conjures up the sort of polished pictures that only heavyweight decks like this seem capable of. The trusty Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers disc looks fantastic with the upscaling set to 1080p - the opening helicopter shots over Middle Earth's mountains reveal smooth motion and a lack of conversion artefacts. So crisp and transparent is the deck's upscaled DVD picture quality in fact, that there are times when you have to remind yourself that you're not watching an HD picture.
Of course it depends on the disc - the Region 2 transfer of Spider-Man looked decidedly soft, proving that the deck is no miracle worker, but feed it a decent quality transfer like LOTR and the results are spellbinding.