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Nowadays, DVD players are a dime a dozen, with decks being sold in supermarkets and online for absolute peanuts. So with that in mind, is there really any sense in selling a DVD deck costing upwards of £400? Well, yes there is actually. Hardcore home cinema fans with expensive projectors and mega-screen flat-panel TVs need a top-quality video source to feed into them, one that boasts the finest components and the best build quality - virtues you simply won't get from a cheapo supermarket deck.
Pioneer has been specialising in high-end DVD players like this for some time, and its latest flagship model is aiming to keep the company's fine reputation intact. The DV-LX50 is a universal player, which means it plays DVD-Audio and SACD as well as DVDs and CDs. This makes it not only the perfect deck for videophiles but music lovers too.
But one of the most impressive aspects of the DV-LX50 is its flawless build quality, the foundation of which is a rigid, double-layered chassis that allows the disc mechanism and optical pick-up to operate with maximum stability. As a result, this isn't one of those wafer-thin, lightweight decks - it's big, chunky, heavy and proud of it.
Not only is it robustly built but it's also completely gorgeous, sporting that classic Pioneer piano black finish, a fetching blue light and a couple of delightful silver rings on the fascia surrounding the power and play buttons.
The rear panel is equally attractive from a practical perspective, reading like an A to Z of AV connections. Taking centre stage is the HDMI output, capable of feeding upscaled 1080i/p, 720p 576i/p signals to an HDMI-equipped display. And thanks to HDMI control, the unit can also be operated by the remote handset of an HDMI-equipped TV. It's backed up by progressive-scan capable component output, plus composite, S-video and an RGB-capable SCART output.
On the audio side, you can feed Dolby Digital and DTS bitstreams to an AV receiver from either the coaxial or optical digital audio outputs, and there's a set of 5.1-channel analogue outputs to take advantage of the built-in Dolby Digital, DTS, DVD-Audio and SACD decoders. There's also an extra set of analogue stereo outputs for straight CD playback, and when using any of the analogue audio outputs you can select Pure Audio mode, which switches off the video and digital audio circuits to minimise interference.