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Pioneer DVR-LX70D HDD/DVD Recorder - Pioneer DVR-LX70D
There can be no complaints with the unit's performance. Live TV pictures from the built-in Freeview tuner look magnificent and the deck's competent MPEG-2 encoding ensures that they remain exactly the same when recorded on the hard disk or DVD.
Using BBC News 24 as our test channel, recordings are dazzlingly crisp and bright in XP+ or XP mode. The channel's bright red onscreen graphics look consistently bold without any trace of edge bleed, while black objects look punchy but detailed - it was possible to make out the pinstripes on a weatherman's black suit jacket, along with the creases, folds and shadows in the material. Scrolling text and moving objects look smooth and skin tones are subtle and realistic.
Dropping to SP reveals only a slight fall in quality, but in LP mode the presenters' faces start looking hazier, edges look jagged with a smudgy haze around them and particularly detail-packed or fast-moving scenes look blocky and twitchy.
SLP and SEP appear even more gauzy and flickery, almost to the point where prolonged viewing might drive you mad, but it could come in handy for emergency use in the unlikely event that the HDD is almost full.
The DVR-LX70D is also a fine DVD player. Our Superman Returns disc enjoyed a high level of detail when boosted to 1080p on a Full HD TV, and colour saturation is high, as demonstrated by its handling of Superman's iconic costume.
Running through our repertoire of digital media files reveals no glitches with any of the compatible file types, whether played from disc, USB or the hard disk. And the extensive video wizardry on board doesn't mean that Pioneer has forgotten about audio. The deck turns in a decent performance with George Benson's Breezin‘ on CD via the analogue outputs, with the light jazz-funk sounding tight and energetic. Movies also sound great via the digital audio output, provided your cinema system is up to scratch.
Pioneer has come out with all guns blazing with the DVR-LX70D and really hits the target. The array of features on offer is mind-blowing, the superb user interface makes it a joy to use and the quality of recordings is second to none. There are a few minor grievances and omissions but nothing that stops us hailing this recorder as a complete triumph.
Penny-pinchers might moan about the price tag, which is more than double that of rivals from the likes of Sony and Panasonic, but Pioneer isn't interested in competing with them. This high-end, high-performance deck is an unashamed slice of luxury - and on that basis we love it.
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