Sometimes the smallest of differences in a TV model name can hide a whole world of difference in specification. So it is with Pioneer's PDP-LX508D. For although this 50in plasma TV shares almost the same moniker as the Pioneer PDP-508XD we've reviewed previously, it actually boasts one very important difference: a full HD pixel count where the previous model was only HD Ready.
As well as potentially making the LX508D an even greater friend to HD material than the already superb 508XD, it's worth reflecting too on how tricky it is for plasma technology to fit full HD's 1,920 x 1,080 pixel requirement into any sensibly sized screen. In other words, the LX508D really is in a whole other world technologically to its cheaper, HD Ready sibling. This goes at least some way towards explaining the LX508D's rather hefty price hike, which finds it costing in the region of £1300 more than the 508XD.
There's nothing new about the LX508D's looks, though. It sports exactly the same extremely minimalistic, angular, glassy black bezel found across Pioneer's range. But given how supremely elegant, opulent, yet understated this design is, we're not complaining.
Connectivity on the LX508D is prodigious. As you'd hope of what's built and priced to be very much a premium TV, we kick off with a trio of HDMIs that can all receive 1080p/24 from Blu-ray players, and are built to the V1.3a specification, making them compatible with Deep Colour sources like JVC and Panasonic's latest HD camcorders.
Plus you get the inevitable component video input to meet the industry's ‘HD Ready' requirements, a trio of SCARTs, a D-Sub PC port, a USB host, an optical audio output and a subwoofer line-out.
It's worth adding, too, that you also get spring-clip connectors for left and right speakers - a rather important option given that the LX508D doesn't have any speakers built in! Pioneer does make its own speakers for the screen, but you'll have to cough up extra for them. Similarly the TV's pedestal stand isn't included as standard. That said, though, some retailers appear inclined to throw either the speakers or the pedestal stand (though seldom both) in for free.