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The LX508D is, of course, part of Pioneer's KURO range, which regular readers will realise means that it's able to boast industry-leading black levels. Pioneer quotes a contrast ratio figure for the screen of 20,000:1, though our experience suggests that this figure will probably prove to be pessimistic - or perhaps ‘honest' would be a better word… - versus the sort of crazily high figures bandied around by some rival brands.
It's worth quickly recapping what makes the ‘KURO' black level effect possible, given how much technological wizardry is involved. First, there's a new pixel structure that reduces colour and light bleed. Second, there's a new Crystal Emissive Layer that enhances the screen's brightness, contrast and response times. Third, a proprietary colour filter soaks up ambient reflections. Fourth, image processing is employed that works completely differently for dark footage than for bright. And finally plasma cells are built using a so-called ‘Deep Waffle Rib' structure, with unusually high dividing walls, so that light and colour can't seep between them.
As if all this plasma innovation wasn't enough, the LX508D has plenty of other canny tricks up its sleeve. For starters it can make the best use of its full HD pixel count via a ‘dot for dot' aspect ratio that removes all overscan processing from the picture.
It also sports a special 72Hz playback mode designed to deliver enhanced quality with the 24fps outputs now possible from many Blu-ray players. The idea is that the simple 3:3 pulldown processing required to convert 24Hz to 72Hz should generate far less artefacting and noise than trying to turn 24Hz into the less mathematically compatible 50Hz or 100Hz systems.
On top of all this the set carries no less than four noise reduction circuits, all aimed at different types of video noise; various picture-in-picture options; the facility to have your TV fine-tuned to your specific viewing environment by an Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) expert; an ambient light sensor that can adjust the image automatically in response to your living room's brightness; and all manner of colour flexibility.