When you do want the 500A to ‘make things better', meanwhile, it does so with exceptional confidence and without generating seemingly any of the nasty processing side effects that accompany so many processing-heavy TVs. Probably the best way to describe the 500A's improvements over the LX5090's pictures is to say that they just show a defter feel for what a given source is trying to achieve pictorially.
The 500A's knack for improving things extends to standard definition sources too, which look to my eyes slightly more stable and noiseless than they do on the LX5090 - and vastly less noisy than I'm used to seeing on many other Full HD TVs.
The 500A's innate cleverness also means that its AV Optimum mode delivers massively more credible ‘automated' results than the usual light-sensor modes employed by rival TVs.
The only thing I might say against the generally stunning 500A is that strangely I didn't find its colours quite as convincing ‘out of the box' as those of the LX5090. The various colour and gamma management options provided me with the tools to get things back to how I like them, but you should just take heed that getting the very best from the 500A might entail a bit of effort on your part.
Provided you're feeling flusher than most right now, all you need to know about the 500A is that it actually outperforms even its own sensational LX5090 sibling - and in doing so can justifiably claim to make the best better. In fact, I might even go so far as to call the 500A a Christmas cracker were it not very likely that Riyad would sack me for my trouble.
One final word of advice: if you're going to buy a 500A, I'd suggest you do it soon. For not only has Pioneer just knocked a whopping £500 off its asking price, but we have it on good authority that the prices of AV gear across the board could be set to rise by as much as 30 per cent next year thanks to our collapsing pound. Don't say we didn't warn you!