Particularly jaw-dropping is the advance Pioneer has made with colour reproduction. For instance, famously tricky scenes for colour, such as Robert Downey Jr’s walk around a Hollywood party complete with fish-tanks and ‘artistic dancers’ in Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (shame the film is so awful – ed.), the range and naturalism of the 507XD’s palette is quite dazzling, delivering subtleties of tone and blend simply not witnessed before on a flat TV.
Furthermore, as quality time spent in the company of the Xbox 360’s Viva Pinata proves, this new-found colour finesse comes on top of the same excellent vibrancy and fulsome saturations introduced with Pioneer’s 6th-gen screens.
The 507XD also improves over its 506XDE predecessor with its black levels. Dark movie scenes suggest a touch more sheer black level depth, and a fairly significant increase in greyscale subtlety. This latter point makes the picture more believable generally, and richer in scale and shadow detail.
When we saw Pioneer’s 6th-gen screens, we thought they were practically devoid of video noise. Turns out we were wrong, for while they might still compare favourably in the noise department with the pictures from just about every rival’s 50in plasma screens, they look almost rough compared with the utterly pristine, rock solid images delivered by the 507XD.
This arguably marks the end of the improvements that the 507XD delivers over Pioneer’s 6th-gen screens. But let’s not forget that as well as being significant in themselves, they also join the myriad strengths – such as outstanding sharpness and fine detailing, wide viewing angles, and well-scaled standard definition sources – that made the gen-six screens pretty much state of the art when they appeared earlier this year.
Moving on to the 507XD’s audio, the optional speakers Pioneer makes for the screen are pretty much as outstanding as its pictures. The purity, dynamism and frequency range they produce, even during a raucous action scene like the fight with the T-Rexes in Peter Jackson’s King Kong, wouldn’t sound out of place on a separates system.
With LCD doing a frighteningly good job of winning over consumer hearts and minds, Pioneer has arguably never needed a truly outstanding plasma TV more than it needs one right now. Just as well, then, that it has delivered the goods in emphatic fashion with the 507XD: a genuine contender for the title of ‘finest mainstream flat TV ever’, and nothing short of a steal at its current £2,033 (£2,349 with stand and speakers) asking price.