Over the last 12 months it has been virtually impossible to have heard anything but lavish praise for Pioneer's revolutionary Kuro HDTVs and now it's successors look set to up the Wow Factor yet again for their UK press debuts.
Formerly announced early last month, on Friday Pioneer invited us to take a look at the new models first hand and gave us an insight into what it has planned for the future.
Let's get the obvious bit out of the way: the new Kuros (officially Generation Nine) will blow your socks off. In a four way head-to-head the company lined up not only two highly regarded brands (we'll keep the names secret to avoid mudslinging) but also its own G8 original Kuro with the G9 and once again the difference in black level is staggering. Officially Pioneer claims the difference to be 5x deeper than the black levels of the G8 but in reality what you get is virtually perfect black. With the lights off during a dark scene it is almost impossible to see where the screen ends and the bezel begins. Ultimately, what the Kuro G8 did to its rivals, the new Kuro does to the G8.
As for pricing - despite Pioneer's strong stance against quoting formal RRPs - some friendly persistence by yours truly did discover the 50in 'PDP-5020FD' (above) and 60in (above, left) and 60in 'PDP-6020FD' (top) will retail in the region of £2,400 and £4,200 respectively.
Enough drooling however, because Pioneer also gave us the chance to quiz it about its move into the LCD arena. Ultimately the company will begin outsourcing all panels - both plasma and LCD - from G10 onwards with Pioneer using LCDs for 32in (KRL-32V), 37in (KRL-37V) and 46in (KRL-42V) and plasma for 50in upwards. Specs for the new LCDs aren't being released yet, but they will all be Full HD (1080p) capable with 100Hz frame rates and black levels "to match or better anything seen so far in LCD".
Interestingly, Pioneer had a mock-up of a 32in LCD and while the logo is slightly more understated than on the plasmas the classic styling clearly twins the two lines. Also in mock-up territory was Pioneer's first Profile 1.1 Blu-ray player which it hopes will hit the market in Q3. A profile 2.0 player is promised later down the line.
We'll stop here and leave the nitty gritty of formal reviews for when the G9s touch down in our labs next month, but believe me when I say: it's going to be a page turner...