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Pioneer BDP-LX52 Blu-ray player review



  • Recommended by TR
Pioneer BDP-LX52 Blu-ray player


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User Score

Review Price £539.99

Pioneer is to home cinema what Pele is to football, and every new product it launches is greeted with near-religious fervour. What inspires this level of devotion is the consistently high quality of its kit, particularly when it comes to Blu-ray - decks like the BDP-LX91 and BDP-51FD have raised the bar in terms of hi-def picture and sound quality at their respective price points, making them revered among home cinephiles.

For that reason, we're chuffed to have the company's hotly anticipated new Blu-ray player in our hands. The BDP-LX52 is one of three new players launched this summer, and is the best-specified (and therefore the most expensive) of the trio. Significantly the LX52, BDP-320 and entry-level BDP-120 are the first ‘affordable' Profile 2.0 Pioneer players to emerge since the reference BDP-LX91 first added BD Live to the company's arsenal.

It comes as no surprise to find that the BDP-LX52 looks remarkably similar to the company's previous players. The combination of a deep gloss-black finish, ice-blue illumination and stylish silver play/power buttons are as much a trademark as the Pioneer name itself, and once again make the LX52 look gobsmackingly gorgeous.

We'd describe the look as ‘cinephile chic' - moody and esoteric enough to please enthusiasts, but with a universal appeal that'll look great in any living room. It's also worth noting that Pioneer still isn't interested in slimming down the size of its decks - at 83mm high the LX52 is far from wafer thin, which makes a refreshing change.

Around the back, the LX52 doesn't offer the knockout selection of sockets we were expecting for the money, but it covers most bases. The biggest surprise is that there are no multichannel analogue outputs. The LX52 can decode Dolby True HD, DTS HD Master Audio, DTS HD High-Resolution Audio and Dolby Digital Plus into LPCM internally, but you'll need an HDMI-equipped receiver to hear the results.

Although the growing number and increasing affordability of HDMI-equipped receivers out there makes the inclusion of analogue sockets less important than it used to be, there are still people who prefer to let their player do the decoding and will be disappointed by their omission.

However, the player's HDMI v1.3 socket will output Dolby True HD, DTS HD Master Audio and any other format in bitstream form, which makes life nice and simple if you own a suitably-equipped receiver. Also on the rear are optical digital and analogue stereo outputs, component and composite video outputs, plus remote control and RS-232C ports.

An Ethernet socket is also provided, which lets you download BD Live content and firmware updates from the web. It's a shame Pioneer hasn't cottoned onto the fact that Wi-Fi is the way forward for BD Live - the feature will only catch on when people can connect to the web without an ugly, cumbersome cable trailing across the house (that's what HomePlug adapters are for - ed.).

However, the deck takes a step in the right direction with 1GB of built-in memory for web downloads. If you need more storage, there's a USB port on the back, which supports flash memory devices and external hard disks.

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August 24, 2009, 11:58 am

-"In fact the entire movie looks absolutely divine - ..." ... /splorf/ ... That would be Danny Phillips as in Dannii Minogue? If not, then given these cash strapped times, all focus must be on the pink pound, I guess. Too rich for my blood, anyhoo. ;-)


August 24, 2009, 4:27 pm

I've just installed my LX52 and the picture for Blu-Ray is truly stunning. However, some DVD's show real upscaling artefacts, so much so that I switched off all upscaling and just output at the native resolution. At which point the picture looks incredible again.


August 24, 2009, 5:07 pm

Hi Danny, first of all congrats for the review.

I am currently evaluating to get a denon 3800BDCI, but I would like to know your opinion about this Lx52 compared to the 3800BD regarding BD play (picture quality, depth...) and DVD upscaling.

Thanx a lot


November 17, 2009, 3:17 pm

Which player sounds best Sony 760 Pioneer LX52 or Denon 2010 ?

roy foster

December 28, 2010, 9:54 pm

HI Danny

thank you for this excellent and most comprehensive review! I have a 50" Kuro TV with the LX01 surround system. I would like the best blue picture I can get within reason and I have been offered a discounted BDP LX91 Blue Ray machine. But would the playback be better visually than on the LX52 I wonder... Can you help, Danny? any advice please

thanks & best wishes


Brian Farrell

January 3, 2011, 8:32 pm

I've got a Panasonic BD 60 which does not allow the picture aspect to be changed. So, a 2.35:1 aspect ratio cannot be changed to get rid of the letterbox top/bottom. This is most annoying as you end up with a large part of my 50" screen not being used. Does the LX52 allow the aspect ratio to be changed to fill the viewing area ??

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