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Pioneer Kuro PDP-LX5090 50in Plasma TV - Pioneer Kuro PDP-LX5090
We won't bore you with all the other, continuing production elements that go into making ‘the KURO effect', as we've done them to death in previous Pioneer reviews. But suffice it to say they're all very much still there, doing their bit.
Other bits and bobs about the LX5090 we will quickly mention, though, are its unusual amount of progressive scan flexibility, including a 72Hz mode for enhanced 1080p/24Hz playback (72Hz being a neat 3x multiple of 24Hz); new 100Hz processing for enhanced image stability; an extravagant amount of ultra-flexible noise reduction tools, including specialist MPEG blocking and mosquito noise options; and all manner of automatic picture optimisers, including one that can assess via a sensor not only the brightness but also the colour tone of light around the TV, and adjust the picture accordingly.
The only even slightly bum-note about the LX5090 so far - except for its hefty price - is the fact that it's rather complicated to set up, thanks to some obscure feature names and menu labels. Also, I couldn't help but feel the pain of technophobes as I had to delve deep into the LX5090's menus just to ‘enable' its HDMI connections.
Oh well - at least the remote control used to probe the menus is an absolute peach, combining a great layout with a superbly tactile, weighty and cool metallic finish.
As you can probably imagine, I'm getting pretty eager by now to find out just what black levels five times as good as those witnessed on previous KURO TVs look like. And the short answer is: absolutely, jaw-droppingly, not-far-off-pant-wettingly amazing.
It's possible, I guess, that you might find this fact boring; just another example of a journalist waxing lyrical as part of a general media/Pioneer love-in. But hopefully you've read enough of my reviews on TrustedReviews by now to realise that I don't have any political or technological agendas, or any favoured brands. So when I tell you now that the LX5090's black levels are by a country mile the finest I've ever seen on a flat TV, I'm simply telling the truth. What's more, it's a truth you certainly don't have to be a trained technology journalist to see.
Even if you sit the LX5090 alongside one of Pioneer's own 8th-generation panels and feed them both something with lots of darkness, such as the opening credits to Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street on Blu-ray, the extra depth to the LX5090's black levels positively shouts out at you. So you can imagine how striking the impact is against any other flat TV you care to mention.
It's possible, I guess, that some of you are thinking that we're putting too much weight on the LX5090's black level response; there are, after all, many other elements to a picture besides black level.
But in this reviewer's humble opinion, black level is the single most fundamental part of a TV's picture performance, the foundation from which nearly everything else is built. And as perfect evidence to support this point of view, it just so happens that the LX5090 also excels - to class-leading effect - in other picture areas, too.