Pioneer’s ninth-generation plasma is one of the best 50in TVs you can buy, with staggering all-round picture quality
The PDP-LX5090D is one of the last ‘proper’ Pioneer plasma TVs.
The Japanese company has found it increasingly difficult to compete on price in the brutally competitive flatscreen market, so from next year it’ll adopt Panasonic-derived plasma panels, just as it now uses Sharp’s LCD technology for its smaller TVs.
Still, as last hurrahs go, the PDP-LX5090D is certainly memorable. Pioneer is so proud of it, it doesn’t deem it necessary to quote a numerical contrast ratio for the set: instead, it refers to the new Kuro’s performance as ‘extreme’. Now that’s confidence – and once you’ve got the set out of its box and put it through its paces, it’s entirely justifiable, too.
Although the PDP-LX5090D isn’t necessarily as dramatically styled as some of the last Korean LCD sets, it’s a tastefully turned out and well-made TV, as befits its price.
It’s solidly equipped too, although you can find some cheaper rivals with more to play with. The Full HD 1920x1080 resolution and three HDMI inputs is par for the course these days, as is 24fps support for 1080p video from Blu-ray discs. But An extensive suit of picture adjustment options also allow as much or as little tweaking action as you prefer.
As with most previous Pioneer plasmas, the TV panel itself is just the starting point. Two designs of speaker are available as options (either mounted along the bottom of the set or to each side, as you prefer) plus fixed or swivelling stands, wall-brackets and more. The aim is to give you the most tailor-made TV experience possible.
Of course, the other part of the plan is for you to be blown away by the picture quality on offer – and there’ s no doubt that Pioneer achieves this in style.
This is a staggeringly capable TV even when displaying standard-definition broadcast TV signals: the Freeview tuner is excellent, and the video upscaling is clearly more than up to par, helping it to keep digital noise and blocking well in check.
Switch to Blu-ray, and things obviously step up a notch. Here, contrast performance is fabulous, with dense, consistently inky blacks than outgun any rival, yet which never mask crucial details hidden in the shadows: you’ll simply see more of The Dark Knight than you will via other TVs.
Bright colours are luscious and vibrant too, bringing out the richness and vitality in a fast-paced Pixar animation to a tee. Even the speakers (should you opt for them) work well, having the weight and clarity you’d expect given their price.
Pioneer PDP-LX5090D review
One of the best televisions ever made. Neither cheap nor small, but if you can afford it and accommodate it, we envy you