Pioneer gives us a sneak preview of its LCD TVs – and more

20 Jul 2008

Pioneer LCD
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We've just had a first look at Pioneer's first LCD TVs, at an exclusive briefing for selected press at the company's UK headquarters. Take a look at our 'happy snap' style image – the amateur feel was of course deliberate...

There were 32 and 37in TVs on display, each wall-mounted and looking very smart. Pioneer's familiar, sleek, gloss black design is present and correct, while a curved speaker design at the bottom of the screen gives the LCDs an individual twist.

The TVs are expected to retail at around £1300 and £1450 respectively, and while they've been made in conjunction with Sharp, which provided the LCD panels, Pioneer's keen to stress these are still part of the extended Kuro family. Pioneer's expertise with both the glass panel and the black filters aims to set these TVs apart.

Certainly watching HD content from disc and from Sky HD the LCDs looked good, but we'll of course reserve judgement until we get to grips with them in our test rooms.

Also on display was the BDP-LX71 Blu-ray player, which we told you about here at the end of May. This features new video and audio engines, upgraded build quality and an all-new, very smart-looking graphical user interface. This GUI will also be used on Pioneer's 10th generation plasma screens next year.

While there's no BD 2.0 specification or support for DTS-HD Master Audio decoding, both features are promised imminently via a downloadable or disc-based firmware upgrade.

Interestingly, the chaps at Pioneer seemed underwhelmed by the perceived importance of BD 2.0, and the BD-Live content that comes with it, reasoning that as it stands there's very little content, if any, to exploit this option.

A little digging revealed Pioneer is most definitely thinking about offering a BD player at around the £300 mark, which, should it come to fruition, could really upset the Blu-ray apple-cart. Watch this space.

The new range of AV receivers was also there, the SC-LX81 and SC-LX71, standing proud alongside the top-of-the-range Susano. Again due out from September, the new receivers boast HD audio decoding, including DTS-HD Master Audio, alongside Ethernet connections, network capability and upgraded components. Read more about these here.

But the LCDs were the most exciting new products to see in the flesh - 32in Pioneer LCD screens, who'd have thought it?

We look forward to reviewing them very soon.

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The Pioneer 32in and 37in LCDs are in shops now - dealers have got them well before we get review samples unfortunately... The 46in is due out in November, and will sell for around £2000.

Any more information on these yet?

Pioneer would naturally like you to believe that the company's expertise in the world of plasma can help them get the best from an LCD screen, too. Our brief look certainly had us intrigued, the screens looking good with the HD content they were being fed, but until we can really get our hands dirty we simply can't say whether they're a cut above... We're as interested to see as you!

So, on first impressions, are these LCD's significantly better than what you've recently tested? I know you've only had a glancing look but is there anything to suggest they are a cut above the rest? The price seems to suggest so.

Any news on the 46" Pioneer Lcd

I put it to Pioneer recently that maybe they were discontinuing the 42" plasma this year so as to give the new LCD range a head start on sales (and consumer choice) before coming out next year with a new 10th generation 42" plasma.......Lets just say that i was very surprised at the vague (but nudge, nudge wink wink) response that i got.

That has me i wait to see how the 37" LCD comapares to last years 428xd, and risk there not being any plasmas left as i think we all know which one will come out trumps, or do i wait until next year just to 'wait and see' if Pioneer come out with a 10th gen 42" plasma....