Pioneer unveils its flagship Blu-ray player, the £1500 BDP-LX91

Pioneer BDP-LX91

It joins the BDP-51FD, BDP-LX71 and BDP-LX08 models in the Pioneer range, and is the first to be tuned at Air Studios in London.

Regular Forum users will be delighted to know it's Profile 2.0 straight out of the box, and offers 7.1 Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio decoding onboard.

At the player's heart is a core processor chipset jointly developed by Pioneer and Renesas.

Optimised for all disc formats
"Our engineers were given just one objective: to develop a reference-quality BD player that provides exceptional picture and sound performance, not just for Blu-ray discs, but also for DVD and CD content," says Jim Catcheside, product manager for Pioneer UK.

The player incorporates a newly-developed 16-bit video engine for optimum video decoding, video scaling (to 1080p) and video adjustments.

Pioneer's proprietary Adaptive Bit Length Expansion technology is designed to reproduce the colours of a film in their purest form.

"Restoring the 8-bit video signals from BD movies back to a vivid 16-bit deep colour gamut results in a high-definition picture with an unprecedented range of more natural colour tones," says Catcheside.

Improved audio and CD playback
But it's not just the video side of things that Pioneer has focused on. Audiophiles will appreciate the player's extensive internal engineering, including eight Wolfson audio DACs – one for each channel – plus a dedicated power supply for the analogue audio board, and custom-made capacitors.

Dual HDMI outputs allow separate audio and video signal transfer over dedicated HDMUI terminals.

Meanwhile, CD playback – not something normally given much thought on Blu-ray players – is improved using Pioneer's Precision Quartz Lock System (PQLS) that controls the audio signals between the player and amplifier.

The tuning proces involved many hours at Air Studios in London, founded by legendary producer Sir George Martin (he of Beatles fame). As a result, the BDP-LX91 has been certified with 'Air Monitor' status, as indicated by the Air logo on the fascia.

Profile 2.0, BD Live compatible
Unlike earlier generation models, this one is BD Live compatible and has an Ethernet port to connect to the internet, so users can download additional content.

Build quality is substantial, with an aluminium chassis and ultra-rigid steel bottom plate. A low-leakage toroidal transformer and separate audio and video boards minimise interference and noise.

A built-in Kuro Link function allows users to control the BDP-LX91 using the remote control from compatible Pioner Kuro flatscreen TVs and monitors.

The Pioneer BDP-LX91 is available in the UK now for £1500. And yes, we'll be testing it just as soon as we can.