Pioneer's publicity for its Kuro plasmas was always prone to veering in to "none more black", Spinal Tap territory. This, the ninth generation of Pioneer's Kuro plasmas, has a claimed contrast level five times greater than its predecessor. Pioneer doesn't deem it necessary to list a contrast ratio, simply labelling it "extreme"; shades of the amp that goes up to 11?
Out of the box the style and design of the Pioneer is familiar. It looks every inch the premium product. On this set, the speakers are integrated on the bottom of the screen; you can choose to have them on the side of the panel.
The standard video inputs are present and correct, with three HDMI sockets, and the screen boasts a 1920 x 1080, Full HD resolution panel.
We start by feeding the set some 1080p/24fps HD content from the Cars Blu-ray disc. Once again we find ourselves marvelling at a Pioneer plasma. Colours are lusciously rich and vibrant, packed with juice yet still capable of subtlety and insight.
There's a panic-inducing number of adjustments available. We suggest you investigate 'Film Mode' for seriously smooth motion.
Superb skin tones, stunning blacks
Switch to the Fantastic Four DVD, and the Pioneer demonstrates an impressive ability with skin tones, dishing out just the right amount of colour to deliver a healthy, realistic hue.
Black detail is excellent, going deeper and darker than any set before, while still uncovering the necessary detail.
It isn't easy to deliver a broadcast picture this size, but the 'LX5090 makes a solid stab. It is largely free from noise and capable of colourful, detailed pictures. Those speakers shine too, sounding clear, balanced and organised.
We'd find it hard to believe Pioneer could find a new TV with a staggering gap over the last superb range; and, well, it hasn't. But there is an improvement – and Pioneer's last range of TVs were probably the best we'd ever seen.
Yes, you pay a premium for this product, but if you can take that extra hit, you'll be amply rewarded.