Long-term test: Long-time loving with the Pioneer Kuro PDP-LX5090

On 15 September 2008 we reviewed the Pioneer PDP-LX5090 and found it to be flipping marvellous -- several months on, it feels like a good time to review its long-term performance

It's no secret that I think the Pioneer Kuro PDP-LX5090 is the best TV I've ever seen. It's certainly the highest-rated TV we've ever reviewed, and although other TVs are starting to get closer in terms of picture quality, it's still far and away the best on the market. But even the love of your life can annoy you every so often. So has using one day-in, day-out since last September changed my opinion of this incredible TV?

Like your nearest and dearest, living with a product for several months does one thing very well, and that's highlight any problems between the two of you. Are there any chinks in the 5090's armour? No. Honestly, no. There's nothing significant about this TV that's given me cause for concern. Sure, I'd sleep better at night if it used a little less electricity, but it's not impractically hungry, by any stretch of the imagination.

Okay, okay, there's one little thing. The only minor irritation is the idiotic input system. On most TVs, the video inputs are managed from a single button that cycles through its connections. The Pioneer does it slightly differently, in that it maps the inputs to a series of specific buttons on the remote. In theory, that's much better, because I know which button to push to get the input I want. The problem is the TV has more inputs than buttons. And that means if you plug something into every input, you have to fiddle around in a menu before you can see a picture. It's worth pointing out that Pioneer changed this system on the KRP range , so if this sounds like it might be a problem for you -- if, like us, you have a ludicrous number of devices to hook up to it -- go with one of those instead.

Even that doesn't really bother me on a day-to-day basis. In the early days, my fiancée occasionally moaned about it being rather too large at 50 inches (stop sniggering at the back), but soon got over that when we rearranged the lounge to sit further away. Now I think she secretly loves it nearly as much as I do.

As we pointed out in our initial review, the picture quality of these Kuros is something else. I have both Freeview and freesat at home. Freeview is, for the most part, very watchable on this screen. Despite its massive dimensions, I rarely find myself troubled by MPEG artefacts, unlike on our old LCD screen, where it often appeared that the TV was trying to protect everyone's identity underneath a mosaic of picture degradation.

Surprisingly, DVDs are a silvery little treat too. I still have much fondness for the ageing format, and it's fair to say the Pioneer does some of its best work with DVDs. There are even some times when watching a DVD can be such a pleasant experience I forget it's standard definition. Of course, I'll take HD every time, but I still have a fair few DVDs, and with my Lovefilm subscription, I make regular use of the Pioneer's skilful upscaling talents.

It seems fairly redundant to talk about picture quality on HD material. As you can imagine, 1080p video on the Pioneer is enough to make you drool. I've had non-techie friends come over to see the big fella in action, and the result has never been anything other than impressed comments and/or excited noises. I can only imagine they go home to their poor old tellies and make annoyed tuts and generally take much less care about securing their Wii controller's wrist strap.

If you're intrigued, and haven't seen them yet, have a look at our reviews of the £2,200 LX5090 and £3,200 LX6090 , as well as the media-box equipped, £2,500 KRP-500a . If you want one of these screens and you have the cash, we strongly suggest you get on with it. Pioneer estimates its stock will run out sometime this summer (possibly as soon as September) and people who buy one rarely sell it -- preferring instead to part with a limb or child to raise cash if money gets tight.

As someone who's spoiled rotten by access to the latest and coolest technology on the planet, it's a genuine thrill for me to get home each night, fire up the 5090 and watch TV. And as someone who could probably find something to moan about in any situation, it's a testament to Pioneer that it's created something for which I have nothing but love for. 

 

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