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Pioneer DV-989: DVD for the rich and the famous

Pioneer's DV-989 is the most expensive DVD player we've seen -- armed to the teeth with the latest HDMI connectivity, SACD playback and 720p/1080i video upscaling

We're cheeky little minxes here on Crave -- when the mood takes us, we'll ditch the all-in-one HDD/DVD combi recorders and keep it old-school with a ridiculously expensive dedicated DVD player. The Denon DVD-2910 was our last extravagance, a £550 player that was less a mere DVD player and more of a universal disc spinner -- there wasn't anything that baby couldn't play. But now that we've got the £800 Pioneer DV-989, the Denon looks like an impulse purchase -- something you'd buy on the way home from Harvey Nicks after purchasing an Armani suit. No, £800 sorts the casual hardcore from the ultra-geek -- if you're not a footballer or a lottery winner then we wonder if buying the DV-989 could actually be socially unacceptable.

So why, when you can buy a DVD player from Amazon for £20, would you want to spend 4,000 per cent more on the DV-989 from Pioneer? Well, if your LCD TV, hi-def amplifier and 7.1 Dolby speaker setup make up the Rolls Royce of the home cinema world, you'll want something as crucial as a DVD player to pack at least a little bit more punch. Pioneer's technology includes a video upscaling to 720p and 1080i. It also has all sorts of clever internal bells and whistles to improve your picture and sound before it's pumped out of the HDMI output in completely digital form.

The DV-989 will also play high-definition audio formats including Super Audio CD and DVD-Audio. OK, you'd have to be a super-hardcore audiophile to know that these formats even exist, but if you bother to wander into the sweaty end of HMV then you might find something of interest -- we spotted Beyonce's hit album Crazy in Love. We're going to beg Pioneer to let us keep the DV-989, but we fear they'll want their flagship DVD player back before we spill Coke on it. We'll give you the full review later this week before anything tragic happens. -GC