Sleek and sexy is the order of the day for Pioneer’s new range of Blu-ray players. The robust, piano-black machines boast impressive audio and visual capabilities, but it all comes at a premium.

Features-wise the BDP-05FD and BDP-51D are jam-packed. They both include 1080p/24fps video output, Picture-in-Picture interactivity, a DVD upscaling option (up to 1080p), and audio options so good that they deserve a new paragraph all to themselves.

Superior sound

Pioneer has managed to squeeze in support for all HD audio formats – an industry first. This means that Dolby TrueHD, DTS HD, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS HD Master Audio all get a look in when it comes to watching your chosen Blu-ray Disc with superior sound.

As with Pioneer’s previous players, there’s added interactivity with its Kuro range of TVs and AV receivers giving, the company states, “the most true-to-life reproduction of HD feature films.”

The BDP-05FD is the Elite player of the two and has some extras added to its chassis, including gold-plated connection points, touch key buttons and an enhanced video processor.

What Pioneer has failed to include, though, is BD-Live (Profile 2.0). The company has instead decided to stick with BonusView (Profile 1.1). This means that those looking for the most up-to-date interactivity possible should look elsewhere - ie, buy a PlayStation 3.

Pricey players

Even though Blu-ray has won the battle for HD supremacy, the price point for BD players is still high. At the moment there’s no UK prices announced, but the BDP-51FD will be $599 (£300) and the Elite BDP-05FD will be available to buy for $799 (£400) when they are both released in the summer. As with all US-released Blu-ray players, expect the names of the UK versions to change. We will keep you updated prior to release.