It may be expensive, but Pioneer has gone a long way to justify the price hike. From the lustre of the black finish to the rigid build-quality, this looks and feels like a prestige product.

It matches the best around spec-for-spec and adds in a CI slot and USB interface. It also has pretensions to be a multimedia hub for your living room, but more about that anon.

The LX60D is a 250GB HDD/multiformat DVD recorder, compatible with both dual- and double-layer discs and comes with analogue and digital TV tuners. On top of this comes a host of features that enhance performance and flexibility.

The internal scaler can output a maximum resolution of 1080p via HDMI. Further processing also offers you presets to suit a plasma display or a regular TV. On the HDD side, there are no less than seven record modes that vary in image quality and allow you to fit a staggering 711 hours (!) of footage on the internal drive.

Pioneer is covering all the bases with both analogue and digital tuners, but it's the DVB side that boasts the easy-to-use seven-day EPG. In reality, it's not the easiest to program we've ever seen, but it does have generous recording options.

According to Pioneer's bumph, the LX60D can also 'integrate your digital lifestyle' by storing JPEGs, MP3s and WMA files on its hard drive. This could actually be really useful if you intend it to be your main music source in your home cinema.

Import music files through the USB slot or by copying discs to HDD, and you can use the 'Jukebox' feature to play them back. Likewise with JPEGs, you can watch them as a slideshow on your TV or print them off by connecting a printer with 'PictBridge' directly to the USB port.

Another feature unique to the Pioneer is the CI slot, which can take a Pay-TV card or a multimedia card reader. This might sway people eager to take up the Pay-TV Setanta sports channel.

My favourite addition is aesthetic: a big round record button on the front fascia for one-touch recording, which neatly mirrors the standby button.

However, finding your way around all of these features can be complicated, and it's a shame Pioneer didn't spend as much time developing the operating system as the feature set. The remote is logical and well thought-out, but the OSD is crowded, and there is lag between each button press and operation.

Quality-wise, both image and audio are up to scratch, especially when recorded at the highest setting and upscaled to 720p. DVDs appear detailed and colourful with very little picture noise.

The LX60D has a lot to offer, and if you are lucky enough to own a Pioneer plasma, this should be at the top of your list. I only wish the user interface were a bit friendlier - then this would be a great multi-media device as well as a digital recorder.