Pioneer's new home cinema range unveiled

Pioneer’s renewing its commitment to high-end cinephiles and hi-fi heads with a stunning display of brand new products at its 2008 launch in London.

Of course it’s Pioneer’s G9 Kuro plasma and LCD TVs that have grabbed most people’s attention - but there are plenty more pearls to be found elsewhere in Pioneer’s line-up.

The first of these is the BDP-LX71 BonusView (Profile 1.1) Blu-ray player which, claims Pioneer, ‘completely outperforms current desktop players... and redefines the world of digital entertainment.’

That’s quite a claim. Let’s see how Pioneer backs that up...

BDP-LX71 Blu-ray player details

First up, the Pioneer BDP-LX71 promises pristine pictures thanks to the inclusion of 1080p/24 playback with HDMI 1.3a and 12-bit Deep Colour technology.

Then it throws in its a proprietary PureCinema deinterlacer which upscales DVD movies to 1080p resolutions - great for watching your old flicks on a G9 Kuro plasma.

Your ears won’t feel left out either with built-in decoders for surround sound formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD, plus

Providing a feast for your ears are built-in Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD and DTS HD Master decoders, which are backed by pro grade Wolfson digital-to-analogue converters (DACs).

Pioneer says it has included the DACs because it “recognises the vital importance that pure, nuanced sound plays in creating an unmatched listening experience.”

The Pioneer BDP-LX71 Blu-ray player goes on sale in August, for £550.

Home cinema receivers

We’ve already covered Pioneer's flagship SC-LX90 Susano receiver.

However we’re pleased to report the ICEpower amplifier tech it uses has been trickled down to two other receivers in the range: the SC-LX71 and SC-LX81.

Both the Pioneer SC-LX71 and SC-LX81 offer full support for HDMI 1.3a inputs / outputs, 12-bit Deep Colour and include Faroudja video scalers for near HD quality from DVD sources.

The Pioneer SC-LX81 and SC-LX71 also include Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD and DTS HS Master Audio decoders, plus WMA 9 Pro playback and an iPod connection.

Both SC-LX81 and SC-LX71 receivers also include Pioneer’s Home Media Gallery.

This Digital Living Network Alliance (DNLA) compliant technology enables you to stream digital media files from other devices, across your home network.

Home Media Gallery is Windows Vista, Windows Media Connect and Microsoft DRM-compliant.

The Pioneer SC-LX81 and SC-LX71 go on sale later this year, priced at £1,199 and £1,499 respectively. They will be preceded in June by two non-ICEpower receivers: the £849 VSX-LX51 and the £599 VSX-1018AH.

Pioneer takes on Arcam Solo

Finally Pioneer lifted the lid on the PDX-Z9, a stereo SACD receiver it hopes will challenge the popular - and critically acclaimed - Arcam Solo all-in-one-hi-fi.

As well as offering compatibility with the now-defunct, but audiophile-friendly Super Audio CD format, the Pioneer PDX-Z9 also offers audio CD, MP3, WMA, MPEG-4AAC and FLAC playback.

Other key features include a 50W per channel amplifier, built-in FM, AM and internet radio plus, USB port and iPod connector.

The Pioneer PDX-Z9 even include a built-in FM/AM receiver and is Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) certified, enabling you to integrate it seamlessly into a compatible home network.

Naturally Pioneer is keen to show off the PDX-Z9’s audiophile credentials, citing high build quality and the use of quality components in its construction. Fine tuning of the Arcam Solo challenger was also carried out at Air Studios, the recording facility founded by ex-Beatles producer Sir George Martin.

The Pioneer PDX-Z9 SACD receiver goes on sale in June, price £650.