Pioneer parties like it's 1999 with the DV-610AV DVD & SACD player

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All those who thought SACD was dead, raise your hand! All those who’ve never even heard of SACD, raise your hand!

I’m so disappointed in all of you.

By the looks of things, Pioneer is too, as they’ve just announced a new DVD/SACD player, that should be dropping mid-year. The DV-610AV features upscaling technology, plus plays content from SACD,…

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Katherine HannafordPioneer parties like it's 1999 with the DV-610AV DVD & SACD player

Pioneer announces third Blu-ray player, the BDP-LX71

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Backing the Blu-ray format to the nth degree, Pioneer has announced the BDP-LX71 player that should wash up on European shores this summer. Shame the weather forecast for summer isn’t looking that good, there might not be many people down there to pick them up off the sand.

Main improvements to their third BDP model include BonusView Profile 1.1 for interactivity (doesn’t quite match the PS3’s 2.0 however), a 12-bit deep colour support,…

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Katherine HannafordPioneer announces third Blu-ray player, the BDP-LX71

Inevitable newsflash: Pioneer announces end of production of Plasma panels

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Pioneer has gone and announced exactly what everyone’s been expecting for the last month or more – that production of their Plasma screens will be ceased, with third-party (likely Matsushita) panels being rebranded for their Kuro range.

According to a news release from Pioneer this morning, “we have judged that maintaining the cost competitiveness of plasma display panels at projected sales volumes will be difficult going forward. Accordingly, we have decided to terminate in-house plasma display panel production and to procure these panels externally, after panel production for our next series of models is complete.”

To reduce the amount of job losses…

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Katherine HannafordInevitable newsflash: Pioneer announces end of production of Plasma panels

Pioneer to stop making sub-42-inch plasma panels, as its TV business suffers

pioneer-pdp607.jpgJapanese newspaper Asahi has reported that Pioneer will stop the production of 42-inch and smaller plasma panels as early as March next year, and instead buy those panels from Matsushita or Hitachi.

Pioneer’s plasma TV sales targets for this year, ending 31st March, are a mere 10 per cent of Matsushita’s (who use the Panasonic brand), at just 480,000 units compared to five million.

Pioneer will continue to manufacture its own plasma panels sized over 50 inches, while the company looks to sell the Kagoshima plant back to NEC. Pioneer already buys the panels for its LCD TVs from Sharp.

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Andy MerrettPioneer to stop making sub-42-inch plasma panels, as its TV business suffers

Now you can buy a hi-def player: the five best Blu-ray players

It’s been building up to a crescendo, with Toshiba’s announcement expected sometime this week that they are indeed pulling their support of the HD DVD format. At least the conclusion to this bloody battle will result in all of you finally being able to splurge your retirement money on a hi-def player, or upgrade your tired multi-format to one of these Blu-ray players.

So, in no particular order, here’s the top five best Blu-ray players, as voted by Tech Digest and HDTV-UK.

1.) Panasonic DMP-BD30 – this baby offers full 1080p playback, Final Standard Profile functionality, picture-in-picture, audio mixing, Panasonic’s P4HD technology, 1080/24 playback, HDMI 1.3B, Deep Colour compatibility, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio decoding, SD memory card slot, AVCHD codec, and EZ-Sync. £349, or $499.95, out now…

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Katherine HannafordNow you can buy a hi-def player: the five best Blu-ray players

Pioneer unveils KURO plasma TVs promising deeper black levels than ever before

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Pioneer has taken the wrappers off its new KURO plasma TV range, with a promise that the tellies will display 80% deeper black levels than their rivals (and so provide richer colours and sharper details).

The first two KURO TVs are 50 and 60 inches respectively, and will both be HD-ready 1080p models. What’s that? You want a suitably artsy quote? How about this: “In the art world, a plain white canvas represents a blank slate waiting for an artist to create,” says Pioneer’s Heidi Johnson-Cash. “In the world of television, a black screen is a similarly blank canvas ready for content to be displayed.”

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Stuart DredgePioneer unveils KURO plasma TVs promising deeper black levels than ever before

This week's hottest high definition stories: Blockbuster support Blu-ray, but do the discs rot?, SIM2 projector, new TVs from Sharp and Pioneer, reviews of JVC and Toshiba, Arcam, Texas Instruments, BrilliantColor

hdtv.jpgThe biggest news this week, though the HD DVD Promotions Group deny it, is that Blockbuster has chosen Blu-ray over HD DVD. Not surprisingly, Sony is very happy about that, and a Panasonic executive thinks it’s game over for HD DVD.

However, the fly in the ointment could be rotting Blu-ray discs. Not good.

SIM2 has rolled out its HT3000E 1080p projector, while Sharp reveal their latest RD2E 100Hz TVs, and Pioneer release their new plasma TV range with 80% deeper blacks.

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Andy MerrettThis week's hottest high definition stories: Blockbuster support Blu-ray, but do the discs rot?, SIM2 projector, new TVs from Sharp and Pioneer, reviews of JVC and Toshiba, Arcam, Texas Instruments, BrilliantColor