Let's try and take things one by one....
Is there a way to set specific video parameters for each input on the Pioneer?
you can do this with the Pioneer.
If you go to page 52 in the owners Manual which discusses Video Parameters, at the top it states: All of the Setting Items can be set per Input Function.
Obviously some parameters that are available depend on the Input selected.
With a previous Denon, I was able to set the video conversion settings independently for each input.
you can do this with the Pioneer.
Again if you go to page 52 (Section 9) under the "Video Parameter Menu"
The first item listed is "Video Conversion" with a choice of "On" or "Off"
Thankfully the Pioneer does that.
Since all my sources go through the receiver, I want to be able to change the video settings based on the source.
I would LOVE to use my eyes to see how the adjustments affect the picture, but it's hard when the settings can only be adjusted through the display on the unit and not a TV. Maybe it's my eyesight, but I just can't see the display on the unit when I'm sitting 15 feet away from it. At least with the SC-37 and the RF remote, I could see the settings on the remote, but with this unit it's nearly impossible to see how the video or audio settings affect the output.
The Video settings that you set for say your Xbox 360 is or should be a one time affair. Get a chair and snuggle up to the E52 to make your initial Input Settings.
Based on the equipment present at that specific Input.
Once this is done your X-Box 360 should be done, now sit 15, 20 or 30 feet away, confident in the fact that when you select the X-Box 360 Input it will appear on your HDTV exactly as you wanted and had previously selected.
Plus because the Pioneer's Remote has Illuminated Buttons you can easily see (if you remember) which HDMI Input button is for your X-Box 360.
I would rather go with the more expensive Denon unit that is easier to use and doesn't require constant changes to the video settings.
now that you know about the above Features that the Elite VSX 52 & 53 has, you would not need to do that.
constant changes to the video settings.
Are not needed. Set 'em and Forget 'em!
Your Good to go. There is a Video Parameter button located on the Remote that does let you walk through the adjustments on the fly...but you would need to see the front panel.
Do you ever get up and walk around, going to grab a Soda or a Beer or Snack and you could walk by your Elite's front panel?
Forgetting ALL else though, I think that the Pioneer's Front Panel Layout and over-all look is much nicer than the Denon.
I also like the Controls available behind the "Elite" drop down front door.
I mean who does not like those drop down hidden panels on the front of A/V Equipment!
At least know that both the Pioneer and Denon can do the same things (except for the GUI)
Also, for the same price of the Denon AVR-3312, the Elite VSX 53 also has the 2nd HDMI Out.
But bottom line is this..
If you really want to see your GUI as an Overlay and feel more comfortable with the Denon, your Happiness is our main concern in here!
Go for the Denon! And I'm not trying to be a Smart Ass, I am serious, you have to live with it not me or anyone else, it is also a personal choice!
I'm just a Pioneer Guy! The Pioneer Elite just looks Great next to my Pioneer Kuro 50" PLasma HDTV.
I mean it's Pioneer and Pioneer, to me it's just a "Sweet Setup!"
Find your "Sweet Setup!" We ALL Deserve one!
PS. If you do compare them "Sound Wise" report back on what you think, I'd be interested in that.
So far everyone has said that the new Elite's DO Sound Great!