Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Pioneer's 1080p KURO Plasma HDTV - Has Tube TV Finally Met Its Match?

The best CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions ever made were created toward the end of that technology's life span. Early 21st century 34-inch widescreen CRT sets from Sony and 38-inch sets from Loewe presented stunning HDTV images, earned rave reviews from consumers and press alike, and spoiled us while new technologies such as LCD and plasma tried (and failed) to catch up in picture quality. Oh sure, flat panels had their sex appeal (just try to hang a tube TV on the wall), modern conveniences like HDMI inputs, and size advantages, but tube TVs ruled the roost for black level reproduction and contrast. Now I do believe I have seen a set that is a worthy successor to the venerable tube: Pioneer's KURO plasma flat panel.

KURO, roughly translated from the Japanese, means "Really Really BLACK!" And they're not kidding. The single element that can make or break a television, in terms of its portrayal of 3-dimensional images that seem to pop right off the screen is its portrayal of deep, rich blacks. And Pioneer's KURO line has gone where no flat panel has gone before in the reproduction of this difficult shade. When compared side by side even to last year's excellent Pro-FHD1 1080p plasma model, the new 50-inch Pioneer Elite PRO-110FD ($6000, now shipping) presents even richer, more vivid colors, exceptional detail and velvety smooth blacks, so deep they appear to absorb, rather than reflect, ambient light.

Pioneer's Elite Kuro PRO-150FD presents 60 inches of full HD pure plasma goodness.

I don't normally rave about products at trade shows (frankly, because most products don't reach their potential in this cacophonous, brightly lit environment), but to my eyes, the KURO sets presented the most vibrant and enjoyable flat panel images at the show. In the darkened demo environment, the set looked excellent, but even out on the showroom floor, the KURO stood out from the competition, not only in picture quality but in sleek cabinet design. Even the Pioneer logo has been given the high-end treatment with the badge appearing in inlaid metallic finish within the center of the HDTV's frame, rather than as a stuck-on plastic badge.

Pioneer's new KURO plasma HDTV line includes 720p and 1080p models, starting with the 42-inch PDP-4280HD (1024x768 resolution, $2700) up to the 60-inch Elite PRO-150FD (1920x1080 resolution, $7500).


http://www.bigpicturebigsound.com/pioneer-kuro-plasma-hdtv-1233.shtml

5 comments:

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