Pioneer recently added two new "limited run" models to its 2008 line of KURO plasmas: These Elite Signature Series models are the crème of the KURO crop, handpicked off the assembly line, inspected, and certified as the best of the best. Sold only through specialty retailers who have been trained to set them up, the Signature Series panels are designed to have an open architecture, and they utilize an advanced IP control platform that gives the installer an unmatched level of access and customization. The Signature Series includes the 50-inch PRO-101FD and the 60-inch PRO-141FD. Both are 1080p HD monitors, so they lack internal TV tuners. This allows the panels to measure just 2.5 inches deep, but it means you must mate them with an outboard tuner, cable box, or satellite box to receive TV programming. These monitors also don't come with speakers or a stand, although an optional stand is available.
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The PRO-141FD has a healthy connection panel that includes four HDMI, one component video, one DVI, and one PC input, as well as RS-232 and IR ports for integration into an advanced control system. An Ethernet port allows for IP setup, remote monitoring, and diagnostics. This model does not offer the Home Media Gallery function, which allows you to stream media from a PC or DLNA-compliant server, found on other Elite KURO TVs. The HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24, and picture-in-picture functionality is available.
The PRO-141FD's setup menu has a dual structure that offers different controls for the consumer and installer. Even on the consumer end, the PRO-141FD offers more adjustments than you'll find with most plasmas. For starters, the monitor has eight picture modes, including an Optimum mode that (in conjunction with light sensor on the front panel) automatically adjusts the picture quality to suit your viewing conditions. There are six color-temperature options, including a manual mode that lets you precisely adjust the white balance. In addition to gamma and advanced noise-reduction controls, Pioneer includes two color-space options (one more vivid, one more natural), plus a color-management system to precisely adjust the six color points. Pioneer also offers three different ways to handle film sources for output on this display: The Standard mode offers traditional 3:2 pulldown detection; the Advance mode outputs 24fps content at 72Hz for a smoother, less juddery presentation; and the Smooth mode appears to do frame interpolation to present even smoother movement. The menu also includes a new Blue Only mode that makes it easier to correctly set the color control. Several features are available to help prevent or counteract image retention. There are nine total aspect-ratio options for HD and SD sources, including a Dot by Dot mode to view 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan.
Should you or your installer opt to add the PRO-141FD to a network via the Ethernet port, you can utilize the IP control function, which includes a virtual remote, access to picture and general setup parameters, and even the ability to receive emails when there is a system error or malfunction.
Read The High Points, Low Points and Conclusion on Page 2