Home Theater Review


Pioneer Elite KURO PRO-150FD Plasma HDTV Reviewed

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PioneerKURO-PRO-150FD1.jpgThe $7,500 Elite KURO PRO-150FD is the largest and most expensive model in Pioneer's highly touted 2007 KURO plasma line. Compared with the standard Pioneer-branded KURO displays, the Elite line features more advanced image adjustments and features. This 60-inch plasma HDTV has a 1920 x 1080 resolution and boasts a generous connection panel includes four HDMI, two component video, and one PC input, as well as a CableCARD slot and dual RF inputs to access the internal ATSC, NTSC, and Clear-QAM tuners. One component input is located on the side panel for easy access, and the HDMI inputs accept both 1080p/60 and 1080p/24. Picture-in-picture and the TV Guide on Screen program guide are available, and RS-232 is included for integration into an advanced control system. This TV features Pioneer's Home Media Gallery: You can easily play digital movies, music, and photos via the side-panel USB port, or add the TV to your home network via the back-panel Ethernet port and stream digital media from a PC or DLNA-certified media server.

Additional Resources
• Read more plasma HDTV reviews from HomeTheaterReview.com's staff.
• Explore Blu-ray player options in the Blu-ray Player Review section.

As we mentioned above, the PRO-150FD offers a lot of advanced picture controls. The menu offers seven picture modes, including an Optimum mode that, using a light sensor on the front panel, automatically adjusts the image brightness to suit your viewing conditions. Along with five preset color-temperature options, you get a manual mode that lets you precisely adjust the white balance. The Pro Adjust menu also offers gamma control, four types of noise reduction, two color-space options (one more vivid, one more natural), and a color management system to precisely adjust the six color points. Pioneer also offers three different ways to convert 24p film sources for output on this display: The Standard mode applies traditional 3:2 to convert 24fps film to 30fps video; the Advance mode outputs 24fps to 72fps for a smoother, less juddery presentation; and the Smooth mode appears to do frame interpolation to present even smoother movement. Several features are available help prevent or counteract image retention, a common plasma concern. There are six aspect-ratio options, including a Dot by Dot mode to view 1080i/1080p sources with no overscan.

The PRO-150FD has an attractive gloss-black cabinet with detachable, side-mounting speakers and a subwoofer output to send bass to an outboard subwoofer. Treble, bass, and balance controls are available, as is SRS WOW audio processing.

High Points
• KURO models produce the deepest black levels in the flat-panel world, resulting in a beautifully rich, three-dimensional image.
• The PRO-150HD does an equally good job with high-def and standard-def sources.
• Because it is a plasma, it doesn't suffer from motion blur or viewing-angle issues.
• The PureCinema film mode includes an Advance mode that converts 24-frames-per-second film to 72 fps to reduce film judder, as well as a Smooth mode that renders even smoother motion.
• Connection options are abundant, and the Home Media Gallery allows for viewing and streaming of HD video, music, and photos.

Low Points
• The anti-reflective screen helps minimize light reflections off the glass panel, but plasmas generally aren't as bright as LCD and therefore aren't the best choice for a really bright room.

The Elite KURO PRO-150HD is an outstanding performer with a thorough connection panel and lots of worthy features. Pioneer recently released the new 60-inch, 1080p PRO-151FD, which offers slightly better performance at a lower MSRP of $6,500. However, the new model does not have a CableCARD slot and sports only one component video input, making the original PRO-150FD a better choice for those who want a more versatile connection panel. Either option delivers in performance, and both cost a premium over similarly sized panels.
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