It's time people. It's time to get over Pioneer's KURO plasma HDTV. Yes, they got all kinds of enthusiast ink from the top publications including reviews from us here at HomeTheaterReview.com. We reviewed the Pioneer Elite KURO Pro 115, the Pioneer Pro-141FD, the Pioneer Pro-111FD, the Pioneer Pro-150FD as well as other high end plasma sets - but it's been over two years since Pioneer pulled the plug on their lauded HDTVs. In the fast-paced world of flat HDTVs, Pioneer's KURO sets are more a part of 1080p's history than the legend that they've become in some circles.
Did Pioneer KURO have the best blacks at the time they were on the market? Yes they did - but Panasonic was very close behind even in KURO's heyday. Today Panasonic's, LG's and even Samsung's plasma HDTVs are better than Pioneer KURO sets, yet somehow the KURO sets continue a legacy that respectfully many customers were not willing to support. What they buy at the time, in the early parts of an ugly recession, is more of the Vizio/Westinghouse "Twice the TV screen for half of the price" value proposition as opposed to the model of "The best HDTV money can buy at nearly double the price of other sets." If people want the best performance - they have to pay for it and when it came to KURO, expensive, high performance HDTVs didn't sell as well when the housing market went into the tank along with the global economy. Additionally, few of KURO's supporters today call the brand out for their oddball, eyeball campaigns that used a Japanese word to sell HDTVs with the best black levels by using a foreign language. It was too artsy and too inconsistent. I remember the click rates for Sony, Toshiba and others at the time being much higher, as scary eyes don't sell HDTVs the same way that simple copy like "The best black level money can buy" statements do.
Click on over to Page 2 to FINALLY get over the KURO . . .
Sharp was smart to license the brand name Elite from Pioneer but it also signals that Pioneer isn't likely to ever get back into the high end HDTV market, so many lament the death of the KURO brand. On Craigslist.com, Pioneer 50 and 60 inch KURO plasma HDTVs sell for just hundreds of dollars below their retail asking price when bigger, brighter and better HDTVs that come with a full warranty and no hours on the set sell for comparable (or even lower) prices at the best retailers in America. While this might be the only brand of flat HDTV that retained its value over time - that is a ticking time bomb if you are looking at your HDTV as an asset-grade AV component.
If you are in the market for the best in flat HDTVs right now - you've got fantastic options all over the place. There are top performing sets that have active 3D, passive 3D (if you are into 3D) and deep black levels that surpass that of the best HDTVs from years ago. You have HDTV options that have larger screen width yet are paper-thin. You have options that refresh faster. You have options that are brighter. You have options that are less expensive.
It's time to finally get over Pioneer's KURO brand of plasma HDTVs. Pioneer has and we all should follow their lead, as there are exciting, new, high performance HDTVs that are just plain better. KURO will always have its spot in home theater history but as of today, that's where they belong - as a page in the story of the development of HDTV.
Check out our gallery of Crazy TV Designs below . . .