Pioneer Elite 60-inch KURO PRO-151FD Reviewed

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It is truly a shame that Pioneer is out of the HDTV business. It seems that plasma displays have become a Wal-Mart commodity with price being the predominant factor driving most consumers. And this is despite that besides sleeping and working, most people spend the vast majority of their time watching television. Regardless, some of us still want the best. Ask any top calibrator or installer and most will tell you that KURO is still the best you can get today. If you can find one.

Additional Resources:
Read news about Pioneer leaving the HDTV market from
• Read a review of the Pioneer Elite KURO PRO-141FD HDTV.
Find a list of reviews of only the best 1080p plasma HDTVs on this resource page.

KURO means black in Japanese. For me, this is befitting not only because
the stand and bezel of the KRUO display is finished in a gorgeous high-gloss, jet black, but also because this plasma display renders absolute blacks that are simply unmatched by any flat panel on the market. When watching a KRUO, gone are the days of seeing gray when you should be seeing black.

The KURO is 1080p resolution and has four HDMI inputs. All inputs can be independently calibrated to maximize the potential of all your video sources. I highly recommend having your KURO display professionally calibrated. Not having your plasma professionally calibrated, and especially a KURO, is simply nonsensical if you want to get the most from your investment. If you can afford the hefty $5,800 price tag of a 60-inch KURO you can afford a $400 calibration. The before and after results will astound you.

The KURO comes with detachable side speakers and a sturdy stand which is already attached to the display right out of the box. While a nice touch, this is almost a necessity given the size and weight of a 60-inch KURO. My KURO is wired to a Sony BDP-S350 Blu-ray player, Lexicon RT-20 DVD Player and DirecTV satellite receiver using HDMI cables from Transparent. For segments of this evaluation, however, I also demoed some value-oriented HDMI cables from VOLO, most notably their top of the line VOLO ProV300 which sells for about $30. The best part about setting up your system with a VOLO ProV300 is its flexibility. The cable is malleable enough, especially relative to other "thick" HDMI cables, that I had no problem threading it through the "maze" behind my system.

High Points
• The 60-inch KURO is the ultimate conversation piece. Even when off, the KURO with its high-gloss, jet black finish and imposing size draws to it all the eyeballs in the room. You can sense the anticipation visitors have about how good the KURO picture will be when turned on just from its sheer looks when it is off.
• Regardless of video source, the KURO's picture is nothing short of spectacular. Not surprising, the KRUO is at its best with 1080p Blu-ray and 1080i HDTV television sources. The KURO makes watching movies more exciting than ever. Even old favorites from days past look thoroughly impressive. I have spent countless hours watching dozens of Blu-ray movies including "Romancing the Stone," "Casino Royale," "No Country for Old Men" and "American Gangster" with sheer joy. Colors were exact, blacks were true and motion tracking during high action scenes were go good you almost feel like you were there. During this segment of the evaluation the VOLO ProV300 cable admirably performed to a level of quality that I would typically expect from a cable two to three times its price tag. With HDTV television sources, and especially fast moving live sports action, the KURO also performed beyond my high expectations. If you are an avid sports fanatic like I am, Major League Baseball has never looked better.
• The KURO has a far better-then-average internal scaler for 480i sources such as DVD. Pioneer gets high marks from me for recognizing that most of us still have large DVD collections and enjoy watching movies that are not yet or may never be available on Blu-ray. Traditional DVD-Video movies looked outstanding and even in the unfortunate circumstance when I have had to watch a program on DIRECTV that was not in high-def, the KURO's scaler made the experience more tolerable than usual. 

Read more about the highs and lows on Page 2.

HTR Product Rating for Pioneer Elite 60-inch KURO PRO-151FD

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• Under normal circumstances a warranty would not be regarded as a positive since most of them are the same. In the case of the KURO, it is comforting that Pioneer, who recently announced its exit from the plasma television business, is committed to putting its conglomerate-type resources to fully support every KURO display sold.

Low Points
• I initially found the 60-inch KURO to be physically noisy. A slight hum emanating from the screen was most noticeable when watching DirecTV and somewhat noticeable with other sources. Over time however, as the set has broken in, the hum has become far less audible. While I am certain that this noise is not related to my setup or wiring having thoroughly tested both, I am not certain that the less audible hum that I hear today during soft audio passages is because the set is broken in or I have simply become "adjusted" and tuned out this annoying aspect of the home theater experience.
• With Pioneer having discontinued the KURO, getting one is tough but not impossible. I recently found mine of all places at Best Buy. The downside to purchasing a KURO at this point, is that unless you have a friend that has one you probably will not be able to demo it in person, especially if you find one 2,000 miles from your home and have to order it sight unseen. 
• Most electronic appliances are magnets for attracting dust and the KURO is no exception. The downside to the KURO's high gloss black finish is that every spec of dust shows itself mightily. I recommend keeping a hand size microfiber dust mop near your AV theater because you are going to need it.
• Pioneer is out of the plasma business. While I have subsequently mentioned that the company will continue to stand fully by its product, the simple fact remain in my view that after that your warrantee expires you will be totally out of luck if you need any service to your KURO display. You simply have to hope, as I have, that your KURO will last well beyond its expected life. My old Fujitsu 50-inch Plasmavision which I purchased back in 2001 still operates beautifully and has never had a hitch. I hope for as much from my KURO display.

The KURO Elite is a serious display for serious viewers with serious wallets. If you are looking for a big, inexpensive HDTV, head to Costco or Wal-Mart because the KRUO is not for you. But if you are looking for the best picture quality and most aesthetically beautiful HDTV on the market, the Pioneer KURO should top your list. But don't wait as they wont last long. When they are all gone, Panasonic Premiere plasmas are new king of the HDTV world when it comes to "black - blacks" from an HDTV. Today's LED backlit LCD HDTVs are far more bright than a plasma but they don't have the color fidelity, the lack of video noise and the deep blacks.

Additional Resources:
Read news about Pioneer leaving the HDTV market from
• Read a review of the Pioneer Elite KURO PRO-141FD HDTV.
Find a list of reviews of only the best 1080p plasma HDTVs on this resource page.

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