Blu-ray Evaluation: The Bank Job
Lionsgate’s opener features transmission-like gears, some of which are burnished with fine brush marks that are easily evident, as you would expect from a 1080p display.
This movie’s color is all over the map. Many indoor scenes feature a yellowish, sepia-like tone, while outdoor scenes feature a more natural color palette. The Pioneer’s excellent colorimetry reveals the cinema photographer’s intent to produce a ’70’s “feel.”
A jet-black vintage Jaguar saloon (sports sedan) with corresponding black interior looks stunning – here is where an excellent plasma punches the lights out of most LCD displays.
Dimly lit tunnel scenes as the crooks work their way underneath to the bank vault are clear, with easily visible details – another strength that plasma has over LCD (but the gap is narrowing somewhat lately).
Broadcast HDTV Evaluation: Real Time with Bill Maher (HBO)
Featuring first-rate production values, this on-the-edge satirical talk show is captured in crisp 1080i, with easily discernable set details that show some of the background cabinetry could use a paint touch-up.
Live direct-to-HD video of real people in a studio setting is a top choice for evaluating skin tones, and here this latest Kuro Elite plasma is as good as its predecessors at outputting natural, realistic flesh colors, free of overt embellishment.
Two of the three season-opener guests are wearing dark black outfits, and here the Pioneer shows off plasma’s superiority over LCD at delivering sumptuous deep blacks.
The studio setting isn’t awash with light all over the place, a credit to the lighting designer. Guest commentators are in front of set elements that are in the shadows, but are otherwise easily discernable.
This latest (and sadly, last) Kuro Elite plasma monitor builds on the strengths of its predecessors, with a host of custom installation-friendly features, and a simply gorgeous picture (when in Pure mode) that meets, to the highest degree I’ve ever seen, the exact colorimetry and gray scale characteristics laid out in the HDTV technical standard. With so many other sets, achieving this lofty goal isn’t always possible, even after a thorough professional calibration.
This is an absolutely superb performer in all critical respects, and can be recommended without hesitation for those looking for the best possible flat panel HD picture quality.
SPECS & PRICING
Pioneer Kuro Elite PDP-101FD
Screen size: 50” diagonal
Pixel resolution: 1920 x 1080
1:1 Mode: Yes
Video inputs: 4 HDMI, 1 DVI, 1 component, 1 composite, 1 RGB PC
Other connections: 1 RJ-45 LAN, 1 RS-232C serial port (for service), 1 IR output
Dimensions (W x H x D): 48.5” x 28.5” x 2.5” (w/o optional stand)
Weight: 69.2 lb.
Warranty: 2 years parts & labor