Earlier this year Pioneer was well and truly on the skids. Profits and revenues were down and the company was struggling to make it in the plasma marketplace. This is despite the fact that the company has designed and built the best large plasma TV in the world by a long way.
The big white knight for this company is Sharp Corporation who recently took up a shareholding in Pioneer whose sole energy in the TV has been on delivering the best plasma screens in the business.
But is this enough? If their latest Kuro Plasma is anything to go by the answer is yes and only if they stay at the top end of the market and do not try and compete in the sub 50″ market.
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Users can find an abundance of input and output connectors at the rear of the PDP-LX608A. Connectors include three HDMI ports, a D-sub input, two sets of Component video input, three S-Video inputs, three Composite video inputs, RCA stereo audio input and output jacks, an optical port (Digital out), a Composite video output, and even a PC audio input.
The Pioneer remote is easy to use and is well-labelled. The Pioneer remote can not only control the screen, but can also control set-top boxes, DVD players, and even its Blu-ray player by entering various manufacturer codes. In addition, one can operate products that support the HDMI control functions using the remote control. We turned on the HDMI control function in our Blu-ray player and we were able to rewind, forward, pause, and stop the movie by using the remote’s directional button.
In order to fully enjoy this 60-incher, we suggest users to either fine tune the unit by themselves (by choosing the ‘User’ option) or by asking a professional to manually calibrate the set. Otherwise, one can settle for the preset picture modes (Optimum, Standard, Dynamic, Movie, Sport, and Game) that Pioneer has pre-programmed to the TV.
We have hooked up an HD DVD and Blu-ray player to the PDP-LX608A and have played two different movies to see how well the plasma accommodates the two HD sources. The images in Carlito’s Way (HD DVD) were vivid and colours remained true and constant all throughout a scene. Various outdoor shots were bright and crisp, with everything looking natural while bursting with detail.
We have also played Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Remastered Edition) on Sony’s Blu-ray player and have viewed several dark scenes to test the plasma’s black levels. The blacks were rich and deep and made various scenes (like the alien’s arrival on the last scene) stunning, with us being able to see the contrast and detail on the rocks found on the mountain.
Pioneer was able to achieve deep and intense blacks because of the following innovations: a ‘Crystal Emissive Laser’ that boosts the discharge cycle in each plasma chamber, a ‘Direct Colour Filter’ that minimises external light reflections on the picture from the outside of the panel, a ‘Deep Waffle Rib Structure’ that encapsulates each plasma cell so that emitted light cannot leak into neighbouring cells, and a new video processing chip that creates deeper blacks and more vivid colours.
Finally, the Pioneer PDP-LX608A comes with a light sensor and ‘optimum mode’ that will automatically adjust the picture settings, colour, contrast, brightness, sharpness, and other visual settings, providing the best possible viewing condition all the time.
If you want a large plasma TV that will give you deep blacks, vivid pictures, and ‘intelligent’ features, then Pioneer’s PDP-LX608A may just be the one that you are looking for. Simply put, Pioneer has done a lot of work with their Kuro screens and it definitely shows.
Aspect Ratio: 16:9
Picture in Picture: Yes
Picture Presets: Yes (Optimum, Standard, Dynamic, Movie, Game, User, Sport)
Resolution (pixels): 1920 x 1080
Screen Size: 60″
Headphone Out: Yes (16-32 ohms recommended)
Monitor Out (Composite/L/R): Yes
Subwoofer Out: Yes
Digital Out: Digital audio out (optical)
PC Input: 15 pin D-sub/Audio LR (Stereo mini plug)
Input 1: Component/S-Video/Composite/Audio LR
Input 2: Component/S-Video/Composite/Audio LR
Input 3: HDMI/S-Video/Composite/Audio LR
Input 4: HDMI
Input 5: HDMI
Input 6: S-video/Composite/Audio LR, USB 2.0
Auto Standby – No Operation: Yes
Auto Standby – No Signal: Yes
Dimensions (W x H x D) for Panel: 1472 x 882 x 122mm
Energy Saving: Yes
Power Consumption (Standby): 502W (0.4W)
Power Management (for PC): Yes
SR Remote Function: Yes
Weight (Panel): 55.5kg
Input Signal – HDMI digital and Component analogue
Pioneer Kuro PDP-LX608A | $11,999 | | www.pioneer.com.au
For: Various connectivity ports; Outstanding picture quality; Deep blacks; Intelligent features
Against: Price might put some buyers off
Conclusion: No other screen comes close to what the Pioneer Kuro PDP-LX608A can offer.