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Good: Does what it says on the tin... amazing blacks, stunning images!!
Bad: Slight buzzing when displaying ultra bright images
Comment: Well I finallly consigned my old 4 by 3 Sony Triniton CRT to the big TV dump in the sky, as I'd been desperately holding out for a flat screen that could match the old war horse for black performance, as well as also giving standard definition material a run for its money and meet the minimum requirements of TVs bearing the HD ready logo (720p is enough for me folks).
In this Pioneer Kuro I found everything I was looking for, in fact I found alot more than I needed. It's image quality is truly amazing!
I orginally had my heart set on the 2007 plasma range from Panasonic, they seemed better value with also excellent connectivity, but at the last moment I thought I'd fork out the extra cash for a Kuro. Quite simply I was standing in a show room with the Panasonic Vierra & Pioneer Kuro side by side with the same signal being fed to them... and the Kuro had the edge in performance, it was particulary noticable whilst looking at the shades of colour on an actor's face, or the depth of blacks. I really did feel the I could see where the extra money was going if one forked out the silly amount of cash these beasts cost. My main concern about LCD and plamas has always been my utter disappointment whilst viewing standard definition broadcasts, I already have a 26inch Panasonic Vierra LCD, and frankly as lovely as it is, my old CRT would wipe the floor with it whilst showing Freeview images (in terms of crispness), not so with the Kuro thankfully. I've found watching Freeview a joy to say the least on the new gizmo!
Other things that were fun were the USB slot, it's already proved great for showing holiday snaps, I can now see the point of taking 7 mega pixel photos. Even when sprawled across the 42 inch screen images seem crisp enough to show the neighbours, the photo gallery software that kicks in upon one plugging in a USB memory dongle is pretty decent, but be prepared to give it time to load your picture thumbnails.
To be honest there was alot of hype on the Pioneer site about the images the unit could produce, but I really think they might have a point, I can't see anything else that can touch it for the overall viewing experience. I should say at this point DVD play back looked fantastic but I kind of expected that of a unit that could make Freeview look good.
I have no regrets at all about the open wallet surgery I am now recovering from, but it's only fair I should mention the minus points that I havn't found a problem. Firstly, the EPG (electronic programme guide) is ok, but I've seen better ones especially on my Vierra and on my friends new Samsung. Secondly, when the unit is displaying ultra bright images and there's no voice or music.. the silence gives away the slight buzzing that I am told is common to many plasmas when kicking out lots of light... but to be brutally honest these issues don't bother me when watching Freeview/Sky or DVD films, the image quality just blew me away. For audio, if you're a film fanatic you'll need a full audio cinema set up, the inbuilt speakers however lovely and discrete won't pack enough punch. For myself however a tweak on the bass setting is enough for explosions to sound decent whilst not waking up the neighbours toddlers!
In short I'd say if anyone really thinks LCD can out perform plasma for overall picture quality... they havn't seen a Kuro! :o)
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