When it comes to flat panels, we at Tech2 try and mop up every brand in the market for a review, sooner or later. In the case of Pioneer TVs, we've been following their trail, and unfortunately there has been no real footprint in India, until now. Alpha Radios, New Delhi, claim distributorship, and have generously sent us their high end, largest size plasma screen in stock. It looks magnificent in our labs...
Design and Features
The bezel is black all over, and straight edged like a ruler. The finish is glossy, across the board, all the way to the thick block-like stand. The stand too is flat and rectangular, thus giving the TV a very heavy duty look. Speaking of heavy, this beast will require two healthy men to lug it around. It’s definitely one of the heavier units out there. The right bottom edge, contains a row of tiny round push buttons for power and navigation.
The connections are scattered all over the back, and this model has few of them facing downwards, mainly the 3 HDMI ins. Others like the component in and stereo audio out are positioned on a lower panel facing straight out. There is also a USB input and PC (D-sub) in. As usual the left side panel also contains few connections like headphone out and composite video.
There are spring clip style speaker outs on the back panel; 2 channels for a stereo output directly to two speakers. The total power provided is 34 watts, which is decent enough power for a medium sized room. The plasma panel is an 8th generation Kuro panel and screen size is 60 inches with a native resolution of 1920 x 1080. The contrast ratio is 20,000:1. It's got something called Advanced CEL (Crystal Emissive Layer) to reproduce deeper blacks. It has Field Noise Reduction, Block Noise Reduction, Mosquito Noise Reduction as features accessible from the menu.
First comes the calibration and tweaking session with the menu. The menu system is superb. It has an in depth color management section, noise reduction options, black adjust etc. I used DVE Disc, Display mate and HCFR Colormeter software, then moved on to Ratatouille and I am Legend for movies and finally played Mortal Kombat Vs DC comics on the PS3.
The first step was to see greyscale accuracy, and this plasma screen was smooth and confident. There was no wavering of levels across the board from 0 -100 IRE. The greyscale bars came out well, and this was with minimal tweaking on the contrast controls. I had to reduce contrast just a bit as out of the box, the whitest white were shouting out a little. Technically speaking the white was getting clipped. Once corrected, the whites were beautiful.
On the other end of the dynamic range, our favorite color in TVs - black - was something I have personally never seen so deep in the LCDs I generally review. And the fine gradation in levels near and around pure black also was clearly defined. The less said the better. The blacks were awesome. This was at a brightness setting just a little below half.
Out of the box, the green looked a little more saturated, just slightly. I was using RGB filters generated via software to check the levels of individual RGB levels, in accordance to white. This is where green was slightly off. Now since the TV does cost so much I have to mention small nitty gritties. These issues did not come up at all when watching a film or playing a game.
Finally for motion; again the performance was brilliant, but not without a few iffys. Edges juddered and jaggied a bit, even on pure 1080p signals. A faint level of noise was visible in light colored patches, but this was on sitting close while gaming, which is not recommended. There was hardly aliasing dirt and blur, just sharp corners and fine lines.
The price is a whopping Rs. 4,49,000. The thing is , that this TV will kill other lesser priced ones, and all the issues I’ve mentioned in the performance section are strictly adhering to rigid test patterns, just because it costs so much. The verdict is that the TV has its own league, probably the Benz in plasma. Worth the money? Almost.
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