Pioneer's Kuro plasma range has long been deemed the pinnacle of picture quality, but while every other TV manufacturer is pumping out the flat panels with new releases every few months, Pioneer has been disconcertingly quiet. Until now.
They've just announced the release of their first 9th Gen Kuro in Australia. 1080p resolution, blacker blacks than you've ever dreamed of, and because it's 9th Gen, all the panels are still made by Pioneer. The company will happily tell you it's the best display they've ever made, as they hand you the price tag of $10,999. And let's hope that you realise before you hand over your cash that this isn't actually a TV - there's no tuner inside. Instead it's a monitor, with plenty of connections for external TV boxes to feed HD signals to the panel via HDMI.Of course, not being a TV isn't all bad - with both Foxtel HD+ and TiVo available now, lots of people watch and record their TV (includng the HD stuff) through a PVR or set-top box. And with Blu-ray and HD gaming machines all using the same HDMI cable, having a screen act solely as a display lets it dump some of the excess bulk and concentrate on just providing awesome pictures.
But then again, $10,999 for a 60-inch monitor does seem rather steep. That's probably why Pioneer are targetting it at the custom install market, a tiny percentage of people buying flat panels.
If you're bitterly disappointed by this news - take heart. There are another four 9th Gen Kuro panels set to launch later this year (although when and how much they'lll cost is still yet to be determined). In the meantime, have a read through the KRP-600M's spec list:
• High-Definition 1080p Resolution (1920 x 1080p) • 60" Diagonal Class / 16:9 Wide-Screen Aspect Ratio • Deep Intense Black Levels for Unmatched Contrast • Open Architecture for Flexible Integration and Custom Control • Dual Menu Structure: User/Installer • Ultra Thin Cosmetic Design (2.5") • Expanded Picture Set Up and Adjustment for Custom Calibration (ISFccc, Exclusive Blue only mode) • IP Control for set up, control, configuration and self-diagnostics • RS-232C Control • IR Repeater • Additional Integrator features: Studio, Monotone, FRC (Frame Rate Conversion) and Mirror mode • World wide signal support: NTSC, PAL & SECAM
KURO Features • New Optimum Mode: Automatically analyzes and adjusts video content and room light conditions for the optimum picture • New Room Light Sensor • Image Orbiter (Off / Mode 1 / Mode 2) • New Energy Save Mode (Picture Off / Standard / Save 1 / Save 2) • Picture Adjustment Comparison (Compare Before / After picture images while adjusting settings) • 2 Independent HDMI 1.3 inputs with KURO Link and ability to accept 1080p True24/60Hz signal • 1 DVI • Remote Control: Illuminated / Preset Mode / Learning Mode
Picture Settings • A/V Selection memory - 8 options for viewing preferences: Optimum / Standard / Dynamic / Movie / Pure / Sport / Game / User (PC input: only Standard & User) • Aspect Ratio Control - 13 positions: Auto* / FULL (for SD & PC) / Full1 (only for HD) / FuLL2 (only for HD) / FULL 14:9* / Dot by Dot* / Zoom* / CINEMA* / CINEMA 14:9* / 4:3 / WIDE (only for SD)* / *Except PC signal • Advanced Picture-in-Picture (4 positions), Picture-side-Picture (3 patterns) / SWAP and Still Picture capability • After Image Reduction Function • Orbiter (Off / Mode / Mode 2) • Auto Size (Off / Natural / Wide-Zoom) • Side Mask Detection (Mode 1 - for black side masks / Mode 2 - for black & illustrated side masks) • Side Mask Brightness Sync (Fixed / Auto) • Video Pattern (White Bar) • Game Control Preference (AV Selection: only Game) (Off / On) • Room Light Sensor (Off / Mode 1 / Mode 2)
Video Processing Technology • Picture Detail Settings* - DRE Picture, Black Level, ACL, Enhance Mode, Gamma and CTI *No menu items for these functions • Noise Reduction Setting - 3 DNR, Field NR, Block NR, Mosquito NR • Colour Detail Settings - Colour Temperature (Pre-settings), (Manual), CTI, Colour Management • 3DYC (Off / High / Mid / Low) • IP Mode (1 / 2 / 3) • Drive Mode (1/ 2 / 3)
Video & Audio Connectivity • Inputs • 2 Independent HDMI 1.3 • 1 DVI w/HDCP • 1 Component • 1 Composite • 1 RS-232C • LAN (10/100 Base-T Ethernet) for IP Control • PC • 1 Stereo Mini • Output • IR Repeater • Product Dimensions • Panel (W x H D): 1465mm x 876mm x 64mm • Panel Weight: 50kg