Pioneer Kuro KRL-37V LCD TV
LCD with with plasma pretensions
Review Pioneer makes great plasma TVs featuring the deep blacks and impressively high contrast that this technology offers. For years the company’s mantra was akin to ‘Plasma good, LCD bad’. So it was a surprise last year when Pioneer announced it would be making LCD screens. Like the plasma models, these screens are called Kuro. The word is Japanese for black and the brand is synonymous with high-contrast, high-priced, high-performance screens.
Black is black: Pioneer's Kuro KRL-37V
The thinking behind LCD sets, Pioneer explained, was the opportunity to make smaller screens – a place where plasma cannot easily go. After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Pioneer plasma smaller than 50 inches, and not everyone has room for that or its 60in sibling. So, by utilising the high-contrast filter used on its plasma models, Pioneer claims this new Kuro range affords deeper blacks than previously seen on LCDs.
The Kuro KRL-37V is one of the first LCD TVs from Pioneer, with a panel made in conjunction with Sharp. Before we even get to look at the screen, there’s a nice-if-tiny detail to enjoy. As you unpack the TV, the screen stand is packed separately in protective foam. You need to assemble this and the cute detail is that Pioneer supplies a long-bladed screwdriver to make this a simple matter. Thoughtful.
Once assembled, the screen looks smart but perhaps not outstanding. Although the brushed aluminium is classy and outguns the ubiquitous high-gloss black plastic of many rivals, its finish may be too subtle to be immediately eye-catching. No big speakers to bulge the frame, thank goodness, but hardly the fetching slimmer bezel of Toshiba’s PictureFrame TVs either.
Setup is simple enough – though as you plug in your Sky+ HD box, Blu-ray player and PS3 you’ll notice you’ve just used up all the HDMI sockets. For the price premium this set commands, a fourth socket on the side of the TV would have been expected, but no, three’s your lot. Otherwise, the interfacing is standard: component, composite and so on are all here.
Socket central, but only three HDMI connectors
The satisfyingly heavy, classily built remote control is covered in tiny well-labelled buttons and is enjoyable to use, but here’s no backlight, which is a shame. Press the power button and an onscreen menu leaps into view to choose language and locale. TV tuning of digital stations commences – showing a highly detailed display listing every station’s frequency – before putting the channels in order.
Full HD (@Dan)
One good thing about Full HD is that 1080 content need not be resampled, and 720 content can be resampled very simply. Whereas it's all too easy to mess it up with a 1366x768 screen.
"Setup is simple enough – though as you plug in your Sky+ HD box, Blu-ray player and PS3 you’ll notice you’ve just used up all the HDMI sockets. For the price premium this set commands, a fourth socket on the side of the TV would have been expected, but no, three’s your lot."
You want four HDMI sockets? Why? Please explain why it should have 4?
3. Games console
What you plugging into the fourth that wouldn't actually replace one of the others?
Try finding an amp with 4 HDMI inputs for a reasonable price because that's what stands in between most sources and a high end panel.
It's as if you're just trying to find something to bitch about.
Re:Blu-ray AND PS3?
No, the PS3 does not piss over all but the very top end blu-ray players. Not even close. True when it first came out but not even close now. sony 350 and Panasonic BD35 both rated higher and both nowhere near top end.
They pulled out largely due to the strong Yen making it very expensive (and therefore unprofitable) for them to make the panels, not because they didn't think they were a success.
I've heard (unconfirmed) rumours that they will continue to make plasma TVs by sourcing the panels from other brands. If so, I have doubts about the quality of such.
The real question...
The consensus, at least until recently, was that full-HD was useless on anything below 42 inches. Nevertheless, manufacturers across the board added it to various TVs because gullible people wouldn't touch buy unless it had a full complement of mystery acronyms.
The real question is whether this is worth the extra money over the Panasonic 37PX80 plasma. The Panasonic is considered a bargain at £600-700, not least because it manages to keep the price down by avoiding un-necessary spec add-ons.
"After all, you’d be hard-pressed to find a Pioneer plasma smaller than 50 inches"
Umm - no, not all. Sorry, but all a bit nonsense that whole section about size.