Pioneer Kuro PDP-5010FD Plasma HDTV
At a Glance
This very expensive plasma HDTV shows good color reproduction and strong picture detail, and it has great built-in speakers.
Pioneer's Kuro PDP-5010FD HDTV produced marvelous images, with deep blacks, in our tests, but this 50-inch plasma set is pricey at $4500.
The Kuro PDP-5010FD scored near the top of our performance tests. Detail in dark areas was impressive, particularly in a night scene from Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. High-definition movies such as Mission Impossible III and Corpse Bride popped with color. Jurors found accurate skin tones in the cast members of The George Lopez Show, and general brightness and contrast on both standard- and high-definition images were first rate.
The Kuro--which means "black" in Japanese--promises deeper blacks than its predecessors could produce, thanks to a combination of new digital processing, color filtering, and the company's Crystal Emissive Layer, which permits very high contrast.
The PDP-5010FD's built-in TV speakers are among the best we've heard. The TV itself has audio amplifiers, and the detachable speakers have woofer and tweeter components. Audio in a Blu-ray version of Phantom of the Opera had extremely good range and clarity. The speakers, the thin glossy bezel, and the rectangular TV stand form an uncomplicated and attractive combination. The light sensor in the lower right corner enables the Optimum Video Mode to adjust TV brightness automatically, depending on the amount of light in the room.
The neatly organized silver remote has pale white rubberized buttons that glow in the dark. The remote combines on-screen display (OSD) menu and submenu access, and it provides shortcuts to such common functions as input switching and the TV Guide.
The Kuro PDP-5010FD set offers a slew of other connectors, including four HDMI inputs, two component ports, three composite ports, and a USB port for attaching a flash-card reader so you can view digital images on the TV. I attached a Lexar card reader; after I figured out that I had to press the Home Menu button and choose the Home Gallery setting on the OSD, the slideshow of my pictures ran smoothly. A CableCard slot is built in to this set, enabling you to replace the cable box with a thin card, permanently hiding your cable source from view. The set doesn't offer any cable management aids, however.
The well-rounded Pioneer Kuro PDP-5010FD offers a wonderful combination of performance and features. Its advanced technology resulted in impressively deep blacks and rich colors, though these come at a high price. If you have the budget for it, however, you won't be disappointed.