Pioneer's latest Kuro plasmas - the best just keeps getting better
By Adam TURNER
The blacks are even blacker on Pioneer's breath-taking 9th generation plasmas.
This week I sat through an amazing big screen shootout between Pioneer's new 9th generation LX509, the old 8th generation PDP508 and the new entry level C series C509.
LCD is certainly improving, and the new 200Hz Sony Bravias are amazing when it comes to reducing motion blur. Even so, I'd still say any of these 50 inch Pioneer plasma giants would put any LCD to shame when it comes to overall picture quality.
After last year's unveiling of Pioneer's 8th generation PDP508 Kuro I said "the world's best television had just got better", but the new 9th generation Kuros have raised the bar once again.
Pioneer has stopped quoting contrast figures, admitting that buying a television is more than a numbers game and you need to trust your eyes. The contrast on the new plasmas is rated as "extreme". From any other vendor I'd dismiss this as purely marketing drivel, but when you see one of Pioneer's plasmas in action you'll realise it's more than just talk.
The 9th generation's deeper blacks and boosted contrast offer a significantly more vivid picture than the earlier models. The optimum setting - which adjusts the picture according to lighting conditions in the room - has also been improved to tweak aspects such as gamma settings. The C series panels, which are $1000 cheaper, offer roughly the same picture quality as the old 8th generation Kuros.
The other key difference between the LX509 and the entry level C509 is the inclusion of Ethernet. The LX509 is DLNA-compatible and can play files across your network from a PC or network drive. It will play music, photos and video files over the network, unlike the new Sony Bravias which only play music and photos (with Sony expecting you to cough up for a PlayStation 3 if you want to watch video over your network).
LCD might be winning the marketing war, but plasma is still the one to beat when it comes to picture quality. If you're looking to drop some serious money on a high-end LCD, do yourself a favour and check out the new Pioneer plasmas as well.
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