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KURO Plasmas & Blu-ray from Pioneer

Pioneer Elite Blu-RayLate last year, I spent an afternoon in the Pioneer Canadian showroom watching and testing these Elite products with a variety of Blu-Ray discs and DVD test material, including Digital Video Essentials, and a new Blu-ray disc that’s very revealing of such things as motion artifacts, called FPD Benchmark Software, which comes from Japan. With both TV/monitors hooked up via HDMI to another Elite product, the SC-09TX receiver, I was able to get a good look at just about the finest plasma performance I’ve ever seen. More on that below, but first a brief description of the two HTDVs and the Blu-ray player…”

Pioneer Elite BDP-HD1 Blu-Ray & DVD Player

Pioneer Elite Blu-Ray“It seems Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are fighting their marginal little format war in a dusty corner of some video arcade, Blu-Ray quite literally, as its main growth is in game consoles. Pioneer’s Elite division, arguably designer and manufacturer of the most consistently outstanding players of video discs in general, and DVDs specifically in recent history, has embraced the Blu-Ray format with this machine…”

Pioneer Elite System: PRO-1140 HD Plasma, VSX-84TX Receiver, DV-46AV Universal DVD Player

Pioneer Pro 1140 HD Plasma

“A company that still beats the drum for plasma while others cut and run, as our temporary prime minster would say, Pioneer has certainly made its statement in the quality of picture offered, and the progressive improvement since the introduction of these big screen flat panels. Price points have dropped at retail, though not quite so quickly as those of the competing technologies, for example, LCD, which has made a big charge in its various iterations by the different manufacturers, most recently Sharp, with its Aquos series. The Pioneer Elite PRO-1140HD TV/monitor is therefore a statement product in quality, if not in price, from Pioneer Elite…”

Pioneer Elite PRO-910 HD Plasma Display and Media Receiver

Pioneer Elite Pro-910 HD Plasma Display

“The PRO-910HD is the first Pioneer plasma in our experience to come with an outboard controller/tuner box, with ATSC digital tuner, as well as VHF/UHF reception. It also handles cable or satellite digital services. Connection to the display is via a single output that Pioneer calls their iLink (an IEEE 1394 “Firewire”) cable. However, the RO4U media receiver/processor has numerous inputs on both front and rear panels…”

Pioneer Elite DV-47A Multichannel DVD-A/SACD Player

Pioneer Elite DV-47A

“I’ve argued that unless all DVD and SACD players are like this one, both formats will fail, or at best limp along for a few years like SQ surround sound did. The DV-47A combines both DVD-A and SACD multichannel capability, going a step beyond our reference DV-AX10, which offers only stereo SACD reproduction…”

Pioneer Elite VSX-49TX Home Theatre Receiver

Pioneer VSX-49TX Receiver

“According to the manual, the VSX-49TX is “the first receiver in the world to be THX Ultra2 certified”. Among the new technologies embodied in this are “ASA (Advanced Speaker Array [in case you thought it might be something for a headache]), which can process any 5.1 channel source for 7.1 channel playback (THX Ultra2 Cinema and THX MusicMode), or 6.1 channel playback (THX Surround EX)…”

Pioneer Elite Pro-1000HD 50 inch Plasma Display

Pioneer Elite PRO-1000HD

“The Elite PRO-1000HD is either the third or fourth generation plasma model from Pioneer, and incorporates all the improvements they’ve made to this technology. Most of these are in the areas of resolution and motion artifacts, both serious considerations with fixed pixel displays. In the past, plasma sets have tended to work best when a scaler or line doubler is between the video source and the display to provide compensation for artifacts, and provide the exact resolution that works best with the particular display…”

Pioneer Elite DV-AX10 DVD-Audio/Video Player

Pioneer DVD-AX10

“I reviewed this DVD-A player in the Winter of 2000 (Vol. 19 #3), and had some high praise for the sound quality of the DV-AX10 heard through its companion C-AX10 digital preamplifier. However, that early sample had no analog output, and recognized but did not output sound from SACDs. Well, now we have the production model of the AX10, and it’s impressive not only as an audio player, but as a video one…”

Pioneer Elite PRO-710 HD 64 inch Rear Projection TV

Pioneer Elite HT Pro 710

“My wife didn’t buy it, but for the last year or more I’ve felt handicapped in reviewing the latest video gear because I didn’t have a high resolution digital television. That meant no component inputs, no progressive scan capability, and limited resolution in image display. OK, work with me on this…I needed a newer, bigger, better video centrepiece…”

Pioneer Elite PDR-09RW CD Recorder

Pioneer Elite PDR-09 CD Recorder

“As owner of a PDR-05 CD recorder, I didn’t find too many surprises in its Elite successor, with all the same features and a few more to boot. The main extra capability is that of recording rewriteable CD-Rs, called CD-RWs. These can be erased starting with the last track recorded, or by erasing the whole disc for re-use…”

Pioneer Elite DV-09 DVD/CD Player

Pioneer Elite DV-09 DVD/Cd player

“The DV-09 weighs almost 35 pounds, with a great deal more internal damping, bracing, and shielding than any other player in my experience. In addition to dual composite and S-video outputs, it also provides component video outputs (3 RCA). There are also dual stereo analog audio outputs, and optical and coaxial PCM/Dolby Digital/DTS RCAs, with an additional straight PCM RCA coaxial out…”


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