Pioneer HDTV - Pioneer HDTV Reviews

Pioneer, long known for excellent audio equipment, has moved into television in a big way in recent years. Sizes on plasma Pioneer HDTV sets range primarily from 42 inch to 50 inch, with prices as low as $1,700 all the way up to over $6,500.

All Pioneer HDTV sets offer a version of 3-2 pulldown, which they call Advanced PureCinema. This feature allows the set to manipulate film based source material on DVD to provide the best quality picture on a HDTV set.

HDTV is, after all like every TV, a video reproduction system. Technical differences in frame rates and other factors always make conversion necessary for non broadcast source material and even much broadcast material today. How well the set performs that conversion plays a large role in picture quality.

All Pioneer HDTV sets offer a Digital Cable Ready or DCR capability, making, in some cases, the use of an external cable box unnecessary. Beware of that phrase 'in some cases'. Not all features are always supported, such as 'on demand', and not all cable companies broadcasts are compatible. Check with your area's provider.

As you would expect with a quality plasma Pioneer HDTV set, color reproduction is excellent and deep blacks and good contrast are the norm. The bright, 1100 cd/m^2, screens are among the best.

The 50 inch Pioneer HDTV PRO-1130HD set is part of Pioneer's Elite line, the top of the line. Resolution is on the low side at 1024 x 768, but it includes detachable side mounted speakers.

On the upside, the set provides excellent conversion capability for handling the wide variety of sources available today. Often HDTV sets do a poor job of converting 480i or 480p material to the 1080i that HDTV is capable of. Pioneer competes well in this area.

The set handles another kind of conversion well, also: scaling. Standard TV material is in 4:3 aspect ratio, films in the now familiar 16:9 standard on HDTV sets. Sets can stretch the image to convert one to the other, or crop or zoom. The PRO-1130HD provides the option to select the one most comfortable to you.

But, not surprisingly, the set shines best with full HD material. 1080i feeds provide fine detail with excellent color reproduction over a 170 degree viewing angle. When coupled with an HD DVD or Blu-ray using a HD disc, we would expect the set to live up to its full capability.

Similar picture quality is available for much less (about $2,000 less) than the $6,500 price tag in the PDP-5050HD Pioneer HDTV set. This set offers an excellent 4000:1 contrast ratio, using the same plasma element as the higher end unit.