Pros + Picture really is the best you can get as far as HD is concerned
+ Blacks are amazing
+ Sound is wonderful
+ Lots of hook-ups for virtually everything you need
Cons - Lack of multiple connections such as for S-video and component video
Summary When I first saw this TV online, I laughed about the idea of spending $4500 (at Best Buy) on a toy. I did plan to get the 50" Elite at Best Buy, because $3000 was the most I was willing to pay for a large TV, and the only reason I considered the Elite over the wonderful 58" Panasonic was because I compared the Elite to the Panasonic and fell in love with the Pioneer. However, long story short, my wife wasn't satisfied with the smaller Elite, so I shelled out the money for the 60" (domestic politics, am I right fellas?!).
Setup on this TV will take you at least a couple of hours unless you're an expert at electronics setup; there are a lot of screws and parts, and because it takes for-freakin'-ever to find all the digital channels during set-up (if you have a cable or satellite box, you can probably bypass channel set-up, which is what I did halfway through). Thankfully, Pioneer's manual is fairly intuitive and thought-out (plus it's a pretty, glossy black, so it looks fancy). Oh, and - if it matches your room - be sure to get a piano black stand to match the TV.
Now, for the actual TV review. To sum it up: Oh my gosh!!!! This is the best television I have ever owned, which is saying a lot because I previously had a Marenz 65" DLP, which is supposed to have the best picture and sound you can buy. But the Pioneer blows this baby out of the water!
Picture: First off, the picture really is the best you can get as far as HD is concerned. The blacks are the best part; they are so deep and beautiful that it really does look like you're in a blacked-out forest. The light colors are also spectacular. Furthermore, there are multiple picture adjustments to find your sweet spot, and there's even a color sensor included that will automatically adjust the picture to the changing light in the room. This is great if your living room is brightly lit. However, I haven't used the color sensor or any of the adjustments much because the picture was wonderful right out of the box. One caveat: standard-def pictures don't look that great. Mind you, it's partially dependent on what the station is, but still, if you don't have a HD box you're not going to be happy with this (although why you would buy an HDTV and not have some type of HD box is beyond me).
Sound: The sound is wonderful. Although there is not a whole lot of bass (what did you expect for TV speakers?), the sound is good enough that you won't need a home theater system running all the time. Separation is good, volume is excellent, and there's virtually no distortion.
TV itself: Lots of hook-ups for virtually everything you need. There's even a PC hookup to connect you laptop (although I haven't used it yet). The HDMI hookups are easily found, and everything is clearly marked, so setup is a breeze. The only thing it's missing is a USB hookup for firmware updates and stuff, but since Pioneer is getting out of the business, I doubt there are any firmware updates coming. I haven't checked energy consumption, but I have my TV set to energy-saver mode (keep in mind, a big drawback to plasmas is they consume a lot of juice, so if you're looking to save the environment or on your energy bill, look at LCD or LED TVs).
To conclude, this is the best TV you can buy. While the price is high and standard-def viewing is mediocre on most channels, there's a reason why Pioneer TVs (and for that matter Apple computers) cost so much: you're getting the best.
*** P.S. If you will buy this TV I suggest at: www.amazon.com/gp/product/B001CE0594/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=***************&********=as2&camp=217145&creative=399369&************=B001CE0594
Pros Near perfect colors, ability to tweak further if necessary. Black with details that you didn?t know you were missing because they are not there on other sets. This Plasma enhances a poor 480 pic to produce a pic that looks like a 720 or 1080 input.
Cons $6500 price & you will spend too much time watching TV. May cause marital problems becoming more critical if she finds out what U paid for that thing hanging on the wall. (If she finds out the price it can b a great addition to your new bachelor pad)
Summary This is the last year that Pioneer will produce their own panels. Begining in 2009 the panels will be produced by Panasonic so I chose to buy now. After months of research and shopping, comparing Panasonic, Pioneer and Hitachi I decided to go for broke and buy the Pioneer Elite. There is not good information on the difference between Pioneer and the Pioneer Elite series (not even from Pioneer) both use the same panel. The Elite gives you an additional year warranty, additional color controls and the consistent statement ?hand-picked components? but no information what that means.
Every store I shopped, I compared the Elite Series to the base Pioneer and the Elite always showed better than the base set. I have never seen either of these Plasmas displayed by a retailer in a way that does them justice. When you are shopping for a flat panel television the bright sets with very sharp edges jump out as the best because they compete with the fluorescent lighting used by the retailer. When you get the sets home it is a different story. The bright sets are to bright, the enhancements that create the sharp edges become annoying because they are not natural. The blacks are grey and dark grey, the colors are bright but not true. The Pioneer sets have blacks that match the Piano Black finish of the frame and a realistic natural picture that is as real as it gets. Again a picture that seems you could reach out and touch everything on the screen.
Pros Reference level display of high-quality 1080p source material - ie. Blu-ray Disc - in a consumer display. Unequalled black levels and astounding dynamic contrast provide superior image depth and realism, enhancing the willing suspension of disbelief.
Cons Uninformative documentation written in marketing-speak.
Very heavy, be careful choosing furniture/mounting.
Hungrily slurps down electricity when turned on. Much more energy efficient when in standby.
Summary This is simply the best television available today, no other direct-view television comes close now, or is likely to in the near future. We recently upgraded our Kuro to the 60" PRO 151FD from the 50" PRO 111FD. The screen is a lot bigger - the math says its 44% larger in fact. Here is my take on the 151 and some comparisons to it's smaller sibling.
* Brightness is sufficient for a room with considerable ambient light.
* Refresh speed and motion resolution are excellent - none of the motion blur artifacts common to LCD screens.
* To my untrained eye, color accuracy, greyscale and gamma are good out of the box in accurate "Pure" mode and promise to be excellent with professional calibration.
* De-interlacing and scaling is good but not excellent. Noise reduction is very good. Just like on the 50", 720p looks soft, implicating the internal scaling, not just the large screen size.
* Displays 24fps at the native frame rate. Though not an advertised, accepts both 50Hz PAL and 60Hz NTSC to display at native frame-rate.
* "Pure Cinema" has been a source of considerable confusion. This setting is not properly explained in the manual, which uses obscure marketing speak that tells you absolutely nothing. This is what the settings have been confirmed to do:
o"Standard": The "source direct" mode. For 1080p24fps materials, it displays at 72Hz using 3:3 pulldown. For interlaced signals (480i and 1080i), traditional 3:2 pulldown detection is applied to display at 60Hz. Leaves (480p, 720p and 1080p) at 60Hz untouched.
o"Smooth": Uses motion interpolation to build intermediate frames. Not active on 1080p60 sources.
o"Advanced": Like "Standard" mode, Displays 1080p24fps materials at 72Hz using 3:3 pulldown. Performs Inverse Telecine (recreates original 24 frames) when film-based video cadence detected to display 72Hz using 3:3 pulldown. Results vary depending on the quality of the source. Not active on 1080p60 sources.
o"Off": 24fps material is displayed at 60Hz using 3:2 pulldown. Film cadence detection is disabled.
* Standard definition processing yields acceptable results through HDMI depending on the quality of the source. Noise reduction options are effective with minimal loss of detail. Highly compressed standard definition sources (e.g. cable) don't make good viewing at this screen size.
* Internal scaling of non-native resolution sources isn't as good as external solutions. Compressed 720 (ABC, ESPN, output at the native resolution) can be pretty soft. Compared to 720p, a Denon 2930 delivers a similar level of detail from PAL DVD upscaled to 1080p. While the Oppo BDP-83's ABT solution is not as strong as the Denon's Reon-based scaling, both are easily better at deinterlacing/scaling DVD test patterns and reference materials than the internal processor.
* Zoom modes are fairly useful. Non-linear stretch mode has a very high level of overscan, making SD materials look even worse.
* Image retention is simply not an issue with sensible viewing. We've not done any sort of "break-in" procedure as suggested in some corners of the internet but we have kept the contrast lower than normal - around 35. Yes, we occassionally pause a BD/DVD and leave the room. We've watched lot's of material in the original aspect ratio with black letterboxes in the first 100 hours. No issues.
* Design: The Bezel of the 151 is slightly larger than the 111 and the stand is of a more robust construction to support the weight - over 100 lbs. The 111, if you can still find one, definitely has sleeker lines but both are elegant when off.
* Built-in Home Media Gallery (DNLA) will display photos, play MP3s from a computer or media server over your network. File support is limited - AAC/FLAC/Apple Lossless files will not play. Great for photos - probably not the most usable solution for Music/Video.
* Our PRO 151 is used as a monitor only so the included speakers are not attached. I can't comment on the sound quality.
Review rig consists of: Oppo BDP-83, Denon 2930, SA 8300HD (Comcast), HDMI pass-through Denon 2308.
I would say that this television actually has a better picture than it's younger sibling but that may be idiosyncatic - each plasma displays some individuality, if you'll pardon the pun. Our PRO 151 shows better brightness uniformity, better color and seems less noisy than the PRO 111 it replaced. We got our 151 at cost well below the lowest advertised on cnet. If you live in the DC area, the folks at Myer-Emco come with my strongest recommendation for buying AV gear - these guys offer great deals, unparalleled customer service and after-purchase care.
Pros magnificently /natural/ picture; huge image that covers much of one's field of vision; lots of inputs, plus extras on the left side; plain cosmetics do not draw attention to themselves
Cons wretchedly crappy user manual; shallow learning curve on user interface; remote control hard to read in dim light (backlighting notwithstanding); expensive; manufacturer leaving TV business
Summary I had no intention of purchasing this set right now, intending to wait at least another year. But when it was bruited about that Pioneer was getting out of the TV business, and HFC offered a three-year zero-interest loan, I bit.Update: I've now been living with this set for almost four weeks. My enthusiasm has only grown. Perhaps the best thing I can say about it is that it has what I can only call "refinement". Yest, the color is fantastic, and the detail is unbelievable, but there's nothing exaggerated or "false" about any of it. It's rather like the way a great loudspeaker reveals everything about a recording, but without drawing attention to it.
My video standards are very high, and I expected the PRO-151FD to meet them. It didn't. It was /better/ than I'd expected.
I started with "Amadeus" (on a Sony BD-S550). The dark scenes weren't so hot, but when the movie got to the day-lit court scenes, my jaw hit the floor. Tremendous detail, but without exaggeration. Vivid colors (where appropriate), but without them "popping". It was much like looking a huge photograph that moved. Or perhaps seeing the thing itself, in 2D.
"Ratatouille", with all its incredible detail, was almost as good. "Sleeping Beauty" finally revealed what the Disney artists were trying to do. Even "7th Voyage of Sinbad" looked (mostly) fine, the skeleton duel being especially impressive.
I paid $6K, plus sales tax and delivery, and it was worth every stinking penny. Don't "vidition" this set unless you have the money. It is to die for.
Updated on Apr 17, 2009
On the negative side... The image is bright enough for daytime viewing, but this is not a display that reveals its best qualities in a brightly lit room. I do my casual viewing on the Sony WEGA the Pioneer replaced.
Strongly recommended, if you can justify the price.
Pros Simply the best blu ray experience one can imagine. Components: SONY blu ray ES5000, Monster HDMI 1000, Audionet Map V2 / AMP VII (see audionetusa.com) loudspeakers Wilson Benesch's Discovery, ARCs.breath taking. No need to buy another TV after this!
Cons None. Really can't think of any. It's so beyond the other brands I tested, it's not funny.
Summary Would buy this TV if it would cost twice as much - it's that good.