Pioneer showed off the next evolution of their plasma screen in the form of the KRP-500A (50 inch) and KRP-600A (60 inch) today. The screens are paired with the KRP-M01 as a separate media receiver "delivering uncompromised quality, finely-tuned performance and intelligent design". The screens were announced back in June 2008.
The workings are inherited from the 100Hz Kuro plasma screens launched earlier this year, delivering a Full HD 1080/24p experience with Pioneer’s signature blacks and attention to quality and design. The difference now is that the panel is only 64mm thick and connected via a single cable, making this an idea solution for wall mounting. A 3m cable is supplied, but a 10m option is also available.
Connections-wise you are spoilt for choice with four HDMI, Component, three Scart, Composite, two antenna terminals (terrestrial/satellite), Ethernet, USB 2, PC and two common interface slots (terrestrial/satellite). (Pioneer emphasised that the satellite inputs are for European models, and do not support UK Freesat.) You also get optical digital audio, audio, subwoofer, SR+ and headphone jacks.
The media receiver gives you an 18 watt stereo digital amplifier with TruBass and SRS WOW HD support.
As DNLA certified devices, the Ethernet connection, through the Home Media Gallery gives you access to your networked content, be it video, music or photos.
The user interface has also been updated, along with a tweaked remote control, to create a more intuitive interface, giving you four common icons on each corner of the menu mirrored on the remote. The remote now also features blue backlighting on the most commonly used buttons.
Enhanced environment sensing through a light sensor and an optional colour sensor mean the screen can be automatically adjusted to suit the room, be it natural or artificial light, summer or winter. The optimum performance analyser will be popular with geeks, giving near real-time information on the changing screen settings – we saw it in action and were suitably impressed.
The KRP-500A and KRP-600A should be coming to premium retailers in the next month, with speaker and stand bundles looking like a cosy option.
If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.