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Pioneer KURO KRL-37V 37in LCD TV - Pioneer Kuro KRL-37V
Aesthetically the 37V doesn't do all that much for me, truth be told. Sure, it's exceptionally well made, using a brushed aluminium finish that confidently overwhelms the glossy plastic of practically every other LCD TV around these days. And it's perfectly matched with the similar high-quality finish of Pioneer's new Blu-ray players and AV receivers, making it a potentially essential purchase for Pioneer completists.
But although the quality is there once you get up close enough to touch the 37V, somehow the metal finish just doesn't help the TV stand out from the crowd as much as I would have liked from a merely visual viewpoint - at least at the sort of distance most people will be watching a 37in TV from.
There's a practical issue with the brushed aluminium finish too, in that it makes the 37V extremely heavy by LCD standards. This runs rather counter to the ‘lighter is better' boasts associated with Pioneer's KURO plasma screens, and could potentially make wall-mounting the TV an issue in some homes.
Turning to the 37V's rear, there's another mild disappointment in store as I turn up only three v1.3 HDMI sockets when many much cheaper TVs are now starting to offer four. What's more, there's also no sign of a USB or SD card slot. This is particularly surprising given that Pioneer's KURO plasmas are renowned for not only carrying a USB port, but also carrying Pioneer's superb Home Gallery photo browsing interface.
It's hard not to see this as an early reminder that the 37V heralds to some extent from Sharp rather than Pioneer - but I'm keen not to sound prejudicial by labouring this Sharp issue, so I'll move swiftly on!
Positive connection discoveries include an RS-232 port for system builders to use (essential on a premium TV like this one), an optical digital audio output, and a D-Sub PC port.
As you'd hope of any 37in LCD TV these days, the 37V carries a Full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. Plus it's got 100Hz processing to counter LCD's traditional motion-handling problems, and Pioneer's renowned PureCinema feature for auto-detecting video and film sources and adjusting the TV's progressive scan processing accordingly.
That's kind of it on the processing front, though. And with nowhere near as much to talk about in terms of innovations in the TV's core construction as we get with Pioneer's plasma TVs, I'm starting to feel concerned about exactly when the 37V is going to start persuading me that it's really worth comfortably more than most other 37in LCD TVs. Thankfully, though, the 37V does have one potentially crucial point of differentiation versus rival LCDs: a high contrast front filter.
Using technology similar to that found on Pioneer's plasma TVs, this filter over the 37V's pictures has the potential to greatly increase the picture's contrast range, shadow detailing and colour response versus what we might expect from a normal TFT-style LCD screen design.