Pioneer Kuro KRP-500A 50in Plasma TV - Pioneer Kuro KRP-500A

John Archer

By John Archer

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Pioneer Kuro KRP-500A 50in Plasma TV

Summary

Our Score:

10

User Score:

As I set about trying to assess the 500A's picture performance, to some extent there's not really much I need to say. For since the technology in the 500A's monitor is essentially the same as that found in the PDP-LX5090 and LX6090 models I've already raved about, we already know the results are going to be more or less gobsmackingly good, with class leading black levels, stunningly rich colours, impeccable sharpness, and good motion handling. So really all I need to focus on is whether the external media receiver and any of the new features really affect the picture quality.

The KRP-500A with stand and speakers

The short answer is that they do. Not by an absolute country mile, but enough to add an extra reason for AV fans to pick a 500A over the ‘integrated' Pioneer plasma models.

Without doubt the single most intriguing string to the 500A's bow is the Pure AV mode. For it really does appear that if you use this mode with a high quality HD source, the resulting picture looks subtly different - in a good way - to the results achieved using a PDP-LX5090. There seems a touch more sharpness, a touch more authenticity to the colour palette, and a touch more ‘texture'.

I should say here that when I say ‘texture' I'm to a large extent talking about grain, but since grain is an inherent - and deliberate - part of many HD film transfers, the 500A is merely doing what it's supposed to be doing in Pure mode and revealing every last thing a source has got going on.

This fact makes me feel the need to stress that I'd maybe only really recommend the Pure mode with a HIGH QUALITY HD source. For the mode's inevitable ‘warts and all' tendencies mean that if a source has any severe weaknesses caused by poor encoding (and believe me, such weaknesses aren't as rare as they should be, even on Blu-ray discs), such as a curious colour palette, lots of dot crawl and/or a tendency to over-stress edges, in Pure mode the 500A won't be able to use its clever processing to actually make things better.

filey

December 23, 2008, 8:33 am

Regarding the external tuner/single cable..





Does the cable between tuner and screen also carry power for the screen, and is it replaceable or extendable to a decent distance? (if cutting a channel in a wall, its nice if its a replaceable)





I have thought they should separate the box for a while on all the screens, scart leads etc are so ugly and thick



Matthew Bunton

December 23, 2008, 9:17 am

Damn wish I had the money to splash out on one of these my PDP507 is still going strong though.

zex66zex

December 23, 2008, 1:01 pm

Shame my room isn't big enough, or is it my wallet...

AJ

December 23, 2008, 2:27 pm

Have to admit that the price doesn't seem too extortionate for a Pioneer TV. If I were in the market for a new one now, this would be it.





I bought Pioneer in 2002 (my first Plasma) but in Nov 07 when I upgraded they were simply stupidly expensive and only fractionally better. So I bought a Panasonic and saved over ٟ,500. Now that saving almost buys me their latest and greatest, not bad at all.





For most people though the panny's would still be the best option. Excellent picture quality, look great straight out of the box and practically half price.

Keithe6e

December 23, 2008, 2:43 pm

> but we have it on good authority that the prices of AV gear across the board could be


> set to rise by as much as 30 per cent next year





Prices tend not to rise in country's that are heading for recession, apart from that, the UK has a lot of fluff attached to it's prices atm, the devaluing of pound will most likely eat into that first. eg. When goods were selling for say $1000, it was � here, and this was when 1£=$2, as you can see there is a bit more fluff to go yet.

Orinj

December 23, 2008, 3:06 pm

I'd agree AJ. I've had a Panasonic TH-50PZ70 for ten months and have to say it's been excellent. That said, it's been passed on to my parents whose ten year old 28" 4:3 CRT died two months ago.





Since then I've been thinking about getting the KRP-500A. The KURO black levels are what I'd really like so I was just waiting to see how prices might be affected after Christmas. From all the reports going on I expect that the 'sales' will be very short lived (possibly over by 1st January) so I may just get one of these in the next two weeks.

Chocoa

December 23, 2008, 10:23 pm

Oh I DO hate you TR!! As someone stuck with an aging CRT and empty wallet ;-)


Dammit why do you have to review such lustworthy gadgetry :sob:sob:

Orinj

December 23, 2008, 10:43 pm

I've read that this TV suffers from a louder than normal 'buzz' from either the display or the media box and that many of the recent units have suffered from dead pixels or sub-pixels. Can John (or anybody else) confirm whether these problems were evident with the test unit?

spacey

December 24, 2008, 2:13 am

I bought the big brother to this TV the 600 KRPa about 6 weeks ago and its pixel perfect and i dont notice any buzzing. My PS3, Virgin V+ box and HTPC are louder.


maybe i got an older batch that were better but it is a mind blowing telly





if you have the dosh go for it and if u buy online u can send it back if u have probs

HungryPanda

January 2, 2009, 8:11 pm

Bought the KRP-500A just before Christmas and am blown away, no buzz on mine and a stunning picture. This is my first Pioneer TV and I could never go back

Dru

January 6, 2009, 5:59 pm

please excuse my ignorance!! i have seen the photos of the tv with the side fitted speakers. do you have to buy these or is there a speaker build in?

Orinj

January 8, 2009, 10:09 pm

Dru. The side fitted (matching) speakers are optional extras. The TV doesn't come with any speakers as standard. If you're buying one of these it's assumed you will match it with a proper surround sound system.

rushforthk

January 11, 2009, 4:22 am

Can someone explain the Satellite side of things to me please. Will it only work with Sky? If so will it need the card slot adaptor and a sky subscription or will it work with Freesat but only giving BBC HD? If none of my questions are right, please explain, I don't want to shell out this sort of money only to find I'd be better off buying a Panny with Freesat built in or even a 9050.

Orinj

January 12, 2009, 9:12 pm

rushforthk - As far as I know (and I'm no expert on this), the satellite tuner will be able to receive all FreeSat channels but will not have an EPG or Guide for them. I'm not sure about BBC HD as I think it uses a slightly different transmission system.

Stan3ff

January 13, 2009, 1:33 am

Can anyone explain why when I connect via optical out from media box to a Sony g900 the sound is very weak, and volume needs pumping up to 28 before reasonable level can be heard?

rushforthk

February 6, 2009, 3:22 am

Well folks despite my obvious lack of knowledge about the 500A from my comment above, I bought a KRP-500ABG. The Beige Gris looks better (In my opinion) than the black. Any way it took me 4 hours to unpack and set up, including the Optimum stand in Espresso on Oak. The stand weighs a ton on its own, weighing in at 50kg, so not quite a ton really then, delivered (dragged) by a man on his own. TV was delivered by the shop and I did help him bring it in. It took me a few days to brave connecting up the Satellite (ordinary Sky dish) and then it took me a few days to find out if BBC HD was available using my new wonder telly, the good new to all of you guys wanting to ditch SKY HD is yes it is available and I will save you the trouble of finding it, it is on channel 5101, there are also many channels available using the satellite input including all the regional ITV/BBC channels which is brilliant. I am not sure why the BBC HD channel doesn't start until 19:00 though, come on BBC give us what we are paying for. I must admit I was a bit sad and read the manual in bed to find out how to find channels. I am hoping I can put them into some logical order, likr my soon to be redundant Sky+ box, but that may not be read until Saturday night. The satellite picture assuming it has a decent quality to start with is superb and bordering on HD anyway. Football (non HD) is a bit naff, hopefully it will be better via HD well have to see. I have not tuned the analogue tuner as there isn't much point living in Cumbria as it is due to be switched off in August. Freeview quality is also very very good when given a decent transmission. I am used to Panasonic TVs and therfore the menu system is a bit alien to me, but I am learning slowly. It helps once you have learnt how to use the search menu to find your local channels. You can search by HD or SD and first letter of channel you are looking for ie B for BBC or I for ITV etc. The official review above is a bit poor really and could have had much more info about what was available using the satellite feed etc. I also got the side speakers for it these are fine but I thing a decent set of cheap Hi-Fi speakers may easily out perform them, but they wouldn't look as good. I am still saving up for the surround sound. Make no mistake this is an exceptional TV, not cheap though but it is worth the money, even better with the official Pioneer 5 year warranty. Even better it is made in the UK. Anyway that is all for now, until I learn something new worth sharing. Kevin

Stan3ff

February 6, 2009, 9:24 pm

I bought a 500A and a Sony ght-900 home theatre system/tv stand. I connected the sound output from the media receiver to the Sony unit via an optical out cable, but cannot get a decent level of sound unlees I turn the volume setting to 28 (yet for radio reception level 16 blasts me out of the room!). Is this normal for this Pioneer unit,or has anyone done better than I have?

HarryB 1

February 13, 2009, 7:16 pm

Hi, very useful comments rushforthk read with great interest. One comment re. footy on standard def, by naff, how naff is it really? Through Sky+ does it ghost or anything like that? I'm interested in buying the 500A but only if it's decent footy quality on standard def (I moight be persuaded to upgrade to high-def if required!).

rushforthk

February 14, 2009, 2:03 am

Moderator did my comment sent a few minutes ago make it to you? Hope it did as it took me ages to write. It was in response to HarryB. Please let me know if it didn't. I'll try to write it again

rushforthk

February 14, 2009, 3:07 pm

HarryB – I’m afraid SD/DTV football really isn’t too good. By naff I mean 3 out of 10, my wife says it is less than that! When they use the camera usually situated high up on the half way line the moving grass is very smeared/blurred and the players have a very noticeable shimmer around them. When they use the other cameras low down or close up the problem isn’t too noticeable, but most of the game is shown using the high cameras. This is disappointing, but probably not the fault of the TV. As we know rubbish in equals rubbish out. The TV is more than capable of delivery brilliant quality pictures. It will be interesting to see the rugby on BBC HD, that is if they can bring themselves to broadcast it before their HD watershed. I am sure it will be perfect. To be fair I took a look at the football on the old CRT Panasonic TV and the same shimmer issues are there to, but they are so much smaller you don’t notice them the same.


I am now coming to terms with the remote control and the Pioneer menu system. I have learnt how to put my favourite channels into a logical order on the Satellite input, it was quite easy to do once you knew how. However I would have thought once the TV was in favourite mode it would then scroll up and down favourites using program up and down button (I also wish this was same way round as on a Sky+ remote as I keep turning the volume up by accident or changing channels). IE BBC 1 scroll up to BBC 2, but it doesn’t. It reverts to its tuner and goes to another channel, bit annoying and easily remedied but does involve a few more button presses, starting with the middle enter key, then you scroll to the channel in the menu screen created at the side and press enter, easy.


One of the reasons we bought the 500A over the 5090 was its dlna compliance, as I quite fancied being able to use the TV to play my music collection without the hassle of CDs in the main room. The thing is we have a Sony laptop dlna certified and the TV doesn’t want to show me the music stored in my main itunes library. It shows me a few obscure stuff that I didn’t even know was there and it will play it but not my main shared library. I do have an old PC upstairs obviously not dlna certified and it shows all the albums including the covers and will play everything there, without any tweeking. Strange that. It is probably just some simple setting that needs a tick but so far it has evaded me. Just so you know, the TV is hard wired to the router, it has to be. Laptop and old PC are wireless.


I am resisting the urge to get Sky+ HD but think I will have to give in at some point in the near future to get my moneys worth out of the TV. Nye on 㿨 a month.


It is strange how Pioneer chose not to include speakers with the TV, assuming most buyers will opt for a separate AV amp, if that is the case, why bother with the strange SBS sound processing. It doesn’t really do it for me the SBS.


Still an excellent TV despite the criticisms/observations above. The BBC HD programme about polar bears the other night was exceptional and really shows what HD can and will deliver in the future.


It is strange the two Pioneer dealers I went to didn't even know this TV had the Satellite feed, which allows it to get free BBC HD.


Kevin

rushforthk

March 9, 2009, 11:45 am

OK, I am a bit more familiar with the KRP500 now. First of all I must tell you the BBC HD channel mentioned above no longer works. It is now on 5015. This maybe something to do with changing the Satellite that the TV looks at. I am now on Astra 2, this seems to give the most channels about 1100, yes 1100, but these channels include radio stations and shop channels such as JJB. I live in the Cumbria area and Astra 2 seems to be the best out of Astras 1. 2, and 3. Although there are quite a few Satellites to go at including Eurobird, Eutelsat and so on. Your dish might need re-aligning to see these though, as I tried them but didn't get any signal strength.


When you perform the automatic scan it loses any previously saved channels, so don't go storing them into favourites and then putting the favourites into order, then doing a scan as all the previously stored channels will be lost and you'll have to start again. A lot of the satellite channels you can recieve free are rubbish or there is nothing but a blank screen.


By the way I have now goine down the Sky HD route, and let me tell you that if you buy a TV of this quality and don't (reluctantly) subscribe you are missing out bigtime, the quality is absolutley amazing. Sky has conveiniently set the TV guide to show HD channels and there are about 20 channels there. You even get MTV HD and Eurosport HD even though I don't subscribe to music or news and events, which is good. You have to subscribe to Sports to get the Sky sports HD channles though. However, make no mistake the extra money is worth it, so far. We'll have to see how much is repeated. Something that does get my goat is the fact that BBC HD only broadcasts proper programs at around 19:00, its like being back in the 60's. The Davis Cup has been on, BBC 2, although I am not a tennis fan but I am desperate to see HD programs, but it wasn't on in HD, surely they have the live HD feed. BBC HD channels was showing its usual BBC HD preview.

HarryB 1

May 13, 2009, 9:13 pm

Hi, thanks for the replies. I'm split between getting one of these and the new Samsung LED 8 series UE46B8000 TV. I'm buying the set to watch football and lots of it! I may be tempted to go for HD but would prefer to stay on SD as long as the quality of the fast paced footy action is as good as it is at the moment on my evesham 32" LCD! What do you recommend?

smokin69

May 15, 2009, 2:32 am

hi hows it goin,im split between this and the kpr-500a new led samsung 8 series also


would like to know which is the better for blu-ray movies mainly..





cheers

rushforthk

June 17, 2009, 2:02 am

Like I said football on the KRP500 is not its strong point, make sure you get to see the Samsung demo using a SD digital channel showing football (not HD). As for which is better for Blu Ray? To be honest when you get to this level of TV you would be splitting hairs to tell an difference and I mean real world difference, not what someone tells you about a lab test.


We have had our KRP500 for a few months now (it has probably been replaced as a model by now, I daren't look to be honest) I don't have any serious complaints with it, it still impresses me, even on SD digital channels (not football) even Coranation Street not available in HD via Sky but still an impressive picture. The remote is a quality item but unfortunately doesn't get used much as we usually use the Sky remote. The remote that came with the Pioneer Blu Ray player is a bit pathethic by comparison.

rushforthk

October 10, 2009, 12:36 am

Good to Stuff magazine has this TV as best TV, after all this time eh. 12 months is a long time in politics, sorry electronics.

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