Everyone already knows that Pioneer makes the finest plasma TVs known to man, but with the KRP-600A they've stepped their game up even further. The KRP stands for Kuro Reference Plasma, which gives you a pretty good idea of what this gargantuan 60-incher is all about, namely delivering the sort of picture quality by which all other plasmas are judged - and with a price tag pushing £5k we'd hope for nothing less.
What that price tag does ensure is faultless build quality and stunning looks. The screen sports Pioneer's familiar sleek gloss black bezel, which makes it look superficially similar to the PDP-LX6090, and at 64mm deep the panel is remarkably slim for a 60in set. It's also worth mentioning that the KRP-TS01 table-top stand and KRP-S01 side speakers designed for the 600A are optional, so you'll need to factor the cost of those into your budget if you want them.
The KRP-600A also marks a return to the days of the separate media receiver, which Pioneer favoured before bringing in its ‘One Body' concept a few years back. That means there's a single DisplayPort cable connecting the screen and receiver, making it a neat and tidy job if you're mounting it on the wall.
The media receiver is a stunning piece of kit, measuring 80mm high and equipped with a gloss-black front panel that not only gives it a minimal look but also hides a multitude of sockets and buttons. These include volume and programme change keys, AV, RGB PC and USB inputs and one of the four HDMI inputs it's equipped with. Incredibly, the receiver also boasts analogue, terrestrial digital and DVB-S/DVB-S2 HD satellite tuners, which explains the presence of satellite and terrestrial common interface slots on the front.
Around the back is a plethora of other connections, including the other three HDMI inputs (all v1.3 and Kuro Link enabled), three SCART inputs, component video input and analogue stereo input, plus subwoofer, analogue stereo and optical digital outputs. But the icing on the connection cake is the Ethernet LAN port, which lets you hook up this fully DLNA compliant unit to your home network and stream music, video and photos from remote PCs.
One of the 600A's other major features is an Enhanced Optimum mode, which uses the supplied colour sensor (which clips onto the set's underside) and a built-in light sensor to analyse the room conditions and automatically adjust the picture parameters. You can check the performance of this mode using a special onscreen menu that tells you exactly what it's doing to the picture through the use of a histogram and various level meters, which look really impressive to the casual user but will be of no interest to hardcore home cinephiles who avoid automatic modes like the plague.