Plentiful features and slick operation are all well and good, but picture quality is what Pioneer plasmas are all about, and in that respect the KRP-600A is simply out of this world. Starting with high-definition content, we paired it with Pioneer's awesome BDP-LX71 Blu-ray deck running Transformers at 1080/24p, and the levels of sharpness, depth and colour it achieves are truly awe-inspiring.
Naturally the driving force behind this incredible picture performance is the set's extraordinarily blacks, which makes the on-screen action seem supremely solid and three-dimensional. Viewing something as simple as the black background on Transformers' closing credits gives you a good idea of how deep and pure they are, but during scenes like Blackout's attack on the Army base or the Autobots trying to hide in Sam's garden, they lend the image a rock-solid punchiness that serious home cinema fans will go absolutely nuts over. But the best part is that it delivers these deep blacks without losing any fine shadow detail whatsoever.
Colour reproduction is also phenomenal. It conveys the bright, dazzling stuff with staggering vibrancy but also handles tricky skin tones and other delicate hues with pleasing accuracy, while tonal transitions are reproduced with no banding.
But the thing that'll really put your jaw on the floor is how sharp the image looks on this 1080p panel. The screen resolves every last drop of detail during Transformers' climactic battle scenes, and even picks out the most miniscule background patterns on the surrounding buildings. Edges look pristine and close-ups of the robots simply beggar belief, while the set's terrific processing means that everything is displayed without a hint of noise.
Finally we're also impressed by how the set handles fast-moving action, particularly with the player set to 24fps - those robots rarely leap between buildings with such crispness and fluidity, freed from the motion blur that blights LCD screens.
Although the KRP-600A does the best it can with Freeview material from its built-in tuner, it can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear. The 60in screen draws horrible attention to the softness and block noise of most digital terrestrial and satellite broadcasts, but pictures from a decent DVD player fare much better.
Yes it's mega expensive, but if you have money to burn and want the very best picture quality available, then the KRP-600A is without doubt the TV to go for. Its images are truly sensational, particularly with hi-def material, but there's so much more to recommend it, such as its unparalleled range of image calibration tools, a slick operating system and a long list of killer features like network media streaming. In short, it's simply sublime.