The 37V is not without its picture problems, however. First, although colours are terrific with HD, bizarrely I spotted a number of slightly odd colour tones during standard definition viewing.
Next, despite the screen carrying 100Hz processing, I still noticed signs of motion blur at times, with HD and standard def alike.
Another issue is the TV’s viewing angle, as black levels and colour tones drop off markedly as you move down the TV’s sides; a fact which is thrown into particular relief if you see the 37V alongside any of Pioneer’s ‘angle-independent’ plasma TVs.
This viewing angle issue affects the vast majority of other LCD TVs, too, of course. But some stupidly optimistic part of me had held out a hope that the high contrast filter might miraculously get round this traditional LCD failing.
Finally, and probably most controversially, although the 37V’s black levels are good, I still felt there was room for further improvement. For they still suffer sporadic moments of gentle greyness over dark corners, at least where those dark corners are having to coexist in the frame with bright image elements. In this black level respect more than any other there’s simply no denying that the 37V’s LCD technology is no match for Pioneer’s KURO plasma technology.
To some extent this is arguably not a very relevant point, as Pioneer’s LCD TVs are, as we said earlier, just being offered to fill in the considerable size ‘gap’ at the bottom of Pioneer’s current TV offerings, and not as rivals for the plasma TVs.
But it does make me wonder if it was really a wise decision for Pioneer to launch the LCD TVs under the same KURO branding as the plasma sets. After all, KURO is Japanese for ‘black’, and was introduced as a sub-brand name for the plasma TVs to reflect their truly groundbreaking black level response. Yet while good, the black level response on the 37V is certainly not ‘truly groundbreaking’.
Turning to the 37V’s audio, the levels of volume possible are fine, and the mid-range is excellent, helping vocals sound realistic and well-rounded. There’s plenty of definition in the treble register too. But I was slightly surprised – given Pioneer’s usual audio prowess – to find a lack of bass leaving some of the treble information sounding a bit harsh and isolated, and denying me that satisfying bass ‘whump’ during explosions.
Is Pioneer’s first KURO LCD TV good? Yes it is. Does it produce better pictures than the Sharp TVs it shares its heritage with? Definitely. Does it produce better pictures than most other LCD TVs period? Yes.
However, at the same time it’s not as spectacular – either in itself, or in comparison with the absolute best of its rivals – as Pioneer’s KURO plasmas. Therefore, unless you’re really keen on getting a TV aesthetically matched to your growing pile of Pioneer AV kit, you might argue that ultimately it doesn’t quite do enough to justify its premium price.
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