Pioneer Elite PRO-101FD Plasma Monitor Comparisons & Conclusion
It's difficult to think of another flat panel that I can fairly compare with the PRO-101FD—except another Pioneer Kuro set. The PRO-111FD is about equal to the PRO-101FD in terms of black level, peak-white level, and other picture attributes. The only significant differences are that the PRO-111FD has an onboard audio system and tuner as well as Home Media Gallery, and it comes with a table-top stand, all for an additional $500. If these things are worth the extra dough to you, go for it. If not, you get the same picture quality with the PRO-101FD for $500 less.
The only other valid comparisons I can make are with the Samsung LN55A950 and Sony KDL-55XBR8 LCD TVs with LED backlighting. Both achieve black levels that are truly zero thanks to local dimming, and both produce a fabulous picture. But the Samsung is $500 more than the Pioneer, and the Sony is $2500 more. Granted, both have onboard audio and tuners, but as I said at the outset, these are relatively unimportant at this price level. And truth be told, I prefer the picture of the Pioneer over either one.
Few would deny that Pioneer's Kuro plasmas are among the very best flat-panel TVs available today, though they're also among the most expensive. Fortunately, you can save a few bucks by choosing one of the Signature Series monitors such as the PRO-101FD. If you already have an audio system and TV source such as cable or satellite, and you want the very best flat-panel picture you can get, this is it.
Deep, inky blacks
Excellent shadow detail
Displays 1080p/24 at 72Hz
ISF calibration modes
Above-white is clipped when DRE is off
Incomplete color-management system
480i processing not great
Native 4:3 material framed by gray bars, not black
Letterboxed material in a 1080i 4:3 window cannot be zoomed to fill screen
Table-top stand not included