Pioneer Elite PRO-111FD Plasma TV Real-World Performance
As usual, I started with chapter 8 of Mission: Impossible III on HD DVD. At 1080i, the staircase pulsed with moiré, indicating that the set's processor wasn't quite up to the task. But at 1080p/24, it was smooth as glass thanks to the PRO-111FD's ability to display such a signal at 72Hz.
During this test, I discovered that Pioneer seems to have fixed the bug I found in the PRO-110FD, which behaved unpredictably if the film mode was set to something other than Off when the set received a progressive signal. In the PRO-111FD, all film modes are available all the time, and when the set gets a progressive signal, it doesn't do anything even if one of the modes is engaged.
I was a little concerned about the white-clipping issue, so I played Antarctica Dreaming on Blu-ray from DVD International. Happily, white clipping was not as evident as I would have thought—differentiation in white clouds and snow was generally good, though icebergs and some snow fields occasionally looked a bit flat. There was some mild contouring in the opening fade-in, but detail and color were spectacular.
The same was true of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl on Blu-ray—white clouds on a bright day seemed just a bit flat, and there might have been some ever-so-slight contouring as the ship emerges from the fog at the beginning. Mind you, these were very minor, and otherwise, the picture was simply stunning. The black in the opening title screen was nice and inky, and the exceptional contrast really made the image pop. Colors were completely natural, and detail was super-crisp.
The shadow detail in the below-deck walk that opens Master & Commander was very good, and I saw no contouring in the fog bank that greets the Surprise the next morning. Again, detail and color were first-rate.
With all Pioneer Kuro plasmas, I feel compelled to watch some scenes in space, and The Fifth Element on DVD filled the bill quite nicely. As expected, space was rich and deep, and colors were beautiful. Detail was as good as can be expected from DVD—I was especially impressed with the fine detail in the cityscape as Leeloo jumps into Korben's cab.
Thanks to the large, detachable speakers, the audio from the PRO-111FD was definitely several notches above what you get with most TVs, but if memory serves, it was not quite as good as the 110FD—a bit more honky. As always, if you're going to spend this much on a TV, I recommend springing for a proper surround-sound system as well.