Pioneer KURO PDP-6010FD 1080p 60" Plasma Display Measurements
• The Pioneer's black level, shadow detail, and contrast ratio are all clearly state-of-the-art. • The color performance is solid • Resolution at the top of the HD bandwidth is acceptable, but bettered by the best of the competition.
All of the measurements were taken in the Movie mode, with tweaks made to the out-of-box control settings, as needed, for the most accurate black level, white level, color, and sharpness.
According to Pioneer's service manual, the low-level RGB calibration settings in this set's service menu should not be changed. That left only the high settings for calibration. Given this limitation, I deemed the color temperature, out of the box in the Low setting, close enough to the desired D6500 across the brightness range that no calibration would likely improve it substantially. This will not necessarily be the case with every sample possible of the new Pioneer sets, if my experience with the PDP-5080HD is any indication. That set measured roughly 6000K out of the box, and calibration did produce a better result. Given the price of the Pioneers, it would be foolish not to spend the marginal dollars required to have a purchased unit checked for full compliance with the standard, and calibrated as necessary.
Fig.1 shows the color temperature in the Low setting on my PDP-6010FD (the center line, which the graph follows for most of the brightness range, is 6500K), and Fig.2 shows the color tracking. For perfect tracking to the D6500 standard, the red, green, and blue levels should overlap perfectly. They are very close here.
There's only a single, non-adjustable color space in the Pioneer (Fig.3). The blue color point is nearly dead-on to the ATSC standard, the red is just slightly deeper than ideal, and green is slightly oversaturated. The secondaries were respectable. The color space here is nearly the same as that in the PDP-5080HD.
(Note: One major difference between the standard Pioneers and the more expensive Elite models is said to be far more flexible color temperature calibration adjustments, particularly in the Elites' ISF modes. Another is a Pure picture mode, said to produce the most accurate color space. We hope to get our hands on one of Pioneer's Elite displays for review soon, and will check for these differences).
The set's high frequency video response, at all resolutions (480i, 480p, 720p and 1080i) was excellent to 18.5MHz but clearly rolled off (though still visible) at 37.1MHz—the maximum frequency on the multiburst test pattern from my AccuPel test pattern generator. This was true of both the black and white response, using either component or HDMI. The visible results of this high frequency rolloff were subtle, even by comparison with sets having a more extended response with program material that has full HD bandwidth (most HD material, particularly from cable or satellite, does not).
The set's overscan, in the Dot by Dot aspect ratio, measured zero at 1080i over both component and HDMI. Dot by Dot is not available in other resolutions. Using Full, 720p overscan averaged 1.5% on all sides, over both HDMI and component. It averaged just under 3% in 480i/p HDMI and 480p component, but close to 4% (and a maximum of 5% at the bottom of the screen) with 480i component.
With a window pattern, I measured a peak contrast ratio of 9,295:1 (37.18 foot-Lamberts peak white, 0.004fL video black). With a full field peak white image (brighter than most images you're ever likely to see on-screen, and therefore less representative of the visible peak contrast ratio than the window pattern) the peak contrast ratio dropped to a still striking 4,795:1 (19.18fL peak white, 0.004fL video black). (As the average picture level increases, all plasmas reduce their output, and therefore dim their image, to remain within the capabilities of their power supplies).
The ANSI contrast ratio of the Pioneer, using a 16 square checkerboard pattern, measured an equally impressive 3,542:1. The black squares on the ANSI pattern measured no higher than 0.008fL—an astonishingly good result for this type of measurement.
While I consider the ANSI contrast a less useful indicator of overall image quality than a properly measured peak result (that is, a result obtained with the picture adjusted for the best real-world images, not the best measurement numbers), this number still sets this Pioneer well above any display we have measured so far in this aspect. While you'll never see an ANSI contrast this good in a real room even with the lights off, it's still the most impressive ANSI contrast I've yet measured.