US NEWS: Pioneer launches new Kuro TVs and projector, hand-selected Elite Signature screens and new Blu-ray players

There's still a fortnight to go until Pioneer's UK launch of its new Kuro TV line-up, but the company's US launch, held yesterday, may give some ideas what to expect.

Shown at the New York event were four new Kuro plasma TVs - two each in 50in and 60in sizes, plus a new range of Signature Elite monitors, hand-selected for quality.

And the company also launching its first Kuro projector, a three-chip D-ILA model.

The new mainstream Kuro models are said to offer five times deeper black levels than the current TVs, and are around 9.4cm thick, said to be a 30% reduction on last year's models. And the Signature models are even thinner, at under 7cm.

Optimum Mode Adjustment
They have a new Optimum Mode automatic adjustment, monitoring both ambient light and video brightness, and an improved remote control and on-screen graphical user interface. They also have a USB input and DLNA/Windows PlaysForSure networking compatibility for streaming music, stills and HD video files.

The Elite Signature models, also in 50in and 60in versions, come without TV tuners, and have been hand-assembled from selected parts. They come with a certificate confirming this, and have an IP connectivity function to allow a dealer to connect to the screen over the internet and make adjustments.

Hold the truck roll
Or, as Russ Johnston, Pioneer’s home business solutions groups marketing and product planning executive vice-president, puts it, "Often adjustments will be possible over the internet without requiring a truck roll."

The Pioneer Kuro three-chip D-ILA projector is designed to produce contrast ratios meaning its black levels are similar to those of the TVs, and has a rich color gamut, a wide lens shift capacity, dual HDMI 1.3 support, and a wide range of image adjustments and calibration settings.

Profile 1.1, but no BD-Live - yet...
The company's new Blu-ray Disc players offer BonusView capability, as part of their Profile 1.1 compatibility, but US customers will have to wait until the Fall - sorry, Autumn - to get BD Live-capable machines.

The machines have a system to upscale colour resolution, giving an effective 36-bit colour depth, use Wolfson DACs for improved audio quality, and also implement a strategy designed to eliminate jitter when playing music CDs via HDMI into a Pioneer receiver.

As soon as we have pictures of the new products we'll bring you them – until then, only two weeks to wait for the official UK announcements...

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.