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Pioneer 2009 Product Launch

May 9, 2008 By Geoffrey Morrison



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It was just a short time ago that I was talking about Pioneer's decision to halt plasma manufacturing. This past week they showed their wares at the trendy (I’m told) Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City.

While one might expect some reduction in their products after such a huge announcement, they went the other way. They actually seem to be expanding their lines across the board with several new displays, Blu-ray players, and receivers.

As expected, there were new plasmas, two from the Pioneer line, two from the Elite line. These new plasmas have, subjectively, about a 50% better black level as compared to the last generation which was already remarkable.(For a review of this latest KURO, click here)

What was most fascinating was that this increase in black level was achieved without changing the core glass. You read that right, this latest generation has the same glass as the previous generation, yet has a better black level. This bodes well for Pioneer’s claim that they can make KURO quality plasmas even if they’re not the ones making the glass.

There will also be two Elite monitors that offer a higher level of customization than is even available in the rest of the Elite line. These were designed with custom installers in mind. No pricing yet, but look for them later this year.

There were no LCDs on display, though they did say that there will be LCD models for Europe this fall, with a U.S. launch around the Summer ’09. While there was nothing on the record, they did hint that they think we’ll be extremely surprised at what they can do with LCD. We shall see.

Perhaps most interesting was the KURO branded LCOS projector. It's clearly based (though not mentioned) on the JVC D-ILA projector (presumably the RS-2/HD100). Pioneer claims they’ve tweaked it with their KURO flavor. It looked impressive, though so does the RS-2. Expect it in June for $9,000.

The big news on the Blu-ray front was the move to a new and exclusive chip-set.

This allowed Pioneer to have the chip developed to their exact specs. Most impressive is the ability to start up and load a disc faster than pretty much every other BD player on the market (save the PS3), at least, according to them.

While a $599 model will be available, the more expensive model will also have further high-end features like a 297 MHz/12-bit video decoder and enhancements to even CD playback. Both models will decode or output the bitstream for all the new audio codecs.

On the receiver side, the new line of Elite receivers are using class D amplifiers. Full decoding of the new audio formats are here, as well as MCACC, Pioneer’s room correction system.

A Faroujda scaler bumps up lower resolution signals to 1080p. On the SC-07 there is even a Burr-Brown sample rate converter to scale audio signals to 192 khz/24-bit resolution.

They also put together a video of interviews with movie and TV people about their experience in the KURO loft. Check it out here.

 

All may not be perfect at Pioneer this year. Check out my blog post on the rumors about Pioneer's TV business here.

 

Pioneer plasmas:
PDP-5020 - $4,000 – June
PDP-6020 - $5,500 – June
Elite plasmas:
PRO-111FD - $5,000 – June
PRO-151FD - $6,500 – June

Elite Signature Series plasma monitors:
PRO-101FD - $TBD – October
PRO-141FD - $TDB – October

Blu-ray players:
Pioneer BDP-51FD - $599 – Summer
Elite BDP-05FD - $799 – Summer

Pioneer receivers:
VSX-01TXH - $750 – June
VSX-03TXH - $1,000 – June
Elite receivers:
SC-05 - $1,800 – August
SC-07 - $2,200 - August

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