As you all know by now, Pioneer will be done selling their amazing Kuro plasma displays by the end of 2009. The Elite models are becoming harder to find as dealers seek to trim their inventories. Now a model is emerging that wasn’t even on the radar six months ago, the KRP monitors. These were originally only sold in Europe but they became available in the US in early 2009. Even now there is no information on them on Pioneer’s US website.
Here’s the spec rundown:
- 50” and 60” screen sizes
- Pure Cinema Standard, Smooth and Advance modes
- Pure Mode (like the Elites)
- Blue-only Mode (to set color and tint)
- 1 – DVI input, 2 – HDMI inputs, 1 each component, composite and S-video input, PC input, ATSC tuner
Hardware-wise, these panels are identical to any other Kuro – same glass, same electronics. The only difference is software and that is where things get interesting. Thanks to some very creative engineering from ControlCAL, it is now possible to replace the firmware of the KRP monitors to enable the ISF modes just like the Elite models. The user modes are still available and all other features too. As you’ve read in my previous posts, the ISF modes are a real jump in quality because of their greater light output and contrast. The dead-on accuracy of color, gamma and grayscale is there too. The patch turns your KRP into an Elite Signature Monitor. The only thing you won’t have are the two additional HDMI inputs. I will be up front about one thing – you will likely void your warranty by applying the patch. My recommendation is to purchase a KRP and run it for a few weeks before applying the patch. Go through the break-in process and watch it in the Pure mode for a while to be sure there are no manufacturing defects. This is standard procedure for any TV you plan to have professionally calibrated. You don’t want to pay for calibration before you’re sure the TV is solid.
I recently patched and calibrated a KRP-500M with the amazing results typical of all Kuro TVs. The patching process takes about 10 minutes with a laptop and serial connection. Then the calibration proceeds just like any other ControlCAL workup. The two links below will open the color and grayscale reports I generated.
If you’re considering an HDTV purchase I can’t stress enough how you need to move fast if you want a Kuro. In a few months they’ll be gone with prices being so low. 50” KRPs are going for under $2000 and 60” models for under $3500. This is an amazing deal.
Please email me if you have questions and thanks for reading.
Enjoy the view!