Pioneer Plasma TV Review

Model: Pioneer Kuro PDP-5010FD
Description: Super HDTV 1080p 50” Plasma Television
Resolution: 1920 X 1080 (1080p)
Dimensions: 48.5 x 28.45 x 4.7 inches
Dimensions without Stand but with Speaker: 48.5 x 31.83 x 4.7 inches
Includes: Detachable Speakers, table top stand, 4 HDMI Inputs, Computer Input 15 Pin VGA
Color: Black gloss plexiglass finish all the way even the stand
Power Consumption: 442W
Reviewer: Robert Wiley


The Pioneer PDP-5010FD Plasma is a current Fall 2007 model. This plasma TV is assembled in the U.S. with components manufactured in Japan and the U.S. Pioneer focuses their manufacturing efforts on top performing plasma televisions.


Calibration: Grayscale tracking was excellent on this Pro quality Pioneer plasma. The Pioneer plasmas come preset to Dynamic mode. First change this mode to Standard or User using the AV selection button on the remote control. From there we are able to calibrate the Pioneer PDP-5010FD to within +95K of D6500K (optimum color temp) using the following picture settings:

Contrast 35
Brightness +3
Tint –1
Sharpness –5
Then in the Pro Adjust Menu Change as follows:
Pure Cinema Film Mode: Off or Standard
Text Optimization: Off
DRE Picture: Low or Off (emphasizes contrast on images)
Black Level: Off (enhances blacks but loses detail in dark areas)
ACL: Off
Enhancer Mode: 3 (1&2 enhance Sharpness but introduce false edges)
Optimum and Test Viewing Distance: 13 to 14 feet

Up conversion from 480i and 480p: Up conversion using our trusty, old and poorly produced Risky Business DVD was very good. There was slight grain and background noise but from 14 feet it was almost unnoticeable. There is a slight flicker when viewing the plasma from up close. The realism was excellent and I thought the Pioneer’s video chip sets cleaned up the picture nicely while staying true to the original content. Reds really popped, and this was a facet of the original production.

Pioneer PDP-5010FD Review

720p/1080i/1080p Picture Quality: We reviewed The Last Stand next in the X-Men’s epic line of comic thrillers produced in 2.40: widescreen letterbox format. It’s hard to imagine that television picture quality is going to get any better than this. In 1080i and 1080p the Pioneer 5010FD performed almost flawlessly with stunning clarity, deep rich blacks, vibrant but not oversaturated colors. The post calibrated picture will seem at first softer than normal but you the viewer will enjoy the picture much more over time (and you wont get a headache from all the false edge enhancement).

Black Level: Excellent with no down side. The new Pioneer Kuro Plasma technology has been focused on presentation of black levels, frankly to catch up with dominant black level producer Panasonic. The blacks are rich and deep and almost the color of the black bezel.

Pioneer PDP-5010FD Review

Dark Shadow Detail: Stellar performance here. There is occasionally a scene that is overpowered by the black level and loses some dark matter detail, but it’s the exception and not a rule.

Color Rendition/Color Accuracy: Color rendition is near perfect to the source material. I have never seen better.

Viewing Angle/Off Axis Viewing: Perfect. This generally is not a problem with plasma.

Motion Lag: No motion lag at all.

False Contouring/ Mapping: Historically a problem with both plasma and LCD technology. It’s non-existent on this plasma.


Scaling: Aspect ratios are controlled by the Screen Size button on the remote and include a very full range labeled as full, zoom, cinema, 4:3, wide. The algorithmic scaling of the full aspect was excellent for DVD use.

Inputs: 4 HDMI Inputs assist in an overly complete input selection which includes 15 pin VGA for computer.

Aesthetic Considerations: This plasma is very attractive with the gloss black bezel. However since the bezel is perfectly face flat to the viewer – it does present glare problems which I found distracting.

Remote Control/Menu Functionality: Preset color temp options controlled by the AV selection button are critically important for the users distinct setting options. Since the different inputs do not allow discrete set up, the user may use the different color temp options to discretely control the different source signal color information. Options include Standard, Dynamic, Movie, Game, User, Optimum. The remote control is complete with glow in the dark buttons. One big plus here is discrete input selection buttons.

Pioneer PDP-5010FD Remote

Audio Output: The dual 17 watt speakers produce solid sound quality.

Features: This plasma television has a ton of extra features. TV Guide On Screen, very complete well-written manual among others.

Exceptions: Very slight buzzing noise from fan less cooling system.


Price Considerations: $3999 is hefty for a 50” flat screen television these days. Of course, it has the highest super HDTV resolution 1080p. It has a fantastic, thus far unparalleled picture.

Quality Comparison: The only true competition is Panasonic’s and Samsung’s top tier plasma products along with possibly the Sony XBR4 and 5 series LCD. However, in my opinion this Pioneer outperforms them all.


Rating scale from 70 (denoting poorest quality) to 100 (signifying the very best quality). A rating in the 60s for any particular category of a product review indicates a serious defect which causes the product not to operate properly. Picture quality is double-weighted in the Overall Rating Score calculation.

Review Equipment Used: Sony Blu Ray BDP-S1 High Definition DVD player, Sony DVP-S50 DVD player, JVC HM-DH40000U HD Video Cassette player, Sencore Color Pro 5000, Sencore Auto Cal Pro, Sencore signal generator.

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