Top positive review
100 people found this helpful
on August 21, 2008
The Kuro PDP-6020FD is an exceptional flat panel display. I continue to marvel at the realism when watching High Definition shows. I do not hesitate to recommend this device.
At the end of my review I will include D-Nice's review from the AVS Forum. It will provide a technical evaluation for you to judge the 6020.
The following is my Amazon purchasing experience... In a pre-purchase call to Amazon a representative confirmed that they are an authorized Pioneer dealer and that `White Glove Delivery' was included in the indicated purchase price.
The 6020 was ordered on Sunday and delivered the following Friday. For whatever reason, the order was not coded as `White Glove Delivery'. I eventually prevailed and the delivery was delivered `White Glove'. Regardless of how handy you are, `White Glove delivery' is extremely important. This type of delivery service requires the delivery team to setup and turn on the TV. When a shipment is left at your door it can be defective and you do not discover this until well after the delivery team has left. If you receive a defective TV with `White Glove Delivery', one simply refuses delivery; the delivery team will repackage the device and return it to Amazon. Without `White Glove Delivery' one is stuck with a defective TV and must endure the process of repackaging, storing and returning it.
When the team unpackaged my first set the screen was covered with spider cracks. The device was repackaged and back it went to Amazon. If there is an issue with the delivery, I encourage you to call the returns department at Amazon that handles Plasma TV's. There is a special telephone number. If you reach an overseas Amazon representative ask for the call to be transferred to this department. This department is located in the States. They are available 7 days a week but are not available round the clock. I ended up speaking with a tremendous representative who was a Supervisor. He made sure that a new order was processed, the `White Glove Delivery' was coded clearly on the order and Amazon provided a substantial discount on the order due to the difficulties that were encountered. I received the replacement TV five days later on the following Wednesday. The TV was delivered in perfect condition. The `White Glove Delivery' team setup the TV turned it on and removed the packaging. I also received two other price reductions when Amazon dropped the price of the set in the following two weeks. (Please note that the price reduction policy is no longer offered by Amazon as of September 1st, 2008. Amazon policies are subject to change. Contact Amazon prior to purchase to review the details of the potential purchase and any expectations you may have.)
The issues I had could have happened from any vendor. The difference is that Amazon had a system in place which corrected that matter in an efficient manner with a minimum of inconvenience to me. Amazon also had the best price and delivery options.
The picture quality is stunning. I highly recommend the 6020 and Amazon as a reputable dealer.
I have included D Nice's technical review from the AVS forum to provide the in depth details of the performance of this TV.
Pioneer PDP 6020FD Review
Reviewed by D Nice
Kuro (Kuro), the Japanese word for black, defines the core of Pioneer's Project KURO. Prior to last year, consumers were not privy to have a digital flat panel display that consistently reproduced the absence of color (black). In June 2007, Pioneer released into the wild a PDP display series that was capable of an unheard minimum luminance level, 0.004fL. This new pinnacle in black level not only provided rich, succulent blacks that true videophiles have been yearning ever since the demise of CRT, it also was baseline for depth defying colors that to this day leaves me awestruck. By the end of 2007, the KURO series was herald as the "best display ever". Everyone thought that it would be years before another display hit the market capable of outshining the 2007 KURO series. No one knew that we would only have to wait 6 months........enter the PDP 6020FD.
The PDP 6020FD continues Pioneer's minimalistic, yet elegant figure with its 57 11/16" x 34 1/2" piano black acrylic bezel. Fit and finish is top notch although the overall build quality is less than last year's PDP 6010FD. Pioneer also managed to trim panel bulk by 20% leaving us with a slim, 3.7" depth display.
The PDP 6020FD is equipped with 4 HDMI 1.3a ports (three on the back, one on the left input/control panel), 1 component, 1 S Video, 3 composite, and 1 VGA input. Although this sounds like a plethora of input options, it's actually less that what its predecessor offered. However, Pioneer now allows owners to label each input (a big plus). Also new this year on the non Elite KUROs is a network interface port that allows owners to connect and stream video (limited file types), music, and pictures from their home PC/laptop. Setup and use was a breeze on my network. However, computer challenged owners may have issues using this feature....especially if they have a home network firewall.
Pioneer has also included a new remote with the PDP 6020FD. Compared to last year's remote, the new remote sports a black covering and the layout is more user friendly with the channel and volume controls reversed from last year's layout (finally).
Everything about the PDP 6020 reflects the theme "KURO".....including the new menu GUI. Gone is the "Windows XP" like menu colors that I have been accustomed to surfing on the previous Pioneer generations. They have been replaced with a more "Windows Vista" like "KURO" GUI.
Thumbing through the new menu, one will find 7 Preset A/V picture modes and immediately notice a reduction of user controls. Unfortunately Pioneer has decided to strip the end user of the capability to change the color temperature, gamma, black/contrast enhancement features, and noise reduction.
Instead they chose to hardcode these features in what they call "the most effective combination".
Personally, I think this was a mistake on Pioneer's part. You NEVER, EVER, take away features that you offered in the previous generation. Pioneer is also rumored to has gone two steps further by deleting the RGB controls out of the Service Menu (not confirmed as of yet) and changing the sequence to access the Service Menu (confirmed). These "castrations" do not bold well for those who chose not to shell out more money for the Elite KUROs to "tweak" their panels more to their personal tastes and/or HD standards. Shame on you Pioneer.
I'm sure at this point the question that is on everyone's mind is "What does the removal of these items have on actual PQ?" Well let's find out..........
Picture Mode Overview
Out of the box, the PDP 6020FD is set to Optimum mode. Optimum mode is designed to constantly modify the contrast, brightness, color, tint, etc controls based on the room environment. This year, Pioneer added sound control to Optimum mode's "automatic" adjustments. PQ in this mode was good, but I could see edge enhancement on many scenes and test patterns. Although I could not get a completely accurate grayscale reading within this mode due to the constant adjustments, it averaged around 7400K. This will please most viewers during daytime and/or sports viewing as a "bluer" white is more pleasing and can add more "punch" to the picture. However, I do not recommend this mode for critical movie and/or night viewing. This mode is universal, regardless of input selection.
Now, one would think that Performance mode would be the mode that makes the Pioneer 6020FD shine. Well, this is not the case and it's one of the worst A/V modes available on the
6020FD.Beyond its S shaped gamma curve (hump between 60 and 80% stimuli), this mode produced an 8600K average grayscale and crushed everything in the 0 10% stimuli range with the brightness control set to 0. This mode provides improved shadow detail with a brightness setting of +4, but it still is lacking somewhat. If a 6020 owner previously owed a LCD display, this mode would probably please him as it provides an extremely punchy picture with "crisp" (aka edge enhanced) highlights to boot. Critical viewers should stay away from this mode. This mode is universal, regardless of input selection.
By all means, STAY AWAY from this mode!!!!!!! This mode is universal, regardless of input selection.
This is the de facto mode on the PDP 6020FD. It sports an average grayscale of 6350 (6347 to be exact) and a 2.27 gamma. This A/V mode produces the most accurate picture I have ever seen on a non Elite Pioneer.......ever!!! All review material and PDP panel shoot out results were done using this mode. This mode is universal, regardless of input selection.
This is an absolutely horrible A/V mode. Grayscale is well over 10K with non defeatable edge enhancement and an S shaped gamma curve to boot. This mode is universal, regardless of input selection.
This mode would have been a great mode if it did not have an 8K grayscale. Gamma is ok at
2.17 and it only has minor edge enhancement. This mode is universal, regardless of input selection.
This is the only mode in which each individual A/V input can house discrete settings.
Unfortunately, this is the absolute worst A/V mode available on the 6020FD. It is similar to Performance mode, but crushed blacks far more. This is the first A/V mode I have ever encountered on any display that actually makes a 10% stimuli full field pattern look like a 0% stimuli pattern.
Again, all of the measurements were taken in Movie mode (after the 150 hour break in procedure), adjusted for the most accurate picture, and the Power Save mode was set to Off. On a 0% stimuli pattern, the 6020FD can get really dark. In fact, the pixels literally turn off after 30 seconds on this pattern. Technically speaking, this means the 6020FD is capable of an infinite On/Off contrast ratio. However, this 0fL idle luminance is not achievable beyond a 0% stimulus pattern and I will refrain from using the 0fL reading in my official numbers. Using a window pattern, I measured a peak contrast ratio of 38,900:1 (38.9fL peak white with an astonishing, pre 30 seconds 0% stimuli pattern, minimum luminance level of 0.001fL....the lowest my AEMC
813 can go). Full screen white contrast ratio measured 21,300:1 (21.3fL peak white, 0.001fL video black). ANSI came in at 14,600:1.
Grayscale averaged 6347 from 10 100% stimuli. Although this grayscale isn't true D65, I found it very pleasing to the eye and was hard pressed to see the slightly "redder" tone on regular content. Any RGB Service Menu tweaks on this PDP will yield an incremental improvement at best.
Just like its predecessor, the PDP 6020FD's user menu does not house any controls that can be used to properly calibrate the colors. On top of that, Pioneer has again chosen to hardcode the
6020FD with a wider color gamut (Colorspace 1) which exceeds the reference HD Rec. 709 Colorspace. The actual color points are remarkably similar to the 6010FD, with oversaturated green and red primaries, greener yellow, and a redder magenta:
There was no visible drop off in contrast and color from extreme horizontal angles of 75° off axis. However, there is a slight brightness drop off from vertical angles above 60°. I must note that I had to be standing 2 feet in front of the panel to see this drop off.
Dead pixels none
Screen uniformity Perfect
HDMI Overscan 0% with Dot by Dot and 2% with Full
Blacker than black Passed
Black level Excellent
Black level retention none
Video deinterlacing Excellent
Film deinterlacing Passed 3:2/ 2:2 cadence in all resolutions
Viewing angle Excellent (> 150°)
Motion resolution 950
Digital noise reduction Very good (HD content)
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement (Movie mode only)
Image retention Very minor before 150 hour break in. Zero after.
Posterization Minor with HD cable
1080p/24 capability Yes. No telecine judder
"My God! It's full of stars" would be the slogan I'd use to summarize the 6020FDs performance.
Flanked to the left of a TH50PZ800u and below my Elite 1150HD, the 6020FD presented a picture that neither could fully replicate. Throughout the entire comparison, the following words stayed in my mind: smoooooth, clear, sophisticated, intoxicating.
Dark Room HD DVD and BD Performance
The 6020FD's 0.001fL black level created an eerie void adjacent to the other PDPs. I've never seen this much depth and shadow detail on a digital display. Watching Blackout destroy Soccent
Airbase on the HD DVD presentation of Transformers, the black level difference between the
6020FD and the 50PZ800u was not subtle, it was dramatic. Black levels on the 6020FD made the
PZ800u's blacks (measured @ 0.008fL) look like a dark shade of gray. The top and bottom bars literally disappeared into the 6020FD's screen. In comparison, I could always make out the bars on the 50PZ800u, but their luminance was subtle and much improved over previous Panasonic generations. Colors during the movie just looked better on the 6020FD. Although the 50PZ800u was fully calibrated to D65 and had better primary color plots, the 6020FD had a certain quality the Panasonic just didn't quite have: a creamy smoothness to the image. And this feeling remained seared into my sub conscious; even though the numbers say otherwise. Getting within 1.5 feet of the 6020 and 50PZ800u, I could see an ever so slight level of noise on the 50PZ800u screen. Engaging the Video NR filter on the Panasonic removed the noise, but killed some of the high frequency detail. The 6020s picture was void of any and all noise. Kudos goes to Pioneer for their hardcoded NR filters being setup just right for HD content.
Switching to 2001 on BD, the 6020FD continued to create exceptionally dynamic images with life like clarity, super sharp, and super smooth frames. The white ships on the star filled space backdrop had much more pop compared to both the 1150HD and 50PZ800u. Black bars again disappeared into the background of the 6020FDs panel, unlike the very, very slight luminance on the 1150HD (measured @ 0.004fL). Compared to the 1150HD, the 6020 can go brighter when the scene calls for it. For instance, the space station lobby scene with the red chairs looked noticeably brighter on the 6020 compared to the 1150HD. For reference, both were calibrated to roughly 39fL peak light output.
Watching Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End, the 6020 once again spanked the 1150HD in overall brightness level. Watching the Black Pearl float in the white sands of Davy Jones's
Locker, the sand was actually too bright on the 6020FD for my tastes. I actually had to engage
Power Save Mode 1 to keep the brightness at bay.
Dark Room SD DVD Performance
Feeding all three panels a 480i presentation of Sin City, the 6020FD finally showed some weakness. Although black levels and dynamic range were far superior on the 6020FD, my
1150HD produced a sharper image. Goldie's facial details were much more pronounced on my
1150. Continuing on with Finding Nemo, Aliens, Star Wars Episode III, and Lord of the Rings
Return of the King produced the same "softer" results. The 50PZ800u with the same material was either on par or slightly worse compared to the 6020FD. I'm not sure if the lack of sharpness is due to Pioneer coding different NR levels on 480i/p signals or 768p vs 1080p native screen resolution. This is something I'll have to revisit once I test a 9G Pioneer Elite.
HD Cable Performance
The 6020FD presented 1080i/720p in the same fashion as HD DVD and BD presentations except that it showed me every single thing that was wrong with the compressed HD signals that broadcasters are shoving down our throats. Although the 6020FD was capable of showing the tiniest bits of details in static 1080i images, moving scenes were riddled with macroblocking and other picture artifacts. Dot by dot mode reduced some of these artifacts. However, it failed to give me the same pristine picture my 1150HD was simultaneously showing. The 50PZ800u weathered the same issues as the 6020FD. I guess 1300 compressed lines of resolution from a
SA8300HD cable box doesn't bold well on 1080p displays.
SD Cable Performance
SD cable viewing on the 6020FD was just as disappointing as SD DVD performance. Once again the 6020 presented a softer, less tasteful picture compared to my 1150HD. Watching SD channels with either Wide or Cinema stretch modes was at times annoying due to the soft picture and took time to get use to. Artifacts could easily be seen, regardless of channel. I know many will say that SD cable will always look "poor at best" on a 1080p display. However, I think the people deserve a little better than what the 602FD can muster.
The 6020FD really shines in low lighting environments. However, its daytime performance isn't anything to balk at. Pioneer's AR coating kept reflections at bay and on par with my 1150HD.
The Panasonic 50PZ800u didn't bold as well. Black levels remained inky, but I know that a
Samsung LCD would have provided "bezel blacks" due to its AR coating design. Never less, I would not call the blacks on the 6020FD during the daytime (with lots of ambient light, I might add) "grey", "blue", or any other color besides black. The 6020FD's improved brightness was most valuable during daytime viewing keeping the whites of snow peaked mountains and the ice rinks on hockey games bright and glistening.
There were a number of "bugs" reported with last year's KURO series. Pioneer did address most of these issues, but did not fix all of them (even after I was told that they were corrected): Blotching Still present. Only visible on a completely black screen.
Pure Cinema ADV Screen Dimming Fixed
Pure Cinema ADV Screen Flicker Fixed
Buzzing Power supply buzz has been corrected. Panel buzz is negligible.
The 6020FDs introduction poised many challenges for Pioneer. Could Pioneer improve on a series that has won more awards than I have fingers to count? Could Pioneer drop the minimum luminance level of a PDP that to date, no other manufacturer has yet equaled or surpassed? Could Pioneer create a PDP that expresses a voluptuous color pallet that is second to none? Is it possible? Overall, I would have to say yes. The 6020FD will quench any potential owner's thirst for unparalleled picture quality like no other display I've encountered. Mouthwatering colors, mystifying black levels coupled with mind boggling contrast dynamics. Unfortunately, the 6020FD is not without flaws: soft SD PQ performance, paltry number of user picture controls....especially on a $5,500 TV, A/V picture mode performance (minus Movie and Optimum mode) that you would expect on a Vizio, Olevia, or other cheap <censored> display. However, the 6020FDs overall presentation in Movie mode is second to none. I'll end this on a
Will Smith quote from Independence Day:
"I have GOT to get me one of these!!!!"