Originally posted by dkaplan21
For those of you who have purchased the Pio 4312 from Costco, I am curious to know how many of you are truly happy and impressed with your purchase. I am considering buying the set myself but I have read various mixed reviews in some the forums here on AVS. It sounds like some people really like it, and those that don't are very picky. I know that it won't have the same black levels as some DLPs, however I am more concerned with overall PQ (for both SD and HD). What is the general consensus for this Pio?
It's simply superb in my setting. What really swayed us was seeing HD images on its 50" big brother at a friend's place. I didn't want to go for the 50" since I don't have the viewing distance for it, and the 43" works optimally for me, while also being the first set to come under my self-imposed price cap for one of this size. We were retiring our tired direct-view SD CRT, and thought it was high time to transition to HD (just trying to decide between E* and Comcast HD right now: will probably go with Comcast for now, since after the demise of Voom, the grape-vine is ripe with the rumor of a "significant" anouncement from E* on May 1).
Anyway, our primary reason for getting it was to view DVD movies (neither my wife nor I watch much TV, but that might change with the enticement of HD images, as we've experienced at friends' places). For DVDs through the component input, the enhancement in image quality was stunning. Though not side by side, I have checked out various DLP models, and the Panasonic 42" plasma EDTV that a lot of folks elsewhere in this forum love, and I must say I do like the Pioneer more. Having transitioned from a CRT, the shallow black level initially irked me (the one area where the Panasonic had a definite edge), but you know, I have gotten completely used to it, to the point where even LXG did not faze me last night: I still rejoiced in the incredible details, super smoothness and natural, just-correct color reproduction this set provides. Of course, it helps that it's in an extremely well-lit by day room, and we don't really view anything in very dark conditions even at night. I also paid a lot of attention (and time) to tweaking the set just so, with invaluable help from the "Rich's Method For Achieving A More Realistic Image" thread (sorry, being a newb, can't post URLs yet).
Speaking of which, Rich Harkness' thread on "Steps to a Better NTSC (Cable/Sat) Image On Your Plasma" contains very useful tips on battling with the initially disheartening (especially if you are stepping up from "average"-sized direct-view CRT sets) SD PQ. I now have it tweaked to the extent that digital SD cable signals (for the stronger channels at least) look just fine, and sometimes, better than they have any right to. I think this set has a particularly good and smooth scaler. Of course, be aware that I am an inveterate tweaker, and spent nights experimenting with all kinds of SD signals and settings before I was satisfied with the end results
, but they were certainly worth it!
Bottom line: cannot beat the stellar PQ, top value for money, sheer good looks (even when turned off), and unbelievable overall deal when you throw in Costco's return policy. Get one before, as the title of this thread suggests, they go "bye bye" for real.