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Thursday, September 11, 2008
Pioneer to Introduce its First BD Recorders, New KURO Plasma Televisions in Japan

Pioneer will introduce the BDR-WD900 and the BDR-WD700 Blu-ray recorders as well as two new KURO 1080p plasma televisions, the 60-inch KRP-600A and the 50-inch KRP-500A, in the Japanese market.

First Two HDD/BD Recorders Pioneer's new BDR-WD900 Blu-ray Disc (BD) Recorder is equipped with a 1TB hard drive and the BDR-WD700 comes with a 500GB hard drive.

The new HDD/BD recorders employ the latest movie compression technology - MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 - that features a greater compression rate than MPEG-2. This enables the recorders to record high-definition broadcasts in the high resolution of 1980 x 1080 for about five times longer than with previous Pioneer models onto the hard drive: up to about 450 hours with the BDR-WD900 and up to about 220 hours with the BDR-WD700. For 5.1ch surround digital broadcasts, the surround sound can be recorded as it is.

When connected to KURO LINK-compatible plasma TVs via a HDMI cable, it is possible to record and play content via the TV's remote control. By pushing the "Disc Navi" button on the BD recorder, the TV automatically turns ON and the display changes to the recorder screen. The recorders also feature the "KURO Picture Quality Adjust" function that automatically sets the video output for the connected KURO TV to the optimum level.

The device also include two digital tuners that enable users to record two different digital broadcasts.

An IP conversion LSI offers 1080/24p high picture quality output, while the HDMI (Deep Color, x.v.Color, lip-sync) technology further optimises the viewing experience with both BD and DVD movies.

Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio lossless audio -bitstream output (via an HDMI connection) are also supported.

Both recorders are also equipped with a newly-developed BD Drive that corrects numerous optical aberrations to provide high accuracy recording. A feature called "High-definition Just Copy" automatically selects the optimum recording rate from 10 steps based on the recording time when copying high-definition programs onto a BD disc. The supported disc formats for writing include BD-R/R DL, BD-RE/RE DL, DVD-R/R DL, and DVD-RW. Note that the recorders do not write HD programs directly on BD/DVD media.

Other features include the "Scene View", which divides each of the recorded content on the hard drive into 28 segments and displays the results in an index. Viewers can quickly locate the desired scene to playback.

In addition, the "Quick Startup" allows the recorder in standby mode to turn on or display the home menu or TV program in approx. 0.8 sec.

Last, the "Photo viewer" allows consumers to to enjoy pictures on a large-flat panel screen.

Both recorders support BONUSVIEW BD video.

The BDR-WD900 and BDR-WD700 will be available in Japan in the early of October, 2008 (with no retail price suggested).

New KURO plasmas

Pioneer also announced today the introduction of two new KURO 1080p plasma televisions, the 60-inch KRP-600A and the 50-inch KRP-500A, featuring black levels five times deeper than the previous 2007 KURO models as well as superb sound quality, for the Japanese market.

Pioneer claims that it has taken the sound of flat panel TVs to new heights by capitalizing on a host of proprietary audio technologies it has developed for high-end speakers.

The Japanese company has also upgraded the Optimum (Living-room) Mode. With this function, the intelligent KURO televisions simultaneously monitor program scenes and room light conditions, and then automatically optimize the picture and sound settings in real time to deliver a new flawless viewing experience for each type of content.

Pioneer says that it has greatly reduced the idle luminance by combining the new panel and newly-developed drive system, thus improving the black levels five times than the 2007 KURO models.

Pioneer's proprietary drive system for smooth, high-density gradations of black has further evolved together with the new panels.

The new panel's Direct Color Filter minimizes external light reflections on the screen. Even in bright living rooms, viewers can enjoy sharp video images with intense blacks and vivid colors. In addition, the application of a film on the front filter instead of glass has overcome focal problems caused by multiple reflections occurring between the front filter glass and the plasma panel.

In the video processing segment, Pioneer's proprietary 3D I/P (Interlaced/Progressive) Conversion realizes clear video images by eliminating comb-shaped noise seen in scrolling text and other areas on the screen or minimizing jaggies along diagonal lines.

A Noise Reduction System minimizes block noise that easily occurs in moving images, small dot-shaped mosquito noise occurring along the periphery of the image, compression noise contained in digital sources, and noise remaining in analog video sources. It also effectively reduces noise that tends to occur when conventional TV images are converted to a high-definition size.

Film Smooth Motion Mode reproduces 24-fps video material with smoother movements. This new technology uses a proprietary algorithm to automatically generate intermediate video images when frame-rate converting 24-fps (frames per second) film material to 60 fps. It suppresses awkward movements (judder) during conventional 2:3 pull-down conversion to achieve smoother movement between frames.

Thin, low-distortion custom coils, newly developed, reduce distortion and improve channel separation to deliver clear sound. In addition, new thin, low-impedance electrolytic capacitors stabilize the amplifier's power supply to reduce noise.

The new KURO TVs have newly-developed woofers with a corrugation edge structure - adopted in Pioneer's EX-series high-end speaker systems and TAD drivers. This boosts amplitude linearity and delivers clear low-range sound. The tweeters use a tangential rib to minimize vibration separation, thereby reducing distortion in the high-frequency range.

The thickness of the main body of both plasma TVs has been downsized to 64 mm- about half of the 2007 KURO models - by completely redesigning the circuitry and the radiation. The weight has been reduced to 49.9kg for the KRP-600A and 31.4kg for the KRP-500A.

KURO LINK control enables the basic operation of the KURO-LINK-compatible devices on the remote control of the KURO televisions via an HDMI connection. Also, by pushing the PLAY button of the connected KURO-LINK-compatible device, the KURO TV will automatically turn ON, and input will be switched to the selected device.

Four HDMI terminals support 1080p/60-Hz and 1080p/24-Hz input signals, and Deep Color 36-bit color depths for color.

Double Digital Tuner enables users to enjoy two different digital broadcasts on the multi-screen mode at the same time.

Luminance technology and other various power-saving technologies allow the new KURO televisions to consume the lower power:

KRP-600A: Annual power consumption 488 kWh/yr, rated power consumption 533W
KRP-500A: Annual power consumption 428 kWh/yr, rated power consumption 436W

The power consumption in the standby mode is 0.3 W.

The Pioneer KRP-600A and KRP-500A will be available in the middle of October 2008 for a suggested retail price of 940,000 yen ($8,740) and 670,000 yen ($6230) (including tax) respectively.

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