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Pioneer’s Kuro Get Super Thin, ‘Absolute’ Black

Looking to apply the “thin-is-in” trend to its Project Kuro plasma TV behemoths, Pioneer is unveiling at International CES a 50-inch super-thin (9mm) plasma panel.

Billed as “an advanced design concept,” the thin-screen plasma TV prototype will be showcased as the future of the big-screen flat-panel TV technology.

At the same time, Pioneer will preview future Project Kuro concepts showing extreme contrast and advanced design.

Pioneer will extend its extreme contrast breakthrough with a concept that is said to “produce the industry’s first plasma that is absolute black with no measurable light emitting from the television.”

The goal of the super black and super-thin plasma displays “is to deliver an emotional entertainment experience through the development of the highest picture quality,” Pioneer said.

“For more than a year, Project Kuro has been a brand mantra within Pioneer that represents our commitment to deliver the most passionate and emotional entertainment experience possible,” stated Russ Johnston, Pioneer home entertainment and business solutions group executive VP. “The Kuro technology concepts demonstrate how we are continuing to challenge the industry and stay above the commoditized flat-panel television market — by literally ending the conversation about contrast ratio, a debate that has been in existence since television was first introduced, and creating a flat-panel display so thin it becomes a canvas for entertainment.”

Pioneer said that by increasing contrast performance (the ratio of the luminosity of the brightest color to that of the darkest color), it is at the same time producing truer, more accurate colors.

“By nature, televisions produce luminance [light] and this dilutes black and color. That is why it is so important that Pioneer can achieve absolute black in the Project Kuro extreme contrast concept. The display is so black that even when it is on with no image displayed, the television is invisible when you walk into a completely dark room,” the company said.

The contrast ratio is so high that “it is literally beyond measurement,” Pioneer said.

“Ultimately, our goal is focused on bringing to market a new Kuro that unifies the extreme contrast and advanced design concepts to transcend anything currently possible in home entertainment. We feel that this will not only surpass our previous best, it will completely change the playing field.” said Yoichi Sato, Pioneer chief technology executive.

The super-thin plasma display is also part of Project Kuro, and will offer high-contrast performance. In addition to a thin cabinet, the plasma display is also said to be extremely light at just 41 pounds for a 50 display. This is said to allow the television to be more easily wall mounted.

Pioneer said neither technology will be commercially available in 2008.

For this year, Pioneer will introduce a new Kuro plasma line in the summer, the company said.