Should I Fix or Replace My Pioneer Kuro? Ask the Editors


Q: I have a 60″ Pioneer Elite PRO-151FD Kuro plasma TV. It turns off by itself after a few hours, and the blue power light blinks eight times. I bought the TV (the last one in Houston) off the wall at BestBuy in February 2010. I also bought a BestBuy warranty with it, but I doubt they’ll honor it after eight years.

I’ve seen kits on the Internet that claim to fix this problem, but even if there is a good kit, I don’t know how to solder, and I’d be afraid to mess with it anyway.

I’ve seen Kuros on eBay for up to $750, but those are local pickup only. Is it time to get a Sony XBR-A1E? Or the new LG W series? (Not sure I want to spend 8 grand!)

– Jim Denton (Rusty Blues)

A: This is a well-known problem that has been discussed on AVS Forum; check out the threads here and here. Apparently, when the blue power light blinks eight times, that indicates one of several fault conditions. The most common cause seems to be a faulty voltage-regulator IC (integrated circuit) on the I/O (input/output) circuit board.

Here’s a YouTube video from someone calling himself norcal715 that describes how to replace the IC:

If you don’t know how to solder, I do NOT recommend that you attempt this repair! I do know how to solder, and I wouldn’t try it myself.

Even though the Pioneer Kuro is a wonderful video display, it’s 1080p and standard dynamic range. (Actually, since the blacks are so deep, its displayed dynamic range is wider than other flat panels of its era, but it can accept and display only SDR signals.) Given that, I do not recommend getting another Kuro off eBay. I say it’s time to upgrade your TV!

Since you are used to the Kuro’s inky blacks, I definitely recommend an OLED TV over an LCD. The Sony A1E is a fine OLED; see my review here. The 2018 A1F is essentially the same as the A1E, except that it stands completely upright on its base rather than leaning back slightly. Now that the A1F is imminent, you can probably find a great deal on an A1E. On the other hand, if you’re planning to wall-mount the TV, the A1E presents a bit of a problem because of the bulky subwoofer in its non-removable stand.

I also love the LG OLED TVs, though I agree with you that the W series is too pricey for most folks. Plus, it can’t be stand-mounted—it must be mounted on the wall—and it comes with a huge soundbar that contains all the electronics and inputs, so you can’t do without it. As a result, I recommend the C7 or E7 from the 2107 model year; see my review of the C7 here.

Unlike Sony’s 2018 OLED, this year’s LG OLEDs have new video processing that promises to be much better than last year’s. I’m expecting a C8 or E8 to be delivered in the next couple of weeks, and I hope to have my review posted in a month or two. If you can wait that long, it might be worthwhile to see if the new models offer a significant improvement—though the 2017 models are mighty fine. And because the new models are about to become available, you can probably find great deals on the 2017 models.

For prices and availability of the 2018 models, click here. FYI, the 65″ W8 is $7000 (available July 16), the 65″ E8 is $4500 (April 2), and the 65″ C8 is $3500 (March 19).

If you’ve got an AV question, please send it to [email protected]

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