Ever since we called the Pioneer Elite Kuro PRO-111FD the "best flat-panel HDTV ever," we've been comparing the most expensive challengers on the market directly against it, looking to see if any could topple the champ. When Panasonic announced the TC-PG10 series at CES, we immediately knew it would go up against the Kuro in our lab. What we didn't know is that Pioneer would stop producing HDTVs, leaving the hill wide open for anybody to claim the king's throne.
The Panasonic G10 series is the new king. No, it's not as good overall as the soon-to-be-extinct Kuro Elite, but it comes closer than ever in the arena of black-level performance, and mounts a good fight in just about every other field of picture quality, with the exception of some color accuracy issues.
Panasonic steeped the G10 in extra features compared with its less expensive brethren, adding a THX mode that's largely responsible for its excellent picture, along with VieraCast for access to a limited range of Internet extras. The downside, as always, is that it costs significantly more than lower-end models, but if you're looking for the best picture quality in a post-Kuro world, the Panasonic TC-PG10 series is the safest bet so far this year.