Hello NEC people,
Posted this a while ago as a separate thread but got no response. Hope some of you can help here. I know it is long but thought others might find a disscussion of these questions useful as well.
Background: I began looking for a display earlier this year. Middle of this year I read through most of the long NEC thread and as a result became very interested in that display. I had previously assumed I would need a VP to get an outstanding picture but CPCAT's experiences with Lumagen, a fine VP, combined with a NEC display convinced me of NEC's quality and I was thrilled to find I would not need to buy a VP.
I did, however, want to wait for the first surface filter technology from Pioneer to trickle over to the NEC (50) as I believe that is a substantive improvement. So the new models are upon us and after reading the brochures for the soon to be released 2007 displays I have some questions that I hope you more knowledgeable NEC people can answer. Hopefully the discussion of these questions will prove interesting to others.
(Question #1 - Number of Colors - 50XR/XM 5 differs from the XR/XM6 series) My primary reason for choosing a NEC is its video processing and my first question has to do with apparent changes in this area. The 50XR5/XM5 and other 2006 displays promoted a feature called Gamma 12 providing 68.7 billion colors, 4096 steps for each of the RGB primaries. I assume the 12 in the name refers to 12 bit processing for each of the RGB values, which yields 4096 steps; at least throughout some part of the video path which would include the color decoder and video DAC. I am too ignorant about the rest of the path to know if the 12 bits carries through the entire path.
The new 2007 displays have dropped the Gamma 12 feature but have added what they call Dynamic Gamma Correction. The number of colors has regressed to 1.07 billion (1/64th) the number indicating new 10 bit processing instead.
Clearly, and regardless of what the marketing department names the features, this appears to be a substantial change in the video processor. I am not clear what if any visible difference fewer colors make but I am more concerned whether NEC has fundamentally changed their fine processor. Have they, for instance, adopted some or all of Pioneer's processor along with the glass or have they perhaps cheapened their own for price competitive reasons? These are the questions that go through my head, call me cynical, as I read their brochure. I make the Pioneer comment because I see similar though differently named features on some Pioneer displays that make me wonder.
Finally on this subject of number of colors let me display my ignorance; but be kind as I am trying to learn. Does this color related spec make a difference only if processing a non-RGB signal? I assume that an RGB signal will already have gone through this type of processing before entering the display. If so, then what of HDMI signals such as from a DVD or STB? Are these RGB?
(Question #2 - underscan mode) Advertised last year dropped this year from the brochure. Is it just dropped from the brochure or is it dropped from the display? I thought this important for attaining 1:1 pixel mapping and proper native rate processing. But again I am ignorant so help me out.
(Question #3 - XR vs XM series) The vertical frequency range spec is quite different. The XR consumer goes to 85Hz while the commercial XM extends to 120Hz. I assume this is a function of the bandwidth of the electronics. If so, then does the considerably wider bandwidth of the commercial display have significance for the comparative PQ of these displays? Is this a sign of better electronics in the commercial displays?
(Question #4 - ISF and service menu controls) If I don't get my display ISF calibrated, I am going to do it myself with a quality meter and associated software. I am looking at several. It will be more expensive if I do it myself but I will have the satisfaction and learn a lot. It is a hobby after all!
Does anyone know how an owner goes about getting access to the ISF controls? Are they simply in the service menu or are they further protected in some covert fashion? If I purchase the display, then I certainly expect to be allowed access to all controls. Yes I understand the risks and am preparing myself before the time comes with all the reading I can do regarding color science and calibration.
(Question #5 - Gamma adjustments) Does anyone know if the NEC has, in addition to its global user-level gamma adjustment, lower-level gamma adjustments that treat each primary separately? This is important for best grey scale tracking. If available, I assume these would be in the service menu. Probably the ISFccc controls. In fact, does NEC produce a service manual documenting the service menu controls? I would need one.
(Question #6 - DVI-D w/HDCP vs. HDMI) Is there any functional difference besides the physical connector between these connections? While I like the approach of separating video and audio paths and connecting video sources directly to the display, I am reconsidering switching video sources through a receiver. If I do this, then a single connector may be all I need at the display. In this case, if the DVI-D can effectively be feed from the HDMI out of the receiver without compromise, then the commercial display becomes feasible. I think it does not have the silver accent which is minor but a plus in the looks department.
(Question #7 - connections consumer vs. commercial) Exactly which connections for 2007 will accept 1080p for each display and should I care? I will primarily have a DVD (oppo) and an HD STB (D* or Dish). Eventually I will hook up a PC too and a HD/BR in time.
Sorry for the length. Please contribute if you know. Thanks in advance. I am leaning toward a NEC and want to make a reasoned decision.