Mark Rubin was a very gracious host today in his beautiful home for our Fujitsu 50XHA10US vs. Pioneer Pro 100 shootout. Not only was this informative, but we had a great time doing it. Just as a point of information, Mark has a setup that most of us would kill for! Mark's Pioneer has been ISF'd while the new Fujitsu has not. We performed some preliminary setup on the Fujitsu via AVIA and we "eyeballed" color adjustments. This entailed using the "user" setup on the Fujitsu which enables you to control Red/Green/Blue levels. As I mentioned, these were preliminary adjustments. Most tests were conducted with the lights out (Mark didn't get fresh). The following summarizes our mutual findings (Mark, please add to or refine my remarks):
* First on the issue of DVI: First it works, second we found little if any difference between the component outputs of the Sony HD200 vs. the DVI/HDCP in to the Fujitsu. Both looked great, with the slightest edge to the DVI (we think). Some may find this surprising, but it is what it is.
* Fan noise: The new Fujitsu has significantly less fan noise than the prior models. Although I would not call my 5004 fans noisy, the new model is much much quieter. In a quiet room you must be close to the new unit to hear the fans.
* Black levels: The Fujitsu's black levels are significantly better than the Pioneer. I think most of us knew that, but seeing the two units side by side truly emphasized the differences. On one space scene, the Fujitsu rendered space a dark black while the Pioneer rendered it as a medium to somewhat darker gray. This difference not only affects the rendering of blacks but does have an impact in many other scenes.
* Color quality: The Fujitsu displayed colors that not only had a broader palette in some instances, but also seemed more natural to us. Flesh tones were truer as were other colors and the whites were a purer white without the degree of color bias of the Pioneer. Part of the problem lies in the fact that the Pioneer has a bias towards the green which impacts other colors. This apparently can not be adjusted out. Unless you do an A/B or have a good eye for color, it's quite possible this issue would be missed by many.
* Video noise: There was more video noise in the Pioneer than the Fujitsu. Mark had not noticed this before, but the difference became obvious when compared to the cleaner Fujitsu picture.
* Picture Depth (3D quality): The Fujitsu appeared to have a more 3D quality than the Pioneer (more of the open window effect). I'm almost certain this is due to the significantly better black levels attained by the Fujitsu.
* DVD quality: Mark and I were somewhat taken aback by the differences here. In watching some of Mark's favorite scenes from the Fifth Element, the differences in picture depth were striking. The Fujitsu appeared more dimensional with significantly better blacks and a more natural rendering of colors.
* SD DirecTV quality: Here the differences were more subtle. Both displays did a nice job given the compressed quality of many of the DirecTV channels. The Fujitsu's blacks were a bit better and gave a somewhat deeper feel to the picture, but the differences were not as striking as they were with HD or DVD.
* At one point, with the lights on, it appeared that the Pioneer's contrast became greater than the Fujitsu. At first we couldn't figure out why since the Fujitsu was at least as bright as the Pioneer and probably a bit brighter. We eventually realized that the Fujitsu, being mounted on the floor in its shipping box, was picking up reflections from the beige carpeting. The Pioneer, which was wall mounted, did not pick up these reflections and therefore didn't have its contrast impaired. We actually threw a black cushion on the floor in front of the Fujitsu to confirm this theory and sure enough the advantage switched back to the Fujitsu. We definitely need to get a life here.
I've probably left some things out and Mark will fill in whatever I've forgotten. One point that should be emphasized is that the Pioneer is a fine display and many of these differences will tend to show up on an A/B as opposed to simply living with the display. Other issues may be picked up without an A/B depending upon how sensitive to color you are. At any rate this was fun.