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Here are some of my initial findings of my new SD-643-HD5....first let me say that I spent the first day with the TV converging and running it though Video Essential test patterns 3-4 times. I am sitting 10ft from the 64incher. Also, my TV is connected to my Video switching in my processor via a 25 ft MIT S-Video cable. (not the best scenerio for picture quality)


-I am very pleased with the NTCS/analog TV viewing. I am using Dish Network's Dishplayer which has the built in PVR. Quality of viewing does vary channel to channel but not too much. Overall it is a very smooth picture. I think Pioneer's NTSC viewing is the best from what I have seen out there. The picture may be a little softer but much more watchable than an over-pixelized screen. The picture is just as good when fed a signal from my PVR.


-In testing the line doubler...I believe it is every bit the line doubler of the current Elite models and then a little better. I took a DVD into a local Elite dealer today to confirm my assumptions. Remember I am using an inferior connection, S-Video, to component that was used by the elite dealer using the DV-09 DVD player. I ran through some scenes on Tomorrow Never Dies and I preferred the processing on the 2002 over the current elite, but it was not a big difference. There is a reason Pioneer calls it the Pure Cinema II...it is an updated version. It is very good, not as good as a progressive feed signal direct from DVD player, but the best I have seen built internally in the TV.


-The color decoding is much better than last years non-elites. I found the colors to be more realistic but not washed out. Cosmetically the TV looks different, go to bestbuy.com for various pic's. For the size of the picture, this is not as bulky of a TV as the 65 Mits or Toshiba. I also think the red push is down from previous models.


-The stretch modes are awesome especially Natural Wide and Cinema Wide. And yes, for those wondering, the 2002 models do not lock in FULL mode when fed a progressive signal.


-Pioneer has quite a few Picture enhancement modes....I have not spent any time with the new Reference mode but the TV also has three other modes, Standard, Game, and User. Pioneer has also included a Black level enhancer, skin tone enhancer, automatic brightness and coler adjustment according to the ambient light in the room, and a SVM mode on/off, 3 temperatures- Film, Standard and Live. You can turn the Pure Cinema processing on/off. I am not using any of these extra processing enhancements other than keeping Pure Cinema on. Here are my current Picture Parameter settings...


Contrast 1

Black Lvl -6

Color -7

Tint -22

Sharpness -4


So far I am happy with this piece. I do see some room for improvement. I think the CRT's need some electronic focusing. The picture is not as sharp/3D as I think it could be. I know an accurate grayscale would help this. I think the Elites may have better color saturation and better blacks but I believe that may be due to the fact that they come from the factory better calibrated. So calibrations is definitely a part of this TV's future. I do not have the ability to test the TV's HD capability but I would believe it to be as good as current elite. If the few weaknesses that I mentioned above can be improved upon with a good calibration then I believe the new 2002 Non-Elites will beat the current elites.

 
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