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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to a local computing trade show today, and there were numerous PDP's on display. Of interest were 2 503CMX's, one with the PDA-5002 video card, and the other with the Aurora. The first PDP was hooked up to a laptop via VGA running at the PDP's native resolution. WOW. This display makes a great computer monitor. The laptop was also playing a DVD of the Phantom Menace. Again WOW. I didn't have the Panasonic on its side to comapre its picture quality, but the picture quality off that laptop was terrific. I've compared the Pro-1000HD to the Panasonic, and I thought each panel had there own unique charactaristics. PQ wise its a toss up. But, the 503 has one big positive.....inputs. Note that this display was under very bright light and it still looked quite good. The second display had the Aurora board. The panel was running a build in demo from the Aurora board, showing its numerous PIP capabilities. I think I would rather get the PDA-5002 because of DVI.


Also, there was the NEC 61" running NR DVI from an Apple Titanium Powerbook. I was surprised that that laptop has DVI. I thougt that the panel had muted brightness. I seem to recall someone mentioning that as the panel gets bigger, the brightness of the panel takes a hit. Aside from the brightness, the PQ via DVI was awesome. There were no 503's hooked up via DVI, but if DVI is much better than VGA.......WOW. I think the search for my panel is over. This is one great panel.


BTW, one of the Pioneer resellers at the show periodically has "B" stock on this panel. He mentioned that his NIB dealer cost is $7300 and he would charge a 10% markup, therfore $8030 PDP cost. He claimed that his "B" stock would be about $2K less. This is just for the PDP, no PDA-5002. Any comments on getting a "B" stock PDP?
 

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"B" stock may well mean some dead pixels, I'd be inclined to check carefully on the reasons for it being sold at a discount.


There are other valid reasons for it being classified as "B" stock, but the pixels are probably the most obvious possibility.


Mark
 

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The 503cmx looks very good in high ambient lighting. Be sure to watch it with darker scenes, and you will probably realize that the weak side of this super bright plasma is its non-ability to produce blacks. The "blacks" are actually more grey. Be sure to watch a TOTALLY dark scene, as the high brightness makes the dark look blacker if it not totally dark.. What I am trying to say, is that the absolute black level is grayish, which affect the viewing experience a lot if you are to use it for home theater.


I've got a 433HD, and like the quality of the colors etc, but the black levels make dark movies (like From Hell, and about 60-70 % of all available movies) look grayish and bad.


The Panasonic is not that good black-wise either (compared to CRT), but slightly better than the Pioneers....
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
"B' stock refered to panels that have been used in trade shows, or as demo units. The panel the reseller had on display was considered "B" stock. I asked about dead pixels, and if I could examine the panel before I took it home. He mentioned that sometimes he never sees the panels and that it goes directly from his source (Electrograph, I think, it was the same wholeseller Dell uses) to his customers. He did mention that he could take delivery from his wholesaller and have me examine the panel at his warehouse before I took delivery. I'm thinking that a "B" stock could have some advatages over new if one could have the chance to examine for burn in and dead-pixels. Since the panels have been used for a number of hours, the "break-in" period is over, and the chance that something might go wrong with the panel is less likely.
 

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seattlite:


Further to Jon's point, try watching one in a darkened room with no picture and you'll see what he means. When the panel is powered on, it’s dimly lit, sort of like looking at a CRT with its brightness set too high. This is what you'll see in the black areas of a low contrast picture, such as a night scene. Black levels are better when there is a lot of contrast in the picture. I think this is a well-documented fact about plasmas and Pioneer in particular seems to be the worst offender.


I have a 503CMX and wish the black levels were better, but otherwise I do like it.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I saw the Pro-1000HD next to the 50" Panasonic in a darkened room, and yes the blacks are better on the Panasonic. For that matter, the blacks on the Fujitsu's are comparable to those of the Panasonic's. However, like many have pointed out, blacks, resolution, etc. are just part of what makes the panel great. The feature on the top of my list are inputs. That's why I was so bullish on the Fujistu 4233 untill I saw its picture. I like the Panasonics picture slightly better than the Pionner. I like the Pionner inputs. In my previous posts, I mentioned that each panel has their own PQ charactaristics, Panasonic IMO is the best, Pioneer is a very close second(blacks are somewhat lacking). However, Pioneer has the inputs. I can hook up s-video, 480p component, 1080i/720p VGA, and DVI all at once without a switch box/receiver. All for under 10K.


Jim, from you exprience, would you re-buy the 503?
 

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Seattlite,


I, too, like Jim, have bought the Pioneer just recently (two weeks ago), and even without ever seeing it in person beforehand, depended a lot on guys like Jim and FujiRich and Ericbee. I went on gut instinct (Pioneer has done me well on the audio side for many years), and got mine from Dell. In broad daylight (my living room has lots of windows and a skylight), the screen still looks good. At night, with controlled lighting, we (my wife and kids and I), love it! We look forward to the HDTV demos from our local PBS station, because that's where the plasma shines. As far as the "B" stock goes, if you have a chance to look the screen over beforehand, do so! Just make sure the warranty from Pioneer still applies. If you have the money, go for it, because you won't be sorry!


Another happy Pioneer owner,

Frank
 

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I'm in the process today of setting up my Pioneer 433CMX and until the new generation of HDTV Sat Receiver come out in August connecting to Input 3 S-Video and Input4 Composite. Since I have a MIT A/V reciever I'm trying to figure out whether to switch everything through the receiver or would I get abetter picture if I hooked up SAT direct to s-Video and everything else to Composite In. I also have cable and using the VCR as a tuner which is another reason I thought I should use both inputs instead everything through one Input. Any advise would be appreciated.
 

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seattlite:


I definitely would do it again. I like it for most of the reasons you stated. I also got a very good price at the time. It's very flexible and has a good upgrade path if and when the time comes to swap out the 5002 card:D
 

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Currently, few plasma TVs have good video quality. The Panasonic / NEC has good black levels, but only 8 bit signal processing. This makes the image computer like and non-realistic looking.


The Pioneers (433HD/5030HD/433CMX/503CMX) has 10 bit signal processing, thereby creating a MUCH better image. The problem is black level performance. I have the 433cmx, and have had some issues with the black level.


My solution was to put four lights on each side of the screen, directed behind the screen. This is a common method of increasing perceived contrast and black level on other projection methods. The black levels "increased" dramatically using this method. Of course it will not beat my present Barco Graphics 808s CRT HiEnd projector, but the lights really don't bother me that much.


The problem is the absolute black level, which is too high. The lights really improve this issue to an extent that I could recommend this screen (or the 50") if you can accept watching a movie with the lights on. Actually, I always go to sleep in the pitch darkness of my CRT projection setup, so this fits me just fine.


PS! The light output on these models 900 and 1000 cd/m provides enough lights to use the lights and still have a wonderful picture. This would not apply to lower output models, like the above mentioned Panasonic etc, but they have acceptable black levels, so no problem.


The 8 bit processing gives a REALLY sucky picture though! Please watch a REAL movie (not Bugs etc) before you decide for such a screen. I think also the new XGA MP4 Nec has 8 bit processing... To bad, because in opposite case, it would probably make a good screen.


The external box with tuner etc. on the Pioneers is REALLY good! You can connect everything to the box without putting a bunch of cables up your wall.


All in all, after "solving" the black level issue, I am pretty pleased with this screen... Given the alternates (huge, 8 bit, noise on CRT projectors, handling, setup on CRT projectors and on and on)...
 

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I dont know what signal processing the Fujitsus etc. has, but be sure to check for 8 bit!
 

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I think this confirms something I've said a few times now.


If you have complete lighting control and want to watch in a dark room then I wouldn't choose a plasma.


If you want to watch in a more 'normal' family room where light is not fully controllable or where darkness is not acceptable then a plasma can be a good choice.


I'd not noticed the problem with the blacks that you had, but at the same time as installing the plasma I also had 15 spotlights recessed into the ceiling linked to a 3-zone Lutron controller which has resulted in a similar lighting arrangement to the one you mentioned so that probably explains it.


Mark
 

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Had the 503CMX with 5002 board for about two weeks now and couldn't be happier, except for a slight shimmer in the picture (not ISF calibarated yet). Also refresh rate is pretty low, and can't boost it w/o getting a red pixelation.


Switching three HD sources through a Pioneer Elite 49TX receiver, have DVI cooking through an HTPC. DVD is gantastic scaled and the text and resolution is fantastic on the PC. Only use Svideo to see menus on a Dish 5000.


Had a Toshiba RPTV. Would never go back. Just amazing.


Tim
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by seattlite
Also, there was the NEC 61" running NR DVI from an Apple Titanium Powerbook. I was surprised that that laptop has DVI.
Apple has had DVI for quite a while now.
 

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rudolpht:


What source are you watching when you get a shimmer? I've never heard of this and certainly haven't seen it on my 503. It doesn't sound like a calibration issue to me but more possibly a video source or cabling problem.


I don't understand your comment about a low refresh rate. I assume you mean when driving the DVI connection from your HTPC. What is the visible effect of a low refresh rate?:confused:
 

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Nekobus and Seattlite,


The Apple PowerBook Titanium has been around for a while, but the new G4 800 is the very first to offer DVI out. I have never seen an notebook with DVI before this. It is the cat's meow as far as notebook computing is concerned. I would be afraid to use it as a HTPC however; not enough bandwidth on the videocard (limited to 32mb of DDR SDRAM and my guess is the ATI Radeon chipset is only 8bit color depth).


Here's a link:

http://www.apple.com/powerbook/
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim Boden
What source are you watching when you get a shimmer? I've never heard of this and certainly haven't seen it on my 503. It doesn't sound like a calibration issue to me but more possibly a video source or cabling problem.
Jim,


Thanks for answering.


Actually all sources, including HD sources. I notice it slightly less on 720p driven sources (like Dish 6000, but not 5000).


I am getting a shorter DVI cable (now max length) & a HiPix VGA to Component cable without the RCA to BNC adapters.


The shimmering is like a shining on surfaces, but different than the pixel matrix.

Quote:
I don't understand your comment about a low refresh rate. I assume you mean when driving the DVI connection from your HTPC. What is the visible effect of a low refresh rate?:confused:
I will get the specs of what I'm set at. Higher has the red pixel creep. Setting Dot x Dot with PowerStrip. I was told refresh doesn't matter in mode, because the screen is not really refreshing. With the thread about Elecxtrograph selling B Stock, I am assuming my unit is still A Stock. (Looked brandspanking new out of the box.



Tim
 

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rudolpht:


I don't use DVI on mine, so I can't make a comparison for you. I have a Faroudja NRS, which drives it dot-for-dot (1280 x 768 at 60hz) and don't have any problem with red pixel creep. I guess HTPC's work differently.
 
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