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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been testing the new Key Digital HDXplorer card for Pioneer plasma models PDP-434/504CMX. The card features the following:


4 x HDMI Inputs (HDCP Compliant)

1 x VGA Input

1 x Component HD Input

1 x S-Video Input

1 x Composite Input

1 x L/R Audio input/output

1 x S/PDIF Audio input/output

http://www.digitalconnection.com/images/kd_xplorer.jpg


The primary feature of this card is of course that it turns this commercial model plasma HDCP compliant. Four HDMI inputs makes the card the ideal switcher for digital sources, but the HDXplorer also features Key Digital's ClearMatix Pro scaling for all sources including 480p/1080i/720p up to the native resolution of the panel at 1280x768. Unlike the current cards on the market, the output signal is digital.


I have tested with variety of DVI/HDMI devices, the most tricky being the Dish 942. The HDXplorer has an upgradable firmware and the last update fixed HDCP compliance with the Dish 942 PVR.


There are extensive menu functions including the HV size and position as well as aspect ratio control with various zoom options.


Scaling of 480i/480p as well as the HD signal is excellent, set up once and forget it. Lip sync control has been built into the audio functions but I have not yet fiddled with this much yet.


I'll try my best to answer questions on the card features that I may have overlooked.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
madshi,


Not sure what source you have that can output 24 or 25p but since I have no such device, I can't answer that one. The card does accept 50/60Hz.
 

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Kei, I don't have such a source yet, but basically if you have a good external scaler, 24p should be the preferred format for movies. Why? Because if the display is clever, it will show it as 72p and no motion judder will be seen.


BluRay+HD-DVD movies are encoded in 24p, although the first player generation might only output it converted to 60i.


Probably I should drop asking for 25p, because if the card accepts 50p, the external scaler will just double 25p to 50p and no problem. However, if the card doesn't accept 24p, that would be bad. Ok, Pioneer has that advanced cinema mode, which should theoretically turn 60i into 72p for movies itself. But I'd rather trust an external scaler (if you have a good one) than the display to decide about that.


Now if only Pioneer would come out with commercial 6G units, I might be very tempted!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
madshi,


While all film sources originate in 24fps (although some are improperly encoded at 30/60fps), I don't believe that the players will automatically output that frequency which would be problematic to many displays on the market. Also, I believe that the Pioneer plasma's optimal vertical frequency is either 60 or 75Hz (don't quote me on that, I'll have to check), video output at frequencies such as 72Hz can result in tearing and not suited for a digital panel with fixed matix, although it would be ideal on an analog CRT type display.


P.S. Looked up the ClearMatix Pro which is an motion-assisted de-interlacing algorithm with film detection for inverse 3:2 or 3:3 telecine.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kei Clark
I don't believe that the players will automatically output that frequency
They surely won't by default. But there's hope they will be able to do that optionally. The new 6G consumer Pioneers accept 1080p24 over HDMI and the 7G commercial Panasonics do, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kei Clark
Also, I believe that the Pioneer plasma's optimal vertical frequency is either 60 or 75Hz (don't quote me on that, I'll have to check), video output at frequencies such as 72Hz can result in tearing and not suited for a digital panel with fixed matix, although it would be ideal on an analog CRT type display.
As far as I know the Pioneer plasmas support 60Hz, 72Hz, 75Hz and 100Hz modes. That's what the "Advanced Pure Cinema" is meant for. Panasonic supports only 60Hz and 100Hz, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
madshi,


I checked the manual for information on the "Advanced Pure Cinema" mode, but found no mention of it.


The 504CMX lists two inputs, #1 is VGA and #2 is DVI. In the VGA mode running at output of 1280x768, the plasma is compatible with 56, 50, and 70Hz. In DVI, it is fixed at 60Hz.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kei Clark
... Unlike the current cards on the market, the output signal is digital. ...
I take it you are refering to the Aurora A304 card? I thought that the A304, when used with the 504/434, had an all digital path.


Could you give a ballpark figure on the price?


Thanks,

John flegert
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
jflegert,


I believe that the A304 does D/A/D conversion. There is a long thread with comments here:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...ht=aurora+a304


The MSRP on the card is $1599, but stay tuned as we're trying to do a pre-intro sale for AVS members at a HUGE discount.


madshi,


I believe that maybe the case, not that it is necessary on the plasma as the card has all such features built in to its own processor.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kei Clark
...


I believe that the A304 does D/A/D conversion. There is a long thread with comments here:

...
Upon reading the referenced thread, I agree. Thanks.


John
 

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User review of HD Xplorer card


I acquired this card one week ago and have been testing and using it extensively, and thought that a short review might be useful.


It appears to be the only card available at present for use in both NTSC/60Hz and PAL/50Hz regions which is HDCP compliant, compatible with all current SD/HD 50Hz signals. It can therefore be installed in both USA 434/504CMX and International 43/50MXE1 models. I am using the card with a 50MXE1


Key Digital informed me that it will also be compatible with the new 425/505CMX.


I checked with test and programme material using HDMI, RGBHV, Component and S-Video inputs.

The board is well engineered and performance is excellent on all 50/60Hz signals and is the best I have seen with 720p and 1080i 50/60Hz on the 50MXE1, with very low noise.

It has very good color bandwidth and definition.

The processing/scaling is good with motion compensation using moving zone plate tests and has clean, smooth grey scale delineation on IRE patterns and ramps, seemingly limited only by the 50MXE1 internal processing.


The ability to calibrate color temperature separately for each input is a particularly useful feature.


Key Digital recommend using the FRC2 mode on the Pioneer, which does give the best motion performance on film and video.


I have compared this card to two other internal video cards, and to external processors driving the 50MXE1 native DVI and VGA inputs. When set up, the HD Xplorer gives better overall picture quality on film and video material, especially using the HDMI inputs. The exceptional color performance and low noise no doubt contribute to much of this.

For me it transforms the performance and usability of the Pioneer.


I had a few installation issues, but nothing serious.

Key Digital have been very helpful and prompt responding to questions.


I can post more details if anyone is interested.
 

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perfect review

and good news for us european MX-1 users


i read about a special discount for us avs members ....


anyone ?


I will be in Naples (Fl) from nov.05 - fev.06 :) :) :)


regards from Germany
 

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Kei,


I put my user review on the U.K. AV Forums site "avforums" (Sorry I'm new here so still can't post URLs) in the Plasma forum for European users.

I mentioned the special offer.


There has been interest here because it is the only 50Hz HDCP card available.


Hope this helps.
 

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Just wondering if this would fit/work with a 3rd generation pio like the aurora 304 card does??
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
gordf,


Unfortunately, it does not work with the 3rd gens because they are physically too large.
 

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gordf:


Unfortunately, it seems KD abandoned their first attempt at a card, which originally was going to work with the 3rd gen panels.


I'm very disappointed, as this new one is something I'd be interested in.:(
 
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