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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After MUCH research (most of it on this board) and viewing, I just ordered a Pio 503 (from Dell), which should arrive around 12/7 (day of infamy). AFTER ordering it, I made a second trip to Harvey Electronics, here in NYC, just to take another look at my soon-to-be new arrival (probably a bad idea). I had previously only been able to see it at another location with DVD and HD satellite sources, which looked great at the time. This time, the Harvey salesman let me switch between DVD, HD satellite and SD Satellite feeds, let me turn the lights in the viewing room up and down, and left me alone to view for an extended period.


Well, I was less than thrilled with the PQ from the SD source. There was pervasive digital artifacting, much worse than anything I've ever seen on my current home (CRT) set (which runs Time Warner digital cable, usually through a ReplayTV -- in fact, the digital cable channels on my current CRT hardly ever evidence any observable artifacting). I'm hoping that what I saw was simply an indication that the satellite feed at Harvey was in some way deficient, and not attributable to the Pio in any respect (except that the size of the screen may have exacerbated the problem to some extent). I'm also hoping that Time Warner digital cable won't have the same problems, generally, as Harvey's digital satellite feed.


I also observed, on my second viewing, that, even with the DVD source, the video appeared slightly choppy during scenes with a lot of motion, as if the screen was not refreshing as quickly as it should -- almost as if I was viewing an MPEG file on a computer with a slow video card (though not nearly that bad, but noticeable enough to give me pause). I have no idea what that could have been caused by.


Anyway, here are my questions:


To all of you happy current Pio 503 owners (and, particularly, if you also have Time Warner digital cable), how is your PQ on SD cable stations?


Does it differ significantly depending on whether you're looking at the the digital stations or the lower analog stations? Are the digital stations laden with artifacts? Does the scaler/processor create digital artifacts on the analog stations (like my ReplayTV sometimes tends to do on a bad analog feed)?


To those of you who have upgraded to Time Warner's (or another provider's) HD cable box, is the SD cable PQ any better or worse?


To those of you who have ReplayTV or Tivo (not DirecTivo), how is the PQ on the Pio when viewing Replay/Tivo source material?


I had planned on attaching (i) the Replay to Input 3 (S-Video); (ii) a progressive scan DVD to Input 1 (VGA to BNC component); and (iii) Time Warner HD cable to Input 2 (BNC connectors, Y-Pb-Pr). Is that about right?


Finally, what's the story with the choppy DVD video? Have any of you ever seen or addressed this? I don't remember seeing anything about it on this board.


Thanks for you thoughts.
 

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I can only address the DVD issue - I have no other video inputs. My guess is that they do not have the DVD and/or the plasma configured correctly. The DVDs I have watched so far are outstanding, particularly on the Denon 3800. (My other DVD player has been the Pioneer 47ai, which has a dramatically worse picture. Even then, I would not call it choppy; just not as good as the Denon.) Actually, I did plug my old laser disc play in just for fun - the picture kind of sucks.
 

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On my 503 I have four sources:


DVD - (denon 2800 II) Outstanding. Never seen anything like it.


OTA HD - generally good, varies with the affiliate and the particular program. I have a channel master in the attic and I'm about 35 miles from most of the transmitters.


Directv SD - It looks better than it used to, with my Mits RPTV. When you get used to the sources above SD is never going to look great. Casual viewers think it is grand.


Computer - I show my digital pictures. They look incredible. (From a Canon D30 and D60).


I have the Sony HD200 for my Sat and OTA reception. Based on comments I have seen here I am led to believe that the receiver plays a critical part in PQ, so that may have an effect on what you were seeing there. The cable in our area is so crappy that no one with a system like this could possibly consider it.


I had a party on saturday night and all 20 people were just blown away. It's by far the best looking picture I have ever seen, including some 40k projectors (obviously not as large...).


The number one comment from people is the amazing depth. It's more like human vision than you have ever seen before. This really comes through on a DVD like lord of the rings, or most any HD source.


Best of luck. I'm very happy with my choice. Bob.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, guys --- that's very reassuring. I'd be particularly interested as well from hearing from anyone with either (or both) ReplayTV and Time Warner HD cable.
 

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I live in NYC, have the TW HD 3100 box and your plasma. SOmetimes it will bum you out how bad the PQ quality is. Plasma's make a good picture look better and a bad one look worse. I have never had a problem like you describe with DVD's and I have a cheap Sony C650 via s-video.


Mostly older shows (like a Seinfled rerun) look pretty bad, especially dark scenes. Watching new shows like CSI in HD look better than anything I have ever seen. Its like you are increasing the spectrum in both directions.
 

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I used to have a Mits 65" RPTV and was reasonably happy with the output of my cable box (I have Comcast, but isn't it all the same?). The analog channels looked ok, but just ok. The digital channels looked different, not better, not worse. There's no noise, but there are compression artifacts. Some channels have more than others. HD looked stunning.


When I got my 503cmx, analog cable looked about the same, but the compression artifacts on the digital channels somehow stood out more. HD looks better.


Obviously, the SD digital channels are compressed in such a way that you hardly notice it on the average $400 Walmart special. You're now getting a display that's 100 times better than what the cable company uses the monitor the signal. You finally get to see the true "quality" of what they put out.


Just ignore it. The 503 CMX is a fantastic display.


Peter
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks again ... these responses are both sobering and reassuring at the same time. Would I expect to see the same problems with SD digital and analog channels on any other 50" plasma (for example, the Panny 50")?
 

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I only have the 503, so I can't speak for any others. But I would think you'd see it on any plasma of that size. You may notice it less on a low resolution plasma than you would on a high resolution one, but I'm really speculating now.
 
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