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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,


I am planning on building a HT system around the Pio PDP-503CMX and am wondering how I should handle video source switching. The 503 as you may know ships with only VGA and component video (5 BNC connectors), with a expansion video card slot. I need to attach at least a DVD player (prog scan) and VCR to it (the VCR can also provide the analog tuner). The system will also include a 5.1 A/V receiver. Later, I may add a cable HDTV box (Comcast) when it becomes available, which I understand integrates an HDTV tuner and has component Y/Pb/Pr output via three RCA jacks.


I am assuming the component output from the DVD player (three RCA jacks) can be converted to the five BNC connector input on the plasma with the appropriate cable (correct?). So my quandary is how to best accomodate the analog input from the VCR. The choices are:


1.) Buy Pioneer's PDA-5002 video card and send the S-video from the VCR to it, and send the DVD player's component output to the 503CMX BNC inputs. The video input/outputs on the receiver won't be used (most lower-end receivers don't have component video switching). One concern with this setup is that there's only one component input on the Pioneer (there's none on the PDA-5002), and I won't be able to add an HD tuner without an external switcher. (The 5002 does have a DVI input, but I won't be using the plasma as a computer display, and I don't think the HD box outputs DVI, don't know much about this).


2.) Buy Aurora Multimedia's TVP-1000 video card ( http://www.auroramultimedia.com/_pro...000/index.html ). This costs more than Pioneer's video card but includes an analog TV tuner (and coaxial cable jack) and a second component video input (via a 15pin connector - again I would need to convert from 3 RCA cable output from the DVD player or HD box). Receiver is still bypassed for video switching.


3.) Buy an higher-end receiver and use it for component video switching (2 YPbPr sources in, 1 out). But I still need a video card for the analog input for the VCR. I've read that the component-I/O bandwidth on most modestly-priced ($450) receivers is not sufficient for optimal HD signal quality.


4.) Don't buy the video card, and send all video sources (analog and digital) over a single component cable to the Pioneer's BNC digital input. This can be done two ways: by using a receiver that has not only component-video switching but also composite/S-video-to-component conversion (i.e. Kenwood VR-5090 - http://www.kenwoodusa.com/product/pr...&productId=753 ) or by using a separate converter box (Sony MPU-100/DSC-1024?). I'm not sure if anything is lost in the translation. The added cost of the receiver would be mostly offset by not having to buy the video card, plus I'd have the convenience of switching everything through the receiver. BTW, are there any lower-priced receivers that have this feature?


I suppose the real issue here is whether the plasma TV or the receiver is the best device for switching video sources, in terms of quality and ease of use. Any ideas?


Thanks,

Lee
 

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There is one detail that you appear to have missed.


Without the PDA-5002 card the BNC and VGA connectors on the 503 can only handle PC type RGB signals, not a video signal via Component.


If you want to connect a Component device to the panel you must have the optional card fitted.


I'm not familiar with Aurora's card, it may also enable Component on the 503, but connecting Component directly to the panel without a card in the slot is not possible.


Mark
 

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LB425:


Welcome to the forum.

Quote:
I am assuming the component output from the DVD player (three RCA jacks) can be converted to the five BNC connector input on the plasma with the appropriate cable (correct?).
Correct, but you only need 3 cables to connect a DVD player. The 503 doesn’t require the HV connectors for component. You will need RCA to BNC adapters to make the connections at the 503 or will have to buy a cable with RCA connectors at one end and BNC at the other.


Mark is correct about needing the PDA-5002 card, or its equivalent, otherwise component inputs are not supported by the 503. There’s no way around this, so you’ll have to invest in the 5002 or the TVP1000. Like Mark, I have no experience with the Aurora TVP1000 card, but if you do a search using TVP1000, you’ll find lots of interesting reading.

Quote:
(The 5002 does have a DVI input, but I won't be using the plasma as a computer display, and I don't think the HD box outputs DVI, don't know much about this).
I’m assuming you’re referring to either an HD satellite or cable box, often called STB’s, in your “HD box†comment. According to rumours and/or facts on other parts of this forum, there soon will be STB’s announced with DVI outputs. Do some reading on the HDTV Hardware forum to find out more. Also, if you see the possibility of using a scaler sometime in the future, keep DVI in mind. There are a few scalers, such as the Key Digital Leeza, which will run the 503 at its native rate through the PDA-5002 DVI port. This is supposed to be the best way to go, as it’s an all digital path.


The switching question is a tougher one. Other parts of this forum have discussions on this topic, in particular how to handle multiple component devices.


Good luck and have fun making a decision.
 

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what some people do is route any s-video sources (sat, tivo, vhs) through their AV processor, sending the s-video out to the s-vid on the plasma. that way you will have the av osd available. HD, whidh is rgbhv, either through 5wire BNC with vga connector or all VGA connector an be hooked directly to the Input 5, leaving input 2 for YPbPr component or RGBHV from your interlaced or progressive DVD. this will involve switching more than just the av or the plasma inputs, so a programmable remote is useful.


the Leeza is an example of an extremely flexible switcher, scaler.de-interlacer which can accept HD and progressive, via rgb or component; sdi and 3 or 4 sd inputs which can be composite, s-video, YPbPr component or rgb and output everything as rgbhv or all the non-progressive inputs as dvi and the progressive inputs as rgb
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK, now I'm a bit confused. What it sounds like is that the Pio's Input 2 (the BNC connectors) won't natively work as a component input for a DVD player, but once the video card is installed those same BNC connectors *will* allow component input from a DVD player, using an RCA-to-BNC cable and not using the H and V BNC connectors. Pioneer's brochure for the 5002 card doesn't seem to mention this.


The Leeza looks great, but is probably priced out of my range if not essential (the plasma already is a budget buster), can't find a price for it but it appears to be several thousand $. I'll probably stick with scenario 1 above, and hope that the eventual HD box (yes, a cable STB) can connect to the DVI input. The STB is supplied by the local cable company (Comcast in suburban Maryland) and they told me when you subscribe their cable HDTV service they supply a combo STB that acts as both "cable box" and HD tuner (and scaler?), and outputs a component signal via three RCA cables. I'll either need to somehow convert this to DVI (which I assume would be easier than an analog-to-digital conversion) or change the video card to the Aurora with its additional component input.


Option B is to buy the Pioneer PDP-5030HD plasma instead of the 503CMX. The 5030 ships with a "media receiver" that accepts all sorts of analog and digital signals and sends them all through two cables (one being a DVI-D) to the plasma. I would then use the media receiver as the switcher - hopefully it does a good job. The 5030 also includes a nice illuminated learning universal remote. There's a $1000 rebate now, so its price is similar to the 503CMX with the video card. If not for the 5030's silver (rather than black) frame, I'd probably go that route. I may anyway.


Lee
 

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Think of it this way, the 503 without a PDA-5002 or similar card, is a PC display only.


No ability to handle video sources, DVD, VCR etc.


Some scalers can output a signal that looks like a PC source and these will work without the PDA-5002 card.


With the card you gain the ability to attach video sources directly to the 503.


Do go and look closely at a demo of the 5030HD before you purchase, it may be the same glass as the 503MX but several of us who have seen it now find that the level of detail in the blacks is not as good on the 5030HD.


Personally I'd prefer a Panasonic to the 5030HD, but I like the 503MX best of all.


Mark
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Unfortunately, nobody around here has either a 503 or a 5030 on display. I have seen a Pro-1000HD though. I understood all three to be essentially the same glass and internal electronics, except for I/O. Would Pioneer bother making slightly different versions of their plasma screens? What would account for the difference in black level detail (which was exceptionally good on the 1000HD I saw BTW, although black *level* control looked better on the Panasonic - the Pio just couldn't get as dark as the Panny when overall brightness was set the same) other than potentially inferior electronics in the 5030 media receiver?


The Panasonic TH-50PHD3U actually is the other plasma we're considering - but I'm concerned about the lack of FCC Class B certification and potential RF radiation/interference issues (should I be?). The 50PHD3U is certified only for Class A (commercial use) and is allowed to emit 10db more noise than a Class B (consumer) unit would. There are some threads here about Class A vs. Class B compliance and the Panasonic, and there seems to be no consensus about whether there is a physical difference between the Panny commercial and consumer plasmas, or if they're all the same and they're just saving a few bucks by not unnecessarily certifying their commercial gear for Class B. Or maybe the additional settings available on the commercial version that are blocked on the consumer model cause the excessive interference.


Lee
 

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I believe it is very unlikely the Class A vs. Class B difference will matter for you. It might, but it's very unlikely.


I don't believe the Pro 1000 and the 5030 are different at all in the glass. I do believe the electronics of the media box are suspect, based on what I've seen and what others report. If you want a Pio 50, the best deal is the 503cmx anyway. Not buying one of these when they came out is my regret.


Mark
 

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Exactly, I don't beleive the glass is at all different, but the media box does introduce some variations in the signal processing.


With an investment of this level I'd strongly reccomend travelling a bit if you have to as I really could not reccomend buying a Pioneer HD version over an MX version unless you have seen and are happy with the level of detail that they produce in the blacks.


As stated though, Panasonic still produce better absolute levels of black.


Mark
 
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