AVS Forum banner

Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 20 of 25 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I was looking at the Pioneer Elite 50" plasma here at Magnolia Hi-Fi in Palo Alto. It was running an HD feed (PBS). I assume it was OTA since you can't get PBS on DSS.


Anyway, it looked pretty good, but there were portions of certain scenes that displayed what I would call severely "shimmering" or "crawling" pixels, much like you sometimes see in certain computer games. No matter how far back I move, I could still see it quite clearly (out to 12'). It was very distracting. Is that a feature of that particular unit? Is it a calibration issue, a source issue, or what?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
I also stopped by the new Magnolia Hi Fi in Palo Alto today. And I noticed the same distracting pixel crawl on the Pioneer 50. The feed on which it was most noticable when I was there was a HDTV feed of a football game. When the camera panned across the crowd at even a moderate rate, the phenomenon appeared in large segments of the screen and was very unsubtle. (I didn't notice it as much on the Panny 42 which also was showing that feed.) I don't know if this is common on the Pioneer, but it was quite grating to me, and I am only a novice with little experience with Plasma or with digital video of any sort: I hardly know what to look for. I would consider my ability to discern picture quality issues below average. (My eyesight isn't all that good either.) So the fact that it was so obvious to me (and was so distracting to someone relatively insensitive to the nuances of PQ) makes me think that if this is a 'feature' of all the Pioneers and on all kinds of inputs, that it's a problem. Have any other Pioneer owners/evaluators made similar observations?


(Maybe there was some kind of issue or problem with the particular Pio unit displayed at the Palo Alto Magnolia: I also noticed that the colors on the display model seemed a little off. The brightness and the accuracy seemed better on the Panasonic and even on the Sony 42 (the only other models with the same feeds in the store.))


(An aside: They had a 60" Fujitsu there: they were playing some animated movie on DVD. It was very impressive, and I plan to try to return to see what other material looks like on it.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,193 Posts
Caution: What you are talking about here may have been a weakness in a specific piece of tape. KQED broadcasts the PBS HDTV demo loop all day on channel 30-1. Most of that footage is spectacular, and if I were a store in Palo Alto, it's probably what I would use to demo HD. However, that loop contains 10-15 minutes of a football game (Alabama vs. ???) that suffers from very bad breakup - digital blocks and such - during the fast pans of the fans waving all their crimson stuff. It's well-known by Bay Area HD obsessives as the "acid-test" piece of tape that KQED can't handle at their current bit rate.


Was this by any chance what you were seeing demo'd?


(That said, I have always noticed a SLIGHT amount of pixel-dancing noise in HD pix on the Pioneer 50 that I don't notice on other sets, including the Pioneer 43.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
Spoffo: The football game to which you refer is the material on which I noticed the pixel break-up during crowd scans. If what you say is correct, then at least part of the problem is not with the Pioneer 50, but rather with the source material. I will say that I noticed less of this phenomenon on the Panasonic 42 (the only other plasma displaying the same source when I was there.) But I didn't do THAT close a comparison, and perhaps I only caught the worst of the KQED demo tape when I was looking at the Pioneer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Nope. What I was watching on it was definitely not a football game. Mineral was obviously there at another time. That same feed was running on the three Panny's 42"'s they had to the left as you walk in, and there was no shimmer on those with the same source.


Mineral, at first when I saw your post I thought you might have been the guy standing next to me. He didn't even seem to know what a plasma set is, and he said, "jeez, what is that shimmer? $15,000 for a TV set that shimmers!" Then he started in on the sales guy. He was kind of rude actually, but he was essentially correct. It was *very* unsubtle. I am no virtuoso at discerning PQ either, but this was unacceptable.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
davidw:


I don't see the problem you mentioned on my 503CMX, which is essentially the same unit as the 1000. You do see a tiny bit of artifacting in moving scenes, but you really have to look for it. Watching true high definition on HD-Net shot with HD cameras is absolutely gorgeous. I've watched a Pioneer Elite side-by-side with a high-end Sony direct view 16:9 TV, both showing the same HD picture, and the Sony exhibited the same minor artifacting. It's less noticeable on a 34", of course. IMO, some artifacting is normal, regardless of the display.


I have seen the football footage mentioned here being demonstrated on a Fujitsu 5002 in a high-end store, and it looked like crap when the players were in motion.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I do not believe for a minute that this is a universal problem with the Pio 50". However, there is clearly a problem going on that with that particular display/source combo that is not going on with the other plasmas in the store running the same source. It isn't with moving images at all. It is with certain static textures. For example, one shot was of an industrial area with a red brick building. All the bricks were saturated with pixel crawl. It looks not similar but *exactly* like the pixel shimmer you see in 3D computer games, which is often taken care of by full scene anti-aliasing (not jaggies but a secondary artifact sometimes called pixel crawl).


Either that particular unit is defective or somehow it is miscalibrated. Believe me, if this were indemic to the model, no would buy it unless they bought site unseen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
davidw, you may be right about there being some sort of problem with that particular unit. While I only noticed the picture crawl on the above-discussed football game, it was very apparent - enough of a problem that most people would find it unacceptable. As I mentioned in my first post, I also noticed that the colors on the unit displayed at Magnolia seemed off: kind of dull and 'yellow' compared to the other plasmas on display there, and not really accurate. Did you notice that too? The store is new: maybe they haven't tweaked the set-ups and cabling, etc. yet and that accounts for some of what we saw on the Pioneer.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
8,098 Posts
I'm not quite certain what you guys are talking about.


Are you talking about dot crawl? i.e., the problem where dots on outer edges of objects appear like slanted crawling dots (due to problems with the comb filter)?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No. It isn't edge aliasing, sometimes also called crawling jaggies. It has nothing to do with edges. This phenomenon is sometimes called pixel crawl, pixel popping, or pixel shimmer. Pixel shimmer is the most apt description. Picture a textured surface, in this case a red brick building. The entire surface appears to be shimmering at a distance a little like just above the surface of an asphalt road on a very hot day. Up close, the pixels seem to be moving around. It is a very severe artifact of some kind, and one which is readily apparent to the casual observer.


Mineral, no I didn't really notice the color issue, though you could well be right. That issue was more subtle I assume and I was distracted by the pixel shimmer. The sequence I was looking at had multiple scenes and almost every scene had a surface that was lit up like that. I watched for close to 10 minutes and must have seen about a dozen surfaces displaying that effect.


If any of you have Mad Onion's 3dMark2001 benchmarking tool, you can see the very same effect in the Dragothic demo. Run the benchmark without FSAA or anisotropic filtering enabled. As your dragon flies over the city, look at the textured surface of the cathedral type building and you will see the exact same thing. It isn't just pixelated, but busily pixelated, although the rest of the scene is clean.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,352 Posts
davidw,




I know exactly what you are talking about with the Pio 50" plasma.

I've seen the picture noise and "shimmer" you describe on every single Pio Elite 50" I've seen (that would include seeing it in about seven different set-ups).


It's what has always turned me off that screen. One local AV store has the Pio right beside the Panny 50" and Panny 42," running a variety of HD feeds. I consistently see more shimmering/picture noise on the Pio, whereas with the Panny it's almost imperceptible.


The worst example I ever saw was at an AV show, where I saw the Pio 50" which had been set up by Pioneer reps. I asked to see a DVD. They played The Mummy and I was appalled by the amount of smearing, shimmering and pixelation that I saw in shots of the sand, and along the walls of the labyrinths. The actor's faces would smear and go soft if they moved much at all. It was really awful, but the pioneer rep didn't seem unsatisfied with the image at all.


Yet, I'm sure some of the forum members who own the Pio wouldn't have bought it if it's performance was so bad with DVDs. I certainly believe members like Jim B. when he says that, in conjunction with a good scaler, the Pio produces a fantastic picture.


My question about that bad Pio demo: what would have caused such awful artifacts? I seem to remember the set up was a DVD straight into the Pio.

Is the Pio's internal scaler perhaps really that weak?


Rich H


BTW: I just want to mention first that I'm really nit-picking on what is nonetheless an incredible picture from the Pioneer, with HD anyway. Also,

while I prefer the picture from the Panny 50," at the AV store I was standing beside an older couple who seemed to be musing about the idea of owning a plasma. I asked them which they liked best (Pio 50," Panny 50," Panny 42"). They said "Obviously the Pioneer. It puts that Panasonic to shame, doesn't it?" They clearly enjoyed the brighter, punchier picture from the Pio. When they asked me which I liked I said the Panny and told them why...smoother image etc. They just cocked their heads toward each other with a "poor guy" expression.

Next time I was there I talked to a woman who had just sat into a chair in front of the plasmas, to wait for her husband. I asked her which one she'd choose if she could buy a plasma. Her eyes scanned the wall, and she pointed at the Pioneer 43": "I think that one, probably, or maybe that one" she said pointing to the Pio 50." After a while of browsing AV speakers I came back and the woman volunteered: "You know, after watching these for a while....I'd like to have that one." She'd pointed to the Panny 50." She opined that it looked "nicer." "The colors...it looks more....more..."

"Natural?" I offered.

"Yes, that's it" she said" ....very nice to watch...beautiful."


Obviously, there's a lot of subjectivity to all this. Just hearing how much someone likes a particular plasma screen isn't super helpful. That said,

when I describe a picture flaw, it IS there....:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
I have to say that I can't recognise a single one of the flaws you describe in my experience so far with my 503MXE.


I do not use an external scaler and the screen is fed with progressive PAL/NTSC from DVD and digital satellite via S-Video converted to component by my Denon amp.


Mark
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Rich:


A couple things. You said you have seen this issue on all the "Elite 50" models. I wonder if this issue if particular to only the Elite model and not the less expensive 50" Pio?


Second, this is not a "nitpick" concern at all. It was a major, ugly artifact. No one who cares about PQ would find this acceptable. The guy next to me knew nothing about electronics, wasn't into HT or anything. He was an older gentlemen there to buy a CD player because he didn't own one. That tells you his level of sophistication. Without me saying a word, he said exactly what I had been thinking for several minutes before he got there. "What is that shimmer crap!? This is a $15,000 TV? Sheesh!"


I was ready to write this off as a defective display, but your comments have me scratching my head. Then there are those here who own the Pio50 and see no such problems. Very odd.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
15,352 Posts
Yup,


Very hard to discern just where the artifacts are coming from in an uncontrolled set-up...which is why I'm cautious about drawing final conclusions without first-hand experience.


For instance: I've occasionally seen the Panny 4U 42" screen described by some as "soft," looking. Many others have described it as being "crystal clear," "among the sharpest pictures available." Who's right?

I think both. For the most part I find the image amazingly sharp, with pictures that are lit with some contrast, and when viewed from an appropriate distance. But, from a bit closer the larger pixel structure can soften the image, especially when the film image is evenly lit, with little contrast.


I was scared off the Pio plasmas, and the Fujitsu 4242 (42") plasma because of how I noticed artifacts wherever I encountered them. I was left with the feeling that one needed either a great scaler, or immaculate source material (the very best DVDs or HD feeds) to actually make them sing. Whereas the Panny looked good with all of my DVDs, and it looked good in every single set-up I saw.


Still, I scratch my head over the very significant artifacts I've seen with the

Pio; why they appeared in the demos I've seen, and why they are apparently absent for many who own the screen. I don't know why the Pio seems to perform "poorly" in the stores, in regards to artifacts, whereas the Panny panels look fine in the same set-ups.


Rich H
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts
davidw is not being hyperbolic with his description of the Pioneer 50 on display at the Palo Alto Magnolia HiFi store. The defects he describes, and which I saw also were manifest even with very casual and uncritical viewing. They were indeed "major and ugly'. One could not miss them. It's not at all 'nitpicking' to point them out.


Most of the people who post to this forum obviously seem to be fairly critical viewers. The fact that no-one has previously mentioned this phenomenon (or at least hasn't mentioned it as a huge and obvious defect that would be a reason not to buy this model) indicates to me that what davidw and I saw is not something characteristic of the Pioneer 50's (or even just the Elite 50 model). Even the natural tendency to cognitive dissidence that attends a major purchase wouldn't be enough to allow one to ignore what we saw. My conclusion: There must have been an issue with the set-up of the Pioneer at that store, or that particular unit was defective. Otherwise we'd have seen many comments about this (and many fewer purchases of the Pioneer 50's by the relatively educated members of this forum.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
87 Posts

Originally posted by Mineral

[The fact that no-one has previously mentioned this phenomenon (or at least hasn't mentioned it as a huge and obvious defect that would be a reason not to buy this model) indicates to me that what davidw and I saw is not something characteristic of the Pioneer 50's (or even just the Elite 50 model).


Absolutely right--I did a lot of research on the forums and reviews and viewing and never once heard this mentioned as a problem with the Pio 1000HD until this thread. I'd be very disturbed now to discover this to be a problem.


As I noted before, I've had the unit about 5 weeks and watched everything but HD (waiting for the new STB models) and never noticed pixelation or artifacting on anything other that regional baseball and basketball DirecTV broadcasts (which I have attributed to low bandwith allocation). I've watched the Mummy, never noticed a thing other than a great picture.


Hope I don't 'discover' this to be a problem! Till now, its been better than anticipated and you can't say that about many things!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
231 Posts
I recently bought the 5030HD which has the external box ( so probably/possibly different electronics) and have yet to encounter this issue after running many DVD's over the last couple weeks. I am using a Q50 w/ progressive output, so I believe minimal processing by the Pio is involved. No such issue with NTSC that I have seen either


The only significant artifacts I have seen were running non-progressive DVD (which the Pio does process a fair amount) where things like the mist in the early scenes of Gladiator created some pretty bad artifacts (blockiness/contouring in the light greys). Again, on progressive output I have been nothing but happy.


Haven't run an HD signal through yet, probably won't have an opp. in the near future (too many trees for sat and Walnut Creek has the worst OTA HD reception in the Bay Area)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,570 Posts
I have never seen that problem. I have the PRO.


My first unit was exchanged by my dealer because of bad pixels. I had the first unit for about 3-4 months before I got a replacement from my dealer.


The first unit was fine except for the 5 bad pixels. My current unit does not exhibit the above situation.


I am probably the only person here who had in-home use of two different PRO1000HDs. None of them showed any "shimmering".


Best,

MAB
 
1 - 20 of 25 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top