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Discussion Starter #1
hopefully we can use this thread to record our experience and whatever info we each come up with.

INSTALLATION

you will need a T10 torx-driver to remove the card that ships with the unit (let's call it the "base" card). there are two of these torx screws, and they're the only ones on the PDP as far as i could tell. don't be fooled by all the other screws on the card (and there are a lot).


removing the card takes some finesse. be careful. the 5002 card you're putting in has two nice big beefy bolts that can be used as holds when removing it. the base card is not so polite. it appears to be a PCI slot (for those who know such things; and for those who know such things, no i don't know if it's actually a PCI bus or not - but it sure looks like a PCI connector). rock it back and forth to loosen it up. i have a tool we used to use to remove ram boards from NeXT cubes way back when that's strong and pointy and has a nice right angle at the end - i used that to loosen up the board so i could rock it with my fingernails under each end. note that the lovely black frame makes removal a tad more difficult than it would be without said lovely black frame.


make sure you are properly grounded when doing all this - there are static electricity risks here.


inserting the 5002 is damn straightforward. it comes with phillips-head screws that you should probably use to replace the pointless torx screws, which are nothing if not annoying.


that's it. really quite painless. there are some stickers and whatnot you can use to replace the existing stickers - they show the DVI port yada yada yada.

CARD COMPARISONS

i'd like to expand on ericbee's comments on this. the cards are clearly cut from the same cloth. each starts its live in the same parts bin. i'd bet my life that the pcb is identical between them. what isn't identical is that the base card omits a lot of chips and other goodies (i'm no pcb designer - i just play one on the internet). i'll try to post a snap of the base card so you can compare it to ericbee's snaps of the 5002 he was kind enough to take before he took the plunge, as it were.

CONNECTIONS

i can confirm that a single-link DVI-D M/M cable works just fine. i also have a dual-link too, but haven't tried it.

question: does anyone know what the BNC connector is that comes with the 5002? it's not mentioned in the manual at all.

OPERATION

i am running an ATI Radeon 8500 board; win2k; powerstrip. i was running both the ATI DVD player and WinDVD. i think the former had better color (rich rich stuff in Gods and Monsters), but it's flaky as all get out.


important: make sure you have the XGA/WXGA setting right in the menu! i had it set to XGA instead of WXGA and nearly went batty trying to figure it out! if you see gray bars in dot-by-dot you have this setting wrong.


keep in mind that the DVI port is now INPUT 5. those of you thinking ahead have realized that your remote only goes to 11 ;), uh, to four that is. you'll need to select it on the side of the PDP. someone will get the RC5 info at some point and post it. not a crisis though - remember the unit comes out of standby back to its last input, so it's a fire-and-forget, really.


unfortunately, i couldn't figure out how to make the VGA port and the DVI port active simultaneously. i'm going to read the manual tonight (i positively hate reading manuals!) and see how to make them both "hot" so i can switch b/w 1 and 5 to compare (i really could use that RC5 code, folks! please help!). so i can't make any meaningful comparisons. it's certainly no worse, but i have to reboot to switch right now, and my "image memory" Just isn't that good and i don't have time tonight to setup a digital camera and screw around.


the level of detail is just stunning. watching the chapter in Gods and Monsters where mckellen meets his new gardener at the beginning was wonderful. the lawn, the flowers, his suit, the maid cleaning up the living room. the level of detail is just wonderful. the colors in the ATI DVD player were stunning. mckellen's eyes were riveting when he's looking out the window. but it might not be any better than via analog VGA, for all i know.


there is one thing that concerns me that i need to futz with more. on this particular chapter of Gods and Monsters i was using to test with. it has a LOT of cuts, and some of the cuts seemed to confuse either the DVD software, powerstrip, or the PDP. the image seemed to "jump" a bit - very subtly - as the scenes cut. i need to play with this more to figure it out.


fyi - the rebuild scene in fifth element superbit was just phenomenal. absolutely beautiful. colors. detail. freakin' riveting. no issues with jumpy cuts - so i doubt it's the PDP.


in theory, i should be able to drive the monitor faster than 60Hz via DVI, but i haven't futzed with that either.

TAKE-AWAYS

your PRO1000HD can do DVI right now. today. yesterday in fact. the 5002 card works fine. i'm sure it's some nasty digital video copyright mess that makes pioneer tell us all this won't work.


is it worth doing? it ain't free. you're gonna pay $400-$500 for the card, delivered. a new video card's gonna cost you $200-$400 if you don't already have a DVI output. $50 for a cable and delivery. i'm a digital purist (i keep boothroyd/stuart in business) - analog is so last millenium, so it makes me feel warm and fuzzy - but i don't know yet if it makes the picture any better :). i'm working on that part now!


hope this is helpful. feel free to post any questions and i'll do my best.


doody.
 

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Thanks for the info Doody - all very interesting.


Can you confirm the resolution and bit depth you were running at? I assume it was the native resolution of the panel.


Any signs of 'PC Mode'?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
analog8 - all native rate. "true color" in win2k. i assume that's 32 bits, but i'm not 100% sure.


it was in dot-by-dot mode, which is equivalent to the old 505 "pc mode" lock-in, but as i've mentioned befre, i've never seen the 505 extensively.


doody.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
the 8500 cannot drive both the VGA port and the DVI port simultaneously. it's either the DVI -or- two VGAs (one of which comes out of the DVI port).


so i can't easily set things up to switch back and forth. i'm going to try it with cable switching, but i'm pretty sure the DVI port goes dark on the ATI if it doesn't sense a monitor there at boot time.


what i'm going to try to do is setup a digtial camera per ericbee's suggestion and take snaps of paused scenes. this will be interesting for my own edification as well as i compare software DVD players (the ATI player colors seemed much richer than the WinDVD colors).


will update.


doody.
 

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doody:


what happens to the audio with your HTPC setup? can you extract it directly from the dvd drive for external decoding and pre-amping?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
jlm - i'm just playing with video right now. the computer i'm using is one i borrowed from the office - it's not my final htpc. that's in-process.


in the end, i'll be pulling the audio bitstream off of the dvd drive and feeding it to my existing processor. all i care about is that the extraction and transfer of the bits is clean.


doody.
 

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Doody - thanks for blazing new trails. With the DVI connected, what resolution are you selecting in Windows? Does 1280x768 show up as an option, or are you selecting 1024x768 and requiring Powerstrip in order to run a custom resolution? Thanks. PlasMAN
 

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Discussion Starter #8
plasman - i'm still learning this Powerstrip stuff, and i'm getting fuzzier on it, not clearer :)


with the GeForce3, i had to create a 1280x768 resolution in Powerstrip, and then i could select it in Windows.


with the Radeon 8500 1280x768 is one of the default resolutions, so i don't know if i need Powerstrip now. i haven't done any testing on that yet.


whatever resolutions you want to futz with - just make sure, by hook or by crook, that it's 1280x768 by the time it leaves the video card.


doody.
 

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Other than a HTPC, what other video sources have DVI output? I just ordered the Pio 503CMX and 5002 card but now I wonder what I am going to plug into it? I do not have a video processor. Do they have DVI out? Also, the DVD and processor forums are very interested in SDI connections. Many are interested in modifying DVD players to get SDI out but they never discuss DVI connections. I only find discussions of DVI in the plasma forum. Can anyone help me out?
 

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doody-


have you verified that while running 1280x768 DVI you are actually addressing the pixels individually? for example, if you put up a single pixel pitch checkerboard and look closely, are all of the PDP pixels addressed correctly as black and white alternately?


Colby
 

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colby - i did not run that specific test, but i am 99.999% sure that it is a pixel-by-pixel transfer for the following reasons:


a) the manual says that when the unit goes into "dot-by-dot" aspect mode (as opposed to 4:3 or full or wide or zoom) it is being addressed as pure pixels.


b) if you switch to 1280x720 or anything other than native rate you can immediately see the results of the scaling.


the easiest way to tell is to just do it while you're in windows. when you go to native rate it locks in rock-solid detail. it's not a subtle difference. the internal scaler is scaling if it's not native rate. and "faking" an extra 7% of the pixels (e.g.: 720 -vs- 768) is obvious. it's not visually horrendous, but it's certainly obvious.


i'm sure that checkerboard test would generate the results you're expecting. if you want to post or email me such a 1280x768 BMP or PSD i'd be happy to test it out.


doody.
 

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doody-


here's the bitmap - I hope you don't get too sick looking at it! if you see any moire effects, something is wrong in the pixel alignment / scaling...


colby

 

checker.zip 1.8603515625k . file
 

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Doody


Any updates on DVI on this system? Colby and I are checking out a Fuji 5002 later this week for DVI pixel by pixel. The 1366 x 768 resolution on the 5002 has me worried.


The 503CMX looks like a good alternative if the 5002 doesn't pan out. Aas an aside, the Panasonic/Fujitsu product manager who pulled 1366 out of their a** should be fired!!!


Is the 1280x768 via DVI on the 503CMX causing the dreaded 'PC Mode'?


That Dell pricing on the 503CMX looks mighty tempting.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
analog8:


the pioneer units, when fed a native rate signal, can be put into a "dot-by-dot" aspect ratio. when in this state, the scaling electronics appear to be fully bypassed. in this mode, the panel displays the pixels as best it can --- e.g.: 640x480 has gray bars on all four sides and it only uses 640x480 pixels of the PDP (of course).


ericbee's observations are that that when fed this way, the settings for color, brightness, etc. are darker than in video mode. i cannot verify that easily. his comparison to his old 505HD was that the difference was nowhere near as drastic as it is here (ericbee - pipe in if i'm putting words in your mouth!).


i noticed that feeding it through the VGA input (15pin; analog) i thought the set was high on red. however, i tried with a different software dvd player (ati -vs- windvd) and i thought this "red problem" was greatly improved. so i do not think it is the PDP.


furthermore, if there are "pc mode" issues, i am comfortable i can correct them to my satisfaction via tweakings on the pc video card - both the GeForce3 and the ATI 8500 i am testing with allow full futzing with color curves for RGB and gamma and anything else you might care to mess with pretty much.


i will be driving my PRO1000HD via an HTPC via DVI. so that's really all i'm playing with.


other than tweaking my video card settings, my only outstanding test is to run the black/white checkerboard pattern that colby previously posted in this thread. i did not have time to deal with it tonight, but should be able to tomorrow, sorry.


if there are other specific tests you'd like to see run - please post!


doody.
 

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I'm fine with the Fujitsu's 1366x768 resolution as long as it behaves the same as the Pioneer does according to doody at non-native resolutions. I'm willing to give up 3 pixels on each side and run at 1360x768...


Colby
 

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But how are we going to deal with the non-square pixels? If we're feeding the 503 dot-by-dot data, it's going to look a little stretched.


Alex
 

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Discussion Starter #17
colby - questions.


using photoshop, i created 800x600 and 1024x768 cutouts of your 1280x768 image.


when i look at this on my sony multiscan 17seII crt i see very slight and frequent vertical lines top to bottom maybe every quarter inch.


when i look at it on my wife's nec 1530V lcd monitor on her computer i see really cool (but wrong!) diamond-y patterns.


when i look at it on my sony sr7k laptop lcd screen it looks completely perfect.


does this sound proper? i just want to make sure i'm looking at/for the right thing.

alexander - i will do some tests on this tonight. i can create very large perfectly circular and square objects in Visio and then physically measure them on the screen.


in the past (505,502), we've been told that the unit corrects for this. don't ask me how, but we should know for sure this evening on the new units.


doody.
 

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Doody, you said, "i will be driving my PRO1000HD via an HTPC via DVI." Have you discussed this else where?


- Besides absolute control of what the video card sends the Pioneer - what else made this decision for you?

- Is the DVD mechanism crucial or you using an off the shelf PC DVD drive?

- Do you have a higher confidence in software's ability to produce a great image than any combination of DVD Player and Scalar?


Thanks!
 

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doody-


What you are seeing is normal. On a CRT you will see an aliasing pattern because the graphics card's pixels do not line up with the phosphor mask on the tube. Even if you have more than one phosphor triad per pixel (which you should on any good CRT), you will still see an aliasing / moire pattern.


On the LCD, everything should be perfect as long as you aren't using a LCD panel with analog VGA in which has to be re-sampled. DVI interfaces and virtually every laptop PC should be perfect.


Colby
 

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Discussion Starter #20
void:


i'm a digital kinda guy. i have drunk the koolaid and smoked the drugs. my audio system is digital right up to the cones in the speakers. the fewer times you switch something from analog to digital (and/or vice versa) the fewer artifacts you'll introduce to your signal. the more you need to tweak something, the better off you are to do it in the digital realm where you can control a lot more variables and risk less introduction of "noise".


of course, that's just my opinion. i'm sure there's more than a few people here who'd love to disagree. i'll save you the time - don't waste your breath on me.


but beyond the philosophical bent, the fundamental issue with PDPs is that they are not line-based displays. the concepts of 480i or 1080p are foreign to this device. this device is an X/Y coordinate system. you tell the pixel located at X location M and Y location N to behave in a certain way. you do that to a million such pixels 60 times or more per second. in today's world, this is not an operation well-suited to an analog device :)


furthermore, this PDP, in my opinion, looks its absolute best when driven at native rate. there's no comparison to 720p. it's not even close. i don't know what other panels do re: internal scaling, but this one is nothing to get excited about as far as i'm concerned.


finally, as for DVI -vs- VGA this currently just goes to my previous philosophical issue of keeping things digital until the last possible moment. i have not yet been able to A/B the two inputs 'cuz my video card can't drive both simultaneously. anecdotal data says the difference is noticeable.


my perspective is that if you're willing to spend $10K on a monitor like this, spend the money to drive it optimally. whether that's an HTPC or a scaler is up to you (and frankly, i am still paying attention to outboard scalers that can do 1280x768 and have dvi output - not many).


as for the "confidence" question, the answer is decidely "no". if you have a capable scaler (the only one on the market i know of (1280x768, dvi out; sdi in) is the Key Digital Leeza at $6000 MSRP); and you have a digital-out capable dvd player ($750 minimum) then i bet that will look as good, maybe even better. but the most expensive HTPC you could buy (never mind build) with all the bells and whistles will be half of that, of not much less. plus i can slap in a new $250 video card every six months that improves the quality substantially. so i can't get too excited about the other options just yet (and remember that things like leeza, the rock, and vigatech are basically pc's in sheep's clothing).


hope that's helpful.


doody.
 
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