Don't know whether to upgrade

Dec 14, 2002
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Busting out a restaraunt in Queens, NY

I have a tempting proposition for my self.

I currently have a arcam dv88+ and am connecting to a series 5 panny 42" plasma via component. I have always been happy with the picture but am changing to an 868ai for the ilink to my ax10i

Would i notice any difference if i swapped the plasma for a pio 504 and connected with HDMI

I don't know if plasma technology as moved on since i got the PW5 and am terrified that i'll go to a lot of trouble and expense only to say, "bugger, it looks exactly the same"

Grateful for any input you may have

Well Rob - it won't look exactly the same for sure! I fear you may be going backwards in some ways too.

I have seen several examples of recent Panasonic vs Pioneer plasmas - hardly exhaustive testing though I have to say - and personally would go for analogue Panasonic over digital Pioneer - not least because the Panasonic's black levels are so much better. If you have a lot of ambient light I suspect the Pioneer may be more suited overall.

I have also been able to compare the new Pioneer DVDs vs various Arcams in calibrated systems and feel that the Arcam's DVD pictures, via component analogue, are in very many ways better, even than another brand's HDMI link. This is because Zoran's Vaddis 5 MPEG decoder (and associated deinterlacer) when properly implemented, as we do at Arcam, is frankly better overall. This is not just my opinion - see for example the opening issue of AV Talk (bundled with Hi-Fi News) last September - which was done infront of a "blind" (no pun) panel.

As to CD sound and quality of the SPDIF digital outputs, the Arcams blow away all the competition. We've done dozens of comparisons and of this I have no doubt at all :)

Of course I have an axe to grind - but I believe I am right!


John Dawson (Arcam)
Seen 868ai to Pio 504 over HDMI in my most local AV dealer, and have to say that it wasn't very impressive.

Don't get me wrong, it's better than most setup's one sees out and about; but it's not the best, by any stretch of the imagination.

For example, RAMiAM's Denon A1 into CenterStage CS-1 into 50MXE via DVI gives a much better picture, as does (IMO) my DV27+ into ISF calibrated Panny 50" via analogue component.

This is really interesting. HDMI into the new pioneer seems to be being raved about.

With this in mind would a 6 series panny be a worthwhile upgrade over a 5? I really do fancy a 50" screen so what, for the best in picture quality recommend?

what about a projector and screen?

Any thoughts as always much valued

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