Important news for prospective NEC MX2 purchasers


Standard Member
My attention had been caught by the new NEC MX2 range of plasmas due to the large amount of praise they have been getting on the AVSforum and now some mention on this forum. I noticed that there was quite a bit of confussion regarding the information on the displays processing (8,10,12 Bit, greyscale and displayable colours) given by various websites (NEC USA, NEC UK, retailers..) and people on the forums.
I decided to send NEC an email requesting confirmation and told them that their websites were stating contradicting information, anyway this was the reply I got....

Technical support NEC Europe
Dear Mr Scot,
The 42XM2 uses new 12 Bit sampling technology which enables the monitor to
process and sample 68.7 billion colours from video sources connected to
the monitor. This produces improved dark scene detail and reproduces subtle
colour shades within the picture which can only resolved using 12 Bit video

Here he is reply to my comments questioning whether the UK website needs its specs updating

This specification is in respect of the processing with-in the monitor. The
display specification of 256 grey scale and 16.7 million colours is
Our us website should have been clear in stating the 68.7 billion colours
was the amount of colours which our screens can sample from Video, PC
graphics, High definition, and other professional broadcast video sources.


Don't know about the rest of you but this seems like quite a big thing, some people are going wild about this plasma stating how it has this huge greyscale (4096 compared to Panasonic, Pioneer and Fujitsu with 1024) and massive amount of colours (68.7 billion compared to Panasonic, Pioneer and Fujitsu with 1 billion) and this is giving a much better picture and no banding or solarisation and yet it turns out that unless they are using a source which already has 12 Bit video (don't know what this would be? Apart from computer produced material) then they are in fact using a display with the same processing capabilities as the other manufactures previous generation models??

This seems very strange, am I getting the wrong end of a stick somewhere along the way or what, is this actually how all the other manufactures displays work?

I was quite interested in the new NEC's as a possible replacement for my Panasonic if I'm unable to get a quiet one but this would put me right off...

Ryan :confused:

Timmy B

12 bit colour is good, but what is the NEC contrast ratio? I heard it was 600:1?


Standard Member
Yeah but what the NEC tech guy is saying is that it doesn't have 12 Bit colour as I would understand it, but only it can accept 12 Bit colour and internally has 8 Bit colour?


Timmy B

Then it sounds like it's inferior to Panny and Fujitsu which process 10bit internally.

I wouldn't swap a series 6 panny for the NEC, esp. if you like dark blacks.


Previously Liam @ Prog AV
Officially the CR is 650:1...

Mind you the VP4 was very good, and there is no smoke without fire (regarding the very good comments made on the AVS forums by someone who has actually seen it). I would judge with your eyes rather than what the spec says. After all the NEC HT1100 is "only" 10 bit processing producing "only" 16.7 million colours (albeit with 3500:1 contrast!) and the picture is absolutely fantastic.

Anyway, i'll be seeing one in the next week or two when NEC get their demo unit back in...


rscott4563, if I understand it correctly, the response from NEC makes total sense.

It would mean that any of the *analog* video input signals (Composite, YUV, ...) get sampled (converted to digital if you will) with *12-bit* converters, and the resulting data also gets processed with 12-bit resolution. Once this processing step is done (ya know, filtering, interpolation, de-interlacing, scaling, ...) the resulting 12-bit RGB data have the least signif. 4 bits chopped off in order to be displayed on the effectively 8-bit resolution (aka "gray scale") plasma screen.

Note: this of course shouldn't apply to digital inputs like DVI or HDMI which have a resolution dictated by the source, not the NEC plasma sampling converters. Most often (always?) this is 8-bit digital RGB/YUV data.

Here's an example to illustrate this: let's take say 4 numbers (these numbers could represent pixel R/G/B colour value). Their *actual* (i.e. physical, analog) values are:

Let's say we "sample" these four numbers at 4-digit only: they then become 1123, 2345, 1765, 1478 respectively. Their sum is then: 6711.

If we use a more precise sampling (6-digit) then we see the actual, more accurate sum is: 6714.04. Then even if we display this number with "only" 4 digits, we get 6714.

Well, guess what? Although chopped to 4 digits, 6714 is still a more accurate representation of the sum of the 4 numbers above than 6711 - just because the sum was processed with more digits (bits).

Now just imagine this type of calculations, therefore resulting errors, concatenated times and times over on a real-life plasma screen... got it?

Comme on dit chez moi: Voilà!! :clap:

Anyone who's familiar with DSP will immediately understand the advantage of this internal 12-bit architecture, at least in theory. Beside, the human eye in general has a hard time distinguishing more than 16,7M shades of colours anyway (I think), therefore trying to reproduce more than 8-bit grey scale on the display might not make any difference to any of us.

In fact, I would tend to believe that colour banding and solarisation are more a product of less-than-perfect image processing (DSP) than a lack of reproducable colours (gray scale) on a plasma screen. IOW, 256 levels per R,G,B at the *display* level is probably more than sufficient - provided the phosphors and electronics surrounding them do a good job, of course.

Does it make any sense? Either way sorry for the looong post... ;)


Standard Member
Hey Peezee

I've had some more contact from NEC technical and it seems that you got it bang on, their new plasmas are using 12 Bit sampling on all of the inputs and the plasma has an actual display capability of 8 Bits, 16.7 million colours and a 256 step greyscale.

For any digital visual display the front end sampling (8bit, 10 Bit, 12Bit) of the input signal sets the primary image quality for the display. The more sampling capability you have (NEC 12 Bit) at the front end the more image quality you can derive from any video source. The result is you will get significant improvements from domestic video (VHS, DVD, TV, SAT TV). When applying higher grade signals (component, HD, broadcast level video) our display will deliver superior picture performance. The high 12 Bit sampling offers benefits in improving the picture's signal to noise ratio's (high in domestic video sources) and dark scene resolution, also superior rendition of high quality 10 Bit broadcast and high definition TV studio environment.

Our screens are designed primarily for professional applications, so we have to offer the end user (domestic or professional) the best picture quality available from all types and quality of video sources.

The domestic user can still benefit from 12-Bit technology even if the source is purely analogue (most users), as the 12-Bit processing is applied to all signals connected to our plasma's( composite video, S-Video, Component HD, PC RGB, HD RGB, DVI).


NEC Technical Europe

Now though I understand the reasons and advantages of having oversampling (12 Bit processing of an 8 Bit source) surely it would be even better to have 12 Bit internal processing and a 10 Bit display, it just seems that the NEC displays are still behind the other major manufacturers as they have all stepped up to 10 Bit throughout their displays from internal processing to actual displaying on the screen..

Ryan :smashin:

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: REL T9/X Subwoofer + Bowers & Wilkins PI7 Reviews, AV Shows in a Pandemic and more
Subscribe to our YouTube channel
Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom