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My Pioneer 436XDE: first impressions

wh1zzwheels

Novice Member
Well, after initially ordering a Panasonic 42PV500, my new 436XDE arrived yesterday morning at 9am. :clap: I simply got fed up waiting for PV500 stock, and jumped at the option of buying one of the first of the new Pioneers.

I spent a few hours unpacking and unravelling all my AV cables, and by 3pm I was ready to switch it on....

As it replaces a 7 year old 28" CRT, the new screen size is obviously very impressive. I found myself interested in TV programmes I wouldn't normally watch as the picture just drew me in. The Freeview image, using my old and badly setup rooftop arial, is actually extremely good. I didn't expect much as my Humax box had previously failed to get a clean signal.

I soon decided I preferred the freeview digital image to Telewest Pace reception using the cheap freebie scart cable. On Telewest, the picture was more washed out looking and overall just looked flatter.

My trusty Sony DVP-S735 DVD player was set to work using the scart connection. I then tried switching to component outputs, but as I only have audio RCA phono leads at the moment, I am unsure whether I am seeing the picture at its best? I have ordered a good quality component cable, but that will be another couple of days in the post. On DVD, the image is very clean and crisp, but it lacks a bit of the dynamism, drama, bright colours and punch present on freeview. Probably the cables, hmmm... hope I don't need a new HDMI player and haven't just wasted £60. :rolleyes:

On DVD, I found the blacks rather grey watching "The Grudge" last night, during the many dark scenes. The living room was very dark, and I could see what people mean by the common plasma effect of what I would describe as backlit blacks.

Curiously, I only notice that grey-black effect on some DVD's (particlularly that one), because viewing freeview digital the blacks do look black. I will reserve judgment on blacks until I stop adjusting the settings and my DVD component cable arrives.

Overall, the picture is beautifully clear, with bright, vibrant colours and contrast. I have chosen the "Standard" setting and placed contrast at 40, brightness at 0, colour is -9, other settings are default factory. I experimented with 100Hz versus default 75Hz and can confirm that judder appeared at 100Hz. I do not notice any judder on the 75Hz setting... so no complaints there either.

I'm impressed with the design, build quality and ease of setup. The piano black screen bezel looks great, and the remote control is very sturdy with a nice brushed aluminium finish. The sound from the Pioneer side speakers was much better than I expected. Easily the best I have ever heard from a TV and ideal for everyday TV viewing. I was a fraction disappointed that the Comet supplied stand was the fixed type.

I'm very happy with my new purchase and can't see anyone making this their first plasma being less than delighted. :D I can't compare it with other screens. I feel intrigued by the idea of optimizing the picture by having a professional calibration carried out. Or can this be achieved by just experimenting? I'm also looking forward to improving the DVD image. Any thoughts whether it's worth upgrading that now??!! :rotfl:
 

yellowpostit

Standard Member
whizzwheels said:
I found the blacks rather grey watching "The Grudge" last night, during the many dark scenes. The living room was very dark, and I could see what people mean by the common plasma effect of what I would describe as backlit blacks.

I know what you mean.
 

tscotsman

Active Member
from what it would seem it sounds like I made the right decision waiting for the Pv500. That seems like it would just be annoying and would get to me. Its still a great TV though I was severely tempted.
 

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
whizzwheels

Experimenting can get you to an image that appeals best to you within the realms of your 'fiddling' - though its hard to know if its in any way accurate.

As a minimum purchase a copy of the Digital Video Essential or AVIA set up discs (PAL and NTSC if possible) and using your DVD player you then have some form of 'reference' to work with.

Better still is the NEW Datacolor SpyderTV optimisation tool (£200) which again uses your DVD player plus a PC plus the supplied optical head to 'read' your screen - you can use this on any screen around the house.

Best of all call in the Pro's and have them fully calibrate your XDE and lock in a Daytime and Nightime viewing mode to add to the Cinema, Game, etc modes Pioneer have provided.

Best regards

Joe
 

longy

Active Member
get a dimmer swich so u can adjust the lighting in the room.not totally dark but up enough to improve black level.no plasma looks good in a dark room
 

aarontp

Active Member
Whizzwheels - I personally feel you made the right choice with the Pioneer. :thumbsup: I have done many tests a while ago between the Pioneers and Panasonics and although Panasonic was a tad bit better with blacks the Pioneer produced the better picture overall. I would seriously consider investing in a decent quality HDMI DVD player :)

longy - I agree
 
P

peterpeter

Guest
aarontp said:
Whizzwheels - I personally feel you made the right choice with the Pioneer. :thumbsup: I have done many tests a while ago between the Pioneers and Panasonics and although Panasonic was a tad bit better with blacks the Pioneer produced the better picture overall. I would seriously consider investing in a decent quality HDMI DVD player :)

longy - I agree


which one???
im thinking about the samsung 850

would it give me a noticably better picture than my panny dv e55mr??
 

wh1zzwheels

Novice Member
Thanks for the feedback. I feel I need to let the screen run in a bit longer and allow myself to adjust to it's appearance. I will record more thoughts in a few days. Here are a couple of pics.
 

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aarontp

Active Member
peterpeter said:
which one???
im thinking about the samsung 850

would it give me a noticably better picture than my panny dv e55mr??

Hmmm. There is a thread on here about Samsung HDMI DVD players which I put some comments in. Depends how much you want to spend. The Sam 850 is a good player and a decent price. The Pioneer 868 is also good but alot more £££, and I tested a 945 side by side and compared them I personally thought the difference in price didn't justify the picture quality difference which was hardly much in it. Denon 3910 is good but refer to last sentence and put in Denon word instead of Pioneer :D
Best way is to test them out but its difficult to find a retail store that are prepared to set it up for you, especially the Samsung as I don't know many stores that stock those! One of my players is the Samsung 945 and its a good picture (after chucking out the HDMI cable that came with it and purchasing and IXOS or QED cable), annoying thing is the bloody bright white display but it can be turned off. I would recommend decent cables to go with it.
 

aarontp

Active Member
whizzwheels said:
Thanks for the feedback. I feel I need to let the screen run in a bit longer and allow myself to adjust to it's appearance. I will record more thoughts in a few days. Here are a couple of pics.

Lovely tv but a slight issue with Blair and Brown on one screen shot and some bloke riding a bike whilst some pervert is watching through some trees on the other screen shot!! :eek:
 

wh1zzwheels

Novice Member
Blair and Brown pic is purely incidental and should not be viewed as a a promo for New Labour. No comment on the pervert shot. :rolleyes: Should have balanced things with Tory Party Conference.

I wouldn't jump to conclusions about black level yet. As I say my DVD player is modest and the connection is botched at the moment. I like the freeview blacks. :)
 

fraggle

Active Member
longy said:
get a dimmer swich so u can adjust the lighting in the room.not totally dark but up enough to improve black level.no plasma looks good in a dark room
Rubbish. My Panny 42PWD6 looks great at night with all the lights off.

It doesn't have 100% black but its so close to it as makes no difference.

I suggest you do some research and either buy a new plasma or adjust the one you have. If you have one.
 

fraggle

Active Member
Joe Fernand said:
whizzwheels

Experimenting can get you to an image that appeals best to you within the realms of your 'fiddling' - though its hard to know if its in any way accurate.
Personally I think this calibration lark is (half) silly.

"accurate"? Everyones eyes are different, we all have our own view on what is "accurate", and what we like the adjustments to be set at.

Whilst I was at Piers he showed me various programmes on his calibrated plasma, there were two very nice things about the calibration and one not so nice thing.

The colour tracking was very good, and the contrast and brightness were also very good, but the colour level was way too high for my liking. Everything was a lot more saturated than in real life.

If thats calibrated properly (and I know it will be :) ) then all I can assume is the TV/film engineers who calibrate their cameras and VT gear to a standard, the standard has artificially boosted colours. A bit like shops turning the contrast, colour abd brightness up to catch peoples eyes across a crowded floor.

Ok, turning the colour down is a doddle to do, getting the colour tracking is right is hell and having a good brightness/contrast settings for day and night viewing will be good also.

So I suppose getting it calibrated and then turning the colour down a touch would give you a very good picture. Hmm. I've just contradicted myself! :suicide: :D

<fx : runs off to buy a 42PHD8 and book Piers for an afternoon>
 
T

The_Fitter

Guest
Well my 436xde arrived Saturday and my first impression is wow! This is my first Plasma and I know less than just about anyone on here about them. Oh and I'm glad as I can just enjoy my ignorant bliss.

The Plasma sits less than 12cm from the wall. Fantastic
I have an extra 2 foot+ of lounge. Terrific
People walk into my house and gasp. Superb
I have expertly set my screen for maximum viewing pleasure, i.e plugged it in turned contrast down a few clicks, colour down a few clicks, brightness down a few clicks and left the rest alone. Stuck Toy Story 2 on for the kids and wet my pants in school boyish pleasure at the quality.

So whilst the experts pick holes in every little detail (and please understand I am not knocking any of you) I and other newbie's can just enjoy the ride. After all it is easy to get so caught up in the technical side you forget the reasons why you got one in the first place.

Dave M. A happy bunny.
 
T

The_Fitter

Guest
yellowpostit said:
Fitter - how are you finding the blacks? Have you a dark movie with the lights switched off at night?

Hi. To be honest I have only watched 1 film so far due to a major decorating project going on in my lounge. This means my sound system is not set up untill the capets are fitted (tonight horray). So the only film I have watched was a Korean horror film with subtitles called Janghwa, Hongryeon (The tale of two sisters), a seriously strange film. I had the lights down low but not off as the wife was doing wifey things and needed the light. The girls in the film had black hair, looked black to me. A lot of the clothes were black, looked black to me. But like I said in my previous post I got a plasma for the whole plasma experiance. I can say hand on heart if I was going to look out for any sign that things were not perfect I would not of spent the best part of 3 grand on the tv. I sold my Mk3 Spitfire to buy this tele you know.
 
T

The_Fitter

Guest
Took a couple of pics. Probably not what your looking for but anyhow. Clicky clicky.

Is it black?

Is it Black 2?

Dave M

edit by me. I know the 2nd picture is blurry but if that card thing she has her hand on is looking grey to anyone then I suggest it's your eyes and not the plasma that needs setting up. (Or it could be my eyes!! hmmm that's a thought).
 

BigScreenAl

Standard Member
Well, I got my 436xde delivered on Saturday and it's aweome!

First impressions:

1. Plain old terrestrial TV through aerial - OK, but not good, but i never thought it would be!
2. Freeview - Great.
3. SKY Digital - Great on certain channels (ITV1 last night watching A Touch of Frost was superb) , average on others. Must depend on channel compression.
4. DVD (via HDMI) - Superb.
 

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boksbox

Active Member
Nice pics of the setup but why shouldn't you expect a good pic off the aerial input? What is your normal CRT off air picture like?

My Sony 36FS70 displays a superb picture using the aerial feed, Freeview is hit and miss, ITV/Channel 4 and a few others are unwatchable after dark.
As I live in Essex it's unlikely that the signal will be boosted until after 2008.
I've not seen a better picture quality on any Plasma or LCD but I would like to reclaim the living room space now that I've managed to increase my weight to match that of the Sony, one of us should leave..

How does your Pioneer rate on the PIP and PAP front, another thing the Sony scores on and something I'd like to re-produce in a replacement





BigScreenAl said:
Well, I got my 436xde delivered on Saturday and it's aweome!

First impressions:

1. Plain old terrestrial TV through aerial - OK, but not good, but i never thought it would be!
2. Freeview - Great.
3. SKY Digital - Great on certain channels (ITV1 last night watching A Touch of Frost was superb) , average on others. Must depend on channel compression.
4. DVD (via HDMI) - Superb.
 

aarontp

Active Member
The_Fitter said:
Took a couple of pics. Probably not what your looking for but anyhow. Clicky clicky.

Is it black?

Is it Black 2?

Dave M

edit by me. I know the 2nd picture is blurry but if that card thing she has her hand on is looking grey to anyone then I suggest it's your eyes and not the plasma that needs setting up. (Or it could be my eyes!! hmmm that's a thought).

Alot of plasmas look great with a cartoon slapped on the screen!
2nd pic - I like the handbag, other half commented on it too so thats a winner :D

You may have posted previously but what HDMI player you got linked up? Put a movie like Seven or Aliens for black testing (but it won't be perfect black! I haven't even seen the B&O or Pana plasmas give a perfect black) and then slap on a nice happy movie with lots of daylight and colour and not only will it brighten up a cloudy day you can play around for the perfect picture for your eyes.

fraggle - Agreed, everyone to their own eyesight tastes. Someone looked at my TV's and thought I had the settings totally :censored: but its my telly not his and is set for my viewing.
 

wh1zzwheels

Novice Member
I read the 436XDE review in today's What Hifi? Looks like they're going to rave about it in their awards issue next month. Whether they think it's the best plasma or not, they don't say yet, but clearly they see it as a two horse race between the PV500 and the 436.

By the way, is it safe to throw out the huge pile of carboard boxes the unit came with? I can't see me wanting to send it back... They'll just have to come and collect it if there's a warranty claim I suppose.

Does anyone know how my Sony DVP-S735 DVD player (year 2000 vintage) with component-out compares with the latest cheapish player such as the Toshiba SD-350E with HDMI?
 

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