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Pio, Panny etc - I knew what I wanted 'til I came here....!

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by pwhite8314, Jan 4, 2003.

  1. pwhite8314

    pwhite8314
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    My first post, and it's a big bunch of questions, but it's all your fault, as I knew waht I was going to buy 'til I came to this forum!;)

    Quick summary - I'd set my mind on the Pio 433HDE (Richer are price matching for me at £3989), with the Limit 9900SE DVD. My second choice is the Panny 42PW5B, mainly because lots of people says it's the best out there.

    Since coming here, I've learned that the Limit is a pretty good DVD player, but the Pio won't take a prog scan from it, and also that the Pio MXE is a better screen with better colour depth (and the ability to take prog scan).

    So now I'm undecided again, and need your help to decide, as even though I've spent weeks researching plamsa's, you guys seem to know a whole lot more.

    The main reason I decided on the Pio over the Panny was the connectivity - I'll be mounting the plasma on an exposed brick wall, so the single lead (+ power) going from the media box to the Pio would be ideal, as I can just chase out some concrete, lay in the cable, job done. However, as it's been tricky enough to get Wife Approval for this, have some big chunky scart leads on display is definately a no-no, hence why the Panny appeals less.

    Once installed, I'll have the following connected to the screen:

    TiVo (RGB scart I guess)
    X Box (ditto)
    $ky box (not sure, scart?)
    CD Jukebox (s-video or plain old composite)
    DVD - components

    My budget is pretty fixed at no more than £4k, and I'd rather buy from Richer, as they'll do the 3yr warranty for £250 (most other places seem a LOT more) and will price match more or less anybody.

    Does anyone have any recommendations? I know this has already been discussed to death on here, but it's all those discussions that have made me question my decision! At the end of the day, PQ is the most important factor, very closely followed by the connectivity - 1 lead is good, 4 chunky leads is a none starter. If prog scan really makes a difference, then that's pretty important too.

    BTW - can anyone tell me how long the lead from the Pio media box to the screen is?

    Thanks for any replies - I r-e-a-l-l-y need to make my mind up by Monday.....:confused:
     
  2. jmack

    jmack
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    i dont think you can`t go wrong with the panny/toshiba/pio mxe
    if you are going to be chasing the cables through the wall i would advise to keep the power and what ever cables you decide on seperate
    why not lay 2 2inch tubing in the wall from the plasma down to the skerting board. (like the stuff under the sink) use 1 long piece with 1 45* bend at each end facing out and plaster over this, for easy access.

    hope this helps
     
  3. pwhite8314

    pwhite8314
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    The wall is part of the fireplace, so whilst I can chase out some concrete inbetween the bricks, anything more than that isn't really viable.

    Are you saying I should aviod the HDE and go for the MXE, if I go for the Pioneer?

    Does the Panny offer the option of a separate 'media' box, or are Pioneer alone in doing that?
     
  4. jmack

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    the panny and i think alot of other makes do a media box but most prefer a direct connection between dvd,sky,etc, to the plasma
     
  5. SimonD

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    Pete,

    I too am currently looking to buy either a Panny or Pioneer. I am veering towards the Panny at the moment (just don't ask me why!)

    I was warned today that with the Panny you can't connect S-Video and Composite cables at the same time. I do not know if this is the case with the Pioneers.

    See...

    http://www.alecspence.co.uk/plasma/
     
  6. BigH

    BigH
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    Hi guys,

    please note the Panny does have a separate Tuner box option with lots of connections which uses a single cable to connect to the screen, it costs approx. £400, that's in addition to the panel price. I bought the 50" panny and am delighted with the images so far, I too was looking at the Pioneer (50" HDE), but plumped for the panny after viewing both screens. Note, I did not take the Tuner box, I prefer to use alternative techniques to achieve video hook-up, I thought £400 for a "video switch box" was a bit steep.

    Hope this helps.
     
  7. pwhite8314

    pwhite8314
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    I heard about the Panny tuner box, but mostly bad things, hence why I discounted that option. The real issue I've got is that it's got to look good (for Wife Approval reasons!), which means no, or few exposed cables, and no ugly scart swichers. From a user point of view, it really has to be the same as switching on a regular TV, otherwise I'll just get a bunch of grief about spending £4k+ on a 'tv' that's not even as good as our old one blah blah blah!). This is why I'm currently settled on the 433HDE, but I'll only buy this screen if it's close in PQ to the best, which still appears to be the panny.

    A couple of specific Q's about the Pio:

    1. How long is the lead running from the media box to the screen? I'd have to chase it into some brickwork, so the route is a bit convoluted, and no doubt about 1 inch longer than the lead, but I'd like to check this. I'm also assuming extension leads are available from Pioneer at a barmy price?

    2. Speakers - do people prefer the the ears or the underscreen speaker? Or, just a set of regular speakers driven from the plasma? Obviously I'll use my 5.1 system for anything worthwhile, but for normal TV viewing I don't really want to crank up the amp every time.
     
  8. MarkTaylor

    MarkTaylor
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    I'm sure Joe will correct me if I'm wrong, but the HDE ships with a 3m cable I believe, and there is an optional 7m cable available as well.

    The 7m is not an extension but is a replacement for the 3m cable.

    Both cables ship pre-terminated and the connectors are large enough that you wouldn't be able to easily pull them through any trunking so you would need full access to the cable run to lay the cables.

    My personal view on the picture quality is that it cannot be compared to the Panasonic, or frankly to the MXE version of the screen.

    Only you can really decide on the quality issue though.

    Mark
     
  9. pwhite8314

    pwhite8314
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    I popped into JL at Bluewater today, the cable is 3M long, basically 2 cables stuck together. I can get to the whole cable run easily enough. Unfortuantly JL didn't have any Panasonic screens, and their 'expert' knew diddly about progressive scan (my usual question to see if they know what they're talking about).

    I think I've come to the conclusion, that given the following:

    * Can't have multiple thick leads going to the screen
    * Must be 'TV-like' for wife approval
    * Opinions are still split over the real merits of prog scan
    * There's always the possibilty that Pio will upgrade the media box at some point to allow prog scan input
    * The Pio, to my eyes, still looks pretty good. The blacks were as dark as they are in my current telly (Philips PW9525 36").

    I'll probably go for the Pio. If I didn't have the above constraints, I'd go for the Panny - it's a shame that Panasonic still can't produce a truely 'home-friendly' plasma.
     
  10. Stimpy

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    Does your AV amp do video switching?
    If yes you can hook up all of your sources via S-video to the amp and then only have one long s-vid cable (quite narrow) and the power cable going to the plasma. Then persuade the wife (or get a decent remote that will switch everything together) that you have to switch sources via the amp.
    OK you will not get the full RGB quality, but a decent S-vid connection isn't too far off.
     
  11. pwhite8314

    pwhite8314
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    I did think about that, but ruled it out (maybe wrongly) for the following reasons...

    1. Only s-video, plus it's another link in the chain, so might know the quality. I didn't think AV amps were renowned for the quality of the picture pass-through (it's a Sony STR somthingorother - about 3 yrs old).
    2. Funky remote - had one of thes (Pronto) but user acceptance wasn't good, so I had to sell it and go back to 6 remotes.

    I might try running a DVD signal through the amp to see what it looks like tonight. Are there other, newer amps that will switch RGB signals (in the sub £500 bracket)?
     
  12. wjw

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    Don't dismiss the S-Video route without trying. I have a Sony DVP S725D and a Sony STR DB925 and Sky+ all using S-Vid switched via the amp. Both my wife and I think the picture is better than the one I got when using RGB.
     
  13. WebLoader

    WebLoader
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    or

    get the pioneer mxe , and an htpc.

    using powerstrip you can drive the plasma at native resolution for best possible picture, and from the htpc you can do dvds, svideo capture from xbox in to dscaler, svideo from tivo using dscaler, etc etc. this can be done using multiple capture cards, essentially using the htpc as a swticher/deinterlacer/scaler.
    hey, you could even rip your cds on to it as well and retire that cd jukebox. If you use mainlobby as well to give it a nice remote controllable front end...

    good luck
     
  14. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    pwhite8314

    Mark Taylor is spot on re the supplied 3m and the replacement 7m umbilical - the 7m costs around £115.00 (which is pretty cheap as far as long DVI cables go).

    The Pioneer HDE s not a bad plasma display it just that with the correct source kit its not the absolute best.

    I still find the whole tuner and ease of connection stuff a bit of a conundrum. We have a 433HDE at home as our main TV and for a lot of the time its used with the under slung speaker - which is pretty good though it tries a bit hard sometimes when the ambient affect is switched on and dialogue can suffer a little.

    Mostly the family use the TV for SKY viewing and as such we basically use the SKY+ remote to put the display in and out of standby by and set the volume on the TV - other than that the Pioneer remote has a very easy life only getting used now and again to switch to the PS2 or the DVD player; I cant see me ever having to put a new set of batteries in the Pioneer remote!

    In a way the Media Box connectivity is pretty much superfluous for us - an MXE with an RGB converter for the Digibox and other sources switched through an AV Amp would be no more difficult to use day to day; even with the Media Box it becomes a bit of a three handed shuffle if we want to put on the surround sound system and watch a DVD or play on the PS2.

    Chasing in a couple of video and audio cables to a wall mounted MXE should be no more difficult than chasing in the HDE umbilical cable.

    There wont be a revised HDE (and Pal Progressive Media Box) for quite a while - the latest HDE stock from Pioneer UK actually have a new Media Box; though its no different from the old Media Box (previously the Media Boxes were produced by Sharp and the new ones are now built in house by Pioneer).

    WebLoader obviously lives alone :) a PC in the hands of the rest of the family; what a nightmare!!!

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  15. saggio

    saggio
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    webloader,
    I also have a mxe connected to a PC.

    Question is: given the "elongated" pixels of the mxe, when I use the native resolution (1024x768) the PC images are of course distorted. Is there a resolution setting (using powerstrip?) to have a widescreen image, but not distorted?
     
  16. WebLoader

    WebLoader
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    saggio

    i think you are pretty much stuck with the pixel width issue, that is the shape they are. i am not an mxe owner (though i came very close but decided on an hs10 projector instead)

    joe
    i would agree that htpcs, are inherantly complex, unreliable, user unfriendly etc etc.
    however, if configured correctly so that they are either virtually 'instant on' , or are indeed left permanently on, and with the correct user interface and remote control, then they can be used to mask a good amount of the complexity required to watch tv, play a dvd etc.
    the problem is of course that this stuff doesnt yet exist 'out of the box' , so everybody has to build their own solution, which doesnt help things. i do though think that the pioneers lend themselves particularly well to this type of htpc controlled front end, as they have the rs232 control, which means that it should be relatively easy to build a PC user interface that hides all of the complexity of selecting different source material, and different av inputs on the screen, while delivering ultiimate picture quality (which at the end of the day is why we are all here?)

    if you want to lend me an mxe for a few weeks while i write the software then that would be more than welcome ;-)

    cheers
     
  17. cjdshaw

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    The ideal screen format is 1365x768. If you can set this with Powerstrip and the 433MXE will accept this, you're laughing. Otherwise, the brochure says it will accept 1280x768 (WXGA) which is a standard resolution and is pretty close.
    Either of these will compress horizontally, of course, so you might have to use a slightly larger font to make it legible. Alternatively, you could try 1024x576 which would expand vertically and so be slightly more readable, but less detailed.
    Let me know the outcome as I'm thinking of getting a 433HDE, which should support most of the same modes.
     
  18. Costas

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    pwhite8314

    I will also give you my comments, although as already said, personal taste, obsevation and test with your own eyes, should lead you to the right decision.

    Here is what I know and what I have done:
    I have a 28-days old Pio PDP-433HDE and I am very happy with it.
    The picture quality is indeed right up among the very best. Combining the connectivity through the tuner box you get an excellent overall solution. For me very important since as you can see below I have a lot of equipment.

    I work for a semiconductor company and have been able to talk with design engineers from both Pioneer and Panasonic. The Panasonic tuner box makes no justice to their plasma screen and it is well below the specification and quality of the Pioneer. Furthermore, the latest tuner mediabox from Pionner (not Sharp) in production since Dec 02 is even better. Even the remote control is better. I have witnessed that between my plasma / tuner and the one of my neighnour who bought the same model last October.

    Personally, I was going to go for the Panasonic until I saw the Poneer! I still think that the Pioneer reflects very much on the screen the true quality of the source i.e. it needs quality material andf then can show it... otherwise C in, C out!

    Based on your details, in my opinion, you will do very well with the Pio.

    Also, I do not use the A/V receiver for all sound output. I found that the Pio speakers do a very decent job when you do not want the 5.1 switched on. I have chosen the side speakers left and right of the screen. My friend has the undermounted speakers which also are OK but for me the sound is far better from the side ones.

    Here is how I have connected mine together with my equippment:

    Plasma TV: Pio PDP-433HDE
    Speakers: Mission 757s / Yamaha NS-C105 / Mission 77s / Sub: REL Q201E
    A/V Receiver: Denon AVR-3801 (can also be used to switch between two component inputs)

    Mediabox connections:

    Input 1: Nokia 9600S digital sat receiver (RGB) + Panasonic NV-H960 SVHS VCR + Pace MSS500 Analog motorised satellite receiver

    Input2: Panasat digital sat receiver (S-Video) + JVC HR-S7955 SVHS VCR

    Input 3: Component: Pioneer DV-757Ai DVD player
    RGB: Nokia 221T digital terrestrial receiver

    I hope this helps too together with all the other inputs you have got. Let us know how you get on!
     
  19. pwhite8314

    pwhite8314
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    Guys

    Thanks for the advice. As you may have seen from some of my other threads, I went for the Panny in the end, mainly because I'm impatient, and couldn't find anyone with stock of the Pioneer.

    I'm happy with the Panny, but I've yet to connect everything via the tuner, so I'll reserve final opinion until then!
     

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