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Pioneer 503MXE - Dot to dot mode

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by sjhanson, Dec 3, 2004.

  1. sjhanson

    sjhanson
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    OK, long time member here with a shockingly low post count!

    I have had a Pioneer 503MXE for a couple of years now and have been very happy with it. For the last year or so my DVD source has been a Denon 2900, connected via component, and I must say I have been very impressed with the picture quality.

    However, I keep reading everywhere how the best quality pictures can be achieved by using a PC and this has been nagging away at me. My PC has been connected to the 503MXE since I first got the plasma and used for large screen games playing etc, but not as a DVD source. It has been connected using DVI and running at 1280 x 768 at 60Hz - 1:1 pixel mapping, or dot to dot mode in Pioneer parlance. For gaming, the quality has been excellent. I have a Gainward 6800GT Golden Sample and an Athlon64 3000 with 1GB of RAM.

    The last week or so I have been experimenting with using my PC as my DVD source, using PowerDVD 6. Using the DVI connection the quality has generally been very good but I have discovered that when using the DVI connection at a 60Hz refresh rate, I often get picture tearing, especially on sideways pans - the start of Chapter 46 of LOTR - ROTK being a prime example.

    From what I have read and tried, I cannot change this refresh rate when using DVI so have been messing around using the VGA connection. Using Powerstrip, I have set up a custom resolution of 1280 x 768 at 70Hz and this then stops the tearing issue.

    But.... am I doing something wrong because the plasma does not now appear to be pixel mapping? When I change the graphics card to 1280 x 768 at 70Hz, what actually happens is that the plasma changes to 1024 x 768 at 70HZ, using just the middle 80% of the screen - when I press info on the remote it informs me that the screen is set at 1024 x 768 at 70Hz in Dot to dot mode.

    If I press the screen size button on the remote to 'Full' then the whole plasma screen is used, but I am not sure whether I am using the whole available resolution. i.e. Am I using 1024 stretched to full width, or the full 1280 pixels? Thinking about it, this seems like exactly the same situation when 'expanding' an anamorphic DVD to fill a whole 16:9 ratio screen.

    The picture quality I am getting is very good, although not noticeably better than the Denon, but I have had no time to tweak any brightness/contrast/ etc settings yet.

    I just want reassurance I suppose that I am working along the right lines and would appreciate any guidance/hints/tips/advice to enable me to get the best possible picture quality I can.

    I have a free weekend this weekend and am proposing to purchase Theatertek DVD 2.5 and use FFDshow, as these seem to be favourites on this forum and then play around with them. Again, any suggestions greatly appreciated.

    Of course, the main question is, will I be wasting my time? Will I be able to see an improvement using a HCPC over my trusty Denon? I assume I will, even if it is not dramatic.

    Please help! :lease:

    Shaun
     
  2. halephil

    halephil
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    Hi Shaun,

    Feel free to give us a call (0845 456 1220) over the weekend as the solution (part Powerstrip, part service menu on the panel) we found for a Pioneer 50MXE-1 , that shows a similar characterstic, may also apply to the older 503MXE.

    Cheers, Phil
     
  3. loonatic

    loonatic
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    I have been playing around with my 50MXE-1 today with my HTPC and using FRC mode 2 with the HTPC set to either 50Hz for PAL or 59.94Hz for NTSC and outputting via DVI it produced a rock solid image with perfectly smooth pans which compared very favourably to my Lumagen with the same settings...just not as user friendly.

    I've got a feeling that the 503MXE was not capable of NR at 50Hz or 75Hz, which is what you really want for PAL sources to avoid tearing...NTSC should work well though.

    Have a search for post by Dutch as he has a 433MXE and seems to be very knowledgeable on them.

    Cheers, Lee
     
  4. loonatic

    loonatic
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    I'd be interested to here what PowerStrip settings you are running Phil and of any other hints'n'tips you might have for the 50MXE-1.

    Cheers, Lee
     
  5. Mr. Wilby

    Mr. Wilby
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    Yes, me too.

    I don't have a scoobie at the moment for the 50hz powerstrip settings for the 50" MXE-1.

    Loonatic, do you mind sharing yours?

    I also tried VGA this week (instead of DVI) and the picture quality was as good as DVI imo. I never quite believed MAW when he said this in the Plasma forums, but it really is good.
     
  6. RedRose

    RedRose
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    In case you're still wondering how much "real" screen you're using: The easiest test is to go into photoshop, paintshop or what ever and draw a circle. If it's displayed as an ellipse then your image is being stretched. If it's a cirlce you're using all the pixels 1:1. If you don't have a graphics package just pull up a picture containing a known circle e.g. the Sun or a car wheel.
     
  7. JensH

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    Hi Shaun,

    I have a 503 MXE as well. I previously had a PC connected to the DVI. My settings are shown in the attached file. At least I think that these were the settings used when connecting the PC directly to the plasma.

    Now I actually run it through a Lumagen scaler, with a slightly different setting. This is mainly for convenience, using the Lumagen as a switch and with an SDI modded DVD connected to it. The PC signal is no longer mapped 1:1, since the scaler does not pass it through completely unchanged.

    I have used Theatertek 1.5 with good results directly to the DVI of the plasma. I too suffered from tearing until I changed it to 70Hz refresh rate. The 70Hz of course still gives some judder with PAL material.

    Jens
     

    Attached Files:

  8. sjhanson

    sjhanson
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    Thanks for the pointers chaps.

    Phil, thanks for offering your services - may still take you up on it but the weekend turned out to be less free than I was expecting so didn't get a chance to ring you.

    Some progress I think though! Like you Mr. Wilby, I have decided that I can't see any difference when using DVI over VGA, picture quality wise when ignoring the tearing issue, so I am happy to keep using the VGA input, at 75Hz to tie in nicely with PAL frequency. In fact, the DVI input seemed 'softer' somehow when I would have expected the opposite.

    Also, I am now convinced that I am using the full resolution of the screen and the image is not being stretched. Thanks redrose for your suggestion as to how to check this.

    Jens, could not get your settings to work for me last night, although I had had a couple of tipples before I tried! Will have another go tonight just to see what the results are.

    Still using PowerDVD 6 as my player and think the quality is excellent. Tweaked the settings a bit and can genuinely see a 'small' improvement over my Denon. Still some more tweaking to do I fear!

    I also puchased Theatertek 2.5 and downloaded ffdshow. How complicated is this!? The amount of settings that are available seem almost overwhelming at the minute. Is there an easy 'idiots guide' anywhere which will tell me what settings to use and which to leave well alone? Is TT/ffdshow really that much better than PowerDVD 6?

    Almost wish I hadn't started messing around with this HCPC business but it is almost becoming an obsession now so I can't stop yet! I may actually get to watch a full film on it one day!! :laugh:
     
  9. philipb

    philipb
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    Theatertek forum has a thread on ffdshow settings. Actually you only need to set up a few to get a big increase in PQ. Rawvideo, sharpen, blur and NR, are the most important.
     
  10. JensH

    JensH
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    You might see, that the plasma will go into the XGA mode. You will have to go into the configuration screen and set the screen back to Wide XGA mode.

    Jens
     

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