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Pioneer 504 Observations

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Phil_Yeoman, Dec 9, 2003.

  1. Phil_Yeoman

    Phil_Yeoman
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    Well after a five days I have finally found a new home for my Pioneer 504. I have calibrated it and have tested it with various inputs. What follows is an honest appraisal of the unit and hopefully some solutions to the quirks presented buy this panel

    The physical panel

    The unit looks great with its piano black surround and clean lines. I think I prefer this approach to the silver or matt black surrounds but have found that the plastic seems to act as a magnet for dust. Some people have commented that the reflections caused by the gloss finish can be a distraction but I have not found this to be the case.

    The media box has clean lines but unfortunately has the PC connector on the front. Because I have a permanent connect to this port I have had to hid the unit in order to make it wife friendly.

    Performance

    DVD : I have tested the unit with a Sony 870 DVD jukebox, a Tag DVD32R plus PSM module and a Denon a11. The picture quality from the Sony was as expected with a little background noise and some graduation errors. The errors were removed buy putting the signal through an iScan ultra but this did lead to a flatter image. The feed used here was component.

    The Tag was next up and this was connected using component. The image produced was excellent with solid vibrant colours and no digital artefacts. The only criticism here was that the dark background on some discs (Pirates of the Caribbean the capture sequence) does show a little noise.

    Finally the Denon got its chance and it for the most part was similar to the Sony when connected through the Iscan. The picture was vibrant but definaitly show some background noise.

    The conclusion here is that for DVD this panel requires a fairly high end player to do it justice. I don’t particularly rate the media box but more on that later.

    PC : Had the PC running pixel to pixel matching using a 64bit AMD with 4 gig ram and ATI radeon 9800 pro. The windows desktop look good with only a slight amount of “dot crawl”. Threw the hi def version of terminator 2 at the screen and the result was very good. I would say that the picture quality was as colourful as the Tag but with an increase in sharpness and contrast. I couldn’t really find any fault with this setup. (roll on HiDef)

    RF : Don’t bother

    Sky+ I unfortunately own a V2 version of this box and it suffers from a bug that effectively leads to two unfocused band across the screen. What is more unfortunate is that this screen is more than up to the task of highlighting it. The picture for the high bandwidth channels is not bad, I haven’t seen better on a 50inch panel. The low bandwidth channels suffer from noise blocking and pixelisation. I don’t think I could live with this level of quality for every day viewing.

    The solution is to stick the signal through the Iscan, the result. The progressive feed is a vast improvement over the interlaced via scart. The image is rock solid, bright and colourful with very little noise even on channels like Sci-Fi and Hallmark. If you have payed over 5k for this panel you owe it to yourself to make the upgrade.

    This bring me back to the media box. The difference the external scaler makes to the image is vast. This suggests to me that the media box is still not what could be considered a quality component.

    Finally the gallery feature. I thought it was going to a complete waste of time, a gimmick that would see one play session and then be forgotten. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We had our house warming last night and played back images of the house during its construction. The feature is easy to use and produces a great picture.

    Overall the 504 is IMHO the best plasma on the market at the present. I should know I have had plasma for five years and in that time have owned most brands including NEC, Fujitsu and Panasonic. It aint perfect but lets face it no plasma is but the compromises it make are acceptable and the picture is warm and untiring.

    Phil
     
  2. Arsenal

    Arsenal
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    Hmm interesting results.. so you reckon its worth getting an iscan for sky with these series 4 pioneers?

    and thank you on behalf of everyone for the in-depth review.
     
  3. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Nice review Phil.

    What do you mean by "calibrated it"?
    By eye or with test tools?

    Agree on the dust attracting properties of the screen surround - it's a nightmare.

    Also agree about the input 4 and PC connections being on the front of the media receiver.
    I leave my cable disconnected as it looks very untidy.

    Haven't yet tried mine with DVD as I don't have my HDMI cable yet.
    Hopefully the performance with an 868 should be good.

    How do you get pixel to pixel matching on the PC feed?
    I have an NVidia card and have only 3 options: 4:3, Full1, Full2.
    Presumably your video card must be feeding a non-XGA signal?
    My PC picture at 1280 x 768 is awful - really bad ghosting and perhaps what you mean by "dot crawl".
    That could be due to a cheap 5 metre VGA cable though...?

    I also own a Sky+ V2 box and I am not aware of the "band" problem you mention.
    I agree with you though that high bandwidth channels give a good picture and low bandwidth channels are awful.
    Interested that the Iscan improves the PQ.
    I'd like to see this bit of kit in action before shelling out more cash.
    Is there anywhere that will allow you to "try before you buy"?

    As for the Home Gallery, I guess you were feeding in images taken with a digital camera and which had not been manipulated on a PC?
    If you had you will have discovered that they won't work...

    Paul
     
  4. Phil_Yeoman

    Phil_Yeoman
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    Hi Paul

    I use the AVIA full setup on the panel. Because all my feeds go through component this setting works for sky and DVD. I usually find that my settings for NTSC are almost exactly the same for PAL

    By dot crawl I mean that if you are about a metre away the solid colour seem to crawl as if they were a coloney of ants. Some people cal this the Fuzzies :D

    All my images were were maniplulated on the PC using photoshop with a plugin that allows the retention of the photo info (Ill try and dig out the name)

    Who did you buy your panel from? They should be able to let you lend a scaler (5 grand usually affords you some privlages).

    As to HDMI i dont think you will see a huge difference between this connection and component. I hope i'm wrong but my experience with digital conections thus far has not been inspiring.
     
  5. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Thanks Phil.

    I was considering getting the AVIA disk but wasn't sure whether it would be ideal for PAL and also for HDMI.
    Perhaps I'll give it a go though.
    Do you believe you would have been able to get as good a picture without it?

    Good news about the Photoshop plugin. Unfortunately I'm a PSP man and I'll have to upgrade to PSP8 to get that functionality...although it still hasn't been confirmed that it will work on the Pioneer.

    I bought my panel online although the dealer does have a shop in Liverpool I believe.
    I doubt they would be willing to loan an iscan to me but I suppose I can ask.

    As for HDMI - I'm not suggesting it will be better or worse than component but it should certainly be as good.
    Some people on here believe the 868/504 combo with HDMI gives a better picture than with component.

    Any chance of posting your settings for Sky via scart - if you bothered to set it up that is before going with the scaler?
     
  6. Brogan

    Brogan
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    One other thing...do you plan to upgrade the mains cables that came with the panel and media receiver or do you believe them to be adequate?
     
  7. Phil_Yeoman

    Phil_Yeoman
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    I didn't find a setup i could live with for scart1. I do think that the AVIA is work the money as its offers a repatable methodology that realy does help. Some of the geometry stuff is usless for plasma but I does have CRT projector so this is great fr me.

    Just had a major iscussion abut this, the conclusion of which is not I won't upgrade but I doe use a high grade UPS on my system.

    Phil
     
  8. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Well if the 504 mains cable is good enough for you and your million pound set-up then it's good enough for me...:D

    Thanks again for the feedback on the 504 - very useful for someone who wouldn't know a good/bad/indifferent piece of equipment if it came up to him and introduced itself as such...
     
  9. drago.d

    drago.d
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    Phil,

    give my "radical settings" a try on Input 1.

    If nothing else, it will confirm that if the picture you get is c*** then my 434 panel is not typical of the series 4 Pio's.

    drago.d
     
  10. Phil_Yeoman

    Phil_Yeoman
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    Interesting Development

    The screen seems to be bedding in much quicker than I am used to. I have had to recalibrate as the contrast level seem to have gone too light. I was also getting a great deal of solarisation.

    Changed the setting and all is fine ? this is a new one on me

    Phil
     
  11. Arsenal

    Arsenal
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    I'm hoping this is a good thing?? Does the screen look better than it did previously now you fixed the settings?
     
  12. Phil_Yeoman

    Phil_Yeoman
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    Its looks the same but to achive this I have had to increase the contrast level.

    I will give it a week then take off power save and recalibrate. I should be able to achive much better results without it.

    Phil
     
  13. drago.d

    drago.d
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    Phil,

    why would this be so?

    drago.d
     
  14. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Power save reduces the brightness so it is introducing a level of picture manipulation.
    I don't like the power save feature and leave it off.

    I think solarisation must have been what I was seeing originally on the sky feed which is why the picture was so poor.
    Having changed the settings and tweaked my sky set-up it's a whole lot better now.
     
  15. alwyn

    alwyn
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    Mr Yeomans,I suggest you ask Santa for two presents this Christmas a dictionary and a very big hat.
     
  16. Brogan

    Brogan
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    :confused:
    Care to explain alwyn?
     
  17. Phil_Yeoman

    Phil_Yeoman
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    Alwyn

    Did I just miss something here or have i just been insulted:confused:

    Phil
     
  18. rscott4563

    rscott4563
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    Eh???? :rolleyes: :confused:

    Lost me...........
     
  19. Phil_Yeoman

    Phil_Yeoman
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    I have just re-read alwyns post and think that he must be refering to my terrible spelling. Oh well it must be nice to be perfect.

    I on the other hand have had to overcome Dyslexia to achieve my none perfect use of the english language. But hey at 37 I have only managed to get a PHD and create my own company. I guess I will have to leave all the success stuff to those who can spell :rolleyes:

    As to the big hat, I think I need some further education to grasp that one :(

    Phil
     
  20. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I assumed the dictionary reference was something to do with that but I always thought it was very bad form to comment on grammar and spelling on forums...this is the AV forums after all and not www.ihaveperfectgrammarandspellingforums.com...

    As for the hat, perhaps he was implying that you would be eating it - maybe due to some negative comments you have posted about the 504? Dunno?
     
  21. Phil_Yeoman

    Phil_Yeoman
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    Brogan

    Your write it is bad form.

    As to the eat your hat thing I like to honest when i make a review. I have never bought a perfect product, they all have their little querks. What I will say is that with a plasma screen it normally takes me a couple of months to find settings that I am happy with. Until then I will continue to fiddle and make changes. When I find the best settings I will post them back

    Phil
     
  22. Jasonjo

    Jasonjo
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    Just ignore people who dis' posts for spelling or grammar. I am often so keen to get a post done, that my spelling is awful :) :suicide:

    More often than not the people doing the dis'ing, are the people who contribute the least ;)

    Also, people do tend to use quite a lot of throw away comments on forums - hence it is probs best to try not to be too sensitive...

    How about an auto-spell checker for posts?? (like Outlook does) :clap:

    JJ
     
  23. alwyn

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    Mr yeomans I just found your thread pompous
     
  24. Phil_Yeoman

    Phil_Yeoman
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    Strange most people simply find me arrogant!

    Well Alwyn we are entitled to an opinion and just in the spirit of research i went and looked at your postings---you seem to always critque but rarely help!

    My opinion!! At least I can give a constructive one.

    Phil
     
  25. Brogan

    Brogan
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    :rotfl: A man after my own heart....
    :smashin:
     
  26. BKATZ

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    Gentlemen......

    I thought this forum was to exchange help & advice.....

    But perhaps in the interest of sport only, we could introduce pistols at dawn!


    Regards to all,

    B :devil:
     
  27. rscott4563

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    Hey Alwyn what exactly did you find pompous about phil's original post?? Pompous, how about insightful, helpful, interesting...... :smashin:

    Do we really need people just putting down peoples posts, for no apparent reason, especially the ones where people have gone to some time and trouble to try and give a lenghty review or explaination of something?! :nono:

    At least if you are going to criticise a post or a person, then at least explain yourself.....
     
  28. Jasonjo

    Jasonjo
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    Hmmm...maybe time to close this thread :(
     
  29. rscott4563

    rscott4563
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    Why?? :D

    These are the sort of threads that can get juicy!!:devil: :D

    And anyway I'd like to wait till Alwyn has had a chance to reply...
    :hiya:
     
  30. togad

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    Seconded.
     

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