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Pioneer PDP-436XDE - How do I change the grey side bars to black?

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Frederic_A

Guest
I've searched extensively, but I don't think this topic has yet been thoroughly addressed.

First off, let me make it clear that I'm aware of why the side bars in 4:3 and 14:9 mode are grey in the PDP-436 - to help prevent screen burn.

But I want to have a choice in it. Neither the grey nor the alternate mode (repetition of the center image) is any good for watching films. Anything wider than 16:9 will give me the same risk of screen burn, and the consensus seems to be that the only good way to prevent it is through 'bedding in' your screen and by regularly alternating between formats.

So, with that out of the way:

How can I set the brightness of the side mask in 4:3 and 14:9 mode to black? An E-mail to Pioneer support in Germany was not encouraging, the guy either didn't have a clue or there is no officially sanctioned way to do it.

Could it be altered in this 'service menu' that I've heard of?

Thanks in advance.
 

mjcairney

Distinguished Member
Unfortunately, I do not know the answer to your query but would like to pass on one word of warning - stay away from the service menu - I have heard a few horror stories ensuing from people going into these menus and doing irreversible damage. :lesson:

Cheers,

Martin.
 

Fusewire

Active Member
Going into the service menu is like brain surgery, if you don't know what you are doing you can very easily kill the patient. :eek:

Maybe those grey bars don't look quite so bad now. ;)
 
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Frederic_A

Guest
Thanks for the warning, I certainly won't go into the service menu without knowing what I'm doing. But if it's the only way and somebody could tell me exactly what steps to take and how to get out again safely, I might give it a try.

I just find this very frustrating. I expect more flexibility from a product with such a price tag, and as far as I know, the Panasonic 42" lets you select the brightness for the side bars.

The way it's worded in the menu leads me to suspect that there is a function to change it to black, but it's been deliberately withheld from the consumer. It describes the mode as displaying sidebars at a "fixed brightness", implying that the brightness might be fixed to a different value somehow.
 

Fusewire

Active Member
If you get your screen ISF calibrated at some point in the future why not ask whoever does the calibration if they can change the bars (It will be easy for those guys if it's possible).

Certainly wouldn't attempt it yourself - even if someone gives you instuctions on how to do it. There was a forum member who killed his screen after following instructions on how to change settings in the service menu, if you have to ask how to do it then you probobaly should not be in there.
 

silversurfer24v

Active Member
i dont know if it will be the same for you but there may be an option someware in your menu

on the pv500 you go to the menu select set up and there is an option to turn the side bars to high , mid , low or off
 

silverx

Standard Member
I was thinking of buying one of these given the rave reviews but the grey side-bars is probably a deal-killer - would drive me mad! Be interesting to know if they can change it - I asked local dealer - he hadnt a clue :(
 

IAmATeaf

Active Member
Aren't these bar grey for a reason, the reason being that it's an attempt to minimise image retention/screen burn? I have an option on my Panny to change the state of the 'side bars' as they call them but the manual does have statements about the consequences of changing them so I've left the setting as shipped.
 
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Frederic_A

Guest
IAmATeaf, take a look at my first post. :)

It looks like I'll be going for the ISF calibration at some point, so thanks for the hint. It is bloody expensive here in Switzerland, though, and so far I've only found one dealer who does it. Won't be any time soon I'm afraid, guess I'll have to save some more hard-earned cash.

It seems like Pio deliberately decided to deny us consumers the choice of setting, the menu really only gives you the option between "fixed" and "auto", which simply reproduces parts of the image in the middle in real time in greyscale.

Do they do firmware updates for these plasmas? This would certainly be a candidate.
 

Damon

Novice Member
IAmATeaf said:
Aren't these bar grey for a reason, the reason being that it's an attempt to minimise image retention/screen burn? I have an option on my Panny to change the state of the 'side bars' as they call them but the manual does have statements about the consequences of changing them so I've left the setting as shipped.
I was also under the impression that these were grey to save the screen from and retention of the black bars when switched back into widescreen.
I have gotten used to them and have decided to watch the picture rather than the bars. The other setting which is Auto is kind of stupid and uses a B&W mirror image of the picture in the centre of the screen as the bars and is totally distracting.

Damon
 

DanielB

Novice Member
Frederic_A said:
IAmATeaf, take a look at my first post. :)

It is bloody expensive here in Switzerland, though, and so far I've only found one dealer who does it.
Hi Frederic
...because it's Switzerland :hiya:

Which dealer did you found?

Regards
Daniel
 

markd

Standard Member
I have a Denon 1920 connected to a Pioneer 436 via HDMI.

I haven't found a way of changing the grey side bars to black on the Pioneer itself but the Denon has a 4:3 Squeeze mode which pillarboxes 4:3 material into a 16:9 frame.

This results in the DVD player outputting a 16:9 image with black bars on either side of the original 4:3 image.

Does the Denon 3910 have a similar setting?
 
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Frederic_A

Guest
Markd: yes it does, actually, and that seems to be a resort in case of 4:3 movies. This way, though, you can't output in 720p from the DVD, and the Denon reportedly has a better scaler than the Pio. It's a minor point, I admit.

A major niggle is that in this mode, you can't take advantage of the Pio's 14:9 zoom settings, which only kick in in certain cases. So for 1.66:1 letterboxed movies, of which there are still a lot out there (most of the Stanley Kubrick collection, for example), the only mode that shows the whole picture is windowboxed (both horizontal and vertical black bars).
 
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Frederic_A

Guest
The people at homecinema.ch tell me they believe it might be possible to set the side bars to black in the service menu, but they aren't 100% sure.

Also, to all of you in Britain, just to give you an idea of how lucky you are: :)

Calibration for a single input (i.e. DVD) here costs 450 Swiss francs minimum. Plus 100 CHF for each additional input (TV for example), PLUS an additional franc per kilometre to cover the distance between their location (near Berne) and wherever the service is to be performed. That works out to 100 francs additional, minimum, for any of the larger Swiss cities - I pity those living in Geneva. According to ISF, they are the only licensed calibrators in the country.
 

jezzyp

Standard Member
Does anyone have any pictures of the 436 with the "grey side bars"?
I'd be interested to see exactly how grey they are, as I'm looking to purchase this tv sometime this week.
 

Attu

Novice Member
jezzyp, think of a battle ship...they are that sort of grey :)
Actualy I think they are probably 18% middle gray, the same as a photographic grey card.

Andy
 

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