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Pioneer PDP-503MXE v PDP-504HDE

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs Forum' started by Brogan, Oct 13, 2003.

  1. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Apologies if this has already been covered but I did a search and couldn't find much...

    Basically, what is the difference between the MXE and HDE products?

    I'm after a 50" screen, no tuner and no speakers.
    Sky+ will perform tuner duties and the AV Receiver will deal with the sound.

    Which of these products is the better option and why?

    TIA
     
  2. tbrar

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    The main differene between the MXE's and the HDE's is the latter is more consumer freindly, in that incorperates Tuner Box and functionlity associated with a TV. The MXE are panel only, in to which you can attach your own equipment.

    The 03 and 04 signify generations of plasma's, each generation of panel will bring improvments . The 503 MXE is third generation of the MXE family, the 504HDE is a fourth generation plasma of the HDE family. It follows then that the fourth generation MXE are to follow, but not until March next year.

    With respect to the two that you are looking at they both have 10 Bit Video processing, however the latest HDE generations has been improved substantially allowing for a greater range of colours, better contrast ratio. Also with regard to digital video inputs, the 04HDE has 'HDMI' input(s?). With the MXE you are limited to DVI. Another point worth mentioning is the MXE DVI input is not HDCP, for this you wil have to buy an exteral card such as that from Aurora. HDMI, as on the 04HDE, is HDCP as standard.

    If I were you I would look to buy the 04HDE, as it offers a number of improvments and it is the latest and greatest. I think that you dont have to buy the speakers should you not wish to, though you will have to use the tuner box (not necessarily a bad thing?).
     
  3. Brogan

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    Thanks for the reply.

    In summary then it would appear that the 504HDE is the better buy in terms of functionality but I'd have to fork out extra cash for an anlogue tuner that I don't want or need...:(
    It really would be a waste of money as it would never be used.
    Is it integrated or can it be sold on as a separate stand-alone item?

    I must confess I have no idea what DVI, HDMI or HDCP are and whether I need them so I suppose I'd better do a bit of reading to ensure I'm getting what I need.
    I was under the impression that all I needed was progressive scan and component inputs for my DVD and RGB for Sky+ but apparently not.

    Damn this new fangled technology...:suicide:
     
  4. MAW

    MAW
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    Brogan, you're doing well so far, with the gear and attitude you have the MXe might well make more sense. The difference is not going to be chalk and cheese, the 503mxe is my no. 1 favourite plasma, the dvi /hdmi thing is under discussion here in another thread, please join in!
     
  5. Brogan

    Brogan
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    I will do as soon as I understand what the heck everyone's talking about...;)
     
  6. MAW

    MAW
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    We don't either, that's why we are talking about it!
     
  7. tbrar

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    [size=1.5]Maws got a point, there is gulf of difference between the 03HDE's and the 04HDE's. However, with the 03MXE's and the 04HDE's it is not nearly as much (well, on paper - I havnt seen a 04HDE). However, improvements have been made....

    One of the differences is the inputs available. Both offer digital video inputs. MXE has DVI and HDE has HDMI. The benefit of having a digital input means that with the right source, ie a HTPC with DVI output, or new to be released Pioneer 868 DVD player with HDMI output, then the signal from source to display is entirely digital, it will not undergo any digital to analoge/analoge to digital conversion therfore will minimise any signal degredation. HDMI is basically an evolution of DVI and is backward comptable with it. One of its benefits (debatable in a situation like yours or mine) it has the ability to carry digital audio along the same cable.

    HDCP (cant remember what its stands for - I think it is High Definition Copyright Protection ???) is a copy protection method which requires that in order to view protected sources everything in the chain from source to panel will have to be HDCP compliant. HDMI has this as standard. DVI withthin the 03MXE is not HDCP and also will not accept any Video sources greater than 480p (though will accept computer resolutions), however you can buy an additional card(s) from Aurora (www.auroramultimedia.com) that will allow HDCP DVI inputs, bear in mind though that these arent cheap.

    I can see Maw's point, though TBH if I were you I would go for the newer 04HDE. To me it does offer more *futures* and some 'not small improvments' have been made to video processing; one of which is the way native rate inputs are handled, a bit of a pain to overcome with the 03MXE's (trust me I know !) also colour pallette, grey scale and black level to name a few. Unless of course there is a cost benefit that makes the 03MXE noticably more attractive, but then you would have also to factor in the cost of a DVI HDCP card in the future if you wanted to go down this route.

    Ahh Decisions ......:confused:[/size]
     
  8. Brogan

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    Thanks for the explanation.

    Presumably these new formats will be as good as RGB-S and Component and also support progressive scan?

    I can however see a few issues.

    My main source is a Sky+ box which does not support these new formats.
    I plan to do component video switching via my receiver anyway so I would need a compatible receiver (both input and output) - are any available?

    And I'm assuming they're not proprietary Pioneer formats as I don't intend to get any other Pioneer equipment?

    Also, not sure I can wait until next March which is at least 5 months away, assuming the release date doesn't slip (not to mention the price will be high for the first batch).

    Perhaps I should go and read the other thread MAW mentioned...
    Anyone got the link?
     
  9. tbrar

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    [size=1.5]DVI/HDMI are better. If you think about it information on DVD's is digital. With the formats you mentioned (ie Component), this digital information has to under go a conversion to analoge to be sent as component. This analoge signal then has to be converted to digital in the display. These conversion processes reduces the picture quality as information is invariably lost, no matter how good the conversion is. DVI/HDMI do not need to be converted, its digital all the way.

    Your are not forced to use these inputs, they are just the best method of connecting digital sources. They are all industry standard and not Pioneer proprietry and what the entire industry is moving towards, and indeed do support progressive scan.

    With regard to your non digital output devices such as Sky, youll be able to use the other inputs available to you on the Media box, such as Scart, have a look at www.pioneer.co.uk for full list/spec as I couldnt tell you off the top of my head. You could still use your amp as a component video switcher, just feed the component output from amp into the media box. If you wanted to do DVI or HDMI switching in the amp then thats another matter...

    You will only have to wait until March if you want the 04MXE, the 04HDE is available now to order and should start shipping soon I beleive. The link to thread being refered to is:-

    http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=97269[/size]
     
  10. tbrar

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  11. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Thanks tbrar - some very useful information. :smashin:

    It's been 3 years since I last replaced my gear and I haven't read a thing since so I've got some catching up to do...:rolleyes:
     
  12. MAW

    MAW
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    Yep, the 50" panny has some decided pluses, however the old one had an iffy power supply in my experience. I've known quite a few failures, though all in the 1st weeks, then no problems. The 1366x768 gives you true 16:9, full marks, excellent contrast, again full marks, just this vague question over robustness. Though in fact all the failed screens were connected to the accursed Panny tuner. Coincidence? No Idea!
     
  13. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Well I've been doing some more reading and the Pioneer still seems to come out on top.
    I like the idea of waiting for the 504MXE but not sure whether I can do without until next March.

    What's slightly worrying though is my search for a suitably equipped DVD/Universal Player and AV Receiver has resulted in a shortlist of the Pioneer DV-757Ai, Pioneer DV-868AVi, Pioneer VSX-A5i-S and the Pioneer VSA-AX10i-S.

    Pioneer seems to have the AV market cornered in terms of affordable, quality, high spec products or have I missed something?
     
  14. Joe Fernand

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    Brogan

    I'm sure a fair few others are also trying to work out which way to jump.

    First point to consider is that the PDP-503MXE has not become a 'poor' display overnight - we have many customers using this Display with some very high quality systems.

    Until recently the choice between the 03 HDE and 03 MXE was pretty straightforward - if you wanted the screen with the best potential for making the most of your high quality video signals you went with the 03 MXE.

    With the imminent arrival of the 04 HDE there's a bit more of a dilemma - yes the 04 HDE has some features you may not require (Tuner, SMART card reader, Picture in Picture) - then again the R04 Media Box (which is integral to the 'system') has some nice video processing on board and the 04 HDE has a darker screen filter along with new phosphors.

    The inclusion of an HDMI input on the 04 HDE has, as you've spotted, got a lot of us trying to second guess the market about the importance of this connector and feature set over the next few years; for some its probably not that big an issue as they will for now favour a top end progressive via YUV player and have the luxury of changing screens every couple of years; and if HDMI does become an issue they simply get a new display.

    For others the promise of a fairly low cost HDMI enabled Pioneer Universal DVD players looks like great news (though dont forget the audio side of any DVD player - your still going to spend a fair few quid on an HDMI enabled DVD player if you want it to sound half decent too; and will they ever sound as good as an FMJ-DV27 or similar?).

    Another anomaly of the Plasma market is that the 50" 03 MXE is actually more expensive than the 50" 04 HDE - and it doesn't look like this is going to change as Pioneer cant get enough 50" 03 MXE stock to satisfy current demand; remember most of these units are sold into the Corporate market.

    (Note - there is about to be a small adjustment of the 43" 03 MXE price; but nothing very dramatic).

    I think until the 50" 04 MXE comes along the 04 HDE makes more sense for many customers - though for others not overly worried about the implications of HDMI the 03 MXE is still a very flexible display and may better suit there current connectivity requirements

    As you've seen Pioneer is taking high quality Home Entertainment very seriously - remember Pioneer is a much smaller beast than say Panasonic or Sony and can react far quicker when it sees an opportunity; if your after the latest technology that's well implemented and at non exotic prices then an all Pioneer system makes a lot of sense.

    If you want options to match up with an 03 MXE or 04 HDE consider Rotel, Arcam and Denon.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  15. Jasonjo

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    Joe - What makes you say this - just experience?

    JJ
     
  16. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Thanks Joe - some useful comments.
    I am not for 1 minute claiming the 03 MXE is a bad screen but I'd like to avoid buying something which is going to be superseded with a better model within a few months (and I appreciate this happens all the time with electronics but still...).

    As far as the options are concerned, I have another thread running in the DVD forum about Arcam and Denon players.

    My summary was the Arcam is not a universal player and therefore does not fulfil my requirements.
    The Denon on paper looks great but I've been put off by all of the negative comments about it on this forum.
    So far that leaves me with the Pioneer.

    Out of interest, if you had to choose, which would it be?
    The 03 MXE or 04 HDE?
     
  17. Brogan

    Brogan
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    The plot thickens....:rolleyes:

    My local specialist reckons there are no current plans to release a 504MXE as the 504HDE was released to overcome the problems with the tuner in the 503HDE and the spec & quality is now up to the same level as the 503MXE.

    He does agree that in theory the 504HDE should be better than the 503MXE but won't be able to confirm it until he gets some in.
    He has seen a demo but it was done "using all digital equipment and cables which we don't have over here in the UK anyway so it's an unfair comparison". :confused:

    He also said that DVI has been superseded by HDMI, HDMI has itself been superseded by HDMI2 so the 504HDE is effectively out of date now anyway and as HDMI is not implemented it's ultimately irrelevant?!

    Confused? Me? :rolleyes: :mad:
     
  18. Joe Fernand

    Joe Fernand
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    Brogan

    I think your 'specialist's need to do a bit more homework :)

    Pioneer dont see the HDE PlasmaTV and MXE Plasma Display as competing models - they have them firmly pigeon holed into Consumer and Business applications; even here in the UK they are handled within Pioneer UK with two different sales and technical teams.

    The 04 HDE was released because the rest of the pack was gradually catching up with Pioneers 03 HDE Plasma TV
    - nothing to do with the MXE.

    Using the MXE in Home Cinema systems is a relatively small market compared to using the MXE in the Business market.

    The 04 MXE models were due for release around Feb 04 and due to extra design time spent on the 04 HDE in Japan they will now arrive around April 04.

    The R04 Media box is a very different beast from the R03 Media Box and in turn its also very different from the PDA-5002 card fitted to MXE Displays.

    I can only guess that the 'unfair' demonstration as reported was using a High Definition video source - Pioneer have a JVC D-VHS player plus a Japanese HD Set top box with in built Hard Drive that they have been using to show the potential of the displays with HD sources (they believe that Microsoft will make HD available in the UK far earlier than anyone suspects and want to show the 04 HDE is very much HD ready).

    I've seen the 04 HDE with HD (see above) and also SD from the Pioneer NS-DV990, with Progressive PAL via HDMI from a DV-686av and from an X-Box (or was it a Game Cube) and couldn't fault it on any of these inputs.

    DVI is aimed at the Commercial market and HDMI is aimed at the Consumer market - not sure about HDMI2 or why you think HDMI is not implemented on the 04 HDE; come mid Nov 03 you can have a choice of two Pioneer DVD players with HDMI output for sub £1k.

    Best regards

    Joe

    PS Yes we use the Arcam, Denon and Rotel kit quiet often and all three offer excellent value for money; you can get far more exotic kit if you want though it'll cost a fair bit more.
     
  19. Brogan

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    Thanks Joe.

    For the avoidance of doubt, he never implied that the two product streams were merging and it's always been clear that the MXE was corporate and the HDE consumer but he did imply that phase 4 of the HDE was intended to bring it up to the quality of the current MXE and remove the issues related to the tuner box on the 03 versions.

    I must admit though I'm starting to question the knowledge of my local dealer.
    I get the distinct impression that he's trying to steer me towards specific brands and models without giving me a balanced view (as if he would do that....:rolleyes: ).

    Will the 04MXE have any extra functionality/quality over the current 04HDE or will it simply be the same screen without the integrated tuner?

    With regards to the Pioneer DVD players, would they be the 868 and the 6somethingorother?

    I've been looking at the DV-757Ai but the 868 seems to do all that does and has JPG & HDMI.
     
  20. joys_R_us

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    It is not quite clear yet if the 668/868 will have JPEG.

    For me it doesn't make much sense to combine the 868 with a Pio 04 plasma display as you would end up with to levels (two consequent steps) of scaling. 868 to 720p and then the plasma to 768.

    My choice is the 668; it is cheaper and could also yield better picture quality...
     
  21. Brogan

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    I thought the 868 functionality was confirmed?
    I've seen a couple of ad's proclaiming the features and JPG is included.

    Interesting comment on the scaling.
    It begs the question though, why would Pioneer make 2 fairly high end products with this incompatibility, for want of a better word?
    Or is that too stupid a question?

    Are you also suggesting the 668 will be better than the 757 which seems to get rave reviews?
     
  22. rscott4563

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    I cant quite remember what thread it was, but I was reading a thread on HTPC and they were on about what input gave the best image and they settled on the fact that inputting at 720 @ 75hz gave the best image even thought this would then be rescaled by the plasma. Dont really know why this would be the way but thats what was said.

    After all its all down to the quality of the scaling and normally the quality of the scalers in plasmas themselves have not been the best when compared to stand alone (or ones in DVD players as is the case with the 868i) so is it not possible that by giving the plasma a well scaled 720 image and only needing the plasmas own scaling to go from 720 to 768 could give a better result than having the plasma scale all the way from 576 (I think this is the right res for pal though I may be wrong) to 768??
     
  23. joys_R_us

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    720p might be a good idea for those of people who will be using the YUV connection (high detail input on analog might save the pic quality). For HDMI it doesn't make sense to me.

    This might be a question for Joe Fernand to ask Pioneer for a explanation...
     
  24. Joe Fernand

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    Hello all

    Its a matter of wait and see I'm afraid with the DV-868AVI and the 04 HDE - via HDMI; though looking at the HDMI hook-up table for the R04 Media Box I'm guessing you will output 720P from the DVD player.

    What little spec I have for the DV-668AV says its a 12bit 216Mhz Video DAC whilst the DV-868AVI has a 14Bit 216Mhz DAC and of course the DV-868AVI has the IEEE1394 Digital Audio interface for those looking to partner it with the VSX-AX5i or VSA-AX10.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  25. joys_R_us

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    The DACs (I think) are irrelevant if you use the HDMI connection...
     
  26. Brogan

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    That would make sense and the same goes for the IEEE1394 Digital Audio (Firewire) interface (or were you also including that DAC in your statement?).
     
  27. SimonO

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    I don't think the version 1 HDMI outputs on the new Pioneer players deliver the full audio benefits promised long term by HDMI, therefore the 1394 link is still relevant (assuming you have a compatible 1394 input on your amp)... Even then it's more relevant to multi-channel music... Long term HDMI should make connecting up kit much simpler (and hopefully cheaper), but at the moment it's more a 'video' thing...
     
  28. Brogan

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    Apologies - my last post wasn't very clear.
    I meant to imply the audio DAC was irrelevant assuming you were using Firewire from player to amp, or is it the same DAC for both video and audio in each player?

    Edit:
    Sadly, I won't be able to see/hear the benefits of either as my Sky+ has no HDMI or Firewire and that's the main source for most of my TV viewing.
    And I also plan to switch everything (audio and video) through my amp so unless that supports both formats, again it's irrelevant.
     

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