Pioneer plasma owners - help please

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs Forum' started by rags, May 2, 2004.

  1. rags

    rags
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    After reading loads of threads I am starting to develop a degree of understanding (just a bit mind) of the techy jargon spoken about plasmas. I have decided that if I do go down the plasma route it's going to be with Pioneer and probably the HDE model. I know the media box on the HDE has several limitations but tbh given the ease of use it enables (esp given that I have two young kids who will use the screen a lot) this may be the model to go for.

    Now I have a few more questions and a request which I trust some of you folk will be able to answer -

    1. Screen size - my room is about 17 ft by 15 and the question is should I go for a 43 inch screen or a 50 inch. Money is not the issue (well not completely) - its mainly around whether a 50 inch will look to big and whether the pic quality on the bigger screen will be upto scratch. From shop demos all plasmas I have seen look absolutely ****e on normal SD TV and Sky and a 50 inch may just exacerbate this to an unpalatable level.

    2. Given point 1 above is they any way to improve the SKY picture to a significant extent ? From what I have read scalers will provide a degree of improvement but nothing spectacular with SKY. HDTV seems to be a long way off :(

    3. What kind of useful life in hours can I expect ?

    4. Is it worth buying a IDTV tuner box for normal viewing. The TV will be used occasionaly for just BBC1 etc not through the SKY box (its a silly set up in my house).

    5. I also read about a new MXE model out in a couple of weeks time which will be £500 cheaper. I know that it doesnt have the tuner box or speakers but I am willing to sacrifice these (the kids will just have to get used to it or worst case I can get an IDTV tuner box) as long as the panel is expected to be significantly better. The other point that attracts to the MXE is that Pioneer may have completely eliminated the screen burn issue. Any other pitfalls with this model and does it have HDMI ?

    6. How easy are these things to install on the wall ? If I buy one from the net or a non local supplier I will have to get an odd job man to do it for me (im a muppet when it comes to anything DIY related). Should I go for a supplier that can install as well or will this be OTT and too expensive ?

    I know this is a load of questions but any help / opinions you can provide will be gratefully received. Also my request :) - does anyone in the North London / Watford (or within 20 miles or so) have one of these screens and is willing to give me a demo ?

    Thanks
    Rags
     
  2. joys_R_us

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    Given your room (and wallet) size I would definitely go with the 50 HDE model and have it wall installed.

    Don't worry about life hours... (at least of your plasma set :D )
     
  3. Eagerbeaver

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    I'd love to see a convincing argument for the MXE over the HDE.

    The MXE is cheaper granted and there is no media box to "screw things up" but it's still a non standard resolution so everything has to be scaled to the resolution of the panel.

    The HDE looks like an expensive stylish piece of kit. The MXE looks like it should be something you left backat work.
     
  4. MAW

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    Looks are secondary for me. The money would swing it alone, but along with new stirrings in the digital switch off department of our lord Tony's govt. I wouldn't bother with an analogue tuner on my 5 grand TV. If you need 2 tuners, and already have sky, get a freeview box. As to picture quality, a well set up MXE will outperform the HDE on EVERY count, except teletext! You have not been to a plasma specialist for a demo yet I take it? Hence the comments about how awful they look. They may not yet reach the levels of performance from the best CRT's but they are not bad at all these days. You are right about installing, I hate installing stuff guys have just bought for some stupid cut throat price on the internet, and will price the install accordingly. On the other hand, most custom installers are realists, and will not be trying to charge you manufacturers list price for all your needs.
     
  5. dealmaker

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    rags,

    I recently found myself in a very similar position to you.

    I have a dedicated Home Cinema room with a PJ and 8 foot screen plus 7.1 surround, so to be honest I was not that worried with replicating this in the "family room" - rather I just wanted something that was user friendly (two kids and a technophobe wife!), looked good, AND had a good picture.

    My family room is about the same size as yours - I purchased the 504HDE after auditioning various other models - all I can say is that it was an excellent decision - I certainly would have regretted buying the 43" version.

    Wall mounted, the screen actually makes the room feel much bigger (especially as I've been able to ditch the 36" CRT which dominated one corner) - TBH if 60" + units had been available at realistic pricing I would have now opted for one of those!

    So get a 50", buy something thats easy to use, and that you like the look of - these things are more important to me, in this application, than that last 1% of picture quality!

    In any event I have been unable to fault the 504HDE when used with Freeview and DVD.
     
  6. emad

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    Rags

    I second dealmaker's opinion. I bought the 504 and my room is -more or less- same size of yours. Now I am thinking (God if I could afford 60"!!!)

    It did not overwhelm the room at all, it makes it look even bigger. I love it, and the Sky picture quality is not as bad as many in the forums say it is - at least not to my forgiving eyes. The movie channels are exceptionally good.

    I wouldn't worry about lifehours

    The MXE was not out when I bought mine early this year. I doubt you will see any difference in picture quality BUT you will see a difference in design.

    Installation is fairly easy - slightly harder if you are going for wall mount - but nothing a handy man couldn't do. Connection is easy with the mediabox - as long as you know the limitation of input 3 (shared HDMI & Component inputs).

    Alternatively get a pro to do it for you - piece of mind and guaranteed result. I recommend Martin (AKA MAW) - you will not regret it - from personal experience.

    Wow - I just wrote a novel


    Goodluck

    Emad
     
  7. rags

    rags
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    No I havent been to a plasma specialist yet - I really need to get down to one. Most of my viewing has been done in department stores etc and their they all look great showing Nemo or Monsters inc but crap on the broadcast stuff.

    I actually dont mind the look of the MXE - it has a slender frame which I like. For me however the HDE is a lot more convenient.
     
  8. rags

    rags
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    Thanks guys. I guess I am going to go with the 50 inch version. Ease of use is the clincher for me. I want to see them face to face and check the sizes out for myself. The unfortunate thing is that I have a much bigger room (28x19) downstairs which will be ideal for a PJ but the missus wont let me touch it !

    Do you know of any shops in the Watford / London area where I can see them both working when set up properly?
     
  9. SimonO

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    JL Watford have both the 43" and 50" HDE, ask if you can take your DVD player to demo... They are also sell Sky+ now so you could ask to demo that whilst you're there... Probably best to arrange something in the week though if you can...
     
  10. rags

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    Is that Trewins ? Ill pop in today if I can.
     
  11. MAW

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    The difference between HDE and MXE might well come down to who installs it. Certainly it's easy to connect the HDE with scart leads, more complex to connect the MXE. Have you thought about sound? Are you planning on side speakers, do you have surround sound and a AV amp capable of video switching? With an amp with video switching I'd say the ease of use argument swings in favour of the MXE, as wll as getting rid of one box from your equipment rack. You should also consider the screen and equipment position. The HDE comes with a 3m cable. 10m is an optional extra at over £200, and no, there are no alternatives. Mxe's can be made to work with no practical distance limitations, there are ways of doing it with the gear in another room, in fact I've done one in a garden room with all the stuff in the house. You'll also find a universal remote control handy with either of them, done correctly it can be made to integrate all of your components, but that's easier with the MXE too. For a stand alone analogue TV, the HDE can't be beat, but I cannot think of one other reason apart from the shiny black bezel, for buying one.
     
  12. rags

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    MAW - I have a Parasound C2 processor which offers component, composite and S Video switching - if I recall correctly it has 3 component ins and one out. My equipment rack will sit right below the Plasma so no issues length wise.

    I have no preference in the looks dept so the black bezel is not a deciding factor for me. The lack of HDMI on the MXE is of concern. I know worst case I can use a freeview box with the MXE but it will just all end up being a wiring mess. I need to be able to use whatever I get as a normal TV.

    When is the 50" MXE out anyway and are Pioneer really claiming that screen burn is history ?
     
  13. MAW

    MAW
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    Screen burn will likely never be history, but it's been a non issue for some time, and any further help is welcome, you are highly unlikely to suffer unless you are stupid with it. With 3 component switches, you could get a Netgem freeview, component out, a component converter for sky, component out from DVD, and connect any consoles with s-video. You would then have 3 cables to the display, power, component and s-video, same as HDE model, (power, control and video) and all connections made to your processor. HDMI I personally do not lose sleep over. HDMI players do not, by definition, supply any appropriate resolution to the pioneer plasma, or any other when it comes to it, and the pioneer ones are really nothing special, not as good as many analogue output players. Your setup would be pretty much what I recommend, sell and install for most of my customers, normal watching with sky and freeview will be fine. You could 'universal remote' it for the final touch, with channel logos etc. Even my 78 year old mum can operate my system, which has a plasma and a projector, items variable as I keep having to lend them to people.
     
  14. rags

    rags
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    Ok thanks Maw

    Does anyone know when the new MXE models are due to hit the shops ? The Pioneer website mentions in the spring so they should be here now !
     
  15. rags

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    Also just checked out the tmfsolutions website to get some prices - why would the 43" MXE be nearly £750 cheaper than the HDE equivalent whilst the 50" models are near enough identical in price.

    So if I go for the 50" MXE im paying the same price as the HDE but loosing the media box, HDMI and the glossy black finish.....dont add up. Must have missed something.
     
  16. MAW

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    Maybe Joe's missing something. Nobody's perfect. I haven't thought about pricing yet, I do that on the back of a fag packet with the purchase invoice in front of me.:D They are due any time now, I'll be on to them in the AM for an update.

    Edit. in fact they are much the same price. The MX version has some new technology as you have noticed, and has 'open source' video board achitecture, and in the opinion of nearly all professionals, is the better screen. Also, price erosion has hit the max on the HDE, but the MX1 is not even out yet, give it a few weeks.
     
  17. Joe Fernand

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    Hello all

    Rags:

    01. Pioneer MXE1 vs. HDE pricing:
    Our PDP-504HDE price is a bargain :)

    02. Pioneer MXE1 vs. HDE ease of use:
    This is a Red Herring as far as I'm concerned.

    Try this - Connect any Digibox or Freeview adapter to an MXE or HDE and which system is easier to operate? Answer: they are exactly the same.

    Neither the MXE or HDE has a learning remote so you require one remote to switch the Plasma on and select an input and a second remote to select which channel you want to view on your Digibox or Freeview adapter.

    Of course if you want to watch analogue TV on the HDE that's a tad simpler - though few folk have a really decent analogue signal.

    Connecting a Digibox of Freeview adapter to an MXE is simplicity itself and requires one small black box and two cables.

    If your using the optional speakers with the MXE1 or HDE and a SKY Digibox the SKY remote can turn either unit in and out of Standby and operate the volume control so that's the closest to a 'simple' system as you will get without employing a Learning Remote.

    03. MXE1 availability:
    We should have our first 50" units through in the next ten days and 43" units next month.

    EagerBeaver:
    Are you saying you don't like the HDE or the MXE1 as they have the wrong number of pixels?

    The MXE1 will be the screen of choice for those who will look to improve on Pioneers inbuilt video processing - connecting an external video processor to an HDE is possible but not ideal.

    There are features on the new MXE1 that will make it more Processor friendly and that for many will outweigh the lack of inbuilt HDCP compliance via DVI.

    Style wise some love the HDE others hate the HDE and the same with the Charcoal or Silver bezel on the MXE1 - I can live with either; I like the HDE's Black Glass border as it gives a great frame for movies to live within.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  18. rags

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    edit
     
  19. rags

    rags
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    Joe - thanks for your post. From where I am standing your 43" MXE1 looks like more of a bargain ! A £2k or so difference between the 43" MXE and the 50" models is substantial and I may now have a rethink - if I went for the 43" it will allow me to upgrade my speakers at the same time.

    I get the point around ease of use now after reading your and Maws posts but the MXE1 still doesnt have speakers and I am not sure about the idea of my kids switching on the processor and power amp to watch a bit of cartoon network etc.
     
  20. Joe Fernand

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    Hello Rags

    You can download an MXE1 PDF on our website and the optional side mount loudspeakers will be shown - they don't offer the 'along the bottom edge' fixing of the HDE speakers; though you can most likely fit a set of HDE speakers to the MXE1 as they tend to have the same holes in the chassis - I'll try and confirm on Thursday when I get to see the MXE1.

    With both the HDE and MXE1 fitted with the Optional speakers you can have a dual purpose system with 'Stereo' sound using the on-board speakers and 'Surround' sound using an AV Receiver - its fairly easy to configure a system to give you and the family both options without having to fire up the full system if you don't want the kids playing with the Surround sound system.

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  21. Eagerbeaver

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    I wouldn't say that I don't like these screens. The HDE looks great on many occasions, we've all yet to see an MXE1 as far as I know.

    My concern is that the MXE1 is virtually the same price as an HDE but lacks the "benefits" of the media box and in the opinion of most people I've spoken to looks of the HDE.

    If you are going to spend the extra on a video processor then fine, you'll get that last 5% in PQ. If like many you are using a simple set up then why bother with the MXE1.

    When I see a convincing argument for this I will be ordering an MXE1.

    I think this argument will only appear once we actually get to see an MXE1 in the flesh.
     
  22. Lewdannie

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    Hi,

    Pioneer in Australia reckons that there will be black speakers available for the HDE (in April they said). This will definately improve the look of this set. Lets face it, in some cases, looks are everything.

    Also, from what I have seen, the MXE doesn't have the option of a swivel stand. Not useful for most, but some, like me, would find it of benfit.

    cheers

    Lewdannie
    (somewhat plasma commitment-phobic)
     
  23. MAW

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    Eagerbeaver, the only 'convincing' argument is that the media box is not actually a benefit, but a clutter, a hindrance, and that analogue TV looks poor, and the only beneficiaries are those who can't get freeview, and teletext junkies.
     
  24. Lewdannie

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  25. dealmaker

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    MAW,

    From a users perspective I actually find the 504HDE's media box very handy.

    I have sunk the cables into the wall when I mounted the screen and so now - no matter how I upgrade the equipment I will simply connect to the media box.

    The box by the way is locked away in a cupboard and as the screen carries an IR reciver which "talks" to the media box you can effectivley forget about the optimal location for the box and simply put it where it's convenient from a connection perspective (in my case in an adjacent sideboard)

    I have a Sony Freeview box (£90) connected via RGB scart, and the Sony's has a codeable remote (quite a nice one actually) which operates all of the main TV functions - so I can hide the Pioneer remote and only use that myself for set-up issues.

    So in operation the whole system is incredibly transparent - side mounted speakers and the single remote mean that the whole thing operates as per the CRT TV it replaced - the kids and wife love it and I have to be honest it does look the dogs danglies (in mine and everyones opinion who's seen it) especially when compared to the, let's say,...umm...the more utilitarian models out there.

    Again from an ease of use and ease of set-up perspective, especially if the unit is going to be used mainly as a TV, then the HDE models make a lot of sense, HOWEVER if the unit is to be the only display device in a Home Cinema set-up then I'd also concede that the MXE1's flexibility is a bonus.

    Horses for courses :)
     
  26. MAW

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    I'm not a TV salesman in a Dixon's tie, I sell dislays as home cinema solutions, clearly I know which one pushes my buttons. I can only quote myself here, by saying the 504 is without equal as a stand alone TV at present, but in other respects it is beaten hollow by, er, Pioneer.
     
  27. hemp3

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    No-ones answered one of the first questions. Is the only way to improve the picture from sky via a scaler of some sort. I phoned js-tech and they said the RGB-Yuv wouldnt make a difference in terms of PQ on a HDE only really worth it on the mxe. Also it ties up your input 3 unless you change inputs to HDMI when watching DVD.
     
  28. MAW

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    Your question has been answered, just the HDE owners are muddying the issue. The way to improve PQ is to buy the MXe instead
     
  29. Loafer316

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    I had to make the same decision. I decided on the 43MXE1 due to 1.Expansion slot (will get a card probably after christmas, we'll see whats available and the standard card supplied by pioneer should have same pic quality as the media box) 2. The fact that i have more flexibility using it with a HCPC (or so i believe) 3. Price

    With regards to looks i think the HDE looks brilliant..with the side bars larger it also appears to be larger. However the above things outweighed the looks IMHO. Not bothered about the remote as i will be using a learning one.

    Anyway can't wait for it to arrive...Joe i'm waiting mate! :)
     
  30. hemp3

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    What if you already have a hde?
     

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