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Progressive scan on Pioneer and Panny?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Dr.Rock, Jan 14, 2003.

  1. Dr.Rock

    Dr.Rock
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    I'm strongly considering buying a Plasma, either a Pioneer PDP503HDE or the Panasonic TH50PHW5B.

    I notice in the specs that both TV's have progressive scan. Does anyone know if the progressive scan on those two TV's is for PAL only, or also for NTSC? I watch a lot of Region-1 DVD's.

    Thanks.
     
  2. jmack

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    i know the panny can take both through component or vga dont know about the pioneer hde
     
  3. MarkTaylor

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    The Pioneer HDE can accept NTSC Progressive, but I have yet to see a confirmed report that it can accept PAL Progressive.

    The Pioneer 503MXE with the PDA-5002 board fully handles PAL and NTSC Progressive. To many people who have seen both the the HDE and MXE versions, the MXE is considered to have a superior picture due to the better processing capabilites of the PDA-5002 card over the external Sharp media box on the HDE.

    Mark
     
  4. jheffron

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    Mark

    You mentioned that the MXE board had superior picture processing to the HDE media box and that it was Pal PS compatible. Are you able to indicate how the picture is better?

    I must say that having bought a £100 free to air digibox, I am at a loss to understand the benefit of the media box. Is it possible to buy and install the MXE card do you know?


    Dr Rock

    In a separate thread I asked for help displaying an NTSC progressive scan picture properly on a PDP 503 HDE. The screen fixes itself in 4:3 mode. (Still searching for an answer.) On that thread, some colleagues bottomed out with Pioneer that the HDE does accept NTSC progressive signals but there is no planned upgrade to the media box to cater for Pal Prog. Scan. as has been rumoured.

    For what it is worth - I am very happy with the Pioneer but I note two features (i) the 900:1 contrast ratio does render some dark scenes a bit two dimensional. (ii) I am told that the pixel count of a 50" screen is not a multiple of the Pal line structure and so 50" screens do not deliver as sharp an image as a 42". Good luck with your decision making.

    James
     
  5. StooMonster

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    Don't know about the Pio 50", but probably same as Panny 50" that does progressive scan PAL and NTSC interlaced material; and also accept and already prog-scanned signal.

    However, the in built prog-scan is not as good as using either an external deinterlacer (see iScan threads in this forum) or prog-scan DVD player.

    StooMonster
     
  6. Dr.Rock

    Dr.Rock
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    > However, the in built prog-scan is not as good as using either
    > an external deinterlacer (see iScan threads in this forum) or
    > prog-scan DVD player.

    I thought that to get the benefits of progressive scan, both the TV and DVD player have to be progressive scan. ie the DVD player outputs the prog-scan signal, and the TV has to be able to receive & decode it.
     
  7. kelvin

    kelvin
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    You're correct in the sense that the display needs to be PS compatible (it needs to be able to cope with a non-interlaced signal), but the PS processing can take place either before, or after the signal is sent to the display.

    The plasma's being discussed here have an internal PS facility which would work on all interlaced material being fed to the panel. Better results could be achieved however (according to opinion) if you invest in a PS player (like the DV88+ for example), or an external deinterlacer (like the iScan) which would could carry out the PS processing at a different stage, thus bypassing the displays own facility.

    Hope that makes some sense... ;);)

    Kelvin.
     
  8. Dr.Rock

    Dr.Rock
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    Thanks KelvinImp,

    Boy, this prog-scan is getting confusing! :)

    So putting aside the mentioned TVs' in-built prog-scanning gizmos, will they both accept a de-interlaced signal (NTSC and PAL) or does it have to be interlaced? Does PS built into the TV mean I don't need a PS built into my DVD player? Does buying iScan mean that I don't need PS built into the player and I just need to make sure that the TV accepts de-interlaced signals?

    Thanks.
     
  9. AVWotcha

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    As I understand it. DVDs are recorded interlaced. This means somewhere between the DVD and the screen, something has to de-interlace the signal.

    So, 3 options.

    1. Use a prog scan DVD player connected to screen which is set to accept a Prog scan source.

    2. Use a standard DVD player and connect to a screen which has a built in de-interlacer.

    3. Use a standard DVD player, feed that into a high quality de-interlacer and feed to prog scan signal into the screen.
     
  10. MAW

    MAW
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    Short answer, yes. Long answer, I'm not qualified! The iscan makes up for the fact that the native resolution of PAL dvd is not the same as your sceen by scaling the picture. It does this better than most displays. This is in addition to de-interlacing, so the picture with an iscan should be a good improvement over a non- progressive dvd player, but still better than even a progressive one, and of course only a few hacked players do pal progressive anyway. It will do it for your TV picture, and your VHS too, and solve your connectivity issues, and all for the price of a panny tuner box. Do you want one? Course you do, but try without 1st, and get it demod, the improvement in picture may be more than you need, so to speak.
     
  11. MarkTaylor

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    I auditioned both the 503HDE and MXE in the same environment with the same source material and DVD player. Disks used were Moulin Rouge and Gladiator.

    Most noticable difference was in the level of detail in the darker sections of the image. The HDE would show flatter shadow effects where the MXE provided visible detail in the shadows.

    This was very noticable in the early scenes in the tent in Gladiator and in the opening scenes in Moulin Rouge where the guys are arriving in evening suits.

    The PDA-5002 card cannot be fitted to an HDE model as it does not have a replacable card. The lack of a replacable card is another reason why some people prefer the MXE model given some of the changes that may be arriving curtesy of Hollywood at some point in the future.

    Mark
     
  12. MAW

    MAW
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    Sorry, but if you think a company will produce a new card for an old screen in 2-3 year's time, think again. There may be many reasons for choosing 1 over the other, but not that one.
     
  13. MarkTaylor

    MarkTaylor
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    How wrong can you be ...

    Pioneer have already permitted other people to produce cards for their screens and the market is steadily expanding, including some new cards from Pioneer, Key Digital and at least one other due soon.

    With the installed base of MXE screens, both 43" and 50" it will remain an attractive market for third parties to produce cards for and there is no certaintly that the next generation of Pioneer screens will not use the same card slot further extending the potential market.

    Mark
     
  14. jheffron

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    Thanks Mark

    I know exactly what you mean when you say flat shadow scenes. This really is my only complaint about an otherwise very agreeable screen.

    Wish I had known about this resource before I bought. It's an expensive past-time this plasma business.

    James
     
  15. MAW

    MAW
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    As you can tell from my signature, the glass is 1/2 empty for me. I find it slightly more credible that a 3rd party will do something, but almost inconceivable that 2-3 generations later, pioneer or any other electronics manufacturer will remain with the same proprietary format. It's possible that an industry standard might emerge, that's how these thing last. Historically it's the only way they have, but then, in what is a relatively new product in a new market, there may be upheaval there too. As a for instance, you have heard that AGP is about to go down the pan? A 4 year old industry standard, out of date. Of course it will be supported by legacy devices, but no innovation.

    My depressed 2p worth. It's the price we pay, mostly willingly, to be early adopters.

    edit: I see the key digital card is $2500. In 3 years time you'll be buying a new screen for that. The glass is suddenly 1/2 full!
     
  16. MarkTaylor

    MarkTaylor
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    I do agree that there is absolutely no way of ensuring 'future-proofing' but my personal approach is always to try and maximise the chances.

    Hense a swapable card is a feature worth considering over a non-swapable card, the joy in this case was that the 'better' option was cheaper and produced a nicer picture so that became an even easier choice.

    You are right about the the Keydigital card being expensive, but what you are actually getting there is a very high end scaling solution rather than just a different board with a couple of extra connection options. At that price the market will be limited, but it will still sell.

    More intertesting perhaps are the cards with built-in tuners and slightly more reasonable price levels.

    Mark
     
  17. MAW

    MAW
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    I didn't say it was expensive, just that by the time you thought of upgrading, you'd buy a new screen for the price, and put the old one in the kitchen for watching cookery programs on.
     
  18. MarkTaylor

    MarkTaylor
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    Yep, the way that prices are falling it could very well end up like that.

    I really do want to see what the KD card can do though, it is hard to imagine enough improvement over the image quality that I have now to be worth spending that sort of money.

    On the other hand, if it does create a very noticable improvement then it may make a decent mid-life refresh upgrade, but only if the next generation Pioneers do turn out to be slot-compatible ...

    Mark
     
  19. Joe Fernand

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    Dr Rock

    Good thread and I thought I'd pitch something back at your original query.

    As pointed out already the RO3 Media Box, that is an integral part of the current Pioneer HDE models, is not PAL Progressive compliant and no info so far from Pioneer UK on any new models that will be and certainly no 'update' will be available for the R03 Media Box.

    If your looking to maximise the quality of your DVD viewing then you should consider the Pioneer MXE Plasma Display rather than the HDE PlasmaTV (along with the Panasonic model you mentioned - but skip the Panasonic Tuner box).

    As to choice of a Progressive Scan DVD player or not and the use of an external scaler (iScan Ultra or similar) between the DVD (and other sources) and your display then your budget and viewing habits should give you a good steer.

    If your primarily interested in top quality DVD viewing then you should be considering a top end DVD from Arcam, Denon, TAG, Meridian - all of which will offer PAL and NTSC progressive Scan Component video outputs and perform very well without the requirement for an external scaler (that's not to say one wont help its just not going to provide a night and day difference).

    A Pioneer MXE + the Arcam DV88plus is a great combination for not much more than the Pioneer HDE without a DVD player. (If budget allows look at the Arcam DV27 - its pretty difficult to get much better than this without shelling out seriously big cash on a TAG or similar).

    I'd suggest that the iScan Ultra (or similar processors) will not make a poor DVD player perform like one of the top players on the market - I'd favour getting the fundamentals of the DVD transport and on-board audio and video processing correct rather than assuming that an external processor can turn a mediocre player into a star performer (and you can always experiment with any number of external processors once you get your system configured).

    If your viewing sources also stretch to using your set top box (and other secondary sources) and you have seen the limitations of a set top box compared to a top quality DVD player then the video processing power within an external scaler can outperform the video processing built into the Plasma Display - though at a price!

    Using an external scaler like the iScan Ultra (the latest converter on the market) can improve things though not everyone would consider the near £1k price tag a sensible way to improve a flawed system (though others who have already purchased and are always keen to squeeze the last ounce of performance out of there systems look to be pretty happy with the iScan Ultra).

    I think the only feature of the R03 media box we really have to work hard to integrate into a system built around the MXE is the inclusion of a Teletext board - though this can now be achieved for relatively little cash (£150).

    Trust this all helps - first post back after the holidays so its probably a bit of a waffle!!!

    Best regards

    Joe
     
  20. jheffron

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    Guys here is the final position I have arrived at:

    Pioneer HDE
    ---------------

    The media box for this screen offers analogue TV and teletext. This can be replaced (with an increase in quality) using a free to air digibox c£100.

    The screen also makes no use of fans and has (apparently) a nicer remote control.

    However, the interlaced picture processing capability of the media box is less able than the inherant capabilities of the screen. It will also never comply with Pal Progressive scan and there is no upgrade path.


    MXE
    -----

    This is a professional monotor. Upgraded with the right card, it can accept any signal including Pal Progressive.

    It's non analogue TV capability can be easily supplemented / improved using a digibox with RGB output (the latest Nokia even offers a digital audio output); it can also take advantage of external scalers should you decide that the scaling/motion adaptation could be improved and to some extent it can be upgraded with extra boards.

    My conclusion is that if you like the Pioneer screen (and it is good), buy the MXE and live with the fan noise / cost saving / and flexibility. Besides, a big screen suggests you all have big AV amps so volume should not be a problem.


    Annoyed that I was not advised in this way before I bought the HDE - Ouch! An expensive error.

    Better luck for you guys

    J
     
  21. MarkTaylor

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    Only one small point, the MXE does have fans, but they will almost never turn on.

    If they ever do you'll notice it as they are very loud, but in 8 months of viewing they have only turned on once, during the Summer, when the screen had been in use for about 4 hours and the ambient temperature in the room was in the mid-90's.

    Aside from that, no fan noise.

    Mark
     

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