Monday, January 16, 2006

Pioneer PDP-436HDG

I have been uncharacteristically patient when it comes to getting a plasma TV. When they first became available in Singapore a few years ago, the technolust was real. But doing some research indicated that the technology was developing rapidly, prices were likely to come down significantly, and specs were likely to improve. Of course the fact that they cost more than triple what I had paid for a top of the line TV was also a factor.

With the death of our main TV however, it was time to make a move. The choice was between Hitachi and Pioneer, visibly the best pictures on the market. Nearly identical in price, it came down to features, and this is where the Pioneer wins.

Unlike the Hitachi, Pioneer uses a separate control box to interface with other components. This means that instead of having to run cables from each component to the display screen, all wiring goes to the control box. The control box looks like any other Hi-Fi component, and just sits in the stack with the other devices.

Since I have an AV amp (the Yamaha DSP-A1), it should have been a simple matter of moving the monitor out cable from the old TV to the new Pioneer. However, time has marched on, and the Yamaha does not support component video. There is a visible difference when using component interconnects, so I bypassed the Yamaha and plugged the DVD, DVR, and cable TV directly into the interface box.

Along with the usual inputs, the Pioneer also supports SVGA signals from a PC. There is a video connector on the front of the interface box. This is where the Pioneer really shines. The resolution of the screen is 1024x768, the same as a PC. I connected up the same laptop I have been using to control the CD Jukeboxes, and it worked - full readable text on a 43" screen!

Surfing the web on a 43" screen while sitting in the living room is certainly an addictive experience. I actually find myself looking things up on Google while watching TV. This is either progress or really disturbing...

The only downside to the new setup is the need to switch audio and video separately. Turning on the TV is non-trivial - power on the Pioneer, select input 3. Turn on the Yamaha, select TV. Turn on the cable TV box. Select channel. Control volume through the Yamaha. Yuck.

Time to look for a new AV amp.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

found your writeup useful.
Iam installing a PDP 436HDG today at home. btw , iam living in Riyadh - KSA.
How do you find the performance of the pioneer ? - in terms of color reproduction et al ?. I compared the LG and Samsung Plasma's. I found the Pioneer's performance miles better (in the showroom piece! though).