Despite claiming to offer “Full” High-Definition, the truth you should know as a consumer is that most flat panel displays on sale today are only capable of processing 1080i (interlaced) and not 1080p video signals at best. Not so for the new Pioneer PDP-5000EX plasma panel because this visual delight is the real deal that offers a native resolution of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels with full processing of 1080p signals. Well, at S$16,999 we wouldn’t be expecting anything less from the 50-inch panel.
The appearance of the PDP-5000EX has a great sense of occasion to it: it’s clean and not cluttered with fancy logos; the dark-tinted acrylic bezel framing the 50-inch panel makes it look much bigger and wider than it is; and the reflective piano black finish underneath the unit gives the panel an air of timeless elegance and class. The same classy design principle also extends to the remote control.
All is well and great with the PDP-5000EX until one takes a glance at the rear of the unit. For its asking price, one might be disappointed at the number of input options, but in truth, the PDP-5000EX has all you need to welcome High-Definition content. In fact, the PDP-5000EX is so HD-minded that it doesn’t even have a television tuner built in. For your run-of-the-mill TV programming, the PDP-5000EX has to be hooked up to an external tuner box.
Speakers are also missing, which means the PDP-5000EX is essentially a high-definition video monitor, albeit a lot more expensive and larger than your average sized version. Interestingly enough, there are six audio inputs via six pairs of RCA jacks (red and white) that the PDP-5000EX ultimately sends out to a pair of speaker output terminals for stereo audio only. It seems Pioneers expects prospective buyers of the PDP-5000EX to have a home theater audio system in place in their living rooms ready to pair up with the 50-inch panel.
The on-screen menu (OSD) system is well laid out: it is simple yet it lists comprehensive options such as individual color temperature adjustment for red, green, and blue. In addition, the color management system also provides further fine tuning for red, yellow, green, cyan, blue, and magenta color hues. There is also a PureCinema feature that resamples frame rate from video source to match the natural movie frame rate of 24fps practiced by the movie industry.
Perhaps the most breathtaking feature of this display is the fact that it supports a Windows desktop resolution of 1920 x 1080 in PC mode. This is the first real 1080p display we’ve tested so far and the sharpness was nothing short of astounding. We ran through our suite of DisplayMate Multimedia tests on the plasma and were immediately sold by the visual qualities of the PDP-5000EX. It was also the first time we managed to playback our 1080p WMV in full glory without any interpolation whatsoever. However, as typical of plasma panels, there is always the risk of a permanent burn-in, which was what happened in our DisplayMate test. While the images did fade away after a period of time, this issue might haunt users over time.
If you want a HD plasma TV that’s capable of processing full 1080p signals, the Pioneer PDP-5000EX would be a perfect addition to complete that home theatre system you’ve always dreamed of. It’s gorgeously styled and has an almost perfect color reproduction to bring life to all video sources, which is the most important quality really. The only downside is that you’ll have to cough out a king’s ransom for this sophisticated piece of visual panel. One thing's for certain; if you can afford it, you'll be absolutely pleased with it.