Pioneer PDP-5000EX

30th Sep 2006 | 23:00

Pioneer PDP-5000EX

No porkie pies from Pioneer...

TechRadar rating:

4 stars

It costs a whole lot of money, but you get the best 50-inch plasma performance for it

Like:

<p>Dazzling HD picture clarity</p><p>Excellent standard-def pictures</p>

Dislike:

<p>Sparse features</p><p>Poor speakers</p>

Unlike claims from other similar plasmas, Pioneer's new 50-inch PDP-5000EX has 1,080 line of 'real' pixels. To make its true 1,920 x 1,080 resolution possible, Pioneer has had to reduce the size of each plasma cell (pixel) in the PDP-5000EX by around 50 per cent from that found in a plasma TV. Furthermore, it's had to develop a special T-shaped electrode system to stop instances of these smaller cells misfiring. In other words, Pioneer's labs have been in overdrive - a fact reflected by the 5000EX's hefty price tag.

Pioneer developed the PDP-5000EX first and foremost for the broadcast monitor market, and so it doesn't sport a built-in tuner. Or any speakers as standard. Or any Scarts! But at least the classy-looking PDP-5000EX enjoys all the cutting edge screen technology that's made Pioneer's latest domestic TV range so fine.

Deep Waffle Rib design for reducing inter-pixel light seepage; Pureblack Crystal Layer for improved brightness and contrast; Direct Colour Filter for removing the 'second image' effect seen with standard plasmas; the Pure Drive 2 HD image processing engine... they're all here.

Missing Scarts and tuner aside, the PDP-5000EX's connections are manna from AV heaven. Particularly inspiring are the three HD-capable digital inputs - two HDMI and one DVI - all capable of handling the 1080p format likely to become key when Blu-ray and HD-DVD launch in the UK.

Best of all, the native 1,920 x 1,080 resolution makes a real difference. Watching a 1080i Sky HD recording of Anchorman, the benefits of the extra resolution are visible in numerous ways. Perhaps most impressive is the exceptional, almost frightening amount of texture and detail visible. It's portrayed with jaw-dropping clarity that we imagine comes from the screen not having to downscale the 1080i source to 720 or 768 lines.

Motion also seems improved by the 1080-line resolution, as kinetic sequences are delivered without a blurred or noisy edge in sight.There also appears to be a subtle improvement in the brightness and general smoothness of the picture, presumably caused by the screen's extra pixel density.

Add to all this the strengths we've already lapped up on Pioneer's other recent plasmas - vibrant but sensationally natural colours, profound but detailed black levels, exceptional noise handling and edging - and you're left with one indisputable fact: the PDP-5000EX produces the finest picture we've seen from a plasma TV. It may cost a lot, but if you want the best, we guess you just have to pay for it.

PioneerTVHigh definitionHDTVDigital homeHome cinema
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