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Pioneer PDP-LX5090 Operation

by Vincent Teoh
3 July 2008

On-Screen User Menu

Featuring a colourful design, responsive navigation and an innovative before/ after picture comparison apparatus, the user menu (curiously labelled as "Home Menu") on the Pioneer PDP-LX5090 is essentially the same as those found on last year's Kuro plasmas. It probably wouldn't hurt for us to run through some of the submenus and picture-affecting options given their labyrinthine layouts and occasionally cryptic descriptions.

Picture submenu Pro adjust
[Picture] submenu [Pro Adjust] submenu

The Pioneer PDP-LX5090 plasma television offers six picture presets: [Optimum] which automatically changes the screen brightness according to detected ambient light, [Standard], [Dynamic], [Movie], [Sport] and [Game]. Although the settings within a particular picture preset (except [Dynamic] where the values are fixed) can be adjusted separately from one another, they affect all inputs for which the preset is selected. Fortunately Pioneer has kindly included a [User] mode for each input as well, allowing for independent per-input settings.

Buried within the [Pro Adjust] > [PureCinema] > [Film Mode] submenu are three deinterlacing modes for film-based material:

  • [Off]: Disables film mode deinterlacing (do this for video-based source).
  • [Standard]: Classic 3:2 and 2:2 cadence detection with relevant pulldown.
  • [Smooth]: [Standard] film deinterlacing plus a dash of motion-compensated frame interpolation (MCFI).
  • [Advance]: Extracts 24fps from film-based 480i/60 or 1080i/60 content, and displays the frames at a refresh rate of 72Hz (a.k.a. 3:3 pulldown).
Picture Detail Colour Detail
[Picture Detail] submenu [Pro Adjust] submenu

In the [Picture Detail] submenu:

  • [DRE Picture]: Short for "Dynamic Range Expander", this analyses and automatically stretches the on-screen dynamic range to fill up the unused spaces on the distribution histogram.
  • [Black Level]: Dynamically adjusts near-black gamma to boost shadow detail.
  • [ACL]: An acronym for "Automatic Contrast Limiter", this enhances the contrast scale on-the-fly depending on the peak level detected in the image on screen.
  • [Enhancer Mode]: This determines the amount of sharpening that is applied to high-frequency detail in the on-screen image.
  • [Gamma]: Offers 3 levels of gamma adjustment.

In the [Colour Detail] submenu:

  • [CTI]: Stands for "Colour Transient Improvement". This accentuates the difference between coloured edges.
  • [Colour Space]: Defines the colour gamut. [Colour Space] "1" gives a wide colour gamut; whereas [Colour Space] "2" is closer to industry standard specifications.

Furthermore, you can calibrate greyscale and colour using the [Colour Temp] and [Colour Management] submenus respectively:

Colour Temp Colour Management
Manual [Colour Temp] adjustment
[Colour Management] submenu

In addition to five [Colour Temp] presets, the Pioneer PDP-LX5090 HDTV provides an option for you to manually tweak the RGB cuts and gains for greyscale calibration. Using the [Colour Management] submenu, you can adjust the hues for the three primary and three secondary colours to map them onto their correct coordinates on a CIE diagram.

Sound submenu Power Control
[Sound] submenu
[Power Control] submenu

If you find yourself annoyed by the panel buzzing on the Pioneer PDP-LX5090 plasma TV, you can try setting [Energy Save] (found under the [Power Control] submenu) to "Mode2" though this will lead to slightly more PWM (pulse-width modulation) noise presumably due to lower sub-field drive voltage.

Option submenu Drive Mode
[Option] submenu
[Drive Mode]

Although the Kuros are some of the most screenburn-resistant plasma televisions we've ever tested, Pioneer has still sensibly thrown in some discretionary measures in the [Option] submenu of the PDP-LX5090 to help owners avert permanent screenburn. [Orbiter] shifts the individual pixels ever so slightly; while [Video Pattern] sweeps a white column across the width of the screen to help wash away any residual image retention. You can also choose to engage [Screen Protection] which will automatically optimise the relevant settings (e.g. [Orbiter], [Energy Save], [Auto Size], and [Side Mask Detection]) to minimise the risk of screenburn.

[Drive Mode] determines the screen refresh rate for PAL video source:

  • [Drive Mode] 1: Displays PAL signal at 75Hz
  • [Drive Mode] 2: Displays PAL signal at 100Hz
  • [Drive Mode] 3: Displays PAL signal at 72Hz

To avoid introducing micro-stutter, select [Drive Mode] "1" for PAL film material (e.g. DVDs), and [Drive Mode] "2" for PAL video content (e.g. news, sports).

EPG (Electronic Programme Guide)

EPG

No major changes here from last year's models... the EPG on Pioneer PDP-LX5090 plasma TV is basic but functional. It warms the cockles of our hearts to know the Pioneer is concentrating its efforts on improving picture quality rather than the EPG of its televisions.

Multi-Screen Viewing

The Pioneer PDP-LX5090 provides picture-in-picture (PiP) and picture-and-picture (PaP) multi-screen viewing options. With PiP, you can choose to position the daughter window on any of the four corners of the screen; with PaP, grey masks will occupy the top and bottom of the screen.

PiP PaP
Picture-in-picture (PiP)
Picture-and-picture (PaP)

Remote Control

Remote control

Weighty enough to lend a substantial sense of satisfaction when held in the hand, the infrared remote control supplied with the Pioneer PDP-LX5090 plasma HDTV has been updated with a metallic silver navigation placed not too far from the natural resting position of the thumb. Thanks to its brushed black front surface, logical key layout, gratifying tactile feedback from its rubbery buttons, and the capability to control other equipments (such as a set-top box or DVD player), this remote control is a befitting companion to a premium plasma panel. And we always appreciate the dedicated input buttons near the top of the wand, which allow us to switch input source directly with a keypress.

Background Noise

Our Pioneer PDP-LX5090 review sample emitted a directional buzz from the front of the plasma screen (loudest at the centre). Just like most plasma televisions, the brighter the on-screen content, the stronger the buzz. From our sitting distance of 8 feet away, the buzz was audible but entirely tolerable during quiet scenes; normal TV volume and the presence of ambient noise would mask the plasma buzz totally.

However, whether or not you can hear plasma buzzing on your Pioneer PDP-LX5090 depends on a few factors such as your room acoustics, panel position (height and angle relative to your ear level), variation between units (some have been reported to buzz louder than others), and of course the sensitivity of your own hearing. Certain settings that cut down power consumption – for example [Energy Save] "Mode2", and [Drive Mode] "2" in conjunction with any [PureCinema] setting except "Smooth" – can attenuate the plasma buzz somewhat, though these may lead to increased PWM noise and/ or insufficient screen brightness.

5 Star Rating: Reference Level

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