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Operating Pioneer PDP4270XD

by Colin Tang
16 March 2007

Plasma's reputation for screen burn is controversial, given the advancements made in phosphors used and screen burn limiter. We didn't have any concerns with this model as long as some care is observed within the first few hundred hours regarding brightness settings and static images. To our surprise, we didn't even experience significant image retention (temporary residual image due to electrical load) with our unit. Although some authorities recommend a 200 hour run-in period for plasma screens, we find that this is not absolutely necessary as long as brightness is not cranked up to ridiculous levels.

Pioneer seeks to prevent permanent screen burn using the following technology:

  • When a still image such as a programme menu is displayed for five to ten minutes, the system automatically turns the image off to prevent damage from screen burning.

  •  To prevent screen burning, the display position is automatically changed slightly when the power is switched on or the input changed. Depending on the broadcast content, some parts of the picture may not be visible.

  • The energy save function can be set to help prevent damage from screen burning. This function can be used in the initial run-in period but is best left back at [Standard] as the other modes alter the greyscale of the TV.

Main Menu
Main menu

The Pioneer PDP4270XD is very configurable with basic calibration discs or equipment. The menu is well laid and thorough, although bringing it up covered a lot of the background picture. We sailed through the submenus without too much effort as the remote control was fairly reponsive. For beginners, the onscreen help at the bottom of the menu is a thoughtful picutre. Under [Power Control], you get the option of switching on Energy Save and setting the Picture OFF for audio only presentation. The [Option] subemenu allows you to change the Horizontal/Vertical position, Drive Mode, Side Mask, alter HDMI input and control color settings on some inputs. Generally they should be left on Auto unless you know what you are doing.

Picture Menu
Picture Menu

Under [Picture], you get a slew of picture adjustments.The process of calibration may seem very daunting at the beginning given this enormous flexibility. But if you are willing to invest some time, the benefits to picture quality after proper calibration is considerable. However, if you prefer instant gratification and cannot spare the extra time, then choose from the 6 Pioneer presets under [AV Selection] : Standard, Dynamic, Movie, Game, Sport and User. Movie mode comes closest to standards. Like any other frontrunners in the flat screen arena, Pioneer offers true independent memory inputs for all sources. (you can save different picture settings for every input).

Pro Adjust Menu
Pro Adjust Menu

The [Pro Adjust] submenu uncovers a fascinating array of tweakable features. They are listed below :

  • PureCinema (film mode deinterlacing) - Off, Standard, ADV
  • Colour Detail - Colour Temperature, CTI (colour transient improvement), Colour Space, Colour Management, Intelligent Colour
  • NR (noise reduction) - MPEG NR, Digital NR and Block NR
  • DRE (dynamic range expander) - Dynamic Contrast, Black Level, ACL (automatic contrast limiter), Gamma, Intelligent DRE
  • Others - 3DYC (comb filter), I-P(interlace to progressive)

I will explain these options and make my recommendations in the Technology Section.

Color Menu
Colour Management for colour decoding

 

EPG
Simple EPG

The EPG is simplistic but unexciting. The Pioneer does not have a Picture-in-Picture mode.

 

The simplified remote control from Pioneer feels a little mismatched with the display's silky elegance. It has an angular design with black and silver elements. The back of the remote has three concave grooves, probably intended to aid finger grip.

The tactile feedback is what you may expect from the traditional flexible rubber buttons. The [Enter] button is surrounded by a four way direction ring, making navigation painless. I particularly liked the separate input buttons on the second row; this means you don't have to cycle through inputs like on some other remotes. You also have the ability to quickly select the aspect ratio of your incoming signal (3rd row, second from left). Options include 4:3 (with side mask), Full 14:9, Cinema 14:9, Wide, Full (16:9), Zoom and Cinema.

We expected to find a plasma buzz and so we did. The buzz gets louder with brighter settings or images on the screen and can be heard in a very quiet surrounding. While the sound isn't intrusive with general programme material at normal volume levels, I am occasionally reminded of its presence and rarely irritated by it. Buzz tolerance will also depend on how far you sit from your TV and your own personal tolerance.


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