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PDP4280XD Operation & Control

by Vincent Teoh
15 July 2007
TLC Broadcast

On-Screen Menu

Somewhat peculiarly labelled as [Home Menu], Pioneer PDP4280XDBuy this for £1139.99 at Dixons
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's on-screen menu is one of the most exhaustive I've seen, providing users with the means to tweak the picture (and sound) to their hearts' content. The included operation manual is impossibly vague on the exact functions of some of the more exotic options, so I'm going to try and give a brief explanation based on my experience with Pioneer plasmas.

P.S. The settings values shown in the photos below are largely default factory settings and NOT my post-calibration settings, so please don't apply them blindly.

Picture Submenu

Picture Submenu Pro Adjust

The Pioneer PDP4280XDBuy this for £1139.99 at Dixons
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offers five picture presets: [Standard], [Dynamic], [Movie], [Sport] and [Game]. Except for [Dynamic], you can adjust the values for each option, but the values within one particular preset will be applied to all inputs using the preset. Fortunately Pioneer has thrown in a [User] mode for each input as well, allowing you to customise the settings independently from one another.

[Pro Adjust] opens the door to more advanced picture calibration options.

PureCinema Film Mode Picture Detail

[PureCinema] dictates the type of video processing to be deployed for film material:

  • Off: Disables film mode deinterlacing... use this for video source.
  • Standard: Classic 3:2 and 2:2 cadence detection with reverse pulldown.
  • Smooth: Reverse 3:2/ 2:2 pulldown with motion-compensated frame interpolation.
  • Advance: Extracts 24fps to be displayed at a refresh rate of 72Hz.

[Picture Detail] holds a host of image modifying parameters. I'm not a big fan of such things, as they usually mess with gamma shape, but I'll experiment around and come up with a definite recommendation at a later date.

Note: DRE = Dynamic Range Expander; ACL = Automatic Contrast Limiter

Colour Detail Colour Management

The [Colour Detail] submenu is where a professional calibrator would spend most of his time to get the best picture out of the Pioneer PDP4280XDBuy this for £1139.99 at Dixons
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. [Colour Management] gives you the ability to move the primary and secondary colour points closer to a reference standard on a CIE chart (within reason). [Colour Space] defines the colour gamut on the television.

[Colour Temp] holds the key to D65 greyscale:

Colour Temp White Balance

You can either select one of the five colour temperature presets, or manually finetune the RGB cuts and gains using light measurement instrument and calibration software.

Sound Submenu

Sound Submenu Sound Effect

Power Control Submenu

Power Control Submenu Energy Save

Because the [Energy Save] modes do not introduce dynamic dimming, they can be used judiciously to lower black level or reduce plasma buzz. However, if power consumption goes too low, you may notice more picture noise due to insufficient sub-field drive voltage.

Option Submenu

Option Submenu Drive Mode

The most important parameter in the [Option] submenu resides on the second page, which is easily overlooked. [Drive Mode] tells the Pioneer PDP4280XDBuy this for £1139.99 at Dixons
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the refresh frequency rate at which it should display incoming PAL signals... select wrongly and judder will ensue. To confuse matters further, Pioneer arbitrarily tagged these modes as "1", "2" and "3" without providing any details whatsoever of the assigned frequency.

Based on my preliminary tests on the PDP4280XD and interpretation of Pioneer's wording in the on-screen menu, here's what each [Drive Mode] does:

  • 1: Displays PAL signal at 75Hz
  • 2: Displays PAL signal at 100Hz
  • 3: Displays PAL signal at 72Hz

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

Electronic Programme Guide (EPG)

EPG

For such an expensive television, the EPG on Pioneer PDP4280XDBuy this for £1139.99 at Dixons
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left me underwhelmed. Layout is clear, but search functionality has been given precedence (wrongly in my opinion) over browsing capabilities. Sure, you can use the [Jump] or [Search] function to see what's showing on a specific date and time, but it's just easier to browse ahead 24 hours with one click on the remote... sadly you can't do the latter on Pioneer PDP4280XDBuy this for £1139.99 at Dixons
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. Furthermore, detailed information about any particular programme is not readily displayed on the EPG – you'll need to press the [i+] button on the remote control to bring this up.

Nevertheless, a subpar EPG shouldn't deter one from buying a television. And if you are a Sky/ Virgin Media subscriber or own an external set-top box, this point is moot anyway.

Remote Control

Remote Control

The brushed front surface gives the Pioneer PDP4280XDBuy this for £1139.99 at Dixons
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remote control a touch of quality, but it can be accused of being unwieldy because of its elongated frame and relatively thick body. The 3 finger grooves on the back of the remote are spread out too widely – there is virtually no improvement in grip. I did appreciate the dedicated input buttons near the top of the remote, which significantly cut down the time needed to change AV source.


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