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PDP508XD Setup, Design & Operation

by Vincent Teoh
16 August 2007
TLC Broadcast

The Pioneer PDP508XD does not come with pedestal stand nor speakers... they need to be purchased as optional extras. A piece of advice should you choose do so (i.e. if you are not going to wall-mount the plasma TV): get either the PDP-S59 undermount speakers, or the PDK-TS27A/ PDK-TS29A pedestal stand which includes a light-blocking shield (I received the PDK-TS28) to avoid peering at unsightly cables hanging down the back of the television:

Cables

The Pioneer PDP508XD sports a polished black frame that is somewhat wider at the sides. Adorned only by a Pioneer logo at the centre of the bottom border, and a power button and blue/ red LED indicators at the bottom left, the uncluttered bezel contributes immensely to the Pioneer PDP508XD's clean minimalistic looks.

Connections

Rear Connections
Rear: 3 x Scarts, 1 x component input; analogue, optical, subwoofer & speakers out

Downwards Connections
Downwards: 3 x HDMI, 1 x VGA, serial port, aerial coaxial and CI card slot

Side Connections Control Buttons
Left: USB, S-video, comp, headphone
Right side: control buttons

On-Screen Menu

As could be expected across the whole of Pioneer's eighth-generation plasma range, the menu on PDP508XD is essentially the same as that found on the PDP4280XD I reviewed one month ago but for a couple of extra features incorporated into the former.

Among the picture presets you will now find an [Optimum] mode which utilises Pioneer's "Intelligent Brightness Control" technology to automatically adjust the screen brightness according to the amount of ambient light detected by an optical sensor. Of course, just because a feature is present doesn't mean that you should use it: in this mode the [Pro Adjust] submenu is disabled making it impossible to calibrate the Pioneer PDP508XD's greyscale and colour. And as a purist, I don't like the idea of my settings being altered dynamically however subtle that may be.

Also available in the main menu is the [Home Gallery] function that allows you to view still JPEG images through the USB port at the side of the television. Be warned: high resolution pictures can take some time to load.

Optimum Mode Home Gallery

Remote Control

Befitting a premium-priced plasma television, the remote control for Pioneer PDP508XD oozes quality through and through. Decidedly more upmarket than the one that comes bundled with the PDP4280XD, this remote is heavy especially near the bottom, lending a substantial sense of satisfaction when held in the hand.

Remote Control

Overall tactile feedback is gratifyingly responsive although distribution is slightly uneven: the directional pad and number keys exhibit less resistance than the dedicated input buttons at the top and the teletext buttons at the bottom of the remote. Build quality is exceptional – sturdy construction, together with the brushed black front surface, means that there is no hint of cheap plastics here.

Multi-Screen Viewing

The Pioneer PDP508XD offers picture-in-picture (PiP) and picture-and-picture (PaP) options which are not included on the slightly cheaper PDP5080XD. With PiP, you can choose to position the daughter window on any of the four corners of the screen; while with PaP, grey masks will encroach on the top and bottom of the screen.

Picture in picture
Picture-in-picture (PiP)

Picture and picture
Picture-and-picture (PaP)


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