Product Review

Pioneer PDP-42MXE10 42" Plasma TV

Part II

September, 2006

Ofer LaOr


One really bad bug in this display is that the calibration and most display settings are forgotten in memory banks, other than the officially supported ones. So, if you set up calibration at NR 50 Hz and then move to NR 60 Hz, your 50 Hz settings will be thrown away into oblivion.

The display gives off the impression of being very simple and limited in features when compared with other displays of this cost or caliber. The integrator menu is the interesting part and unhides most of the features that should have really been readily available in the main menu system to begin with. These include a nice timer system that lets you implement anti-burn features between preset times (e.g., in the middle of the night), as well as set-up of the FRC and gamma (2.4 roughly gives a 2.25-2.26 realistic gamma). The graphs below show gamma before and after adjustment.

With regard to blacks, the unit does not have blacks as deep as the 436 or NEC's 42XR4, but they are very close. I measured just under 3000:1 contrast ratio using the Gretag McBeth EyeOne Beamer.

Another very neat property of this display is a pixel pattern that can tend to distract in short distances. This weird dithering tends to make the display appear less sharp (upon testing with test patterns this proves to be an optical illusion!). The purpose of this feature is to reduce banding, which can be quite profound in badly compressed digital sources. This works quite nicely, and the typical digital banding that I've gotten quite used to over the last few years has been dramatically reduced on this display.

This 42MXE10 also has a uniformity issue, particularly on mid-level grays (50 IRE is quite pronounced). While this occurs on high IREs in other displays, the problem manifests itself in very delicate dirt-like patches on the screen that do not move as the image does. I am not sure if I'm simply getting more pedant in my old age or if this particular plasma simply shows the artifact more significantly than others do. In any case, this is something I would hope that Pioneer addresses in their next plasmas.


The Pioneer PDP-42MXE10's sibling, the PDP-42MXE11, is apparently identical to the PDP-42MXE10, but with a silver colored bezel, so if you're clamoring for something that will, at last resolve your 50 Hz needs, or offer one of the displays that can be most accurately calibrated, these two plasmas just might do the trick for you.


- Ofer LaOr -

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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