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.
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 -