Pioneer Elite PRO-1000HD Plasma HD Monitor
In the home theater display realm, "some day" has finally arrived. As you've read in past issues of Home Theater, the world of technology is advancing, and we're all the better for it. We now reap the benefits of the microchip's evolution. Several audio DSP chips offer improved sound processing, and advanced video-processing chips have helped display technology take large steps forward.
Another benefit is that plasma manufacturers can now build a reasonably good, affordable display. I said affordable, not cheap. Something that's within the reach of more than just the wealthiest consumers. Plasma's display quality is now high-definition-worthy, as well. Of course, displays still have a way to go before they'll match the 1,920-by-1,080 pixel count of high-definition transmissions. Most plasmas are positioned in the market for function and price. I have to say that the Pioneer Elite PRO-1000HD monitor is very functional and produces a pretty picture.
This 50-inch plasma has a black-lacquer frame, and it fits almost anywhere: on the wall, on its stand, or on any flat-panel floor stand. If you're into the art look, you could have a frame shop custom-make a frame to hold most plasma displays. Pioneer has been demonstrating this look for a while in their demo room. Personally, I like the idea of having a "picture" on the wall that has moving images. When you're not watching the plasma, you can connect it to your computer to display JPEGs of your digital photos. With the help and patience of Aaron Levine, Pioneer's public relations specialist, I received one of the company's art frames. This isn't just a frame from the local frame shop that hangs around the panel; when installed with the wall mount, this frame is part of the panel. You remove the standard Elite bezel and install the art frame in its place. It has cutouts for the controls and IR port and is available in several styles. Of course, if you use a frame shop, you can get a frame that matches your Ethan Allen living room. Either way you go, it's nice to have a display that matches your décor, as did the cabinets that came with some CRT TVs in the '80s.
At 47 pounds, the PRO-1000HD isn't very portable. Once it's on the wall, though, that's not a problem, as the mounting frame supports the display's weight. When it was connected to its freestanding mount, it took three people to move the display around the room.
With its resolution of 1,280 by 768 in 16:9 mode and 1,024 by 768 in 4:3 mode, the PRO-1000HD can display most formats. This monitor has all of the inputs you need for a theater system and more than enough for consumer or commercial applications. There are several audio-input choices, and Pioneer has provided speaker jacks for your left and right speakers. I fed the RGBHV video signal from a high-definition decoder box and the Y/Pb/Pr signal from the Pioneer DV-47A progressive-scan DVD player into the monitor. The RGB D-Sub 15-pin input has a loop-out for connection to another device. This connection is compatible with Microsoft's Plug and Play technology and can handle XVGA signals at 1,024 by 768p. I fed the monitor composite and S-video signals from a test pattern generator, and I tested the display's 720p capability with native DTV broadcasts from the local ABC affiliate. This technology easily reveals broadcast material's signal-to-noise ratio. The PRO-1000HD did exceptionally well with the HD signal and reasonably well with the station's live cameras. The news tape was another story. Some commercials, NTSC tape, and poorly transferred film stuck out like a sore thumb. This panel isn't very forgiving with poor video. The display upconverts analog source signals (like those of regular TV) to a 768p image, both to improve picture quality and to match the display's native resolution. But again, the set reproduces excellent HD pictures and computer images. I tested the RGB computer input with the Klein VPG-250 video pattern generator and some computer games. Even through the 480p input, computer graphics looked fantastic. Pioneer uses a deep-encased cell structure, which encases individual pixels in cells with both horizontal and vertical walls to create a brilliantly vibrant picture.