Pioneer has been a class leader in plasma displays from day one and a few hours with the PDP-4270HD will tell you why. It’s Pioneer’s first crack at a 42 inch plasma – the previous model was the 43" PDP-4360HD. Those new to this model are probably wondering where the external input module is. Pioneer, wisely, eliminated the box and put everything inside the plasma display itself. Everything you’d find on the box is now on the back of the panel. This means no more boring out sewer sized holes into your wall to run the cabling.
Out of the box, this is an impressive unit. The finish is gloss black, shiny without being too obvious. Getting everything connected is a breeze, thanks to a well equipped jack pack. Unlike the PDP-5070HD and PDP-6070HD, the speakers are integrated and non-removable.
Functionally, the PDP-4270HD is even better. It’s packed with useful features, like a USB port for picture displays, 4 different tuners of 3 different types, a easy to use user interface, and some of the best image processing in the entire industry (like Purevision 3-3 and 3-2 Pull down)
Included is a universal remote with a convenient slide away panel for the smaller, seldom used buttons. Making the remote back-lit would have been a nice touch, especially on a universal. Button placement is largely intuitive, although it took some time learning to hit the “Home Menu” button instead of “Menu” to access the picture controls. If the remote had been back lit with a better lay out, Pioneer would have made a better argument to use it instead of an aftermarket piece.
We tested ours with 720p and 1080i HD component input from our satellite box, and 480p and 480i from a Panasonic DVD player. As with most HD displays, it was difficult seeing any difference between 720p and 1080i. Even 480i from our DVD player was hard to tell apart from the 480p output. Setting the Purecinema Mode to ADV made a noticeable difference with film based 24fps material, provided you know where to look – it doesn't’t smooth out the picture and help the colors. 3-3 Pull down works by detecting the kind of motion artifacting you see when your HD image was originally acquired on a 24 frame per second film camera. Purevision improves the image by processing out these unnatural looking movements, more effectively adjusting the time base of the source material to the 72hz refresh rate of the plasma display. That’s the geek speak version. For everyone else, Purevision, exclusive to Pioneer, allows for more natural looking motion when watching films.
It’s not just jargon – Pioneer includes some impressive technology. Virtually every other plasma panel in the world has a color filter attached to the second layer of glass, adding a tiny space where secondary reflections can become noticeable. Here’s how you see the difference – use high contrast video. Film credits are best – white letters on a black back ground. Get close to the display at a really bad angle. On virtually every other unit you’ll see this weird little reflection of the image on the inside of the panel. Now, this isn’t normally a problem, given that you’ll never watch your plasma display like that, but Pioneer took it seriously enough to put significant time and energy into making it go away.
4:3 materials weren't forgotten about either, although don’t expect miracles – there’s a reason good scalers cost several thousand dollars. The PDP-4270HD has an excellent variable spatial stretch, meaning the outside of the image is stretched more than the inside of the picture. It’s odd for the first 30 seconds and unnoticeable after that. Don’t fool yourself though, this baby needs the high octane gas for peak performance – give it HD, not regular leaded.
Colors are rich and vivid, even for a plasma display, but not over saturated. Color transitions, additionally, are smooth and seamless, without the blockiness normally associated with gradients (smooth transitions from one color to another) on a truly digital display. Pioneer’s been getting very close to the incredible black levels traditionally available only on Panasonic displays, and the 4270 pushes that even further. Properly set up, it was virtually impossible to tell the blacks apart on our Pioneer PDP-4270HD and the Panasonic 42 we have right beside it.
The PDP-4270 also features a great input panel, with 2 HDMI, multiple component inputs, and S-Video and Composite inputs to round it off. The 4270 also comes with an optical audio output for HDMI sources, making connecting your HT receiver simple
We set up ours using Digital Video Essentials by Joe Kane Productions. As a side note, the one place we felt the PDP-4270HD was lacking was in the on screen control department. It’s not the fault of Pioneer, this is after all a TV (see separate article) and lacks all the advanced controls we’re used to seeing on the commercial monitors. None the less, we were able to tweak the settings for an incredibly strong picture.
Pro Adjustments -
Pure Cinema set to ADV (this turns on 3-3 Pull down. STD is 3-2 Pull down).
Color Temp Mid, but adjust to taste
CTI (Color Transient Improvement) On
DNR (Dynamic Noise Reduction) High, for a smoother looking picture
A word on Power Adjustment settings – Pioneer provides for 4 power savings modes, STD (off), Save 1, Save 2, and Picture Off (self explanatory). Save 1 and Save 2 are interesting because it drops the brightness of the plasma, providing for darker blacks interestingly enough. The deeper hue comes at a cost of contrast; you can lose shadow area dark detail. As a result we set ours to STD.
Exceptional picture quality
Easy to use
Great furniture value
Speaker is integrated and non-detachable
Remote is functional, not fancy
Limited picture control (compared to Plasma Monitors)
Pioneer PDP-4270HD Specifications
VERSATILE VIDEO AND AUDIO CONNECTIVITY
Independent Dual HDMI with Audio
Component (1 side/2 rear with Audio)
Composite [1 side/3 rear (1 rear with Audio)]
S-Video [2 rear (1 rear with Audio)]
Antenna A & B
USB (Mass Storage Class) (side input)
Optical Digital Audio
Monitor Out – Composite/Audio LR
13 Watt Stereo Amplifier With TruBass® 2-Way Stereo Speakers
SRS® WOW®/FOCUSTM/TruBass Surround Sound Audio
Bass Boost Loudness
Table Top Stand – Included
Speakers – Included (fully integrated bottom)
Flat Wall Mount – Optional (PWM-F110, PDWB-5003)
Display (W x H x D): 40-15/16” x 26-3/4” x 4-1/2” - With Integrated Speaker