Pioneer PDP-LX508G (50-inch plasma TV) - First Look

Pioneer PDP-LX508G (50-inch plasma TV) - First Look

Pioneer PDP-LX508G (50-inch plasma TV) - ReviewWhile you have probably heard this a million times, it is nonetheless a fact that plasma TVs do generally offer deeper blacks for flat panels. This is due to their self-illuminating nature which eliminates backlighting, the main bottleneck for their rivals from the LCD camp. Ironically, it's the now-defunct CRTs that are still the indisputable benchmark when it comes to true black. Sometimes, these old technologies may not be as irrelevant as we thought they would be.


The Kuro PDP-LX508G is more than a mere incremental upgrade of the PDP-5000EX, centered on a new 8th-generation plasma panel. An enhanced Crystal Emissive Layer and other visual refinements enable the set to deliver much deeper blacks and clearer shadow detail. Besides a future-proofed 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution, it boasts an industry-leading 20,000:1 contrast. The latter is a substantial leap over its predecessor and twice the equivalent of the Panasonic TH-50PY500.

Another major innovation is the light sensor-based automatic Optimum Picture mode. This complements the optional (sometimes bundled depending on individual country) ISF Day and Night video calibration settings. According to a Pioneer spokesperson, the combination delivers the best of both worlds. They provide a hassle-free yet optimized viewing experience targeted for Asians, plus flexibility for professional color tuning to suit videophiles and US consumers.

Furthermore, Pioneer has upped the connectivity options with three HDMI terminals. These have extensive 1080p signal handling, compatible with not only the film-centric 24Hz mode but also standard 50 and 60Hz variants. To value add, there is a high-speed USB port for onboard JPEG playback. Probably a first for its flat-panel TVs, it allows digital photos to be displayed on the big screen via a variety of portable media. This ranges from thumbdrive to direct digicam hookup.


Almost everything is about right except that it is priced way above its plasma competitor. At S$14,999 (US$9,867.22), it is more than twice the asking price of the above-mentioned full-HD Panasonic. It's still unclear which product is the odd ball here. We will know soon enough once the new Hitachi panels hit the shelves. (Read: Hint). Dollars and cents aside, a little more effort could have been put in for the series' anti-reflection screen treatment. This still looks a little too glossy for our liking during the launch demonstrations.


Contrary to the common belief that cost is the ruling factor, we heard that Pioneer received a couple of orders for these premium panels during a recent Singapore roadshow. Proof perhaps that there is still a local demand for high-performance, top-end products. That said, we are pretty sure it will be niche, further undermining its TV market share. Make no mistake, though. This is still probably one of the most promising plasma products both on paper and onscreen.