Pioneer Elite Pro-1000HD
By Joe Paone
Pioneer's top-shelf Elite brand entry in the 50-inch plasma category is a sleek-looking "picture-frame" model that's low on unnecessary bells and whistles and high on quality. The Elite PureVision PRO-1000HD holds its own and then some against all competing panels. And you might be able to get a deal on this one; a new Elite model in this size could arrive as early as this fall.
Weighing just over 100 pounds and measuring about four inches deep, the PRO-1000HD certainly possesses striking aesthetics. I'm not a huge fan of the black look, because I can imagine the shiny, glossy bezel being smudged with fingerprints; I favor a brushed silver exterior. But that would make the PRO-1000HD look like a lot of other plasmas on the market, so I'll chalk the bezel up as a point of distinction.
The PRO-1000HD doesn't come with an outboard video processor/switcher. All of the processing, connections and switching are done on the panel itself, but there isn't a built-in TV tuner, or a DVI input for HDTV set-top boxes. Perhaps upcoming models will possess these attributes, making the Elite plasma as ideal for viewing HDTV as it is for viewing moves. The panel also can serve as a high-res monitor for PCs or Macs, and it can process WXGA, SXGA, VGA, SVGA and XGA inputs.
On the back of the display there are four video input terminals: analog RGB input and output, BNC component input, S-Video in and BNC composite in and out, as well as some audio inputs and outputs. There are also terminals for external left and right speakers and control in/out jacks for connection to certain Pioneer components, as well as a synchronizing signal impedance selector switch to match output impedances of component in signals.
The display's native resolution for 16:9 content is 1,280x768, while for 4:3 it is 1,024x768. Technically, this means you get "native" 720p HD, or more specifically, 768p. All 480i and 480p signals are upconverted to 768p, while 1,080i signals are retrofitted to 768p.