|Fujitsu P50XHA10US Plasmavision 50-inch Plasma|
|Home Theater Flat Panel HDTVs Plasma HDTVs|
|Written by Ben Shyman|
|Monday, 01 December 2003|
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While owning a 50-inch plasma monitor will no doubt make you feel like the coolest cat in the neighborhood, the P50XHA10US will take you one step further with its stunning good looks. In my view, the wide metallic silver front bezel of the P50XHA10US makes it the most attractive plasma currently on the market. It is certain to please even the most discriminating spouse as far as fitting into any décor.
The P50XHA10US has a variety of video inputs and accepts almost any home theater or computer video source I can think of. I was initially disappointed, however, to see Fujitsu chose RCA-type connectors for the component video inputs over the BNC variety, which are usually reserved only for the highest-end video equipment. After all, you just spent almost 11 thousand dollars, doesn’t the P50XHA10US qualify in this regard? But after some thought, as I reluctantly placed BNC to RCA adaptors on my video cables, I decided this omission was not a big deal, since it probably plays more to one’s ego than anything else. One would be challenged to discern any difference in picture quality between BNC and RCA connectors. The most obvious benefit is that BNC connectors lock firmly in place and if you are using stiff or thick video cables like the Transparent cables that I use, this is a big plus.
Fujistu has equipped the P50XHA10US with a DVI input with HDCP High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection. This input enables true digital connection to sources with a DVI output (most likely a HDTV receiver but also some very released DVD players) thus eliminating the need for digital-to-analog conversion at the source and making for a cleaner and more artifact-free picture. HDCP ensures compatibility with digital programming that is flagged to prevent illegal copying and distribution. HDCP has quickly become an important standard in digital video and having it on the P50XHA10US is critical in my view. Hollywood movie studios remain reluctant to embrace digital high-definition distribution of their beloved movies until standards like DVI with HDCP are in place to effectively prevent the “Napsterization” of their content. With its DVI-HDCP input, the Fujitsu P50XHA10US guarantees years of enjoyment and compatibility with the future direction of the digital video industry.
Like all other monitors in the Plasmavision line, the P50XHA10US employs Fujitsu’s Advanced Video Movement (AVM) technology, which the company claims improves picture quality by minimizing motion artifacts and flicker, as well as improving vertical resolution. The AVM processor also provides a built-in line doubler for NTSC sources to eliminate annoying scan lines. I evaluated the Plasmavision monitor utilizing Fujitsu’s internal scaler with AVM, as well as my Faroudja NRS-DVI, and found that Fujitsu’s AVM technology did a more than admirable job at improving picture quality, especially with conventional NTSC television sources, which usually look bad on digital monitors such as a plasma.
No one is more keenly aware of the perils of potential phosphor burn-in associated with plasma monitors than plasma manufacturers. The usual culprit leading to phosphor burn-in is excessively high contrast settings, combined with still images such the clock and scoreboard during sports programming or the “black bars” on widescreen DVDs not formatted in 1.78:1. Fujitsu has smartly included two important features on its Plasmavision monitor to minimize the chances of phosphor burn-in. The first is the Screen Orbiter, which discreetly shifts the entire image between five and fifteen pixels every hour, thus keeping still images from sitting in one place for too long. The second feature, the White Screen, turns the entire screen white and can be set on a timer. After watching material with black bars, I recommend using the White Screen to evenly “heat” the pixels in the display to reduce odds of permanent damage to the display. While I am pleased Fujitsu included these features on the P50XHA10US, this still does not entirely rule out burn-in as a possibility. However, using them routinely can greatly extend the life and enjoyment factor of your investment.
While the Fujitsu Plasmavision can be wall-mounted or stand-mounted, I chose the new Universal Plasmamount from Salamander Designs, which complements their Synergy line of products. The product is excellent and I highly recommend it for those who do not want to drill holes in their walls to mount their plasma monitors and are looking for convenient and uncluttered storage of audio-video gear. Whatever you choose, it is imperative that you let your authorized Fujitsu dealer install and set up the monitor. Like all plasmas, the Plasmavision is heavy, awkward to move, extremely fragile and requires a bit of know-how to correctly set up. Furthermore, Fujitsu will only honor their warrantee if you purchase the unit from an authorized retailer. Since there are no authorized Plasmavision retailers on the internet, you should avoid the temptation of purchasing a Plasmavision from an on-line retailer. Check out plasmavision.com for further details.
Wiring the Plasmavision was easy. I connected my Scientific Atlanta Explorer 3100HD cable box and Lexicon RT-10 Universal Disc Player to a Faroudja NRS-DVI video processor, using S-video and component video cables from Transparent. I connected the Faroudja NRS-DVI to the Plasmavision, using a prototype of Transparent’s soon-to-be-released Premium DVI (PDVI) cable. The prototype I used eventually became the final product Transparent will soon make commercially available, along with its less expensive sibling, the High Performance (HPDVI) DVI Cable. Using DVI over conventional analog cables makes a huge difference, and if your DVD player or cable box has a DVI output, you should definitely use it. I found Transparent’s PDVI cable to be a perfect match for the professional quality of the Fujitsu P50XHA10US. I ran Transparent Premium Component Video Cable from the cable box to the Plasmavision for HDTV sources.
Before beginning my evaluation, I called on the services of Imaging Sciences Foundation calibration guru Kevin Miller to fine-tune the performance of the P50XHA10US Plasmavision monitor. Kevin calibrated my system to 6500 Kelvin gray scale and adjusted picture parameters (contrast, color and brightness) on both the DVI input from the Faroudja NRS and the component video input from high-def sources. One distinguishing feature on the Fujistu Plasmavision is that each input can be calibrated independently. This is important, as conventional television, DVD and high definition signals vary dramatically and it is nice to be able to calibrate each input independently for optimal performance.
In my opinion, correctly calibrating your video system is extremely important and serves two purposes. First and most obvious, calibration ensures that gray scale and picture parameters are correctly set. Second, and perhaps even more important in the long run, proper calibration greatly reduces the possibility that you may damage your monitor from phosphor burn-in by having the contrast or brightness set incorrectly. Having your monitor set up properly in my view is a low-cost preventive measure against potentially damaging a plasma display. The bottom line is, as you have probably just spent several mortgage payments on the coolest television in the neighborhood, I would say it is worth spending $300 bucks to ensure optimal performance.
Many consumers shopping for a plasma are probably wondering what size monitor is best for their viewing area. While every person’s tastes are different, I would mention here that I evaluated the P50XHA10US from eight feet and found this distance to be quite comfortable. I would caution, however, that if you plan on being any closer than that, Fujistu makes a 42-inch version of this display that might be more suitable for you.