One final connections point worth making is that most of them are designed facing out rather than down, suggesting that Pioneer expects this screen to be left freestanding rather than wall-mounted in most of its target audience’s rooms.
While the 436SXE’s connections may show signs of compromise, the construction of its screen certainly does not. It boasts all the latest ‘sixth-generation’ tricks employed to such dazzling effect on the XDE model.
For instance, the plasma cells are constructed using a new ‘deep waffle rib’ system that reduces the potential for light and colour to seep between neighbouring pixels. Then there’s a new Crystal Emissive Layer designed to boost contrast and sharpness, and a Direct Colour Filter system for removing the offset secondary image that can appear when watching normal plasma TVs from the side rather than straight on.
Needless to say the 436SXE is fully HD Ready, with a native resolution of 1,024 x 768, while other key specs find healthy brightness and contrast claims of 1100cd/m2 and 3000:1 respectively.
If you’re a bit puzzled by the seemingly 4:3 rather than 16:9 widescreen configuration of the 1,024 x 768 resolution, it’s actually quite easily explained. Essentially the Pioneer ‘stretches’ its pixels horizontally, a process which, it claims, enables them to produce a more natural balance between the red, green and blue phosphors.
The 436SXE also employs the latest generation of Pioneer’s Pure Drive 2HD image processing engine. As usual with such systems, Pure Drive 2 HD actually comprises a variety of processes, including: I-Clear Drive for increasing the range of gradation levels (thus delivering more subtle colour differences); a sophisticated Dynamic High Definition Converter for turning interlaced PAL/NTSC into progressive high resolution; colour management procedures; standard and MPEG noise reduction circuits; and a Dynamic Range Expander that enhances light and dark areas based on a dynamic real time analysis of the complete image content.