Aside from the lack of any tuner support, the 5000EX’s connections roster looks seriously healthy. Particularly outstanding is the provision of three digital video inputs, comprising two HDMIs and one DVI-D. And yes, all three of these jacks can take digital HD signals right up to 1080p – including 1080p’s various 24, 50 and 60Hz configurations. In other words, the screen’s compatible with both the 1080p/50/60 signals put out by upscaling DVD players, and the 1080p/24 signals seemingly favoured by Blu-ray/HD-DVD HD players. Sweet.
Connections also include five BNC jacks for either component video or analogue PC connection, and S-Video and composite video terminals for anyone daft enough to use such relatively low rent options. Plus the DVI jack is capable of taking digital PC as well as digital video signals.
Aside from the smaller plasma chambers, the screen has been constructed using pretty much the same techniques used to such grand home cinema effect on Pioneer’s more domesticated plasma TVs. There’s the same Deep Waffle Rib design to reduce light seepage between pixels; the same PureBlack crystal layer between the plasma chambers and the screen to increase the chambers’ rate of discharge and thus improve brightness and contrast; and the same Direct Colour Filter screen system, whereby the traditional thick plasma glass is replaced by a thinner, single layer structure that dispenses with the offset ‘ghost’ image visible while watching normal plasma glass from an angle.
What’s more, facilities are provided for having the screen calibrated to video perfection by the International Screen Federation (ISF), while the screen’s Pure Drive 2 HD image processing is also lifted directly from Pioneer’s home-targetted screens.
Unable to resist any longer, we fired up the 5000EX with a broad selection of 1080-line HD sources – including a Sky HD receiver, a Marantz DV9600 1080p upscaling DVD player and an Xbox 360 set to output 1080i. And it’s fair to say our jaws pretty much hit the floor in astonishment.