Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pioneer 8G and 9G Plasma Calibrations

After calibrating many Pioneer plasmas over the last two years, I can say without reservation that this line of displays is the finest available. Impeccable build quality and a superb picture make these plasmas the ones to beat. While the Elite line includes all controls necessary for a professional calibration, the non-Elite TVs do not. The eighth-generation sets have grayscale controls in the service menu but the ninth-generations ones have none. This is unfortunate because the potential in image quality is the same for all Pioneer plasma displays.

I'm happy to say this has now changed. I recently acquired an application called ControlCAL. This windows program allows me to access the RS-232 interface available on ALL Pioneer plasma TVs. Through this interface, I have the ability to do a full calibration on ANY Pioneer plasma from both the eighth and ninth generation lines. ControlCAL allows access to the ISF Day and Night modes on the Elite models (eighth-gen PRO-110, 150 & 950; ninth-gen PRO-111, 151, 101 & 141) with all calibration controls in play. ControlCAL also allows a higher contrast setting on Elites so you can have a true daylight mode without any compromises. With these ISF memories properly calibrated, a user can simply select the appropriate mode with the remote to lock in all calibration settings with one button press.

The best part of all this is how inexpensive the ninth-generation non-Elite models have become. You can get the 50-inch 5020FD for around $2500 and the 60-inch 6020FD for around $3800. This is an incredible deal. There is no difference in picture quality between these and the more expensive Elite TVs. Now with ControlCAL, you can buy the cheaper set and pay for a professional calibration for hundreds less than just buying an Elite display. Of course, ControlCAL can be used with great success on Elite TVs including the new Elite monitors, the PRO-101 and 141. ControlCAL is the only way to activate the ISF modes, view panel hours or change the level of the side masks on Elite displays.

If you've lusted after a Pioneer Kuro as I have, now is your best chance to acquire one. You can save about $1000 by going for the 5020 or the 6020. ControlCAL now makes it possible to calibrate these displays for maximum performance. If you have any questions or you'd like to book a calibration appointment, please email me.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the view!


Anonymous said...

That is so cool. Is there a program that would give users more control over "lesser" Panasonic plasmas, therefore making them just as good as the more expensive ones? That would be great to make my 42pz80u look as good as the most expensive Panasonic. Had I known that the "regular" Pioneers they sell at BestBuy could be just as good as the Elite Pioneers, I would have saved a little more money and done that Great blog site.
Birmingham, AL

Anonymous said...
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Chris Eberle said...

Hi Phil, thanks for the compliment.

ControlCAL only works with TVs and projectors that have an RS232 interface. However, any Panasonic plasma can be calibrated to a similiar level of accuracy.

Stay tuned for a comparison of Elite versus non-Elite Pioneer. If you bought an Elite, you won't have any regrets after you read my next article!