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Pioneer 503cmx plasma (1 Viewer)


May 15, 2002
We recently moved and downsized our tv from a 55" rear projection to a 32" Lowe Calida due to physical constraints of the room. There is also too much ambient light for a front projection tv. The picture is too small, especially when watching HD programs in letterbox.

After some researching, I'm looking at the Pioneer 503cmx 50 inch plasma to mount over the fire place mantle. My understanding is that it produces the same picture as the Pioneer Elite HD1000, but doesn't have speakers. Also, the the connections and bezel are different.

Internet pricing ranges from $5500 to around $7000. MSRP on the Pioneer site is $16,000. Dell has them for around $6800 plus tax and shipping.

Here are some questions:

1. Am I correct in my understanding that the 503cmx is considered to be in the top 3 for overall 50" plasma picture quality?

2. At the local store, I notice some artifact when there is lots of movement on the screen. This was the case with both the Pioneer and Fujitsu sets. Is this inherent with plasma, a problem with the signal, tuning, or something else?

3. Is there any need for me to buy any exta circuit boards or boxes like a scaler, tuner, etc..? I'd connect to HD cable box, dvd and vhs players.

4. A local shop would be preferable, but Dell would stand behind their warranty. If I wait for a Dell promo, I can probably get 10% off and free shipping. Any suggestions on where to buy one? I live in Austin.

5. Any other considerations? Are prices going to really start dropping? It looks like this set is equal to the ones that cost over $20,000 a couple of years ago.

Thanks, in advance, to anyone who posts on this thread.



Stunt Coordinator
Apr 21, 1999
Hi Davis,

I would suggest checking out www.avsforum.com. They have a plasma forum that has the information you want. I'll give you my opinions (I recently purchased a pioneer 433cmx, and I LOVE the picture).

1. Yes. Fuji, Panasonic, and the Pioneer elite/503 are the main contenders. Fuji has a great scaler. The panasonic and Fuji have great blacks. The pioneer has vivid colors.

2. I'm not sure. I own a pioneer 433cmx, which is a 43 inch. When I saw DVDs on plasmas in stores, 90% of the time they didn't look that great, sometimes awful (a lot of artifacts). I am completely happy with the set now that I have it at home. On "good" DVDs, I see virtually no artifacts. The important thing is to audition the plasma with a good setup.

3. If you want to use it for anything other then a PC signal, you will need to purchase a video board. The current board is the PDA 5002. Two company's are supposed to release new boards this month, one of which (Aurora) will have HDCP DVI.

4. I got mine thru Dell. Be prepared to jump thru hoops if you order it from Dell, you really need to stay on top of them. If you feel like haggling, give them a call, you might get the price you want. They price matched an online site with me, and I was very happy with the price I paid.

5. Panasonic is supposed to be releasing some new plasmas soon (this fall or winter).

Again, go to the avsforum. They have tons of information.

Good luck,
John Flegert


Senior HTF Member
Jul 24, 2002
John is right about avsforum. And the Pioneer is indeed in the top 3 for the plasmas. There is an active plasma area over @ avs, and there are quite a few people with firsthand experience with them. I will personally be going the EDTV Panny route (I watch very litte TV, want the plasma for gaming and for DVDs) someday when I'm not broke :) .

John Doran

Jan 24, 2002
one more vote for checking out AVS Forum - that's where i got all the information i needed before i bought my fujitsu p50...

1) yes: pioneer, panasonic, and fujitsu are widely thought to the the top 3.

2) you don't say what was on the sets you were watching - was it regular cable or satellite? DVD? i can tell you that ordinary (i.e. non-HDTV) digital programming on a 50" plasma usually looks pretty bad since what you're doing is blowing-up a highly compressed picture, making all of the compression artifacts abundantly clear.

the same holds true for any DVDs that have a poor video-transfer - basically, the plasma will do for video signals what good speakers and amplification do for audio signals: make all the faults with the source really, really obvious.

having said that, most DVDs have good transfers and are utterly stunning, and even the ones with so-so video quality look fantastic, too. HDTV, of course, is just unbelievable.

3) yes - as john said, the 503CMX requires a card (the PDA-5002), but third-party developers (Aurora and Key Digital) will soon be releasing newer cards with HDCP-DVI, among a dizzying array of other features.

4) over at AVS Forum people have nothing but good things to say about Plasma Extreme (plasmaextreme.us NOT plasmaextreme.com).

5) prices will always be dropping. i don't think pioneer is releasing a new line this year, but panasonic will be later in the year. fujistu's 2003 line is already out.

there's A LOT of cool information over at AVS Forum, though...check it out.

good luck. you're eventually going to wonder how you managed to live without a plasma. i know i do.

- jd


May 15, 2002
Lots of great information at the avsforum. Thanks to all who posted for the help.

If there are any more comments, they will also be appreciated.

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