Fujitsu PDS-5002 50-Inch Plasma HDTV Reviewed

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I can still remember the first time I sat in a room full of stuffy "reporters" for the unveiling of the world's "first" plasma display. The room was dark, with the exception of a few well-placed accent lights and the room buzzed with questions of the unknown and the thought of something truly "new" to the consumer electronics industry.

As a satin covering slipped off the sharp edges of the component at the front of the room I must admit, I fell for her in all her splendor. She was thin and sexy. Though unshapely in a place or two, it lent itself well to her unique offering. Like a Vegas lounge lizard, I winked and slowly made my way across the room. I was drawn closer to her and I could not wait to breathe against her perfect pixels...Alas she was near and her face looked more like it was painted by a child with a toothbrush rather than the hand of a careful artiste.

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Since the advent of thin, flat and other sexy fixed-pixel displays I have been less than impressed by the picture quality. I'm a price-versus-performance kind of guy and I have yet to use the word "value" in my vocabulary when referring to plasma technology.

Nonetheless, price points have dropped considerably in the past year making plasma displays a reasonable consideration for theatre buffs. While the obvious benefits of space and numerous mounting/installation options have always been there, can the picture quality finally deliver? Fujitsu answers with an affirmative and resounding, "Yes!"

Unique Features - Fujitsu attempts to make their plasma offering in the PDS-5002 intuitive through what they call, "Convergent Visual Medium." This all the display to accept just about any format input into it. And it works. The 1,366-by-768 high-resolution pixel array displays images in true 1080i and 720p, as well as 480i and 480p. ("i" meaning interlace and "p" meaning progressively scanned.) The PDS-5002 will also accept serial input and displays UXGA resolution making it perfect for garners and do-it yourself-movie producers using computer-based software editing programs.

Another feature unique to the Fujitsu is the incorporation of various image-enhancing technologies. The most impressive being Fujitsu's Advanced Video Movement (AVM).
A digital video processor that eliminates any motion related artifacts, improves vertical resolution and restores natural movement. This is not just marketing hype--AVM not only works, it represents a milestone breakthrough in plasma technology.

AVM is also a complex line doubler that effectively converts NTSC signals to eliminate scan lines and smooth out images for a much more lifelike picture. A 3-D Y/C filter cleans up the signal and the result is a near perfect image. The processor also enhances HDTV and DVD signals and has a true, 24-frame playback mode for movies. Going even further, Fujitsu incorporates an orbiter of sorts that moves the displayed image in minute pixel increments to disallow burning the plasma panel phosphors.

Adding to the intuitive use of the Fujitsu PDS-5002 is an auto-detect function that adjusts the aspect ratio to match incoming material specifications. The PDS-5002 will display four standard screens: 4:3, 1.85:1, 16:9, and 2.35:1 aspect ratios.

Read more about the PDS-5002 on Page 2.

HTR Product Rating for Fujitsu PDS-5002 50-Inch Plasma HDTV

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Getting back to the root of cool regarding plasma displays as a whole, they are all typically very easy to integrate into the home or office environs. White the Fujitsu PDS-5002 HD monitor boasts a huge 50-inch display and weighs in at just under 100 pounds, comparatively, a rear projection set (big screen) of the same size would weigh in at closer to 300 pounds. Additionally, the PDS-5002 is only 3.8 inches thick. As if this doesn't make the application of the display great enough, Fujitsu provides a tabletop stand and the necessary slots to flush-mount the display on a wall or ceiling. In most cases, a display this size would be described as "back breaking work" to install--with the Fujitsu PDS-5002 50-inch Plasma, installation couldn't be any simpler.

Final Take - James Thompson, a poet, once wrote, "But who can paint like Nature? Can imagination boast, Amid its gay creation, hues like hers?" Indeed, if James Thompson could had seen the revelation of plasma technology, perhaps his imagination would have been fulfilled in viewing Fujitsu's PDS-5002. For it boasts exactly the kind of imagery once never thought replicated and today found within the confines of a sleek case in the homes of those willing to part with a mere $15,000.00.

During the course of this review, I connected the Fujitsu PDS-5002, now our "reference" plasma, to various video sources. Using the Rotel RDV-1080 (see review in this issue), our "reference" DVD player, I was absolutely astounded by the overall picture quality including color saturation, temperature and clarity. While watching clips from Shrek, it appeared as though the screen was wet with paint at times. This, while in our Malibu "test center," where a bright room does not favor video displays. The Fujitsu is able to produce such an incredible picture due to its Plasmavision SlimScreen monitor, which has a contrast ratio of 3000:1 (based on the new measurement standard) and a light output of 501 candela (luminous intensity). (That's really bright for those of you at home scratching your head.)

While the PDS-5002 accepts RGB inputs (perfect for Mac or PC) and features a DV1 port, it does not accept USB nor does it have an IEEE1394 (firewire) port (although currently no manufacturer of plasma displays offer an IEEE1394 port). It is also lacking frontal S-Video ports. While this is its only shortcoming, I find it to be a critical lacking element for complete operation.

In the consumer electronics industry, manufacturers tend to get ahead of themselves by rushing products to market. This was especially prevalent with plasma displays. While this drove the price down rapidly, it seemingly did not do much for the technology behind plasma.� Fujitsu stays well ahead of the curve with the delivery of the PDS-5002 and at the same time, has established a new benchmark in the higher-end plasma category. It is only on rare occasions that I feel inspired to write about the performance of a component. The Fujitsu PDS-5002 is sure to inspire followers, redesigns and consumers alike. It is a visual treat in a field of competitors surrounded by fierce rivalry for market share. And yet remains the clear victor atop the high-end plasma market.

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