Fujitsu PDS4211 42 inch Plasma TV and Faroudja DVP-2200 Digital Video Processor

      Date posted: January 16, 2000

Fujitsu PDS4211 Plasma Display

Fujitsu PDS4211 42″ Plasma TV Sugg. Retail: $16,000 (CAN)

Faroudja DVP-2200 Digital Video Processor Sugg. Retail: $13,000 (CAN)

Distributor: A.C. Simmonds & Sons,
580 Granite Ct. Pickering, Ontario.
L1W 3Z4
(905) 839-8041
FAX (905) 839-2667

Reprinted From the Winter/Spring 2000 Issue

      Fujitsu has over 300 patents relating to plasma display technology, so they have to be a leader in the field. The PDS4211 is a 16:9 42″ screen in a 3.3″ thick casing that can be mounted on a wall or stand. Resolution is rated at 852 x 480 pixels, not quite HD-capable, but close.

      A.C. Simmonds’ consumer products division, the Evolution Group, decided to pair this TV with another product they distribute, the Faroudja DVP-2200 video processor, which does a number of things to the picture to optimize its display on plasma devices in particular, which are subject to motion and colour artifacts when displaying a picture that has come from an interlaced source. Plasma displays are progressive scan devices.

      The PDA4211 has both component and RGB video inputs, these BNC connectors, as well as an S input. The RGB connection was used, with 2 extra Sync cables, to connect to the DVP-2200. As source, I used the Toshiba SD4109 DVD player, connecting both its component and S outputs to the Faroudja processor. For whatever reason, probably due to the RGB output configuration, the component picture had no red, no matter what cables I tried, so viewing was, of necessity done with the S cable. In comparing just the luminance of both, I could see no greater detail on the component connection after Faroudja processing, anyway.

      And here, I suppose, I should say more, or even better, let the DVP-2200 owner’s manual tell us what this box can do:

      “Faroudja’s patented 10-bit Adaptive Comb Filter and Cross Color Suppression circuit eliminates these errors [Dot Crawl, seen as moving dots along color edges, and Rainbow patterns, seen as a moving rainbow over fine lines such as patterned shirts a news anchor might wear] yielding much improved colour purity and edge detail even in scenes with fast motion.

      “Changing the structure of the video source from interlaced to progressive is a difficult process when the signal contains any motion. Faroudja’s patented Film/Video Motion logic actively tracks the signal and activates different motion tracking algorithms depending if the signal originated from a video or film camera.

      “This approach to motion allows the unit to recreate the interlaced film or video frame back into its original structure limiting the introduction of motion errors. Horizontal, vertical and even 45o angled lines are correctly reproduced.

      “Faroudja’s patented Luminance Bandwidth Expansion circuit is able to greatly increase the perceived resolution of any video source by reducing the time it takes the signal to change from one level to the next (called Rise-Times). This normally can only be accomplished by increasing the bandwidth of the signal. Faroudja’s unique circuit yields detail levels typically found only with high-bandwidth production studio original material.”

      I don’t know quite how they do all this stuff, but having owned a Faroudja VP-100 (Wtr 98) processor for a while, I believe in what they’re up to. Video needs all the help it can get.

      Because of BNC connection complications, I was unable to bypass the the VP-2200 to the Fujitsu, but who wants to look at a poorer picture, anyway? I’ve seen the problems of plasma numerous times, at shows or when reviewing first generation sets. The picture tends to have quite a lot of dot crawl and other motion sickness, or “twinklies”, as I call them. These were much reduced in most cases. In the Imax film, Super Speedway there are a number of pans long the racetracks with diagonal grandstands in the background that shimmer as the pixels undulate. This effect was almost eliminated with this video system, and detail was excellent. Also reduced was the chroma noise that is generally seen in saturated colours on plasma screens; in fact colour purity was a major strength.

      Blacks were also much better than seen on most other plasma systems, with good greyscale performance seen on Video Essentials’ tests. This system lacks the outright resolution of the larger Pioneer set, but matched it in the vividness of its colour.

      The VP-2200 allowed fine tuning of colour, detail, contrast and brightness, as well as control of picture shape and size, with settings of 4:3, Anamorph, and Letterbox. Personally, I prefer the automatic selection of picture setting provided by my Pioneer Elite DVL-90, but here, when used in conjunction with the picture scaling of the PDS4211, allowed selection of the right shape for each DVD. My only complaint is that Wide and Zoom both tend to fatten people up, while Normal makes standard TV pictures have black bars on either side; Zoom would be more useable if it didn’t distort the image this way. VP-2200 settings can be memorized and recalled, with 4 memory settings in addition to the factory presets. This is a very good feature when viewing from several sources and needing repeatable individual adjustment of values. I wouldn’t mind a few more picture memories on my Pioneer TV in the home theatre room.

      The Faroudja/Fujitsu picture was good enough in terms of detail that Zoom could be used with non-anamorhic letterboxes, if you didn’t mind slightly fattened actors, and a little more grain. An example was The Arrival, which in Normal/4:3 mode takes up less than half the screen with its 1.85:1 letterbox. I’ve always thought Charlie Sheen was a bit of a fathead, anyway.

      Anamorphic widescreen DVDs look really spectacular on this display when the right combination is selected for a natural, undistorted picture. DVDs like The Matrix or The Mask Of Zorro looked really spectacular on the plasma screen.

      Overall, I enjoyed my brief time (about 4 days) with this video system, and though I doubt I’d enjoy its price, those who can afford it might find it to be an excellent alternative to either a large rear projection set or a front projection system that might cost even more.

Andrew Marshall

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