Pioneer’s PDP436HD is one of the finest 42/43 inch plasma TVs around. It recently sent the SmartHouse team into a positive frenzy.

Design and construction

There are plenty of nice-looking plasmas, and then there’s the PDP436HD. Its build quality oozes uncompromising class, and the design (especially the black glass surround) is elegant in the extreme.


The PDP436HD is loaded in the interface department. The jacks (found on a separate media box) include an HDMI input, two HD-capable component video inputs, a PC jack, a digital audio line out, and a subwoofer line out.


As well as providing an extra inch of picture versus its rivals, the PDP436HD carrys innovations galore. We don’t have enough time to cover them in detail, but as briefly as possible they are: a new panel structure for reducing light and colour seepage between pixels; a new Crystal Emissive Layer on each plasma chamber for improving the stability, efficiency and brightness of the chambers’ light discharge, giving boosted black levels, increased brightness and more energy efficiency; a new generation of Pioneer’s PureDrive picture processing, which adds better noise reduction, improved tuner performance, extra colour management tools; and a new ‘I-Clear Drive’ system which processes incoming signals more accurately to deliver subtler colour gradations.

Picture and sound

As with its 50 inch stablemate, the PDP436HD’s pictures are outstanding. The contrast is very good. We measured this at 475:1 after calibration. Peak whites look blisteringly intense without being overcooked, while blacks achieve remarkable depth without obscuring subtle background details or colours.

Talking of colours, the PDP436HD’s palette is breathtaking. In fact, we don’t think we’ve seen a more delicious combination of vibrancy, tone and separation this year. One thing we’re pleased not to have seen, however, were any traces of fizzing noise over motion, colour banding, dot crawl, or shimmering over image contours. Pioneer’s use of the Direct Colour Filter screen technology means it’s also possible to watch the PDP436HD from quite an extreme off-axis angle without suffering plasma’s usual image ‘echo’.

Add to all this remarkable levels of fine detail that make HD footage look breathtaking but also survive the up-scaling of standard-def feeds and you have pictures that are as close to ideal as we’ve seen in the one-box plasma world.

It’s almost boring to report that the PDP436HD’s sound is fine too.

Pioneer PDP436HD | $5999 | Plasma display |  

For: Elegant design, solid build-quality, breathtaking colour palette and overall performance.

Against: Our only negative comment would be that you have to be careful with the TV’s progressive options – choosing the wrong one for a particular source can upset the appearance of movement.

Conclusion: One of the finest 42/43 inch plasma TV’s you can buy. Nuff said.




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