First Looks: PixelMagic Plasma Enhancer 1000

Instant High-Definition

Instant High-Definition

Although high-definition broadcasting and video content are going to revolutionize the way we consume our media, it is still some years away from ousting the existing broadcasting and video playback standards completely. While inevitable, the transition however, is clearly going to be a lengthy one. If you are already an owner of a HD (high-definition) ready TV and lamenting the lack of HD content to complement your expensive Plasma or LCD TV, video devices such as the PixelMagic Plasma Enhancer 1000 is your best bet in enjoying enhanced video quality during this interim period leading up to the next chapter in TV and video systems.

Yes to 1080p

By its color tone and shape, it's apparent that the Plasma Enhancer 1000 was styled to easily blend into your home theatre setup. Within its aluminum housing however, is a series of powerful and specialized video processors that were developed to process and upscale video content of conventional TV and DVD quality to bring out the glorious resolution of your high-definition display. Critically, the Plasma Enhancer 1000 is able to accept and process video signals of any quality and up it to 1080p or 1920 x 1080 pixels for maximum sharpness. And to ensure maximum compatibility, the Plasma Enhancer 1000 packs an exhaustive list of output resolutions, covering even the unique albeit unconventional resolution of Hitachi's ALiS technology that outputs video at 1024 x 1024 pixels.

No HDMI Though

Covering the input end of the box is an analog TV tuner, Component video, three S-Video jacks and two Composite jacks. Output on the other hand is wired to a DVI-D and an analog D-sub port. Oddly enough, for a product that was purposefully designed for home theatre setups, HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) connection, an interface that is widely supported and pushed by major players in the industry, was left out of its schematics.

Easy to Use

With a set of labeled connectors and a highly simplified user interface, integrating the Plasma Enhancer 1000 into your home entertainment unit to start enjoying enhanced visuals should be effortless. Simple terms were used to describe each subsection to facilitate swift pickup and while it worked as intended, the word 'amateurish' somehow just popped into mind when we were first presented with the Spartan menu. Given its lifestyle function, a vibrant interface littered with icons should have been used instead.

Works Like A Charm

Thanks largely to a combination of DCDi and TrueLife technologies from Faroudja (a trusted name in the industry that's heavily involved in video enhancements and high-definition TV) and the onboard Philips MK5 analog TV tuner, improvements to existing TV content can be readily seen. Video was found to be smoother with a noticeable decrease in both noise and unsightly jagged edges. Edges were given more definition to enhance depth perception without introducing noticeable distortions. The only visible downside was that skin tones and overall color vibrancy were a little hosed down.

Closing Thoughts

It was not as convincing when used to process DVD movies, as improvements were not outright discernible. Intense scrutiny did not yield much tangible visual improvement. For Video CDs though, the benefit of the product was immediately apparent. That said, it's recommended that you fiddle around with your existing setup for sharper visuals (and it is highly recommended for use with large visual units) if you primarily load DVD movies, but for everything else of lower video quality (such as standard TV or Cable TV signals), the enhancements offered by the USD$1,010 PixelMagic Plasma Enhancer 1000 needs no further persuasion.