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PersianImmortal

Calibration advice for Pana TH-42PV500A

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Just bought a Panasonic 42" HD TH-42PV500A. Superb set, no need to go on about it, it's phenomenal. Got it for $4400 from JB Hifi Woden, ACT, and got 5 year warranty for $500 to go with it.

However over the next few days I'll be delving into the options and calibrating it using DVE. It doesn't look like it needs massive calibration, since it's already quite good from the factory.

Could owners please post their personal settings for comparison, and also give advice on how I can access the service menu?

For the record the TV is hooked up to an LG LST 4100P HD STB via DVI->HDMI cable, and the DVD player is a lowly Sony with PAL progressive hooked up via Component.

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Hi PersianImmortal.

Congrats on your 42PV500A and welcome to the Pan Clan :blink:

I have one myself but haven't calibrated it properly yet as I'm going for the 50" and passing this to my sister.

I Just done a quick one, you might want your AV settings to differ with your normal FTA as I believe they have their own settings in memory automatically, but the following link has at least 2 others with your panel which have posted theirs, but don't know if it's done professionaly as they call it. Who are these people?

Just scroll down:

http://www.dtvforum.info/index.php?showtopic=22934&hl=

What's DVE??

Also about the service menu, another member of the Pan Clan named Larrikin previously posted the following which I believe is the service menu you're talking about:

____________________________________________________________________

Accesing Vireas Service menu - including PV500

VIERA SERVICE MENU - INCLUDING NEW MODELS

Here is how it is got into.

turn to channel 99 on analogue

bass to max.

treble to min.

then press v/- 0n front panel at the slightly after index on remote.

this is service one.

press the green button on the remote to cycle through the options untill you can go no further

then press hold on remote.

service two should now be showing.

press the green button and cycle through the options untill you get to the option that says hours used or some thing like that, not sure of exact wording. the value displayed is how many hours it has been on.

words of advice

do not change or alter any thing in these menus unless you are absolutely sure of what you are doing.

You can do some serious damage to your plasma if you are not carefull.

to get out of the service menu press exit on remote. if that does not work turn the plasma off ten back on again and you should be out of it.

I take no responsibility for any problems caused by entering the service menu

If you are struggling, check you are on channel 99 on analogue, it may have gone down a channel when you pressed the v/- button

____________________________________________________________________

I have not tried accessing this menu before but only cuz I haven't got around to it.

Cheers,

Ash.

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Thanks for all the info mate, very useful!

DVE is Digital Video Essentials, a calibration DVD.

I've got Friday off, so I'll take my time to calibrate the set then and enjoy it over the weekend. Will come back with my settings - and any additional observations on image quality - then. For the moment I think this set is the bee's knees :blink:

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I see the PV500 settings posted in the other thread involve contrast settings of 75-85. I know new generation plasmas are more resistant to burn-in, but I am leaving my contrast and brightness around 50 until I have 100-200 hours use on it.

Could be overly cautious, but worth considering if you have a brand new screen.

George

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I'm a bit more relaxed about burn-in, but maybe I shouldn't be. My Contrast is currently 75 as well, although I've read on these forums that the newer Plasmas have fairly decent burn-proofing, barring doing something stupid like leaving a static image for several hours on screen.

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A few tips HERE under heading Plasma Break-in may prove helpful in deciding your settings.

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You're right - looks like I'll set Constrast and Brightness to 50% for the moment until at least 100 hours. I think these sets are fairly burn-proof, so I'm only really willing to watch stretched 4:3 at low contrast for 100 hours. The Panasonic pamphlet suggest going to 1000 hours with lower contrast and that's almost a year's worth of viewing, to which I say "no way" :blink: I didn't buy a decent HD plasma to watch it at half brightness half contrast and constantly change sources for a year "just in case" of burn in.

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OK, the following settings seem to give good protection against burn-in while looking amazing:

Contrast: 50

Brightness: 50

Color: 43

Sharpness: 50 (HDMI)/ 40 (Component)

Color Temp: Standard

I've turned off all the color management, power save, NR options etc. as they saturate colors and also seem to dynamically alter the contrast. The above settings really look almost perfect on my set.

Once the 100 hours is over I'll calibrate contrast and brightness to get a slightly brighter picture.

I'm surprised that the color appears to require no further calibration (to the naked eye) of the individual R, G and B values. Obviously when I calibrate the contrast/brightness I'll go through and fine tune the RGB values in the service menu, but for now I am absolutely thrilled with this set.

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Ok, I've calibrated the set using Digital Video Essentials. It took a bit of experimentation, especially when I figured out that the various presets (Dynamic, Standard, Cinema and Auto) actually change more than just the main settings - they also alter a range of hidden settings which affect the overall picture quality.

That means the same colour setting for Dynamic does not look the same as the exact same setting for Standard for example. Maybe I'm dim, but it didn't seem obvious to me at first, I just thought the modes recalled preset values for the main settings, but that isn't true.

I personally had a tough time choosing between Standard and Cinema modes as my base. Both have good natural colours, but Cinema is a bit smoother. In the end I chose Standard mode for both my DVD and HD STB as it's a touch darker and crisper.

DVD (via Component)

Mode: Standard

Contrast: 78

Brightness: 50

Color: 65

Sharpness: 31

Color Temp: Standard

Color Management: Off

D.PNR: Off

MPEG NR: Off

HD STB (DVI->HDMI)

Mode: Standard

Contrast: 78

Brightness: 50

Color: 52

Sharpness: 50

Color Temp: Standard

Color Management: Off

MPEG NR: Off

Notes:

Colour: I found a value of between 53 and 56 should be the correct value for this panel. I prefer natural looking colours, so 53-54 ensures that reds don't glow like neon. /EDIT - Colour changed for DVD, upped to 65 to make movie colours more vibrant, and STB colour taken a touch down to 52 to make things look more natural.

Brightness: 50 is spot-on using DVE for both DVD or STB. A notch or two higher or lower may suit different tastes.

Contrast: This is the trickiest, since the DVE method involves checking for blooming, which Plasmas don't do. I just chose a Contrast value which didn't burn my eyes out and didn't introduce too much grain or noise to the picture. At the moment my daily contrast value is 50 since it's the break-in period, but a value between 65-70 suits me for calibration purposes. /EDIT - changed due to Avical's advice and more experimentation to 78.

The picture is now nothing short of perfect. There is no solarisation, no colour banding, no artifacts (other than those in the source), and no other flaws. HD TV looks incredible, but more importantly since I have around 150 DVDs, DVD (standard def) image quality is perfect - and I mean perfect! Sharp, but not grainy, and no ghosting or banding.

I love this set! If you have any thoughts on the above settings, post them here. Sorry for the long post, hope the settings may help someone to get their set calibrated :blink:

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PersianImmortal,

Firstly, good job on the great winXP tweak guide! Secondly, the plasma settings are about right. Just be aware that the plasma's PQ depends upon the ambient lighting around the room.

Best way i calibrated my NEC plasma is to do it at night and in the dark. Tweaked all the settings and turned down the gamma, colour, saturation settings between 50-60% of the defaults.

Now after 200hrs, the colours are looking good and i retweaked it again. This time i bumped it up by 10-20% and it looks fantastic. If u're happy with it great, if not get the unit calibrated professionally through AVICAL, ask for Aaron! They calibrate each setting for each individual sources and its well worth it...

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The Panasonic pamphlet suggest going to 1000 hours with lower contrast and that's almost a year's worth of viewing, to which I say "no way" :blink: I didn't buy a decent HD plasma to watch it at half brightness half contrast and constantly change sources for a year "just in case" of burn in.

You'd be surprised how quick the hours mount up.

I've had mine going on two months and I'm already up to 549 hours.

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I'm surprised that the color appears to require no further calibration (to the naked eye)....

The eye is an amazing organ - it has a dynamic range of 10 log units and has an inbuilt white balance mechanism - the brain.

That's why you can easily distinguish what is white even when lit with yellow incandescent globes or other lights.

You can't do the RGB calibration by eye. As an exercise look at a red object for 30 seconds and then look away at a white ceiling and you'll see a green afterimage for several seconds to minutes. That green cast from the afterimage shows you how sensitive the eye is to what it is looking at and how easily the 'setting' of the eye changes from moment to moment.

I have an SpyderTV calibration device which is about the cheapest colorimeter available, and I can assure you that the white balance you get with even a device like this one will blow away any factory presets away. I measured the Fujitsu 'standard' which is over 10000 Kelvin - ie. miles out.

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Firstly, good job on the great winXP tweak guide! Secondly, the plasma settings are about right.  Just be aware that the plasma's PQ depends upon the ambient lighting around the room.
Thanks. By the way, if you mean that the PQ changes due to ambient light, as far as I know the only setting which does that is when the mode is set to Auto. In Auto mode, the set changes contrast/brightness due to lighting conditions, otherwise it should remain fairly static.

If you mean the PQ looks different to the eye because of lighting, then I guess my settings are done at night with standard lighting in the room. However I did then switch off the light and look at the PQ for both DVD and STB, mainly because I watch movies in the dark and wanted to make sure the PQ was great - which it is :blink:

I can get the unit professionally calibrated, but to be honest the settings I've chosen are actually very satisfying. I know there's a lot more involved in a professional calibration, but using DVE and its colour filter is rough, but good enough for me. At the moment as I said, I really can't believe how natural and clean the pictures look on this TV. It's what made me choose it over other plasmas in the first place.

By the way, once again can someone help me get into service menu 2? Tried all the usual advice and no joy.

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If you mean the PQ looks different to the eye because of lighting, then I guess my settings are done at night with standard lighting in the room. However I did then switch off the light and look at the PQ for both DVD and STB, mainly because I watch movies in the dark and wanted to make sure the PQ was great - which it is :blink:

Cool, just wanted to be sure. As for the service menu...try to search for it at AVSFORUM.COM. Thats where i found the button trick to access the hidden service menu for my NEC.

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Yeah, checked around but none of the common instructions seem to work for me. I've tried all sorts of variations. If a Pana 42/50PV500A owner has actually got it to work, let me know.

As for changing brightness/contrast, as another thing to note, I've turned off all the settings on the set which try to continually manage contrast, colour etc. These are damn annoying and make calibration difficult. That is, aside from not using the Auto mode, I've also turned off the 'Color Management' setting so it doesn't variably over/undersaturate colours constantly. All the 'Noise Reduction' options are off too, as they oversmooth the source too much.

That's why I'm fairly confident these settings should be close to spot-on for an amateur calibration. If another user tries them, let me know if you have any suggested changes :blink:

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The most accurate Gamma setting will come with "Menu - Standard". I'm not a fan of runnin but it can't hurt. After runnin a Contrast setting of around 80 will be fine.

Remember that if you use a lower contrast setting the peak brightness will drop (this is exactly what contrast adjusts), but the blacks will stay at the same limit imposed by the Plasma design. This means that a lower contrast setting will give you a poorer contrast ratio since the Plasma blacks are fixed. If you are worried about a Contrast setting of 80 being harmfull look at the default setting out of the box - Dynamic with Contrast 100!

Be very careful in the Service Menu, the Panasonic is a strange beast and some combinations of settings will make a mess of your picture quality.

Aaron

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Thanks Avical, useful advice. As it happens I've just spent the last hour fine tuning my settings (which I've edited in the post further above).

Basically as per your advice I upped Contrast close to 80. Since I sit around 2.5m from the set, and sometimes watch movies in the dark, a Contrast of 78 seems to be right for me.

Brightness still remains at 50 for both sources. The DVE test and my untrained eye seem to stick with 50 even at the new contrast setting.

The biggest change is after trying several DVDs, I decided to up DVD (component) colour up to 65, as movies seemed a bit washed out. The STB (DVI/HDMI) still remains at 52, since anything above that makes reds glow and greens unnatural. I toyed with the 'Cool' Colour Temp setting, but as you say, Standard colour temp seems to be the most natural and as it happens the correct setting to use.

Finally, I also agree that messing around in the Service Menu for a novice like me is not wise. I can already access Service Menu 1 (haven't changed anything tho), but what i want is to access Service Menu 2 to see the panel up-time.

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Ok, after a couple of days of allowing my eyes to adjust to the previous settings, and again using a range of source material, I've bedded down the settings. Also, based on a recent Pioneer white paper on burn-in (See burn-in sticky), I've stop bothering to break in the set and kept the higher contrast/brightness settings.

New (and hopefully permanent) settings are:

DVD (Component)

Mode: Standard

Contrast: 78

Brightness: 46

Color: 65

Sharpness: 19

Color Temp: Standard

Color Management: Off

D.PNR: Off

MPEG NR: Off

HD STB (DVI->HDMI)

Mode: Standard

Contrast: 76

Brightness: 49

Color: 50

Sharpness: 35

Color Temp: Standard

Color Management: Off

MPEG NR: Off

Main changes are the dialling down of Brightness (especially on DVD) so that blacks actually are totally black. Contrast has also dropped slightly because 80 contrast was hurting my eyes. Importantly, I also dropped Sharpness to get smooth but still crisp images. It took me a while to get used to having lower sharpness, but now it looks right - before there was some aliasing and ghosting of images due to excessive sharpness.

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Thanks for sharing your settings. It has made my first weekend with the 42pv500a much more fun!

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Thanks for sharing your settings. It has made my first weekend with the 42pv500a much more fun!

No worries, glad it works for you :blink:

I've gone and refined them a little bit further as my eyes adjust to the image, and again as I view more sources.

The change is to set both sources (DVD & HDSTB) to:

Contrast 79

Brightness 46

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How did you manage to configure your STB using DVE?

I didn't. But here's the trick - I actually found a movie playing on an HD channel (can't remember which) recently, and I popped the same disc in my DVD player, got to around the same point on the disc, then calibrated the HDSTB picture best I could by eyeballing it, then flicked back and forth between the STB and DVD of the same movie and refined the settings :blink:

Turns out the Contrast and Brightness can be identical, the only difference was the colour - because it's using HD Matrix on the STB input - which I found a good level for. In fact the colour was relatively easy. I was watching The Waterboy a bit earlier in the night and the red of the football jerseys and green of the field would get oversaturated/neon at a certain point. So I dialled it up to that point, then back a few clicks till it was right.

Sharpness also required a lot of fine tuning, but the lower the better until I got a smooth but crisp picture on DVD (using DVE test pattern as well), and the same for HD STB.

Sorry for the boring story, but it's all worked out for me. I am very, very happy with the image quality in every respect :P

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OK, I had the feeling I could still improve on the image quality, and I have :blink:

The new settings involve dialling down brightness on the DVD source. Technically speaking a value of 46 is correct according to DVE, however I found at that setting most of my DVDs exhibited some 'green spots' in blacks. Turning down the brightness helped get darker blacks and remove the grain.

I also reduced sharpness dramatically to get a very smooth image. Whether it's because my eyes got used to the image enough for me to see the ghosting or whether I'm getting fussier - I want a totally smooth image, and Sharpness of around 9 gives me that.

Colour settings also went down a touch.

I am really, really, REALLY happy now. Didn't think it could get any better but these final touches have made it spot on for me.

DVD (via Component)

Mode: Standard

Contrast: 78

Brightness: 40

Color: 62

Sharpness: 9

Color Temp: Standard

Color Management: Off

D.PNR: Off

MPEG NR: Off

HD STB (DVI->HDMI)

Mode: Standard

Contrast: 78

Brightness: 49

Color: 47

Sharpness: 9

Color Temp: Standard

Color Management: Off

MPEG NR: Off

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DVD (via Component)

Mode: Standard

Contrast: 78

Brightness: 40

Color: 62

Sharpness: 9

Color Temp: Standard

Color Management: Off

D.PNR: Off

MPEG NR: Off

HD STB (DVI->HDMI)

Mode: Standard

Contrast: 78

Brightness: 49

Color: 47

Sharpness: 9

Color Temp: Standard

Color Management: Off

MPEG NR: Off

Thanks for sharing your settings like this. You obviously put a lot of work into perfecting your picture quality.

I dialled these into my panel (42PV500A) and the initial impact was WOW!!

Had been doing a bit of amateur fiddling then went all conservative after reading the Pana white paper on burn-in. I take it you are not going to limit your contrast to 50 for 1000 hours :blink:

Still getting used to the all round quality of this thing. There has obviously been a fair amount of attention to detail here. I can't fault it so far. Sure, it's a lot for an analogue TV but it should keep me amused for a few years.

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Thanks for sharing your settings like this. You obviously put a lot of work into perfecting your picture quality.

I dialled these into my panel (42PV500A) and the initial impact was WOW!!

Had been doing a bit of amateur fiddling then went all conservative after reading the Pana white paper on burn-in. I take it you are not going to limit your contrast to 50 for 1000 hours  :P

Still getting used to the all round quality of this thing. There has obviously been a fair amount of attention to detail here. I can't fault it so far. Sure, it's a lot for an analogue TV but it should keep me amused for a few years.

Nice work Persian.Even though Im not a Pana owner there are many who are and will appreciate your settings :blink:

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