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Panasonic Plasma Time Bombs?

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So is the 'normal' black level (after it has finished rising) on Panasonic Plasma's any higher than other manufacturers 'normal' black level?

No, but don't expect the Panasonic's to be significantly better either. Time seems to be a great equaliser and screen filter design will likely dominate the final outcome.

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All of these excuses that Owen is making for Panasonic are a crock. If they can more gradually increase the MLL rise in the 2010 panels then they can do the same for the 2009 panels and make a firmware update available to do this. The misfiring story will apply equally to 2009 and 2010 models!

I am not making excuses mate, just pointing out the obvious. Do you still think a firmware fix is possible without sacrificing reliable panel operation after reading the quote from AVS, or that those “stupid” engineers don't know what they are doing?

Most 2009 models will be approaching the point in life where full drive is now required so why push for a firmware update that wont achieve anything?

Black level will continue to decrease over time once drive stops ramping up.

Don't blame the engineers for marketing decisions.

Edited by Owen

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Do you still think a firmware fix is possible without sacrificing reliable panel operation after reading the quote from AVS, or that those “stupid” engineers don't know what they are doing?

Yes I do think a fix is possible without sacrificing reliable operation after reading the quote on AVS! The 2009 and 2010 panels are very similar.

Don't blame the engineers for marketing decisions.

Fair point.

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I updated my previous post with

“Most 2009 models will be approaching the point in life where full drive is now required so why push for a firmware update that wont achieve anything?

Black level will continue to decrease over time once drive stops ramping up.”

Having a more gradual rise in drive only helps in the first 1000 or so hours, the final drive still needs to be the same in the end and seems to normalise by around 1500 hours.

The more hours you have on a 2009 model the less relevant a firmware update for black level becomes.

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FROM the CNET post by diesel...

However, after being run for what amounts to a small fraction of their expected lifespans, each TV has shown an MLL increase. "Black" on the VT25 went from 0.004 to 0.007 footlamberts (ftl) after 1543 total hours (the equivalent of 297 days at the average daily rate of 5.2 hours), while the G20 increased from 0.007 - 0.012ftl after 2411 total hours (464 days).

<snip>

Despite the near doubling of MLL on the VT25 and G20 we've measured so far, both still exhibit some of the best overall black-level performance available today. In order of "blackest" initial black, the other 2010 plasmas in our Labs at press time included the Samsung PS50C7000 (0.017 MLL), Samsung PN50C8000 (0.019) and LG PX950 (0.030). All these numbers are higher (worse) than our estimated "final" MLL of either Panasonic panel.

I might be some sort of dims**t here, but any reading of the CNET report indicates that even after the blacks have "risen" they are still very much superior to some pretty good competitors. Gees, we are talking some very low numbers here. Nothing like twice the grey level or something even approaching it...

Isn't this a storm in a teacup??????????

For Christ's sake, when I bought my LX508, it was the "best TV ever" then the 9th gen panels came out and everyone started seeing how "flawed" the 508 was. I didn't go around demanding my superseded Kuro fixed so it matched the new panels. Well they couldn't could they, and that's just the nature of improved technologies. If Pana and others just kept delaying production while they developed improvements, nothing new would get to market.

If the 2009 models can easily be fixed with a firmware update, there's a good chance they will. After all, there is a pretty steady flow of updates been coming since devices can be connected to the net these days. If it can't/isn't have the serenity to accept it. I know plenty of people who can't afford a new large screen panel who'd gladly swap places.

Developing new technologies does not come free! And it's been said so many times before on this forum... you can stand back and wait for next year's model when this is sorted out, but then I am enjoying my better panel now.............! Sheesh, what a beat up.

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If they can more gradually increase the MLL rise in the 2010 panels then they can do the same for the 2009 panels and make a firmware update available to do this. The misfiring story will apply equally to 2009 and 2010 models!

The misfiring story applies but it is very possible tweaks were done to other voltages and/or firing timings, not under firmware control. If we had access to detailed service manuals for the 2009 and 2010 sets we would be far better placed to comment on whether 2009 and 2010 sets appear to be engineered the same in relevant parts of the circuitry.

They are a bunch of deceiving and dishonest thieves, who misrepresented the capabilities of their products by delivering something that performs better than their competitors for a short period of its expected life and then performs about the same after the rise (true for 2009 G10).

Engineers would have informed management of the temporary nature of the unusually deep initial black levels technically achievable and might well have recommended this be avoided and that the sets be sold with more ordinary black levels from the start. Management in conjunction with marketing may have rejected such a recommendation. (E.g. "If the public want the deepest of blacks, we will let them have very deep blacks, even if it only temporary. Panasonic will not deny them this.")

Your beef should not be with Panasonic engineers as regards any "deception of the public". Engineers do not issue media releases, or make final calls on the wording of instruction manuals. That is not what they are paid for.

Edited by MLXXX

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Engineers would have informed management of the temporary nature of the unusually deep initial black levels technically achievable and might well have recommended this be avoided and that the sets be sold with more ordinary black levels from the start. Management in conjunction with marketing may have rejected such a recommendation. (E.g. "If the public want the deepest of blacks, we will let them have very deep blacks, even if it only temporary. Panasonic will not deny them this.")

Your beef should not be with Panasonic engineers as regards any "deception of the public". Engineers do not issue media releases, or make final calls on the wording of instruction manuals. That is not what they are paid for.

It has been stated here and other forums that the lion share of the market couldn't give a rats toss bag about MLL. It was deception to those videophiles who thought they were getting a cheap Kuro.

Despite that the marketeers have used this to their advantage.

I saw a Pana commercial last night and it almost made me feel sick in the stomach. There was a black blob on the screen and the voice over was telling the gullible public that Pana plasma's producing deep blacks (the blackest of blacks was the term used)and deep blacks are parallel with a good picture.(this part is true).

What they failed to say is that this was only temporary.

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Why is it that people think Panasonics engineers are stupid?

Because they are :) Why would they go setting the black level lower for the first x hours when they can just set them to the higher black level from the beginning? And why would they go and introduce floating black level after all those previous years of not having it? Seems pretty stupid to me.

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Gees, we are talking some very low numbers here. Nothing like twice the grey level or something even approaching it...

0.004ftL x 2 = 0.008ftL. So we are in fact talking twice the grey level here. At the end of the adjustment the black level will be around 3x the initial. I have seen and measured this happen on a 50PX80 and a 50S10. The increase in black level is definitely noticeable, but only when viewing in a dim environment. During the day or with moderate lighting conditions these small differences in black level will not be noticeable at all.

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I saw a Pana commercial last night and it almost made me feel sick in the stomach. There was a black blob on the screen and the voice over was telling the gullible public that Pana plasma's producing deep blacks (the blackest of blacks was the term used)and deep blacks are parallel with a good picture.(this part is true).

What they failed to say is that this was only temporary.

Was it this one?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L0HJXnAP7V4

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So is the 'normal' black level (after it has finished rising) on Panasonic Plasma's any higher than other manufacturers 'normal' black level?

A risen VT will end up at around 0.010-0.012ftL, whereas the 58/63" C7000's are 0.006-0.009ftL for 60hz, but higher with 50hz (0.014ftL I measured).

I'm more interested to see whether the Samsungs improve in black level as the panel ages (as the theory would suggest) and whether the floating black level on the VT will aggravate the effect of the rise.

There is also some talk of a new firmware improving black levels on the Samsung. ChadB of avsforum updated his review with a new black level measurement: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?p=18455247

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The misfiring story applies but it is very possible tweaks were done to other voltages and/or firing timings, not under firmware control. If we had access to detailed service manuals for the 2009 and 2010 sets we would be far better placed to comment on whether 2009 and 2010 sets appear to be engineered the same in relevant parts of the circuitry.

Engineers would have informed management of the temporary nature of the unusually deep initial black levels technically achievable and might well have recommended this be avoided and that the sets be sold with more ordinary black levels from the start. Management in conjunction with marketing may have rejected such a recommendation. (E.g. "If the public want the deepest of blacks, we will let them have very deep blacks, even if it only temporary. Panasonic will not deny them this.")

Your beef should not be with Panasonic engineers as regards any "deception of the public". Engineers do not issue media releases, or make final calls on the wording of instruction manuals. That is not what they are paid for.

My beef was not with engineers but with Panasonic as a whole. Do you guys pushing the Panasonic barrow so hard, work for them perhaps?

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0.004ftL x 2 = 0.008ftL. So we are in fact talking twice the grey level here.

Semantics... yes, .008 is twice .004 numerically, but we are talking about a bigger scale here where the graduation is infinitesmal overall. Both .004 and .008 are very black. CNET measured .007ftL on the VT BTW. By your own admission most could not tell the difference if there is any light and you can't get no light in your room unless you're watching a video of an underground cave on a moonless cloudy night in the desert! Hell I'm no expert from what I've read on technical sites, .008 is Black as is .02. and much higher. This argument is getting ridiculous. If in cinema parlance a good white is 14ftL then even .012ftL is bloody black.

At the end of the adjustment the black level will be around 3x the initial. I have seen and measured this happen on a 50PX80 and a 50S10. The increase in black level is definitely noticeable, but only when viewing in a dim environment. During the day or with moderate lighting conditions these small differences in black level will not be noticeable at all.

Who says it will be 3 times initial? Has anyone tested the VT that long yet.

A risen VT will end up at around 0.010-0.012ftL, whereas the 58/63" C7000's are 0.006-0.009ftL for 60hz, but higher with 50hz (0.014ftL I measured).

That 60Hz reading on the Samsung is irrelevant. All that matters here is 50Hz.

Finally, what test have you actually performed on a new, partial or fully run in VT20? Most of this thread is conjecture and speculation. Especially the denigration of the engineers and others at Panasonic. I am not going to suggest they could not handle things better... our bloody pollies do a worse job of that! But the BS about what some people here "think" these guys do and say is disgraceful and approaches libel at times. Unfortunately, that is the nature of forums and twitter and so these days. Good, unbiased and objective analysis gets mixed with personal preferences and opinion and guesswork without foundation or evidence.

Heaven forbid, folks looking for balanced reviews and advice. It isn't in this thread. I wonder just how many of the critics here even own a Panasonic????

Here's a thread worth reading...The black level measurements of 2010 Panasonic plasmas compared to the competition

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Both .004 and .008 are very black.

Both are nowhere near black and will glow very brightly in a completely dark room. The numbers might sound small but I assure you that is a lot of light coming off the screen.

Hell I'm no expert from what I've read on technical sites, .008 is Black as is .02. and much higher.

Those black levels are nowhere near eachother. 0.020 is a crap black level. 0.008 is a good black level (but still nowhere near black).

Who says it will be 3 times initial? Has anyone tested the VT that long yet.

Because every year since 2007 they rise 3x. CNet's VT has already risen 2x and Panny says it will rise 1 more step.

Finally, what test have you actually performed on a new, partial or fully run in VT20?

CNet has done all the testing. Of the 2010 models I've only tested a V20 and found the floating black level was highly distracting so that ruled it out of contention right there.

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Quote: I saw a Pana commercial last night and it almost made me feel sick in the stomach.

If your problem is heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach or gas, try MYLANTA®. Find fast, effective relief in a variety of liquid and tablet products ...

You too can become a television engineer. It's free (internet fees & charges excluded)! Just log onto the internet and you'll become an instant expert; qualifications not required...

I love the internet!

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Quote: I saw a Pana commercial last night and it almost made me feel sick in the stomach.

If your problem is heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach or gas, try MYLANTA®. Find fast, effective relief in a variety of liquid and tablet products ...

You too can become a television engineer. It's free (internet fees & charges excluded)! Just log onto the internet and you'll become an instant expert; qualifications not required...

I love the internet!

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That 60Hz reading on the Samsung is irrelevant. All that matters here is 50Hz.

Actually it is relevant . 60hz and those nice mll's can be achieved on the 7000 Sammy plasma's if you turn Cinemasmooth off when watching blu ray. I watch my BR's that way and it looks half decent.

The interesting point is is that Pneu took measurements for the Sammy b4 1000 hours were up and I expect them to get better. He also has owned numerous

Panasonic TV's as well. The black level readings he took on his Pana 2010 series was b4 the 1000 hours were up so the MLL reading will be lower than what the set will achieve.

I was over a mates place and sat to watch a movie on his new 65vt20.One word comes to mind "stunning" and I don't only mean the dark scenes (nearly as good as my Sammy 63 7000. :D )

Seriously this is one stunning set for watching blu ray.

Edited by CC Rider

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Isn't this a storm in a teacup??????????
Apple antennagate?

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Quote: I saw a Pana commercial last night and it almost made me feel sick in the stomach.

If your problem is heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach or gas, try MYLANTA®. Find fast, effective relief in a variety of liquid and tablet products ...

You too can become a television engineer. It's free (internet fees & charges excluded)! Just log onto the internet and you'll become an instant expert; qualifications not required...

I love the internet!

you forgot smart@rse :P

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Most people will find the black level delivered by high end Panasonic or Samsung Plasmas very acceptable and will wonder what all the fuss is about. However videophile types who consider true blacks vital to picture quality (I'm one of them) will only find the blacks on Panasonic's or Samsung's just passable, certainly not up to the standard desired.

Even the famed G9 Kuro with blacks about 10 times darker was still not black enough in a dark room.

If it comes down to choosing between slightly different shades of grey, it doesn't matter much, grey is grey. I would choose a display on other qualities.

Until Samsung, Panasonic or some other manufacturer can deliver at least G9 Kuro blacks in a BIG TV I wont be interested. Hell, I was getting true blacks out of a 57” CRT based display 5 years ago.

Edited by Owen

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Hell, I was getting true blacks out of a 57” CRT based display 5 years ago.

57" CRT... I don't think so!!!

If you are talking 57" rear-pro (usually 3x 7" 4:3 CRT's), their pictures were/are very soft, lacked sharpness & focus, lacked detail, SD res at best, low brightness, critical viewing angle, purity & geommetry issues etc. And videophiles prefer that to a current 55"-58" PDP of any brand flavour? Hmmm it's no wonder they are a dying breed...

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Well as someone who has had plasma tv's ever since the retirment of a 76 cm CRT i would have to say my next purchase might not be a Panasonic or plasma.The balance is tipping towards a led lcd for several reasons for me.They are now delivering better blacks that don't rise,they are cheaper to run,they are thinner and better looking than the current Pana's which are just monstorous and still give an outstanding result with HD content.

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57" CRT... I don't think so!!!

If you are talking 57" rear-pro (usually 3x 7" 4:3 CRT's), their pictures were/are very soft, lacked sharpness & focus, lacked detail, SD res at best, low brightness, critical viewing angle, purity & geommetry issues etc. And videophiles prefer that to a current 55"-58" PDP of any brand flavour? Hmmm it's no wonder they are a dying breed...

Yes I was talking CRT rear projection, that's why I said “CRT based” not CRT.

I was also referring to 1080 models not the old hideously maladjusted SD rear pros that most people are familiar with from pubs and clubs.

Triple gun CRT projection systems are not the sort of thing you can take out of the box, turn on and get a good picture. Setup and alignment from the factory was always poor resulting in most of the problems you mentioned. However a dedicated enthusiast could get remarkable performance out of one if they where prepared to put in the required time and effort. Best performance required a lot more than just playing with some settings in a service menu, it involved disassembly and extensive physical modification to the TV to optimise contrast, sharpness and resolution.

I pioneered a technique to remove overscan and allow more of the CRT's surface area to be used for active display, this significantly improved image sharpness. I posted my CRT shimming technique on AVS and it was applauded as a breakthrough and employed by many enthusiasts with great success.

Obviously this is not the sort of thing the average consumer would be prepared to do or be capable of, so unless you have seen a fully tricked up 1080 HD CRT rear projection TV don't make judgements about performance. At my 2.8 meter viewing distance sharpness and detail where not lacking and the TV thrived on 1080 HD content at a time when flat panel TV's where only 768 lines and used crappy bob deinterlacing for 1080i content. It was good enough to use as a PC monitor at 1080 and I did just that for 2 years.

Brightness was never a problem for my viewing environment, I never used even close to the maximum available light output. For dark room viewing output had to be turned way down to avoid eye strain due to the very high contrast, blacks where true black and bright scenes not limited as with Plasma so on – off contrast ratio was effectively infinite, way better than Plasma.

As for “critical viewing angle”, it is true that off axis viewing was not great, however it was certainly better than LCD/LED. Videophiles only view from directly in front anyway so it was never an issue.

With 117 point convergence and geometry adjustment my 57” Hitachi had excellent purity and virtually perfect geometry, no direct view CRT TV (especially wide screens) could come even remotely close as they don't have the necessary adjustments.

The old 57” Hitachi was definitely not perfect, it was too small for starters. The extensively modified 70” SXRD that replaced it is better in every way except black level and contrast ratio. Unfortunately with some content real blacks and high contrast ratio make a BIG difference and I don't want to buy another TV for critical viewing that does not deliver true blacks.

Unless Panasonic and Samsung can lift the game for Plasma local dimming LCD may be the way of the future, although no manufacture seems to be serious about delivering that technology either.

Maybe 2011 will bring something BIG and exciting, but I'm not holding my breath.

Edited by Owen

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Guys, girls, whoever.

I heard about this issue about 9 months ago and paid no attention to it.

Well I haven't used my 2008 series Panasonic plasma (much) for about 6 months, but I just fired it up tonight to watch Jonah Hex (avoid it) and the movie was near unwatchable, it was the kind of picture I'd expect from an LCD. I played the same movie back on my Desktop PC monitor (Dell 2408) and the dark scenes were much better than my Panasonic, I can't even believe I'm typing that.

It is really, really bad - I was hoping it was just my eyes but it's just downright awful, is there anything I can do at all? I paid for an extended warranty but as it's over 2 years and with a 3'rd party company, I can't see it being a quick and easy process convincing them this is a major fault, especially considering the kind of retail service we get here, compared to say the states.

Comments, thoughts? I'm pretty pissed off.

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