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Breakdown of Panasonic Black Level Issue

by Martin

The problem involves Plasma TVs having premature heightening of black levels. These heightened black levels will cause an effected Panasonic Plasma model to gradually loose its inky blacks and in just a 600 to 1000 plus hours of viewing to produce grayer pictures instead of the inky blacks that Panasonic advertises on it’s TV and print media.

Those gorgeous dark scenes on a movie such as “The Dark Knight” will gradually go away and one will be left with a picture that is no better and than your average LCD TV.

Panasonic has tried to sweep this whole thing under the carpet. There strategy is not unlike Toyota. If few enough people complain, then maybe they can just ignore the issue. They feel that the average person will not be able to see the difference in black level.

This however is no consolation for the thousands of Home Theater enthusiast who plumped down an average of $1500 or more for these sets because they felt they were getting a Plasma TV with superior picture quality - including black levels for the majority of ownership.

Most intelligent purchasers of plasma TV’s' understand that over time picture brightness along with black levels will heighten/diminish.

Right now Plasmas are being rated at 60,000 hours. This is around 6 to 7 years or roughly 2500 days (based on average household viewing). You expect that the Black levels on plasmas will diminish over time, BUT NOT AFTER 600 - 1500 hours worth of use.

And for those of you who are saying that you own different/older model plasmas, these are the models at issue… NeoPDP (S1/G10/G15/V10

Panasonic has already admitted that they designed their plasma sets to incorporate an automatic control which adjusts internal voltage at predetermined intervals. This will heighten black levels over time which will eventually stabilize. Never the less, the set will not be as black as when your first purchased it.

Panasonic does not PLAN to address this issue.

Many purchasers of these Panasonic Plasma sets did so because they wanted superior blacks. Whether inky blacks are inferred is just splitting hairs. Purchasers expect these superior blacks to be present for many years, NOT JUST A FEW THOUSAND HOURS!

Example: If 1 guy goes into a Chevy dealership and Purchases a Corvette, he does so with the expectation of high performance superior to that of most vehicles on the road.

The buyer assumes that the car will have the capacity to travel at high speeds for sustained periods of time spanning years. He does not expect that the Corvette after only a few months to a year of hard driving will be limited to only 85-95 mph. Most any vehicle on the road can do that. Likewise, most any LCD can display average or better than average blacks. LED's can display very good blacks; but they are not supposed to be superior to Plasma blacks!

I have not seen ANY Panasonic marketing or advertising that states their plasmas will display superior blacks for only a few thousand hours and then stabilize. I challenge anyone to find verifiable advertising that states this.


Comments for Breakdown of Panasonic Black Level Issue

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Oct 12, 2010
Updated in Panasonic black levels
by: Tommy RI

I was reading the complaints at AVS this morning and it became apparent that those seeing big black level rises tampered with the calibration of the TV. That voids the warranty, which could explain why many did not report the problem.

Here is there calibration tamper guide.

This file on AVS forum gave instructions how to tamper with the factory calibration, the very same place where people are complaining about massive black level rises.
"In this step, we will be entering the SM in order to apply the calibration offsets.""

As one poster repeatedly pointed out...

Something to the effect that it could have inflated the intended rise to a much higher level.

warranty void by
1 alteration,
2 set-up adjustments,
3 mis-adjustment of consumer controls,
4 modification,
5 and service by anyone other than a FACTORY SERVICE CENTER or other AUTHORIZED SERVICE".

There could be a reason why many people outside of that forum are happy and see no problems with their plasmas.

Jun 07, 2010
V10 gray market Plasma
by: Bill Gray

I agree! As an owner of a 8 month old 50v10, I am already noticing elevated black-levels. So, I simply paid extra $$$ for a few months of superior performance?

That's absurd! This issue was known before I purchased my set. I should have been told upfront. I bought based on a CNET review and the key factor was black-level performance.

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