AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: May 2008
Location: San Francisco - East Bay area
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 188 Post(s)
Be aware that it looks like this year is the last year for Panasonic plasma TVs... no more will be made next year.
There is an issue with Panasonic plasmas that annoys a lot of owners... the TV may appear to have great black levels (very dark) when new (in the "better" product lines like VT and ZT series especially but this issue also affects the lower priced lines also). But over time, Panasonic slowly raises the black level so the blacks are not as black as they were when the TV was new. How fast does this happen and how far does it go? Nobody is saying exactly how much luminance blacks gain with, say, 50,000 hours on the panel, but there is evidence that the black levels begin to rise in the 1000-2000 hours of use range... increments have gotten smaller but, presumably, are more frequent. Early on the jumps were large enough tor owners to detect fairly easily. This annoys a lot of owners who purchased Panasonic only because the blacks were blacker than Samsung or LG models. Samsung and LG start out with blacks that are not as dark as Panasonic blacks for comparable models, but Samsung and LG do not appear to raise the black levels over the life of the TV.
Then there's the issue of brightness limiting... if you display a very small 100% white square in the center of a plasma screen and measure it at 40 foot-Lamberts, then switch to a pattern that fills the entire screen with 100% white, you will measure only about 15-17 foot-Lamberts because of brightness limiting to reduce electricity use and heat generation in the panel. You cannot turn that off. It is part of plasma technology. LCD TVs do not do that. Fortunately, it's not particularly obvious when viewing typical content. But hockey fans and winter Olympics fans find the nearly all-white screens tend to look dull, especially compared to LCD. On the other hand, LCD TVs don't do motion quite as well as plasma, and sitting off center when viewing an LCD TV causes blacks to turn gray and whites to get dimmer, so the best seats in the house are directly on-center with an LCD panel while a plasma looks good from any angle. It's a technological conundrum that there's no easy answer to. People think OLED (organic LED rather than inorganic LEDs that we all know and love) might be the solution, but I wonder... things that are inorganic tend not to decompose or degrade over decades of use. But we all know that everything organic has a shelf-life... organic things "decay" much faster than inorganic (i.e. mineral based) things. Will that be true for OLED TVs? Nobody is saying, and I can't even recall hearing or reading of that question being asked of manufacturers who are considering OLED video displays.
The plasma arena, after this year, will have only Samsung and LG unless either of those have decided to quit plasma also.
"Movies is magic..." Van Dyke Parks
THX -- ISF -- HAA