NHL 13 and P50GT50 (or any plasma, if I'm not mistaken) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 01:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Just got a P50GT50, which I really like other than one simple fact - NHL 13, my most played Xbox 360 game, looks TERRIBLE on it. The screen full of white ice causes the plasma's ABL (auto-brightness limiter) to kick in, turning everything grey, players included. Cut scenes and menus look vibrant and sharp (less white on the screen), but gameplay...yuck. I've tried everything I can think of, settings-wise, on both the TV and Xbox to try and amend the situation, but to no avail. The oddest it part is that I've scoured the net assuming others faced this problem, and found one other person who posted something similar to it on the EA forums, but his "solution" wasn't helpful to me.

I understand why ABL exists, I just don't understand why it's not mentioned more frequently as a detraction to plasma technology. It seems people hardly notice it or care, with most over at the EA forums saying NHL looks great on their plasma. I know for a fact that ABL is a trait of plasmas, otherwise I'd think my set is faulty.

...and I understand ice in hockey arenas isn't actually a blinding white, and don't mind as much that hockey on TV with this plasmas appears more natural, this is solely about the game. Any help would be much appreciated!
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post #2 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 09:22 AM
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Why don't use just turn the auto-brightness feature off?

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post #3 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 09:29 AM - Thread Starter
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It's a plasma...ABL is built into it. I've disabled any auto features that I could, but there's too much white on the screen during the game, so it's dimming the contrast on its own and there's nothing I can do about it apparently.
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post #4 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Here are a few comparison shots to show what I'm talking about with ABL kicking in in NHL on Xbox 360. Granted, these are really crude shots taken with my camera phone, but I'm borderline desperate here and this should give a general idea;





Ignore the settings in the second pic as I was randomly tinkering around hoping something would magically work (I started with "out of box/pre calibration" settings I found from either D-Nice or Black Ops, can't recall), but notice when I hit the menu button, less white is taken up on the screen, so the right side lights up nicely. Now, I could live with the dimmer ice, but the ABL drowns out details in the players by lowering the contrast ratio. In the second shot, notice that the player lights up and details on his jersey can be more easily made out.

I've asked around and the consensus is that NHL looks great on plasmas, some even playing on ST50/GT50's. I can't buy how that's possible if their image looks like mine.
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post #5 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 10:16 AM
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The Panasonic GT50's auto-brightness setting is called C.A.T.S. and it can be turned off in the user menus. Menu -> Picture -> CATS.

Also, if you change the picture mode to Custom it will automatically turn CATS off. You'll have to adjust the picture manually from there.

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post #6 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 10:23 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm on Custom (as you can see) and CATS is off. What I'm speaking of is not due to an option that can be changed.
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post #7 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 10:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerminallyOdd View Post

I'm on Custom (as you can see) and CATS is off. What I'm speaking of is not due to an option that can be changed.

Well, then whatever you're seeing isn't due to an auto-brightness adjustment. Something else is going on. Have you tried turning AGC off? Those are the only 2 settings that should automatically do something like what you're describing.

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post #8 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
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All plasmas have an ABL built into them. It's part of the technology;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHndICrpxqs
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post #9 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerminallyOdd View Post

All plasmas have an ABL built into them. It's part of the technology;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rHndICrpxqs

I'm not saying it doesn't have it, I'm saying that on the Panasonics it can be turned off.

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post #10 of 16 Old 12-10-2012, 11:34 AM - Thread Starter
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There is no on/off feature controlling this, at least not in the user menu. I've been at it for days.

Do you have a plasma? Yours doesn't do what the video shows?
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post #11 of 16 Old 12-11-2012, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Just a couple of more pics, showing what I mean by ABL.





Does anyone else's game on a plasma look like Picture 1?
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post #12 of 16 Old 12-11-2012, 02:56 AM
 
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"I'm not saying it doesn't have it, I'm saying that on the Panasonics it can be turned off."

You are entirely missing the point. CATS and ABL are two different things. CATS is dynamic contrast, a user adjustable setting that is intended to increase perceived contrast at the expense of overall image quality. ABL is a hardware limiter built in to prevent drawing too much amperage from the power supply, killing the power supply in the process. Auto Brightness Limiters can not be turned off by the end user.

"Just a couple of more pics, showing what I mean by ABL."

Throughout my three plasmas, I have very rarely run in to the ABL, and never after doing a proper calibration on them. I notice your Contrast is at 85, and I immediately question that. Contrast controls how bright whites are, and therefore how quickly you will run in to the ABL. On my previous plasma, which was Panasonic, I ran Contrast in the 60 range and never noticeably bumped in to the ABL. Also, what temperature mode are you running in? Warm or Normal is pretty normal, and I wouldn't be surprised to find that running in Cool makes the rather blue ice extremely noticeable in ABL moments.

Your Sharpness is also cranked up way too high. 0 is likely the "off" point, and around 15 is where you will probably find perceived sharpness improvements at viewing distance without over-sharpened artifacts. Back in post #4 you say:

"Now, I could live with the dimmer ice, but the ABL drowns out details in the players by lowering the contrast ratio. In the second shot, notice that the player lights up and details on his jersey can be more easily made out."

You'll also notice in that seconds shot that the player has a nice glowing halo around him. This is due to Sharpness being cranked up to ridiculous levels. When ABL kicks in, that halo reduces in presence leaving you with the impression that the image is less sharp. In actuality, the less sharp image is more correct, but the human visual subsystem is super-easy to trick with things like over-sharpening.

You need to go back to calibration basics, get used to a properly calibrated set, then play the hockey game. A properly setup display is a lot dimmer than people think it should be, but after a day or two of use, you'll notice that things are actually a lot more film-like and natural. You'll also notice that cranking Sharpness down to 0-15 A) reveals a lot of detail that over-sharpening artifacts hide and B) makes aliasing a lot less pronounced on the current consoles as high contrast lines now don't have a halo highlighting them drawing attention.
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post #13 of 16 Old 12-11-2012, 03:05 AM
 
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Go back to post #4 and look at your two images again. Look at the black circles on the white ice. Notice how in your brighter image it goes "white ice - bright white line - black line - bright white line - white ice". Look at your dimmer ABL image. Notice how it goes "white ice - faint halo - black line - faint halo - white ice". The dimmer image is still wrong, but not by nearly the degree. The game is rendering "white ice - black line - white ice". Your display should not be trying to add in detail to the rendered image. Anywhere that the display is artificially adding in sharpness like that is where the display is actively destroying detail.

Without getting Sharpness under control, you can not accurately judge anything related to detail. Once you correct Sharpness, then you can start working on correcting Contrast and avoiding the ABL.
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post #14 of 16 Old 12-11-2012, 03:39 AM
 
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In an effort to help further, I skimmed your post history real quick. The common thread I see is that you keep using terms like "pop" and "vibrant". These are traits that point to everything that is wrong with modern displays, as they are initially set up to look as bright and appealing next to their cheap neighbors at the Best Buy. A display set up to pop and be vibrant has little regard for an image that looks correct. My best recommendation? Calibrate for correct, hate it for a day, get used to it over a week, and then forever wonder how you've spent the last decade looking at such terrible popping, vibrant displays. "Correct" is better than "vibrant".

If you have no interest in "correct" and instead insist on an image that "pops", then return your plasma and buy an LCD. That display technology has it's own host of problems, but at least it will look wrong in the way that you want it to look wrong.

I'll end this with a little story: Every time we get a new plasma the first words out of the girl's mouth are almost always "Oh wow, it's so much brighter than the last one!". I then remind her that it's still set up to look as good as possible on the Best Buy floor, and it will be much dimmer over the next couple of days as I dial it in. That night she usually complains "Gah, this new one is way too bright. I'm going blind over here!" as it takes a couple of days to figure out exactly where I want the display to ride in it's settings.

Here's the best part. Every time she comes back from a friend's house that she has watched a movie at she talks mad-trash about their display. "Jesus, dude. It was too bright, all the shadows were bright gray, the actors were tomatoes, and everything had a blue tinge to it. It was hard to not grab the remote and start fiddling with crap to at least make it look acceptable." Yes, even people that don't care about TV settings at all vastly prefer "correct" once they actually know what correct looks like. wink.gif
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post #15 of 16 Old 12-11-2012, 07:56 AM
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When a plasma's screen is showing mostly whites, they will get dimmed to gray. it's part of the tech, and no screen options can change that, though the screen shots above look terrible.
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post #16 of 16 Old 12-11-2012, 10:19 AM - Thread Starter
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First off, much thanks to those taking the time to try and help me out. I appreciate it...

Anyway, the settings you see in Pic 2 are my attempts to (over-)compensate for the blatant ABL that's happening. You see, as I'm sure you know, ABL dims the WHOLE screen, not just the white. The players thus become less distinguishable from the ice, hence why I tried cranking the sharpness to see what might stick. Wrong approach, sure, but I'm trying anything I can....as for this being due to my skewed personal tastes, my cable and blu-ray inputs are calibrated according to D-Nice's out of box settings, and all is well with that. I'm really happy with the more natural image they provide. If I wasn't, this TV would be back in the box already.

Sure, I can prevent ABL from happening, or being so obvious...if I turn the contrast and brightness down to 50. But this is a video game, and that's the issue here. Is natural color really what we're going for? Fine, even if I buy that argument, does the low contrast ABL pic really look natural color/brightness-wise (sharpness aside)? Does that contrast look acceptable? That's as bright as I can possibly get it, and it's obviously dark. That's the contrast cranked up, but the TV is deciding to turn it down and dim the image. I'm pretty sure this goes beyond personal preference and training one's eye to accept a more natural image.
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