I purchased a Kuro Elite 151FD, open box from Best Buy in January of this year. The panel had display issues, and was replaced under warranty by Best Buy/Pioneer. They ended up replacing the entire panel, since there were no more 151FDs available.
I noticed the new panel was a -lot- brighter than the old panel, and that darks were a bit bright, but I hoped calibration would resolve this issue.
In May this year, I had UMR (Jeff Meier) of Accucal HD come by and do a calibration on the set. He measured the contrast ratio at ~11,000:1 after calibration, and his light meter readings showed the set was 3x brighter than it should be; there was no way to fix it.
I called Pioneer and asked them if there was anything they needed to change in service mode. They sent a tech by who supposedly was an expert - I showed him the glow of the screen with no content on it, and he agreed it was not correct. After 3 hours of him fumbling through his manual and changing one setting, we both agreed that there was no change in the glow of the set. He shrugged and said, "I'll have to get back in touch with you and see if there is anything else we can change."
He never did.
I emailed him asking for status and received this response:
I spoke with Pioneer yesterday, and explained to them what I had performed in adjusting the panel voltage, since it is a new panel.
What was performed is what is done after replacing a new KURO panel.
Pioneer sees no further action to be taken in this matter. Pioneer doesn't believe that there is a problem.
You may still choose to contact Pioneer customer service.
A problem clearly remains. The black level of my Kuro is unacceptably high. If it was a cheap, uncalibrated no-name LCD, fine, but this is a Kuro Elite. I went to Pioneer, who informed me that their decision was that the set was okay, and there was no more work to be done.
I asked if they had light meter readings. "No." I asked if they had anything scientific to show that the set was in or out of spec. "No." They based this opinion solely on the opinion of a contractor who admittedly had NEVER been into the service mode to adjust for a new panel before. I appealed to management.
Management took nearly a month to get back to me. Their response is that, once again, they believe the set is fine. In their opinion, they are doing me a favor by even letting me appeal; they plan on sending the same rep out to look at the screen and see if it is "within spec" and refused to divulge any tools they'd use, or if it would just be subjective. They continue to insist that they believe the set is fine, in spite of Jeff Meier's readings (and what you can plainly see), and act as though they owe me nothing, in spite of nearly 1.5 years of warranty remaining on the set.
I plan on recording Pioneer's Tech's visit to my home/evaluation of the set, to post here so that fellow Plasma enthusiasts can see the type of evaluations that Pioneer does, and what, if any tools are used.
For those curious, my calibration report is available here: www.lionsblade.com/kurocal.pdf
Any advice/suggestions are appreciated. It's a poor precedent to permit a company that makes(made) enthusiast-level displays to decide whether or not a display is within "specs" without divulging the supposed specs, or even performing any sort of scientific evaluation, especially when it comes to something as sensitive, and in my case, expensive as black level on a TV named "Black Elite." A monitor like this isn't a small investment, and as-is, my panel is worth nothing to an enthusiast since it doesn't do the one thing every Plasma enthusiast expects.
Thanks for reading.