Forgive me if this has a dedicated thread already but I was not able to find one. I'd like to start a discussion about the poor upscaling quality of the 2012 Panasonic plasmas, commonly known as the "oil painting" effect, which seems to have been largely ignored and completely overlooked by all reviews. It's present whenever a 2012 Panasonic Plasma* receives a signal below 1080p and is left to upscale the video itself. What I can only assume is an attempt to mask the lower quality, the television's upconverter applies what best resembles the "Median" filter found in Adobe Photoshop. The result looks extremely similar to this mockup I created, although I've obviously overdramatized the issue here (be sure to enlarge):
From what I've been told, this issue is apparent on the UT50, ST50, GT50, and likely the VT50 (unconfirmed), regardless of manufacturing date (my ST50 suffers this issue and was manufactured November 2012). If you're not seeing the issue, it's either because you're not viewing any sources below 1080p or you're sitting too far away to notice. If your set top boxes or audio receiver upscales video content to 1080p before sending it to the television, you will not see the issue. An xBox 360 will not show the issue as it internally scales all content to 1080p (if that is your resolution setting), but a PS3 will show the issue (unless your audio receiver upscales the image) as most games output at a 720p signal. Broadcast television from cable or antenna via the coaxial jack will show this issue with 720p and SD channels. First and second-generation Apple TV's, which only operate at 720p, will suffer from this issue (again, unless your receiver is upscaling beforehand). You can confirm what kind of signal your Panasonic is receiving by pressing the "info" button on the remote during playback.
My questions are: what can be done about this and why aren't people making a bigger stink over it? I can only assume it's because there are very few of us viewing 720p signals with enough proximity to notice or care about the horrendous picture quality (I sit 6.5ft from my 50" plasma and it's painfully apparent). I'm accustomed to Samsung's fantastic upconverting in the PN50B650 plasma I previously owned, which made 720p content virtually indistinguishable from 1080p content. My number one 720p source is my Apple TV, which looked flawless on the Samsung, but with the Panasonic ST50 I would have to shell out another $99 for the 3rd-Generation 1080p Apple TV to get acceptable picture quality. But for PS3 owners without a receiver that upscales 720p content, there's no solution apart from returning a 2012 Panasonic Plasma for something else. Which, if I were a PS3 owner, is exactly what I would do.
Has anyone discussed this issue with Panasonic? Are they aware of the issue? Doing anything to improve matters with a firmware update? Thanks for the discussion!
*I've confirmed the issue on my ST50 and read of its existence on the UT50 and GT50; if anyone can confirm one way or the other with the VT50 that'd be great.