Panasonic DVD-S97 Firmware Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2153 Old 01-26-2005, 01:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Panasonic DVD-S97 firmware discussion thread.

For discussion of S97 firmware for both "528+" and "360+" series.

General S97 discussion can be directed to this thread:


http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...92#post4569192

BREAKING NEWS!!!!!!

NOTE: Panasonic S97 macroblock enhance issue and "pink tint" apparently partially addressed with firmware.

If you have a Panasonic DVD-S97 get the serial number off the case and note the firmware number by:

Press and hold on the player the buttons "PAUSE" + "OPEN" and press the "7" button on the remote. The full version will be displayed on the florescent read out and the last 3 numbers on the right is the version number.

Beaware that there are two manufacturing series: Sept 2004 - Mar 2005 "528" or
April 2005 - present "360".

Panasonic Factory Method:

If the firmware is prior to 85E536 or 86H362 call Panasonic and get a case number now before the 90 day labor warranty expires. Panasonic may be reached at these numbers:

USA customers/owners : 1-800-211-7262

CANADA customers/owners : (905) 624-5505
Panasonic Canada Customer Care: CustomerCare@ca.panasonic.com

Eastern Canada:

Panasonic Toronto Factory Servicentre
5770 Ambler Drive
Mississauga ON L4W 2T3
Phone: 905 624-8447

Western Canada:

Panasonic BC Factory Service Center
12111 Riverside Way
Richmond, BC
V6W 1K8
Phone: (604) 278-4211

Request a fix for "picture noise" and "macroblocking". Request firmware 85E536, 85E540, 85E540 or 85H362 depenenging upon the S97 build. Be certain a case number is given and save it.

DIY:

Be aware that performing a firmware update involves risk. That risk includes entire loss of the player and all warranties. The entire risk is assumed by the user. At the present time there is no method to revert to a previous fix level.

PAL users:


There may still be issues with 50/60Hz conversion and pans with 540 so please be aware before upgrading to 540. We have no method to revert to a previous level.

For PAL users that have firmware version 540 (thanks to Aquila_BE):

There is no need to downgrade the firmware of the s97 back to 536 to get rid of the pixel drop bug in 750p mode! I have firmware 540 and I am playing PAL movies without the pixel drop in 750p mode!

The only thing you have to do is go to the Setup menu of your s97, go to the 'Video' tab and set 'Convert from PAL' to 525 (480)p/60Hz (which is NTSC).

Also set 'NTSC disc output' to NTSC in stead of PAL60.

That's all, the pixel drop bug is now gone. And I can see no loss in picture quality playing a PAL movie being converted to NTSC.

541 & 362 Available!!!!!! (thanks to KinoJoe):

541 & 362 location:
http://www.mechwollier.de/pana_s97/DVDPUPDT.FRM

The upgrade tutorial for the 540 works fine.

This firmware now includes the 362 update for the later build S97 "360" line of firmware.

Be aware that the S97 will revert to factory default settings. Make note of any custom settings as they will be erased.

Reports are that the "pixel drop" problem is fixed but I haven't seen anything fixed or improved. Macroblock enhance is still present and appears to be unaffected and the zoom feature has the same mediocre picture quality.

540 Available!!!!!! (thanks to LiteUp! and Sango):

540 upgrade tutorial (read the bottom of the page!!!!): http://home.comcast.net/~home_theate...re_upgrade.htm

Sango:

Update released officialy on 18, I recieved on the 24th. Two things need to be considered. The update was just received on 2/24/2005 (edit) and Panasonic doesn't document what they fix. (Sango)

Preliminary impressions:

Paul:

540 installed with no problems. I think this is a worthy upgrade to 536. With initial viewing the problems seen with random, false light color tint with black and white material and low level color is virutally eliminated. Big step forward. There might be a sight half-step back with macroblock enhance of the "fade up from black screen" variety. Zoom does not appear to be any better or worse. The player does revert to default settings when the update is done.

It does appear that settings (other than those on the main setup menu) are now not saved when power is removed and will revert to factory defaults. Example: if HDMI output is set for 1080i and power is removed then power reinstated HDMI output is now 480p. Affects the USER settings as well. Turning the player on and off does not affect the settings. Disconnecting power will.

Update: Tried plugging and unplugging the S97 again and no problem -- the configured settings held. Nothing on the S97 was changed -- did not re-flash. Can't explain it.

There are some reports of loss of sharpness. I have not noticed any.

I am pleased with 540.

LiteUp!:

I just did a quick check on 2 things. The Incorrect Progressive Flags issue in Auto2 mode is still there (no problem in Auto1). The Layer Change appears to be the same as 536....just under 1 second. I ran another quick test this morning. The 2-2 Cadence Film Flags test still fails in Auto1 mode only (Auto2 is OK). 2-2 Cadence is only used in European films. I have some foreign films so I stay in Auto2 mode. It pretty much looks like this firmware update is to only address the pink tint issue to black and white scenes and MB. As Paul reports, it basically looks like the pink issue is now totally fixed. MB tests still remain...and I can't really do them because I don't have any MB with my display at all. To me, 540 is starting to look like 536 with the slight pinkness fixed. We need more input on MB testing from all of you out there with your various displays. Time to chime in guys and gals!

85E540 S97 Summary so far...

Things fixed:
1.) Layer Change pause reduction [[same as 536, about .9 sec.]]
2.) Player responsiveness increase [[appears same as 536, nice and quick.]]
3.) Recovery Time improvement [[same as 536]]. This can be seen on the Galaxy Quest intro. and the Faroudja test disc using the diagonal moving box and lines test.
4.) 3-2 Cadence Video Flags passes in Auto1 and Auto2 modes (Galaxy Quest intro using the planet fly-by scene, the 3-2 film pulldown is grabbed even quicker now). [[Same as 536.]]
5.) Film grain/MPEG background noise reduction (edge enhancement reduction in 720p and 1080i over HDMI). [[Looks the same as 536 to me.]]
6.) MB reduction for people that are experiencing it, although there is no way to quantitatively measure this. MB is not present with all displays. I don't have any MB with my Sanyo PLV-Z2 720p LCD projector. I checked some new Anime clips from Sango and one clip he posted a link to on the Forum (Geneon intro). I had no MB at all with my Sanyo Z2 display at 720p/HDMI. I compared this to my XP30, it looked the same (MB-wise).
7.) I can now set my brightness to 0 (instead of +1 with 85E528) to get perfect BTB using DVE (I am running in 720p over HDMI/DVI). [[Same as 536, 0 is perfect using DVE.]]
8.) Pink tint reduction in black and white scenes, though some may still be seeing a small amount of pinkness, I don't think I am seeing it on my display. [[I can't see any pinkness with 540 using DVE test patterns for BTB, grayscale, etc.]]

Things still not fixed:
1.) Incorrect Progressive Flags test still fails in Auto2 mode only (strange since other FL2310-based players don't have this problem, so this is easily fixable via firmware, and the problem is not present in Auto1 mode). [[Still fails in 540.]]
2.) 2-2 Cadence Film Flags test still fails in Auto1 mode only. [[Still fails in v540.]]
3.) Picture fuzzy when using the Zoom feature in the player. [[Still the same in 540.]]
4.) Panasonic, can you start posting firmware updates on your website?

From what I can tell (and Paul's/Sango's comments as well), it looks like they removed any traces of pink tint in B&W material and more MB improvements for 540. It's like a fine-tuned version of 536.

536 Summary and download (thanks to LiteUp!):

536 may be downloaded here:

http://home.comcast.net/~home_theate...are_update.zip

Read the 540 tutorial (above) for instructions:

Things fixed:
1.) Layer Change pause reduction (down to 0.94 sec. from 1.5 sec.).
2.) Player responsiveness increase (MUCH quicker chapter skips, menu navigation, and disc reads upon tray closing).
3.) Recovery Time improvement (much quicker switching between film and video modes on the fly). This can be seen on the Galaxy Quest intro. and the Faroudja test disc using the diagonal moving box and lines test.
4.) 3-2 Cadence Video Flags passes in Auto1 and Auto2 modes (Galaxy Quest intro using the planet fly-by scene, the 3-2 film pulldown is grabbed even quicker now).
5.) Film grain/MPEG background noise reduction (edge enhancement reduction in 720p and 1080i over HDMI).
6.) MB reduction for people that are experiencing it, although there is no way to quantitatively measure this. MB is not present with all displays. I don't have any MB with my Sanyo PLV-Z2 720p LCD projector.
7.) I can now set my brightness to 0 (instead of +1 with 85E528) to get perfect BTB using DVE (I am running in 720p over HDMI/DVI).
8.) Pink tint reduction in Black and White scenes, though some may still be seeing a small amount of pinkness, I don't think I am seeing it on my display.

Things still not fixed:
1.) Incorrect Progressive Flags test still fails in Auto2 mode only (strange since other FL2310-based players don't have this problem, so this is easily fixable via firmware, and the problem is not present in Auto1 mode).
2.) 2-2 Cadence Film Flags test still fails in Auto1 mode only.
3.) Picture fuzzy when using the Zoom feature in the player.
4.) Can we get the Layer Change down to 1 sec. or less?
5.) Panasonic, can we start getting firmware updates for this player through the front door...instead of the back door? How about a firmware update site with release notes for each version?

Just unzip the file and burn the .frm file to a CDROM disk as you would a normal data file. (Make sure the player is connected to a display. edit) Put it in the player and answer the first question it asks (Do you want to update?) as a YES, then sit back and wait about 5 minutes. You'll see some strange stuff on the screen while it is updating and resetting. It will tell you when it is finished and successful on the front display after it reboots when done. DO NOT TURN IT OFF IN THE MIDDLE OF THE UPDATE.

It's that easy. I would write down all of your settings in the player you want to keep. Part of the update process is to reset everything in the player to factory defaults, so you'll have to go back in and set it to Auto2, 720p, Normal/User mode, etc. for example. Factory default is 480i mode.

This update file is dated Dec. 17, 2004, so it was compiled very close to that date. Also, newer players that recently shipped with a January build date all seem to have 85E536 already installed. The build date of your S97 is stamped in the rear panel's right side.

Thanks: Sango, LiteUp!, Aquila_BE
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post #2 of 2153 Old 01-26-2005, 02:14 PM
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(this post has now changed to bump... Mission accomplished!!)
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post #3 of 2153 Old 01-26-2005, 02:46 PM
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I live in Ontario, Canada and they stated that I would have to drive to Panasonic HQ in Mississauga if I wanted the firmware updated. Cost is obviously on them. I do not know what plans they have for persons in Canada not in that area.
It will not be covered if you go to any other authourized dealer. Done for free at headquarters only.
FYI for Canadians.
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post #4 of 2153 Old 01-26-2005, 02:57 PM
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Has anyone in the US received information on when or if this update will be done. I have made many calls and even have a case number but I can't get answers.
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post #5 of 2153 Old 01-26-2005, 03:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Sango!

Done!

I wish we had more info for the USA. Will just keep plugging away....

Paul
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post #6 of 2153 Old 01-27-2005, 11:33 AM
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Made the call this morning. Panasonic USA told me they had no word of any maroblocking issues or a firmware change to fix it. They wouldn't even log a case number for me.
They referred me to their 'local' authorized repair shop. She said they knew nothing of the firmware upgrade, but feel free to bring it in. I asked again, to which she replied, "Bring it in and well take a look at it." They just want the service money. They had zero clue as to what I was talking about and had no intention of researching it before I brought the unit in. Bummer. I am not going to bring it in there for it just to sit on their shelf. Anybody know any knowledgeable shops in the S.F. bay area?

Thx,
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post #7 of 2153 Old 01-27-2005, 12:05 PM
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I made a call to Panasonic USA a minutes ago regarding the macroblocking problem, and the operator is quite ignorant about it. She told me to buy another model!

I will wait until I can download a firmware update on this forum, because I could no longer trust Panasonic USA.

If Panasonic is unable to fix the macroblocking problem, perhaps a class-action lawsuit may work.
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post #8 of 2153 Old 01-27-2005, 01:56 PM
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Paul: Were you able to find out what the service center is doing with your machine, even though they do not have the new firmware?
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post #9 of 2153 Old 01-27-2005, 02:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Nope. I don't know what they're doing with it. Won't know until *maybe* Friday at the earliest. More likely until Tuesday or Wednesday. This issue might be something the servicers know but the Level 1 phone support do not. I have no idea.

Since it is Panasonic's desired method to have the unit "brought in". I'm doing just that to see what happens. The servicer may have to be resourceful and do "investigation" and wait for "callbacks" from the Panasonic techs that Panasonic hires to help techs out in the field. If the servicer replys with "no firmware update", I'm going to quiz the methods used to determine that answer and push for further investigation.

I think Penton-Man and myself are being the "guniea pigs" here in the USA.

Or, maybe it will be all a simple matter and get updated quickly!

Paul
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post #10 of 2153 Old 01-27-2005, 02:44 PM
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Well, I am out the entire next week to Vegas & Phoenix! My warranty runs out on 2/10. Will have about 4 days after I come back to catchup on your & Penton-man's updates and shall make the decision then. Wish me luck! And thanks for being the guniea pigs.
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post #11 of 2153 Old 01-27-2005, 03:01 PM
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Yesterday I reported in the main S97 thread that I was seeing a clearer 480i signal enabling me to reduce sharpness to it's properly calibrated level on my system of -5 with inducing eyestrain as it had before. Since the only change to the system since the upgrade is slightly different cord and cable positioning I figured this improvement may be due to the firmware possibly tweaking the 480i in along with the Faroudja chip to reduce the artifact. Well, assuming this change in clarity is in fact reality it definitely is not due the firmware upgrade.

I emailed Panasonic for more info on the upgrade, particularly which chip(s) it effects and they indicated the macroblocking firmware is for the Faroudja chip only and does not affect the interlaced signal.
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post #12 of 2153 Old 01-27-2005, 03:27 PM
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The faroudja isn't utilized in 480i at all as far as I know.
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post #13 of 2153 Old 01-27-2005, 04:47 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by nothru22
The faroudja isn't utilized in 480i at all as far as I know.

That's correct, 480i is straight off the MPEG decoder. Though the Faroudja is causing the problem, after I unexpectedly perceived a clearer image from 480i I felt that possibly the firmware fix may have tweaked both the 480i signal and the Faroudja in tandem. Not so.
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post #14 of 2153 Old 01-28-2005, 06:54 AM
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Has anyone had any success in the US or any other country other than Canada.

If anyone around the world gets their firmware updated, please try to get a copy of the new firmware. It is amazing that Panasonic will not admit that the
new firmware even exits in the US.
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post #15 of 2153 Old 01-28-2005, 08:51 AM
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Also posted in S97S brain dump:

Panasonic Calgary Factory Service Centre
6835-8th St. N.E.
Calgary, AB, Canada
T2E 7H7
Ph: 403-295-3955
Fax: 403-274-5493
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post #16 of 2153 Old 01-28-2005, 09:24 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by leaguer1leafs
I live in Ontario, Canada and they stated that I would have to drive to Panasonic HQ in Mississauga if I wanted the firmware updated. Cost is obviously on them. I do not know what plans they have for persons in Canada not in that area.
It will not be covered if you go to any other authourized dealer. Done for free at headquarters only.
FYI for Canadians.


That sounds like a lie to me. Panasonic does not have the right to choose which authorized service center you MUST choose. So long as it's an authorized service center and you're within your warranty period, THEY MUST service your unit for FREE!

I'm an investment manager Jim, Not a doctor!
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post #17 of 2153 Old 01-28-2005, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by jcc
That sounds like a lie to me. Panasonic does not have the right to choose which authorized service center you MUST choose. So long as it's an authorized service center and you're within your warranty period, THEY MUST service your unit for FREE!


i wasn't happy with the response but was told that only at headquarters would i get the firmware fix for free. it is over an hour drive for me to get there. i emailed them numerous times and got the same response each time.
sounds like a load of crap but didn't know what my options were. i contacted the closest service center and they basically had no idea what i was talking about. it did not sound like a service bulletin was issued.
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post #18 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 08:32 AM
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Yesterday I got my S97 upgraded at the Panasonic Headquarters in Mississauga. I was given the options to either bring it in, or ship it in. Since it's only about 45min drive ... down I went.

I would like to express my thanks to the folks at Panasonic. They are very friendly and knowledgeable.

I waited about 15 minutes for my player to be upgraded.

I will try to provide some impressions on the new firmware. My display is a BENQ8700+ projector (1280x720 DLP) projected on a 96" screen.

1. The pink/red/purple tint. FIXED
If you bring up the grey scale, this is esily seen. The worst disk I saw this effect on is on the Moulin Rouge THX optimizer. On the grey scale screen, a strong tint of red with the old firmware. The new firmware ... GONE! I noticed this also on the AVIA disk and DVE disk but it was never as pronounced as on the THX optimizer. There might be a little red in the low IRE levels, but I have to confirm this. The AVIA and DVE patterns are clean, while the red in low IRE is only on the THX optimizer on the grey scale/black level screen.

2. Macro-Blocking
This was never a huge issue with my player/display combination, but I did see the artifact occationally. I think the first time I saw it where it became distracting was with Collateral Damage. The new firmware reduced the Macroblocking significantly. I really had to go looking for it to see it. I still have to verify that this is not a problem with the disk itself.

Macro-Blocking is significantly reduced!

3. Faster Menue Navigation
With the old version, the menu navigation was a little slow. It's very fast now. I wasn't looking for this when I was testing last night, but a very nice bonus. Unfortunately, the 4:3 menu shrink issue (where the menue selections are not alligned correctly) is not corrected.

4. User Settings
This might be a benefit for those who don't read the manual ... but the firmware removed the step to save your user settings. I think this is a step backwards. Before, the player allowed you to save 2 individual settings, now there is only the system menu.

I preferred the original user setting format.

5. Sharpness
Sharness/ringing is still present in 720p and more so in 1080i. I didn't play too much with the settings to see if I can reduce it, but it is there.

Overall, this new Frimware is much ... much better than the original one.

If there is something someone would like me to test out, please let me know.

Cheers!
Mass
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post #19 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 08:53 AM
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Quote:


Originally posted by leaguer1leafs
i wasn't happy with the response but was told that only at headquarters would i get the firmware fix for free. it is over an hour drive for me to get there. i emailed them numerous times and got the same response each time.
sounds like a load of crap but didn't know what my options were. i contacted the closest service center and they basically had no idea what i was talking about. it did not sound like a service bulletin was issued.

Look, just go to the local service center with your machine and explain the situation to the technician. Tell him that there's a problem with the image and that the fix should be covered by the warranty. Then let them know that they don't need to open the machine for service and that the new firmware will take care of this. Tell them that you'll keep the machine until they receive the new firmware at which point you'll bring the unit back for them to upload the new firmware. Let them submit their paper work to get paid and everyone's happy.

Your mistake was to call Panasonic asking for their opinion. Who cares what they think?!?!? As far as they're concerned, this is just another defect that's covered by the warranty. If you treat it as such and take it into the local service center, there's no way they will not pay. There's a written contract called a warranty that they can't get around.

I'm an investment manager Jim, Not a doctor!
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post #20 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 09:04 AM
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Does the new firmware improve the zoom picture quality?

I'm an investment manager Jim, Not a doctor!
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post #21 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 09:46 AM
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jcc, I'll try the zoom tonight. I never used the zoom before, so I don't have a comparison. I'll comare the zoom on the player vs the projector.
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post #22 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 09:55 AM - Thread Starter
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No more user settings? LIke Brightess, Contrast, etc.? Or is it just one setting and no ability to choose? If so, perhaps some memory needed to be freed up for the firmware fix.

Paul
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post #23 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 10:22 AM
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Paul,

The user settings are still there. It looks like they got rid of USER2, and the extra step to save the settings. After you make your changes to brightness, contrast, colour, etc, they are saved automatically under USER.

I believe this was done because I can see a lot of people complaining that their settings were never kept after the unit has cycled on and off. This would happen if the user neglected to save their settings first. By removing one of the USER banks and saving automatically after the changes will probably reduce quite a bit of confusion for some of the novice users.
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post #24 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks Massimo! Two settings are nice but if they had to be removed to allow the fix it would be OK. But it was probably a complaint issue as you state.

Paul
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post #25 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 10:53 AM
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I never use user mode!! The normal standard defaults work for me!! =)
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post #26 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 11:00 AM
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Massimo,

I appear to still have the all the User settings post firmware upgrade, I presume we're talking about the same thing. To navigate the menu are you doing this:?

Menu-> Other Settings -> Other Menu -> AV Enhance

From there I see a list of user modes and section to save the settings they a listed as follows:

OFF
Auto
User 1
User 2
User 3
_____
Save Settings

Selection of User 1-3 will recall previously saved settings for that setting while selecting "Save Settings" will bring up the ability to save new settings in User 1, User 2 or User 3.

The process and ability is unchanged on my player. I should note that accessing the AV Enhance via the remote "AV Enhance" button allows you to toggle between the OFF, Auto, and User 1-3 settings but you can not access the "Save Settings" menu from there.
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post #27 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 11:59 AM
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Quote:


There might be a little red in the low IRE levels, but I have to confirm this. The AVIA and DVE patterns are clean, while the red in low IRE is only on the THX optimizer on the grey scale/black level screen.

Massimo. I am intrigued that you aren't seeing pink on your BENQ 8700. Could you check the 90% box in the DVE grey reverse ramp and see if its there? After upgrading, It's much lower than before on my plasma unit but still visible. I am starting to wonder if its more of a problem with plasmas than projectors. Thanks.

John
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post #28 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 12:05 PM
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The latest firmware is circulating in a forum in sweden. Someone mailed panasonic sweden about it and got it in a mail!. I'll have it shortly, I think. I have no idea if there are different firmwares for US/EU machines though. Stand by for the file......
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post #29 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 12:31 PM
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Ok, I now have the firmware. It is two megs, where do I put it? Split into 4 parts and post four messages? Anyone with a good shared storage area?
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post #30 of 2153 Old 01-29-2005, 12:42 PM
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Hugh2,

I just doubled checked the user settings, and they're still there. Sorry 'bout the confusion guys.

Jakeman,
I'll check for the pink again a little later. Last night I was estatic that I didn't see any, I'll try later on to see if I can spot it.
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