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Panasonic PZ80/PZ85 - "Color Flicker", "Brightness Shifting" Troubleshooting

post #1 of 271
Thread Starter 
Ok after participating in the Panasonic PZ80/PZ85 owners thread it seems more and more people are reporting this issue which has been described as "color flicker", or "brightness shifting", or other names. I think we are all referring to the same issue.

In trying to figure this issue out I thought it might be helpful to have our own thread for this issue. I want to collect as much data on this as possible to try to maybe figure this out.

1. First what picture setting is your tv on when you notice the issue (Cinema, Standard, Vivid, Custom?).

2. What are your calibration settings (picture, brightness, the most important, as well as the others).

3. Any processing set to on such as C.A.T.S. or Noise Reduction, etc.

4. About how many hours of viewing does your tv have racked up?

5. When was the TV manufactured?

6. Where was the TV purchased?

7. What kind of power is the tv plugged into? (standard surge protector, power conditioner, line filter, etc)

8. What sources you have noticed the effect on, and how those sources are connected to the tv.

9. Any other details which may be of interest.


So me first:

1. Cinema, although it seems worse on Standard

2. Picture on 50, Brightness on 50, others will have to check when I get home. I have noticed that with the picture and brightness on lower settings the effect is more noticeable.

3. No processing

4. I haven't gone into the service menu to check but I am probably at 200-300 hours

5. February 2008

6. BestBuy.com

7. Cheap surge protector with no line filtering or anything else

8. Dish Satellite DVR ViP 622, mostly while watching HD shows or movies. Also have noticed it with HD DVD player A2 at 1080i setting while watching Battlestar Galactica HD DVD. Have not noticed it on Blu Ray (PS3) yet, but haven't watched much Blu on this set yet. Sources are all connected with HDMI cables from monoprice.com

9. I exchanged my original set that had this problem which seemed to mostly be on white backgrounds, or blue sky backgrounds. The new set I got now seems to exhibit these symptoms on flesh tones, people's faces alot. I recorded one snippet of Sopranos season 6, the baptism scene and Christopher's face will flash very badly when on Standard at pic 50 and brightness 50. But if I play it back on Cinema at pic 50, brightness 50, the flicker still happens but is much less noticeable.
post #2 of 271
I'll post my full specs in a moment (not in front of the PDP to verify all the settings), but I want to clarify exactly what the issue you're seeing is.

On my 42" PZ85U, the only "brightness shifting" I noticed followed IMMEDIATELY after camera cuts. Basically, when there was a cut to a bright scene, I would notice the overall brightness dial down a little. When it cut back to indoors, it dials up. The change is VERY quick -- probably within 1/10 of a second.

Is this the "brightness shifting" effect we're talking about, or am I just seeing a normal artifact of Panasonic's image processing?
post #3 of 271
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by typoink View Post

I'll post my full specs in a moment (not in front of the PDP to verify all the settings), but I want to clarify exactly what the issue you're seeing is.

On my 42" PZ85U, the only "brightness shifting" I noticed followed IMMEDIATELY after camera cuts. Basically, when there was a cut to a bright scene, I would notice the overall brightness dial down a little. When it cut back to indoors, it dials up. The change is VERY quick -- probably within 1/10 of a second.

Is this the "brightness shifting" effect we're talking about, or am I just seeing a normal artifact of Panasonic's image processing?

No I think what you are referring to is floating black level possibly, not sure. What I am referring to is a specific color or shade will flicker bright and then dark over and over again during a scene until that specific color or shade is no longer on screen.
post #4 of 271
My 50pz85u doesn't exhibit this flaw, it was manufactured in March/2008. Thought I would throw that in this thread as a data point. Good luck.
post #5 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guerillah View Post

My 50pz85u doesn't exhibit this flaw, it was manufactured in March/2008. Thought I would throw that in this thread as a data point. Good luck.

I do not know the build daye of mine but my 46 pz85u does not do this either as far as I can tell.
post #6 of 271
My set is actually a pz800 but I posted in your forum because no one was responding in the 800 forum.

I have had my set for a week, 25 hours of break-in. On THX mode (close to cinema?). Default settings, 50, 50, etc. Using a Monster Power 1600 power conditioner. Have noticed the flickering on HD cable and some on Blu-Ray too.

Panasonic Concierge service is coming out to look at the tv next week.
post #7 of 271
I thought I was going nuts. I have been trying to pass this off as a problem w/ me. Like, "I got to stop reading these forums so much, my eyes are playing tricks on me"... lol. Never thought it could actually be the television. This flicker is driving me absolutely nuts. It is truly annoying and hard to even watch at times. 42pz80u. The color flicker occurs on skys, walls, floors, people's faces...

1. Cinema.

2. Picture on 50, Brightness on 50, sharpness 50, color is 40ish, tint -4

3. No processing (I've tried everything)

4. <100 hrs

5. March 2008

6. BB

7. Monster Stage 1 w/ power filter

8. PS3 and TW HD cable. I notice flicker on both.

** EDIT: Took a video w/ my powershot camera. I'll be posting it soon. Yes, it is a video shot on a point and shoot, but you can still see the flicker. The color flicker is even worse in person, much worse. I shot the scene in the beginning of Resident Evil Extinction; the sceen I shot is meeting with the umbrella corp. board members. Towards the end of the scene you can see the flicker very bad on the wall and the guys face - the one sitting in the chair closest to the camera. It's pretty apparent. Blur ray is the worse for me, but cable is a very close second. **

9. Cinema does seem to be the best. Color management has helped on some cases of color flicker, but doesn't completely eliminate it. I am taking the set back on Sunday. I'm done.
post #8 of 271
I'm on my 2nd 46pz85u..both have the color shifting problem.

1. Notice the flicker on any setting, but I watch everything on Cinema and play video games on the Game setting.

2. Picture 45, Brightness 35, other settings normal except i turned on color mgmt recenlty b/c it makes certain colors look better to me.

3. No processing except for color mgmt (tested them all btw)

4. 100+ hours

5. 2nd TV was manufactured in March 2008, purchased May 2008...never checked the original set

6. Best Buy - both TVs

7. generic surge protector and also straight into the wall...tested them both

8. Dish DVR VIP622, Xbox360 HDMI, Sony 1080i upconverting DVD player - noticed flicker on all 3

9. As VtJman said above, this is my 2nd Panny 46pz85u that has demonstrated this problem. The first one seemed to be worse...but i only put 20-30 hours on it before i returned it. I agree with the above observation that it seems to get worse when the contrast and brightness settings are lower. However, the problem still exists on occassion. It seems to be worse when I play GTA4 on xbox360 then when I am watching regular Satellite HD broadcasts.
post #9 of 271
Well before we go creating a huge list of TV specs, how about we try to pinpoint test media to replicate the issue consistently? Then we can start trouble shooting by asking those with professionally calibrated TVs to test using the test media that we've identified.

I was watching Cast Away on TNT HD on Cablevision on my Scientific America Explorer 8300HD. The perfect scene came up. There's a scene just after Tom Hanks finds the Porta Potty on the beach, he starts counting how many ropes he needs to make and then starts chopping down branches. Well right after that scene, they show Tom Hanks in his cave running his hands along a map on the dark cave wall. This scene is the perfect test for my TV. The TV bumps down in brightness 3-4 times as the camera pans long the wall as he's plotting his course. Can anyone replicate this with a DVD, Bluray, or DVR'ed version of Castaway?

That was a dark scene, for a bright scene try the scene where he's sliding his just made boat into the water down some logs. As the boat slides down, I get a change in brightness as well, very slight.

I've mostly noticed on TNT HD so maybe it's a problem with their feed. I'll keep an eye out for it on other channels.

I do not perceive it anything like a "flicker". I take flicker to mean the scene is flip-floping from one mode to another quickly and many times. This definitely isn't happening to me. What I get a is a sudden very subtle change in brightness, usually from brighter to darker.

I have one of the first units that was shipped. I was one of the earlier people to post on the original PZ85U thread.
post #10 of 271
I get it occurring on Resident Evil Extinction Blu Ray. It is a very high quality disk... http://www.blu-ray.com/movies/movies...15&show=review

Both my BD and 8300 cable box are running off HDMI. This brightness flicker happens on both sources any channel. I've noticed from day 1, but passed it off as I thought I was nuts.


ALSO: My 42px60u never had this problem; same movies, BD, and cable box. I just sold it and got the 80u. It's definitely a real problem.
post #11 of 271
Video is up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt2PY3s3XGo

It's hard to see it on youtube, but it is definitely there. Just imagine how bad it is in person. Youtube version you really only see the flicker in a couple shots, where in real life it is in almost every shot
post #12 of 271
I have tried every different setting in the book to reduce the flickering effect on the 800u, particularly with upscaled SD DVD. Finally, something worked...kind of.

I switched the Upscale option in my PS3 to "Double Scale." I immediately noticed that the flickering was gone! Unfortunately, "Double Scale" put black bars on the top, bottom and sides of the image, effectively making it 4:3 (though not quite as severely boxed as traditional 4:3). I tried changing the various upscale options to FULL and all the others, but noticed the flickering had returned. Oddly enough, I then tried the ZOOM on the Panasonic mode while engaging "Double Scale" but the flickering returned as well. As long as I had the PS3 on "Double Scale", the flickering was gone...albeit with the black bars on the sides and top/bottom.

So, a solution? Not sure. But at least there is some progress. Incidentally, I also tried switching OFF the PS3's upscaler but...you got it...that induced flickering again.

ScubaSteve, I understand your frustration. Before I had this tv, I had a problematic Sony Bravia XBR2 LCD. It suffered from many things, but flickering and brightness shifting was not one of them. Upscaled SD DVD looked superb on that set, in glorious fullscreen. I never had to reduce the size of the upscaled image in order to get it looking decent and flicker free. I feel cheated now.
post #13 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubasteve44 View Post

Video is up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gt2PY3s3XGo

It's hard to see it on youtube, but it is definitely there. Just imagine how bad it is in person. Youtube version you really only see the flicker in a couple shots, where in real life it is in almost every shot

Wow, that is bad. Is this an endemic flaw to this year's panasonics?! I was planning on getting a PZ800 very soon, and was a little worried by what DVD Freaky was reporting, but no one else was reporting the same issue. I have to believe that if this was endemic to the new sets, everyone would be complaining about it. That is really noticable and really unacceptable.
post #14 of 271
DVD is really the only one (on here) complaining of it on the 800. I am actually going to trade my 80 for a 42pz800u. Not worried about the 48hz flicker that the 800 has. You either see it or you don't. Everyone says running 24p at 60hz looks great anyways. I think perhaps a bad batch of processors went out, or just a few bad ones. I am only guessing that it is the processor, seems to be logical. remember there is a ton of people that aren't complaining about this on their 80u's either.


DVD look on the back of your tv to find the production date. It would really help, thanks.
post #15 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubasteve44 View Post

DVD is really the only one (on here) complaining of it on the 800. I am actually going to trade my 80 for a 42pz800u. Not worried about the 48hz flicker that the 800 has. You either see it or you don't. Everyone says running 24p at 60hz looks great anyways. I think perhaps a bad batch of processors went out, or just a few bad ones. I am only guessing that it is the processor, seems to be logical. remember there is a ton of people that aren't complaining about this on their 80u's either.


DVD look on the back of your tv to find the production date. It would really help, thanks.


Thanks for the encouragment. I guess the only reservation I now have after seeing this issue is whether Panasonic recognizes as a servicable flaw. I plan on buying my set from a forum sponser, so I'll be left to deal with Panasonic if I get stuck with this issue. I'd like to know that they are aware of the problem and know how to fix it.
post #16 of 271
  • PZ85U
  • Manufactured in February 2008
  • Purchased on February 26, 2008
  • Took Delivery on March 11, 2008
  • I only use Cinema Mode, default settings as delivered except I use size 2 to cut out the overscan lines
  • Power conditioner Monster HTS3600
  • Have watched about 1000 hours on it
  • HDMI connection only with Monoprice ferrite core cables
  • Scientific America Explorer 8300HD
  • Cablevision
post #17 of 271
i was having that problem but only when i was watching uverse. i never saw it on dvd or bluray. It turned out to be the hdmi was giving me issues. as soon as i switched to component it went away
post #18 of 271
My 42pZ85 when using the toshiba ep30 hd player will notice flickering with most films, If I did drop it to 1080i it doesn't do it.
Shows up less if I up the contast and brightness settings when using 1080/24

standard surge protector
140 hrs
post #19 of 271
I've wondered if the different specs of HDMI could be causing it or if each channel broadcasts within different specs that are outside the TVs gamut or dynamic range. I haven't noticed it yet on DVDs played on my Pioneer 59avi. To be fair I should rent Cast Away on DVD and play the same scenes that caused the issue when watching it on TNT HD. I should also test via component or s-video and compare that as well.

From what I understand, MPEG decompression occurs in the DVD player or cablebox. From there the DVD player or cable box passes the signal as uncompressed digital via HDMI. HDMI and SDI are the purest types of signals. If component or s-video are used, the DVD player or cable box will convert the uncompressed digital signal into an anolog signal which then needs to be converted back to digital after it reaches the TV. This digital-to-analog-to-digital conversion can introduce some noise or artifacts.

For DVDs: Rather than have my DVD player do any upconversion/scaling, and since DVD is natively recorded at 480i, I choose to output from my DVD player at 480i over HDMI so it's kept pure until it reaches the TV where it's scaled to 1080P.

For Cable: My cable box outputs 1080i. For HD signals the only processing that is done is converting from an interlaced image to a progressive scan and that is done by the TV. For SD signals the cable box has to perform the scaling. I compared the cable box scaling to the TV scaling and I couldn't tell much of a difference so I just let my cable box do all the scaling and output at 1080i.
post #20 of 271
Are you guys seeing anything that is like my video?
post #21 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubasteve44 View Post

Are you guys seeing anything that is like my video?

Honestly, it's hard to conclude anything from your video. If you will tell us what to look for (and when) we may have a better shot at seeing it.

Also, it might help if folks would share discs and scenes they have problems with so others can test it out. A show on satellite or cable isn't very useful for those of us who didn't DVR that program. I don't feel my set has this issue, but I would like to test it out.

Thanks!
post #22 of 271
I recognized this "flicker". My PV60(your PX I assume) have this. There is nothing in the service menu that can turn this of, at least on my TV.

I think some engineer must have thought this "feature" was the best invention cince sliced bread. I wonder if this feature has something to do with the automatic contrast "thing", called C.A.T.S?

It is rather emberrasing that Panasonic havent done something yet with the new models.

This feature is most visible when subtitles are shown in a dark scene. Really annoying......
post #23 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by JCBoomer View Post

Honestly, it's hard to conclude anything from your video. If you will tell us what to look for (and when) we may have a better shot at seeing it.

Also, it might help if folks would share discs and scenes they have problems with so others can test it out. A show on satellite or cable isn't very useful for those of us who didn't DVR that program. I don't feel my set has this issue, but I would like to test it out.

Thanks!

I notice the flickering on scenes at 57-60 seconds and 119-122 on the left side of the guys face with the beard. I watched this same movie on mine and don't remember seeing the flickering i'll have to look at these scenes again.
post #24 of 271
Quote:
Originally Posted by scubasteve44 View Post

DVD is really the only one (on here) complaining of it on the 800. I am actually going to trade my 80 for a 42pz800u. Not worried about the 48hz flicker that the 800 has. You either see it or you don't. Everyone says running 24p at 60hz looks great anyways. I think perhaps a bad batch of processors went out, or just a few bad ones. I am only guessing that it is the processor, seems to be logical. remember there is a ton of people that aren't complaining about this on their 80u's either.


DVD look on the back of your tv to find the production date. It would really help, thanks.

The production date says May, 2008.

I bumped the 'picture' setting from 55 to 100 and the flickering SEEMS to have lessened. Keep in mind, this new test was only on one movie. I will have to look at other sources to see if this improved things across the board.
post #25 of 271
I can't seem to find the production date on the back of my pz85, where is it folks?
post #26 of 271
It's on the same sticker that shows the model and serial number on the upper right side of the back of the TV. You won't find a specific date but there will be a month and year.
post #27 of 271
Also, if you try to increase brightness over, say fifty percent, it may reduce the "fluctuation" in the brightness. It did on my tv. Check and see...
post #28 of 271
Just curious, has anyone with a professionally calibrated display experienced the issue? On the original pz85u thread there was guy (who was the 2nd forum member to receive his pz85u) who was an IMS calibrator and he calibrated his TV and ran some tests. I wonder if he's had any issues.
post #29 of 271
Thanks for the new thread! I'm glad this issue's seeing the light of day. Sorry I didn't reply earlier, was out of town all weekend for wedding. Now I'm not a fussy sort of guy, but I hope kicking up some dust about this issue will help owners get it resolved. I've a feeling this is only going to happen by collecting testimony just this way, until awareness hits critical mass and forces Panasonic policy to react.

Please feel free to review my previous posts on the owner's thread, but for your convenience I'll summarize. I had the Panny Concierge come by a couple weeks back to take a look. I did reproduce the effect for him, from a dvd source. He hooked up a Blu-Ray machine, but neither of us could see the shift during the span of the test scenes that were played. His prognosis was that the set was "made for" a 1080p feed, and that these shifts were the result of the tv having to compensate for the watered-down sources of SD DVD, and OTA signals (SD & HD both). By phone, the support rep, aside from being very diligent and polite, carries the party line so far that the set is "new", the problem heretofore unreported, that they're still gathering information and won't acknowledge the issue as a defect.

1. Cinema setting

2. Picture 54, brightness 45, tint -2, colour temp normal

3. No processing

4. Just about rounding up my 100hrs break-in

5. March, 2008

6. Future Shop, Montreal

7. Standard surge-protected power bar


Spotted first on SD dvd's, connected via Component. Later, also on Over The Air (antenna via coax) SD, then OTA HD. I've seen no shifts at all on a feed from the XBox 360, during gameplay.

Found this on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLKJr...eature=related

Watch the shoulders of the grey robe, the grey screen of the wall behind his head, and even (especially) his forehead. There's really no arguing the issue... although there seems to be some argument about it anyway, on the owner's thread.

Now bear in mind, folks. This "shift" is not fixed. Depending on your individual settings, you may not see it on a scene where others see it. You may see it where others don't. If you bring up a tv menu during a "shifty" scene, it will be stable, but render another scene unstable. You can even pause the scene, and play with your picture/brightness settings, and actually force the shift to occur on a static image. This will be a great tool for illustration, when your Concierge arrives.

I've just past my 30 day warranty, I'm sad to say, so I don't think I can return it now. But if this helps someone else eyeball the issue on their set and act in a more timely fashion, I'll be glad.
post #30 of 271
50" 85u
Early Best Buy unit (bought last week of March)
Cinema
60 pic
52 bright
41 color
-2 tint
50 sharp
black level light
hd size 2
everything else OFF

Dish ViP722HDDVR (1080i full time)
BD30 BD player(1080p full time)
Both feed an HDMI into a Onkyo 605, which feeds the tv with ONE HDMI

NEVER had the issue. If the video if legit, I'd say we have some lemon tv's
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