Well I guess I goofed from scanning this thread once yesterday. I had a fantastic deal on a brand new Panasonic TCP58S2, and I ordered it from a high volume online dealer with free shipping. This was yesterday AM. Then I came to this thread and found that Panasonic has fading black level issues. Not phrased that way here of course but to the average viewer the same thing as the blacks look gray. So early this morning I canceled my order, and that price was so fantastic, decided to make sure I made the right decision. So I just got through re-reading this thread once more but more closely this time.
My conclusions at this time are that:
1. D-Nice found a sudden and startling eyeball perceptible change in black levels back in january-February 2010 time frame at X hours and that it affected most if not all of the Panasonic '09 models.
2. That it was probably a goof by the Panasonic engineers.
3. That Panasonic has changed the timing and intensity of the voltage changes in the post April 2010 production models such that it will be less perceptible and less of a shock now to owners.
4. That the changes were intentional to keep the picture pleasing if timed right/less aggressively over a longer period of the time of ownership in theory.
5. That the measuring instruments the hobbyists here use, whether engineers or not are, by and larg, at the hobbyist price points and not as accurate as the very expensive equipment the factory uses for any brand.
6. That since the initial posts and discussion that went on in the first five pages or so, many that did not own the sets in question chimed in to fan the anti Panasonic flames.
7. That many posts said they saw the same in their XX model but did not name the month/year build date of their set, compounding the confusion.
The significant opinions expressed were for me that the changes if made more gradual might, (I said might not will) extend a perceived better picture over the life of the set.
Then that was overridden by the statement of the aficionados that it is hardly a big deal as they change their sets as often as the rest of us change the oil in our vehicles. Leaving the folks who are trying to decide what to buy now during big sales time here and wanting a nice set that will last for at least 5 years or more scratching their heads.
Then the comments similar to "regardless of the subtlety of the changes they are still there so you are still going up s...s creek in either case," from the Samsung or LG aficionados.
And the comments from the Panasonic aficionados that they love their set and that even with the changes the black levels over time will still be better than the other few manufacturers of sets.
Then the comments implying that unless you spend as much as the aficionados of any brand, and buy the low end you are buying junk anyway. Which kind of sounds like the definition of an alcoholic as anybody who drinks more than their doctor. Mac versus PC anybody?
Then the comments that someone has posted for only X short time or joined this forum X short time ago and therfore should be seen and not heard. I would not even be here if I thought that they represented the tone here. I for one appreciate the work done by many most notably since I just canceled my Panasonic order. The posts of D-Nice, ElwayLite (who actually owns one,) BatPig, and Mustangs1 have made me second think that cancellation.
I am also an Engineer but not a television engineer, nor a wanna be. I saw several mentions of being an engineer, hardware or software, didn't see a television software design or television production engineer specified so I took those with a grain of salt.
On the other hand I appreciate the expertise here in calibrating and measuring one versus another.
My takeaway is that the actual topic, a sudden and noticeable to the naked eye change in black levels did occur in 2009 models.
That if the mid 2010 to current models indeed do not suddenly and noticeably shift such that even I could notice it and the picture remains as good as the others or a bit worse or better over 5-10 year then my personal conclusion is that I made a mistake in canceling that Panasonic TC-P58S2 and may restore the order before they run out or raise the price again.
But then again I just found an LG 60 PK250 for just 200 bucks more than the Vanns price on that Panasonic. And there is an LED with full well reviewed built in WiFi that I might get if the Black Friday price comes back by Monday. That LED model sold out at all the places it was discounted for Friday by Friday mid day.
Regardless of the TV I get or what type I can tell you one thing, coming off my current 52" Samsung whose capacitors leaked and when repaired out of warranty by Samsung my PQ went to hell, Which neither the repair place por Samsung will own up to, I can say, plasma or LED/LCD, from my single two year experience with Samsung, which is only one data point, it won't be them.
BTW my Brother in Law just ordered the Samsung PN58C500 and we were going to do a comparison over time. His criteria, he liked the picture in the showroom better and that it dod not have a glass screen over the plasma screen. I did tell him about the buzzing issue with PLasmas and Samsung in particular and he hopes he does not get a buzzer.
Whatever the choice, I won't do the equivalent of "looking at a rose under a microsope." If I can't see it without a meter, it will not exist, for me.
Thanks for reading.