Originally Posted by Chad B
In the case of the G10 and V10, Custom is best in my opinion. THX has some serious color decoding issues that make colors look skewed, and their Custom mode is far
better than the 800u's Custom mode.
If I had compared them all in THX, the 800u might have beat out the G10 and V10, because the color decoding in the G10 and V10 would have been so poor. I probably would have given them a 2 or 3 for color.
If I had compared them all in custom, the G10 and V10 would have spanked the 800u even more than they did.
Thank you for this observation. The calibrator(s) in the 2009 Shootout chose to run the V10 in THX mode during the audience portion, nearly 10 fL dimmer than the 500M and the B860 on either side of it. The poor color decoding in THX, combined with the 10 fL lower output likely hurt the V10 in the audience assessment, compared to the much brighter Samsung and Pioneer. The V10 was nearly tied for last with the LG on colors, and some audience members who attended said the Samsung appeared more lifelike than the Panny.
Naturally, a dim panel at 25 fL is not going to seem as "lifelike" as one right next to it at 35 fL. After all, the black levels should be similar whether you calibrate for 25 fL or 35 fL. But when you run the display at a reduced peak output, the contrast will go down because the whites are dimmer. Everyone knows that when you have brighter content next to blacks, they make the blacks appear deeper. It's easy to notice this on my KRP. On a totally black screen, the panel still glows a bit, especially if your eyes are adjusted to the darkness of the room. It is not totally black. It is a very deep gray, or light black if you will. You can clearly distinguish the difference between the bezel and the rest of the screen. Now, black bars on the other hand, virtually blend in to the bezel, and it is very difficult to discern where the bezel ends and the black bars begin. Obviously this is because just above and below the black bars there is brighter content.
I was watching some HD demos in the dark, and at the beginning or the end, the screen often goes totally black, except for the company logo in bright white letters in the center. The surrounding black appears much deeper than on an all-black screen because the bright white lettering fools your eyes into thinking the black surrounding it is deeper. Of course on an all black screen your pupils tend to dilate, and when there is some bright content on the screen to go along with the blacks they contract.
Perhaps this could at least partially explain why the V10 barely edged out the Samsung B860 when the audience made their assessment with regards to blacks, even though, according to the calibration reports, the B860 measured nearly three times higher black levels
than the V10.
If the Panasonic V10 was outputting 35 fL like the rest, the brighter whites would have given the blacks next to them the appearance of being deeper. There would have been a greater contrast between the blacks and the whites.
So the practical effect of the Panny V10 running in the much dimmer THX mode, next to all the other brighter displays, was that it lacked "pop" and looked a bit flat and dull next to the 500M and the B860. This very well could have exaggerated the perceived difference in PQ between the V10 and the KRP. Don't get me wrong, I do believe the KRP PQ is superior to the V10, or I would have bought the Panny instead of the Pio, but the important question is: by how much is it superior? By much, or a little?
Of course most anyone can go down to their local Best Buy or some other retailer and snag a deal on a Panny or a Sammy. Finding a KRP at a local retailer is not always so easy. Most people end up having to order them online, and that's where many forum sponsors (and former forum sponsors) vie for business. So it's only natural that if a certain vendor ordered hundreds of KRP's, and wanted to move them, that it would be favorable to his business interests to have the KRP seem as far apart from the crowd as possible. If the V10 was even in the ballpark close to the 500M, people might opt for the V10 simply because it comes with a tuner, speakers, Viera Cast Internet gizmos and such, you can buy it locally and return it easily if need be, and you might have less worry about warranty issues down the road like some fear with the Pioneers.
Let's hope that next year's shootout will have ALL the displays calibrated at the same peak output level, to enable a level playing field.