Originally Posted by dsmith901
I am not trying to hijack this thread, in fact I have been following it in expectations of possible buying a VT25 to replace my five year old Panasonic 42PA20, which of course is a 480p display. The 480p sets are considered badly out of date of course, but they had excellent black levels - better than the 720p sets as I understand - and from my rather long viewing position (11 feet) HD still looks amazing. And, important to me, this 480p set displays SD material better than any digital display I have seen to date, including the latest and greatest 1080p displays.
And now the point of this post, and I bring it up because of all the discussion of black levels: I recently discovered the importance of a better power cord in an audio and video system. I have long been a skeptic about the importance of power cords beyond the stock cords that come with every device, but last week I decided to purchase a 12 gauge Acoustic Research power cord on clearance for $20 at HH Gregg and used it to replace the 14 gauge stock cord that came with my PS Audio Power Director 3.5, which handls all 12 components in my AV system. I cannot tell you how surprised I was to hear an audible improvement in my audio and video, and here I will just address the video. The pq on my 42PA20 improved so much I have been smiling from ear to ear. HD especially is so noise free it is almost as if I replaced it with a 720p display - HD images look nearly 3D like, and I am not exagerrating. Part of it was an obvious improvement in black levels, which I would guess is where any electrical or video noise would be most apparent. Blacks are almost inky in comparision to previous levels. Even SD sources are improved (Comcast HD DVR6412) and make me begin to consider that there is no reason for me to buy a new TV except to get a larger screen.
I know some of you are probably shaking your heads, but let me repeat I have long been a skeptic about power cords - but no longer. The only thing I don't like about the Acoustic Research cord is it has a ferrite core that is great for video but seems to very slightly smear the mid and higher frequencies in my 2 channel audio listening, so I plan replace it with a 9 gauge Pangea cord and use the AR cord only with the TV where the stock cord already has a ferrite core.
My point with this post is to advise anyone who is unhappy with the black levels on their Panasonic plasma they should consider replacing the stock power cord, either to their TV or to their power conditioner, with a good quality, heavy gauge, well shielded cable, and either keep the stock ferrite core device or get a cable with that included. Also, anyone planning to test the black levels on new TV should likewise assure that they are using a better power cord than the stock. Doing so rejuvenated my display in a truly remarkable fashion and I can no longer deny the potential benefits of such a relatively low cost upgrade to a audio and/or video system. I can't guarantee everyone will get the impressive results I found, but this experience tells me that power cords are an important variable in the performance of a high quality audio and video system, and in particular to black levels of a plasma display.