The G2x series has only just recently become available here in Canada. I picked up a 46G25 last weekend and have some observations, comments and questions. I have read a lot of this thread, but can't say I've read each and every post.
I'll start by stating that although I have audio/videophile tendancies and can appreciate and enjoy all the things that go into accurate reproduction of sound and video neither is a currently funded hobby of mine, if you catch my drift. I am not surrounded by reference-grade sources, I don't have a room in the house where I A/B test multiple outfits and this is my first HDTV (finally!). The G25 is being using in our living/family room area, not a dedicated theatre, and there is usually other ambient light present.
I am currently "breaking it in" in THX w/ brightness and contrast lowered to 40, 16:9 on FULL and 4:3 on JUST. Sometimes I show break-in slides set to vivid, but I'm not going nuts with this. My only HD source at the moment is a DCT6416 III connected via component and I have a run-of-the-mill Sony 480p DVD player also connected via component. I don't have any HDMI cables yet and didn't plan on getting any until I complete the planning for the room and know what custom lengths I need to order.
- no buzzing, except if I press my ear to the case on vivid
- great power efficiency. On the settings we actually use to watch TV the entire unit is barely warmer than ambient. On vivid break in slides, however, there's a heat field around the set.
- the builtin speakers are OK. We can manage to watch TV just fine. Clearly it's not a home theater experience but they're at least as good as the Sony CRT with "premium sound" it's replacing. They're far from "useless" as some have written online but also far from spectacular.
- no dead/stuck pixels - yet anyways
- I'm glad I chose plasma all those years ago. This set is very easy to watch as a rule.
- Just as with any good audio system, the TV is displaying the limitations of the source media in all its glory. Some things look great, others are decidedly lackluster. Sometimes the problem is resolution/clarity - which would be the original capture/source material. Other times it's compression artifacts - many times they aren't at all subtle.
- the "new" AR coating is working extremely well in our viewing area (upstairs living room, daylight present)
On to some of the questions and discussion:
- At closer distances I can see a subpixel level "shimmering" in non-grey solid colours. I noticed it on the TV's overlay for menus or indicating which input is being used. It's kind of like looking at a random, analog snow-like effect in these colours. As I said, I haven't noticed it in grey, only other solid colours, and it can't be seen from more normal distances. Is this subfields? A plasma version of FRC (time-domain dithering to produce additional colours)? I haven't twiddled every setting to see if one of them stops it but I wouldn't think any of the noise suppression stuff would be active on graphics produced by the TV itself.
- The second thing I've noticed is flickering on photo display. It's like it's switched to 48Hz refresh when showing photos - the whole screen is subtly but noticeably (to me) refreshing. At the time there were no lights on in the room, just daylight, so it isn't an interaction with a 60Hz lighting source. I haven't noticed this effect on anything except photos. While not the primary use of the display, it takes away from what I was hoping would be a stunning "digital photo frame" when we're entertaining so I thought I would ask why photos would suffer from this.
- "floating blacks" are an issue, and not just on pillar- or letter-boxed content or in a pitch-black viewing room. Last night watching "Grey's Anatomy" full screen it was stepping blacks up and down quite frequently (and visibly). It's not the first time I've noticed it. I was kind of hopeful this wouldn't be very noticeable in a room that wasn't totally dark. Bummer. Of course they may be getting worsened by....
- black crush/gamma - as mentioned, I'm running THX minus some conrast/brightness. Since the PZ800 days I've been reading how THX is "darn near" calibrated. I've been noticing that blacks are nice and black, but too many things are black and too many objects simply fade into the black. In any show where men are wearing suit jackets, there's often no visible detail if it's shot in a "cinematic way" (as opposed to a talk show or newscast way). I did a factory reset on THX mode restoring full brightness/contrast - still there. Standard mode - still there. If I go to custom and start lowering the gamma to 1.8 it begins to get better, but with side effects on other content. When the displayed image is fairly bright the set looks really great.
- As a further illustration, I think it was "black extension" I also adjusted in Custom. The darker option was completely and totally useless, and the lighter setting looks like what I feel the darker setting should be. One more little nudge brighter with exactly the same type of effect would be what I would think would be right. I get the feeling that floating blacks probably wouldn't have triggered at all during that episode of Grey's Anatomy if this black crush thing wasn't going on.
I want to make sure I don't have issues with the set before the return period expires but I'm also questioning the source a little. I haven't seen any settings on the 6416 concerning black level (ie. 7 IRE vs. 0 IRE for black) in either the user or service menus I've seen so far. I can't rule out something being wrong with the analog circuitry because I don't currently have HDMI to test with. Any comments on the source being at least partially responsible for visible black crush on this set? Black crush isn't an accusation I've seen hurled at the G2x series up until this point so I'm watching this closely. I wouldn't expect something to be actually defective with the set which was only presenting as black crush, but you never know I guess.