Originally Posted by jonesad
This thread is very long and I figure there are a lot of others like me who are (were) on the fence about buying the VT25 and how to break it in, if they should download the 3.5 firmware, etc.
Trying to comb through the massive amounts of information in this can be overwhelming, so here are some thoughts on the VT25 from a new owner for all of you considering or just curious about my experience.
First, I read every single page in this thread before making my purchase. The "gems" I was able to pull out were that (1) The VT25 does suffer from some black-level loss after use, that (2) D-nice is the master when it comes to these TV's and using his burn in method & settings can produce great results and (3) that some people have issues with the buzzing/banding/etc. Thats about all the knowledge of the TV I had walking into the store, well, I also knew it was CNET and Consumer Reports top TV of 2010 which may or may not carry much weight depending on your point of view.
So, I went to the store and checked out all the 3D tv's I was interested in, but after about 3 days of returning to the store, checking different content, etc, I decided that for me, the Panasonic just couldn't be beat in terms of picture quality. I also noticed ghosting and other problems with 3D on the other TVs I checked out.
So, I waited and waited for the price to drop on the 54" VT25, I watched all the Black Friday ads, and finally I found a deal that sounded good to me (the TV, 3D BluRay player, and the Avatar combo). I made the purchase and got home and set everything up (I also picked up a new Yamaha AVR, the RX-A800).
Turning on the TV and getting it set up were a breeze - everything was ready to go in about 30 minutes. I checked out some HD signals from my comcast STB, and on THX mode out-of-the-box it looked as good if not better than my old Panny plasma, the 50" PZ700U calibrated by avical.
After briefly checking out some matierial, I followed D-nice's burn in process and only viewed those images off an SD card for 100 hours. Upon completion, I checked out HD signals again (from comcast, bluray, etc), and for me, I just really didn't see any difference in PQ from the day I got home from the store and checked it out. Granted, I had not yet applied D-nice's settings, so there probably shouldn't have been any difference, but from my understanding burning-in should have also helped brighten the set, but that it potentially just my lack of understanding.
So, at this point I decided I did not feel comfortable in the service menus, so I researched and hired a local Calibrator who had some experience with the TV to come and perform a complete ISF calibration. Long story short, this did not go so well. I'll never be sure if it was my TV or something else, but he was getting some readings that were just really wonky for the TV. He said he hadn't ever seen a VT25 act quite like this, and thought something might be wrong with the TV. I don't know enough to explain the details, but the gamma curve was all over the board, and the Cyan and Magenta were just way out of whack, no matter which adjustments he tried to make. The majority of these problems were when he was trying to calibrate the 3D mode with proper 3D test patterns.
After he was done, it seemed like my VT25 looked way worse, and the buzzing seemed to increase quite a bit (went from audible when close to the TV to extremely audible and unacceptable for my room).
Luckily I had purchased this at a local B&M store, and was within my 30 day exchange window. I took the TV back, explained the problem and had no issues exchanging for a new VT25. When I got home, I set up the new VT25, did the initial set up, then this time immediately loaded on the 3.5 firmware from an SD card.
Once I had 3.5 loaded up, I checked out some SD and HD sources, and in THX mode everything looked awesome. I made some small tweeks to Standard mode, and that was that. No burn in period this time as D-nice has clearly stated NOT to use his process if using 3.5 firmware, and I'm just enjoying the great picture of my TV as it comes from Panasonic (and with the 3.5 firmware applied).
So, whats the point of all this? Well, I have now been though two different processes of getting a VT25 up and rolling, and I can only speak for myself but I think out-of-the box these TV's are amazing, and that its easy to get caught-up in all the forum speak and feel the need to burn-in, get calibrated, check your kelvins, etc, etc, and maybe that really isn't necessary for your average to slightly more knowledgeable consumer (like me).
I have no issues with calibrations (and as noted, I had a 50" 700U calibrated by Avical, and my 42" plasma before that calibrated by Greg Lowen), so I definitely am familiar with and have seen the benefits. However, I think Panasonic has made a great TV with the VT25 and for anyone thinking about how to get the most enjoyment out of their set, I say just open it up and enjoy it - you will be impressed.