Originally Posted by plctoo
I'm new to all this, and possibly did something stupid, but bear with me. In Consumer Reports, I saw that the Panasonic VIERA TC-P42ST30 was a recommended buy, and had rave reviews on the picture: color, brightness, vividness, gorgeous, etc. I also had read (and I can't remember where)
The ST30 was widely regarded as "the best bang for the buck" for most of 2011 and performed almost as well as the flagship models from Samsung and Panasonic. Four of my friends have ST30s and they all love it.
When I clicked the link, no st30's were available, but it said "there is a newer model of this TV", same price, and the link took me to the P42UT50. Great, newer model, must have all the same advantages and then some (including the "brightness dimming" that had apparently been an issue with the st30), right?
Nope. The UT50 is not a newer model of the ST30, the ST50 is the newer model of the ST30. The UT series is an entry level model and is a big step down from an ST50. The ST series has a superior panel module, more picture adjustability including a screen brightness setting, and an AR Filter. UT50 lacks these.
Bought it...it's here..I'm just flabbergasted by the dimness of the picture. Granted, I'm watching SD programming mostly, and the HD movies etc. I stream thru Netflix are much better, but can't believe that after all the oohs and ahs over the brilliance of the picture described by CR and many other ST30 owners, that this is the same TV (of course, it's not...UT,not ST, but could it really be that different?).
Yes it's that different. But early reports from some UT50 owners here on AVS are positive about the TV and it should be plenty bright enough, unless someone has an abnormally high expectation of how bright a TV should be. The one i played with at Fry's was plenty bright enough, but i hate the super-reflective screen (it doesn't have an AR Filter).
This is the first non-CRT I've owned, and don't buy TV's that often, so don't have much to compare it to, but am SERIOUSLY disappointed in the picture's brightness. Everything else seems to be OK, nice colors and black levels, etc, but SO dim. And that's with both the Brightness and Contrast cranked up to 100.
You didn't say what Picture Mode you have the TV in. Is it still in Standard mode by any chance? Standard is the default mode to help the TV get Energy Star ratings and is too dim. Nobody uses Standard.
Have you tried the Custom mode yet ? And setting the Brightness to 100 is totally wrong, and the 100 Contrast setting is too high too. Contrast adjusts the overall screen brightness, and the Brightness adjusts the black levels. Setting the Brightness too high washes the TV out and ruins contrast.
So, I don't know if that's just the way plasma's are, or if I got a lemon, or if it's the difference between an ST and a UT, (no infinite black) or or?
It's more likely your incorrect settings as well as your poor source. For now, put the TV in Custom mode, then try maybe 90+ Contrast to get the screen brighter, then set the Brightness to around 50. Go into the additional settings and set Black Level to Light, and HD Size to 2, and temp to maybe Warm 1. Turn the Brightness setting down until you can no longer see details on black items like the pinstripes or buttonholes on a news anchorman's black suit, then bump it up a click or two until it looks right. Adjust the color and tint to your taste. Tweak everything as neccessary.