Originally Posted by Oubadah
This TV is a minefield. Another case of 'panel lottery'. I've just been reading all about this banding issue (and more). Many have experienced it, in many cases it is visible
in normal use (apparently football pitches often show it and I've seen it plenty of times in games). Some say it get's better over time, some have had it get worse.
I didn't spend long enough researching before making my purchase. Part of the problem was that I was searching for problems specifically related to the UT50. I should have been researching Panasonic's 2012 plasmas in general. The UT50 shares the same uniformity and banding issues as the ST50, VT50 etc., which are well documented. For some reason thses issues are not very well documented in UT50 threads - I guess it's because the more discerning people aren't buying these lower end models.
Anyway, 'dirty screen effect' and banding issues are present in all the 2012 plasmas from Panasonic including the UT50. These are major flaws, probably due to Panasonic's non-existent quality contol and potential buyers need to be aware. If I had known of this, I would never have purchased one of these sets.
I've been holding off on posting, trying to read more of this thread. I agree with Oubadah, that there ARE uniformity issues with at least MANY of Panasonic's 2012 UT50 plasma line (and I suspect other lines as well). I posted about two weeks ago about what looked like burn-in that didn't go away after break-in slides and I've now come to realize it as a uniformity/banding issue. I too am surprised more people don't report these issues but I do think it comes down to nitpicking in a sense, not that there is anything wrong with nitpicking, we want quality when we shell out our hard earned money.
So, after posting about the issues a couple weeks ago, I decided to go purchase another set from Costco. I left the original on the wall and ran the break-in slides on the new set during the holidays in a corner (who knows if they help or not but at least they help uncover uniformity issues).
Much like the person who posted a few pages ago about going through 4 sets, I've noticed vertical dark band on BOTH 55UT50 sets I purchased from Costco, in nearly the SAME spot. The first set had a manufacture date of Oct 2012 and the second set I got from a different costco has an Aug 2012 date. The first set was uniformly dark in about a 2-3 inch band near the right side of the screen (big surprise, the same location EVERY other person is reporting issues). The second set has the irregularity in the same location but instead of it being uniformly dark, it's more of a thin striped/comb pattern within the 2-3 inch strip. It's sort of less noticeable since it's like every other vertical pixel is dark but at the same time, the combing effect can also be seen more easily in some scenes (trade off really). The other thing I noticed on the second set is a dark spot/smudge that pretty much looks to be the EXACT size as someone's thumb. My guess is that during the manufacturing process, someone got a thumbprint on the panel and the oils make the image look darker in that spot. The reason I'll probably just deal with the second set, combing and thumb print is that it seems to buzz less than the first...
Honestly, I'd love to keep swapping panels out with Costco until I find the "perfect one" because I don't get to buy a new TV every couple of years like some folks. I have to buy the best quality I can with the little budget I have and expect it to last until it breaks or my wife has a temporary lapse in judgment and lets me indulge in my insane audio visual "hobby." But that's the problem, my wife didn't take kindly to floating the cost of a second TV for a week and the trouble and time of buying, unpacking, re-packing, returning and rehanging the TV, not to mention my insane burn-in time with the TV in the corner with the box preventing our child from "playing with it."
I also don't know that there will be a "perfect" UT50 out there. I'm sure it's a quality control issue and Panasonic feels like this is "good enough" quality and it would cost more to manufacture a Plasma panel without this banding on the right side near the bezel. My suspicion is that 90% of people wouldn't notice this on their own until someone pointed it out to them. I find it distracting but then again, I'm also the type that gets distracted by sound of fuel splashing around in my fuel tank, beneath 4 inches of seat cushion, sound deadening and metal...
I'm almost tempted to give edge lit LED/LCD a try. Honestly, the whole "Blacks are better on Plasma" argument just doesn't seem to hold as much water these days....LCD technology is getting more and more impressive. Someone really tell me why Plasma is worth the Buzz, the IR issues, especially in scene changes where the phosphors of a high contrast scene are still glowing in dim parts of the next scene (how is that better PQ?) and apparently bigger pixels which equates to less resolution from what I read.
All technology is a trade off though. The big thing that bugs me with LCD is that static graphics often flicker, even with sharpness all the way down. I couldn't figure out if this bugs me more than the buzz and IR issues of Plasma though...jury is still out. My wife is going to kill me but I might return this second 55UT50 for the Panasoic LED/LCD TC-L55E50...
CLIFF'S NOTES: Agree with Oubadah, 2012 UT50 Plasma's have uniformity issues. If you think yours is perfect, you probably aren't the type to scrutinize so enjoy this quality about yourself and God help the rest of us neurotic folk...