Originally Posted by plethoraHD
I got a U54 at Costco almost a month ago, as an "emergency" replacement for a Dell Plasma that died. During that time I've been playing with the settings and modes, primarily because my screen has some DSE/banding taking up most of the right side of the screen and a bit of the left side. It is only really noticeable during sports/grass/dirt panning, and low-to-mid solid backgrounds and games with sunsets (such as Red Dead Redemption).
As for settings, this is what I have observed:
Calibrating my set revealed that Cinema, Custom, and Vivid all look great, but carry enough of a difference so that they are not identical. Also, the HDMI Content Type has no effect in Cinema mode. These are my current settings on each mode after using the TV for a few weeks with Contrast at 78:
Brightness: 56 (Cinema), 60 (Custom), and 59 (Vivid) - black levels have no noise/pixel dance
Color Temp: Normal (if I use a Contrast of 90 or higher, then Warm1 is easier on the eyes in a medium-to-darker room)
Color Mgmt: Off
Video NR: Off
Screen Format: Full
HD Size: 2
HDMI Settings: Nonstandard, Graphics
Block NR: Off
Mosquito NR: Off
Black Level: Light
3:2 Pulldown: Auto
Using the AVS slides, the "Misc Patterns - Additional - Color Steps" slide demonstrates on my TV that Cinema preserves the lowest light level above black, where Custom and Vivid blacken the lowest light level above black in favor of making the rest of the image a shade brighter. Also, the "Basic Settings - APL Clipping" contains no blinking black bars when using Custom and Vivid modes.
Now, to my DSE/Banding. It has "grown" in visibility as the TV has broken in, and is most noticeable with the Contrast in the 70-80 range. Cranking the Contrast up to 100 improves this in all modes. But, on a grey background it just about goes away only in Vivid mode. Custom mode displays it slightly more, and Cinema mode displays it the most (especially when using a balanced dark-room contrast of 75-80) - which is unfortunate because I think Cinema overall delivers the best picture on my Cable TV, PS3, and Wii sources. And, I don't necessarily WANT to crank up the Contrast to 100.
There is also some slight IR with this TV, on all modes. The TV Menu's "Menu" has been visible on a few occasions, and I can get some IR to stick when using the Original theme on my PS3, and setting the background to a dark green. Selecting the "Photo Viewer" on the XMB (which displays some Polaroid-type picture images), then going back to a neutral XMB selection like "Turn Off System" will display the edges of these picture images in the dark green background. Also easily seen in this dark green background are the horizontal lines created by line bleed. I can get the IR to disappear by either using the TV's screen wipe, or by watching a few minutes of constantly-changing content on the TV. I think I've seen line bleed in actual viewing programs/movies only once so far, but I'm sure it will probably show up again.
As for the rest of the TV's performance, after almost a month of viewing, the calibrated picture is fantastic during most viewing. On all sources, the Black is really remarkable. The white-level brightness is uniform at each corner, edge, and center. There is no color blobbiness of any kind. Games are very responsive and look wonderful, even sub-HD-rendered games like Red Dead Redemption and Super Mario Galaxy 2. In the majority of viewing and gaming, the DSE/banding is not noticeable to the viewing eye.
But with solid-color dimly-lit backgrounds, my U54 is worse-looking than some of the pictures posted in the UT50 thread and other threads, and worse than any TV or computer monitor I've owned that has been capable of displaying HD-level content. Based on some of the threads I have been reading, receiving a Panasonic Plasma that doesn't exhibit this issue can amount to a "panel lottery" for customers. And given that it could get better or worse over time, and that there are probably some people out there who will never "see" what I or others have experienced (even if it is present on their TV), I don't know if it's a lottery where there are many winners, or few.