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Panasonic TC-50PU54. Detectible drop in blacks first 3 days. Am I doomed?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm confused. I just purchased 2 Panasonic 50" TC-50PU54 1080p TV's from costco about 10 days ago. Is my model one of the newer models Panasonic claims is exempt from this terrible black degration issue or do I have 2 tv's that are going to have to go back? I've been reading a lot of horror stories past 9 days. The same day I purchased them someone told me about this black level issue.

So I wonder, am I safe with this model or am I screwed and doomed to see the blacks begin to fade over time? cnet has an updated article for 2011 that say's Panasonic has claimed that black levels will no longer give way and weaken over time, then followed another article months later in 2011 that debunks Panasonic's claim that their 2011 models and beyond will not suffer from deminished blacks, but rather they will be less inky but will not fade as severely or quickly.

I can tell you this, the first day I plugged the 50PU54 in I did a basic calibration in cinema mode and turned down the lights to darken the room completely. even with a basic calibration which included dropping the contrast to 50 instead of leaving it at 100, when black was black I could not detect any glow in the screen at all in a totally dark room. 3 days later with the same situation I was seeing very very subtle dark grey light with a totally black screen in a dark room. Just after 3 days there was a rise in blacks, but very subtle as I said. 3 more days later and that rise had doubled. the screen literally if meant to be totally dark showed a very deep grey, a little deeper than a decent Sony Bravia LCD viewed at it's sweet spot.

Now 6 days later the screen is glowing a very dull gark gray in a totally dark room with a totally dark image. Not a good sign to me at all. first virtually no detectable light was seen on the first day,and it took less than a week for that to fade into what I would call a very dark dull glowing gray. Since then another 4 days have passed and thus far I see no further deterioration. At this point I am wondering if my model is one that is said to be exempt from the severe drop in blacks as I've read about some that have lost blacks so much that they fare no better than the average LCD TV. Last night I watched 'Tears of the Sun', the perfect movie to test when it comes to demanding blacks due to those numerous scenes that take place at night in a dense jungle. I have to say the blacks suffered more than I expected. Dull deep grey nearly black glow was present in those scenes rather than the expected deep black. I was dissapointed enough that I turned on mild light in the room to compensate. So am I doomed to watch the blacks fade even further on these plasmas or not? One other thing the problem is identicle on both TV's. Though black seems a little deeper on the one that has been used less hours.


Another problem is I am seeing brightness fluctuations when viewing some hdtv. Like the image looks brighter when there are different colors on the screen with some dark areas and some bright white, but if there is a lot of white or mostly white the screen dims considerable instantly then stays dim and the image looks dull and muted some until this changes to another image with bright. mid and darfk areas. However I do not see the issue with DVD or BLu-Ray ever. This issue is present on both TV's but only when veiwing HDTV. Any idea what that is all about also?
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natja-ss-1334 View Post

I'm confused. I just purchased 2 Panasonic 50" TC-50PU54 1080p TV's from costco about 10 days ago. Is my model one of the newer models Panasonic claims is exempt from this terrible black degration issue or do I have 2 tv's that are going to have to go back? I've been reading a lot of horror stories past 9 days. The same day I purchased them someone told me about this black level issue.
So I wonder, am I safe with this model or am I screwed and doomed to see the blacks begin to fade over time? cnet has an updated article for 2011 that say's Panasonic has claimed that black levels will no longer give way and weaken over time, then followed another article months later in 2011 that debunks Panasonic's claim that their 2011 models and beyond will not suffer from deminished blacks, but rather they will be less inky but will not fade as severely or quickly.
I can tell you this, the first day I plugged the 50PU54 in I did a basic calibration in cinema mode and turned down the lights to darken the room completely. even with a basic calibration which included dropping the contrast to 50 instead of leaving it at 100, when black was black I could not detect any glow in the screen at all in a totally dark room. 3 days later with the same situation I was seeing very very subtle dark grey light with a totally black screen in a dark room. Just after 3 days there was a rise in blacks, but very subtle as I said. 3 more days later and that rise had doubled. the screen literally if meant to be totally dark showed a very deep grey, a little deeper than a decent Sony Bravia LCD viewed at it's sweet spot.
Now 6 days later the screen is glowing a very dull gark gray in a totally dark room with a totally dark image. Not a good sign to me at all. first virtually no detectable light was seen on the first day,and it took less than a week for that to fade into what I would call a very dark dull glowing gray. Since then another 4 days have passed and thus far I see no further deterioration. At this point I am wondering if my model is one that is said to be exempt from the severe drop in blacks as I've read about some that have lost blacks so much that they fare no better than the average LCD TV. Last night I watched 'Tears of the Sun', the perfect movie to test when it comes to demanding blacks due to those numerous scenes that take place at night in a dense jungle. I have to say the blacks suffered more than I expected. Dull deep grey nearly black glow was present in those scenes rather than the expected deep black. I was dissapointed enough that I turned on mild light in the room to compensate. So am I doomed to watch the blacks fade even further on these plasmas or not? One other thing the problem is identicle on both TV's. Though black seems a little deeper on the one that has been used less hours.
Another problem is I am seeing brightness fluctuations when viewing some hdtv. Like the image looks brighter when there are different colors on the screen with some dark areas and some bright white, but if there is a lot of white or mostly white the screen dims considerable instantly then stays dim and the image looks dull and muted some until this changes to another image with bright. mid and darfk areas. However I do not see the issue with DVD or BLu-Ray ever. This issue is present on both TV's but only when veiwing HDTV. Any idea what that is all about also?

Your tv will change alot in the first 200 hours, get a calibration disc, calibrating by eye is not effective, brightness impacts black level, contrast impacts white level
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
I've got two calibration discs actually. I owned many home theater projectors and calibrated all of them with AVIA and Video Essentials. The sparse adjustments and lack of any acess to a service menu make for limited calibration on this TV. That being said I did a general basic calibration just to get things rolling before I ever really posted my concerns here. Based on what i have learned since posting this is that within the first 10 days there has been a loss of the deepest blacks. This is unnafected by brightness or contrast and how low or high they are set. It's a limitation of the panel's ability to make perfect or extremely deep blacks. it's also obvious that blacks were deeper for the first 2 days then that changed to something still very very good, but not as good as it started out with. But after reading up more on this it appears Pioneer's Kuro is the onyly plasma that makes truly very deep blacks when they are called for. I simply misunderstood and thought all Plasma's did extremely deep blacks. This panny produces deeper blacks that any LCD or LED I have seen but when it comes to extremely challenging material with a lot of dark footage you can see the weaknesses and limitations the panny's have in dealing with it. Not detectable unless the room is totally dark. But noticable if your thinking about it in a dark room. Black is very dark gray. Once your eyes adjust to total blacks your not seeing black, your seeing very dark lit up gray. Not sure why that is since plasma pixels when intended to be black are supposed to be black. That is one thing I am confused on. Also as many people have reported, if the blacks continue to deminish then I will return the Panny. Ohers have claimed the blacks actually stabled and even improved over time, which I find diffuclt to believe, so I am not expecting that. So long as the blacks don't deminish any further I'll be happy with the Panny though
post #4 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natja-ss-1334 View Post

I've got two calibration discs actually. I owned many home theater projectors and calibrated all of them with AVIA and Video Essentials. The sparse adjustments and lack of any acess to a service menu make for limited calibration on this TV. That being said I did a general basic calibration just to get things rolling before I ever really posted my concerns here. Based on what i have learned since posting this is that within the first 10 days there has been a loss of the deepest blacks. This is unnafected by brightness or contrast and how low or high they are set. It's a limitation of the panel's ability to make perfect or extremely deep blacks. it's also obvious that blacks were deeper for the first 2 days then that changed to something still very very good, but not as good as it started out with. But after reading up more on this it appears Pioneer's Kuro is the onyly plasma that makes truly very deep blacks when they are called for. I simply misunderstood and thought all Plasma's did extremely deep blacks. This panny produces deeper blacks that any LCD or LED I have seen but when it comes to extremely challenging material with a lot of dark footage you can see the weaknesses and limitations the panny's have in dealing with it. Not detectable unless the room is totally dark. But noticable if your thinking about it in a dark room. Black is very dark gray. Once your eyes adjust to total blacks your not seeing black, your seeing very dark lit up gray. Not sure why that is since plasma pixels when intended to be black are supposed to be black. That is one thing I am confused on. Also as many people have reported, if the blacks continue to deminish then I will return the Panny. Ohers have claimed the blacks actually stabled and even improved over time, which I find diffuclt to believe, so I am not expecting that. So long as the blacks don't deminish any further I'll be happy with the Panny though

I would say your panel is faulty if your blacks are actually grey. You can definitely access the service menu but not worthwhile without a meter and software. I don't have experience with your particular model but my 2011 set has great blacks and yes they have improved as the set has aged. Also you purchased an entry level model while the blacks are very good they are not as good as the models farther up the Panny product line.
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well that sounds like a very reasonable explination as to what is going on from what you've said. considering it is an entry level model and that some of the more expensive Panny's do deeper blacks then the black I am getting is about as good as one should expect. I purchased two of the same model on the same day. After a reasonable calibration of both I'm seeing a difficult to detect but slight difference in the depth of blacks between the two. There is a difference but pretty much give or take they are both reaching a deep enough black that only with the most challenging source material can you really see the limitations. And again I was under the impression that Plasmas generally speaking could render an almost completely dark image when a lot of black is present in an image. Have you watched your panny in a totally dark room with a totally black image before? If so do you see complete black or is there ever so slightly a little bit of a very dark glow on the screen? When I mention the issue I am refering to I see with my model is that it's the noticable difference between complete dark and the presence of light in the blacks. it's not really subtle, but at the same time it's very minimal.

According to reviews I've read and seen on the highest end panny's compared to the Kuro, the comments have said the very best panny does not produce quite as deep a black as the Kuro does, but that it comes close. That should suggest that even the best panny does not produce a nearly total black with a totaly black source on the screen. So considering that and my panny being the entry level model, I would guess the blacks my model is able to produce is what should be expected and within the perameters of well rendered blacks. Like I said it definately does better blacks than any LCD or LED back lit I have seen in a dark room. I shouldn't expect perfection at this price range.

I haven't even felt all that bothered to complain about some other things that kind of bother me about this model such as numerous Blu-Rays I have look grainy sometimes such as the first Harry Potter film and Aliens, while others render no grain at all. DVD's never appear grainy at all. I'm using one of the latest panny Blu-Rays, one that is even 3D ready which of course doesn't do me any good with this TV. Also strangely when viewing HDTV via HDMI when there is a lot of bright whites in the image such as a Walmart logo in blue on a white background in a commercial the picture dims and looks about the way it would when you select the dimmest picture preset mode, but once the image returns to something with an image with less white it instantly is brighter. No amount of calibration for hours could fix this, yet this never happens when watching anything on a DVD player, Blu-Ray player or DVR. And it happens mostly with commercials and HD VIDEO rather than film. Totally weird, slightly annoying, but not a big deal. Any thoughts on these issues?

Thanks for the feedback and help. Much appreciated smile.gif
post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natja-ss-1334 View Post

Well that sounds like a very reasonable explination as to what is going on from what you've said. considering it is an entry level model and that some of the more expensive Panny's do deeper blacks then the black I am getting is about as good as one should expect. I purchased two of the same model on the same day. After a reasonable calibration of both I'm seeing a difficult to detect but slight difference in the depth of blacks between the two. There is a difference but pretty much give or take they are both reaching a deep enough black that only with the most challenging source material can you really see the limitations. And again I was under the impression that Plasmas generally speaking could render an almost completely dark image when a lot of black is present in an image. Have you watched your panny in a totally dark room with a totally black image before? If so do you see complete black or is there ever so slightly a little bit of a very dark glow on the screen? When I mention the issue I am refering to I see with my model is that it's the noticable difference between complete dark and the presence of light in the blacks. it's not really subtle, but at the same time it's very minimal.
According to reviews I've read and seen on the highest end panny's compared to the Kuro, the comments have said the very best panny does not produce quite as deep a black as the Kuro does, but that it comes close. That should suggest that even the best panny does not produce a nearly total black with a totaly black source on the screen. So considering that and my panny being the entry level model, I would guess the blacks my model is able to produce is what should be expected and within the perameters of well rendered blacks. Like I said it definately does better blacks than any LCD or LED back lit I have seen in a dark room. I shouldn't expect perfection at this price range.
I haven't even felt all that bothered to complain about some other things that kind of bother me about this model such as numerous Blu-Rays I have look grainy sometimes such as the first Harry Potter film and Aliens, while others render no grain at all. DVD's never appear grainy at all. I'm using one of the latest panny Blu-Rays, one that is even 3D ready which of course doesn't do me any good with this TV. Also strangely when viewing HDTV via HDMI when there is a lot of bright whites in the image such as a Walmart logo in blue on a white background in a commercial the picture dims and looks about the way it would when you select the dimmest picture preset mode, but once the image returns to something with an image with less white it instantly is brighter. No amount of calibration for hours could fix this, yet this never happens when watching anything on a DVD player, Blu-Ray player or DVR. And it happens mostly with commercials and HD VIDEO rather than film. Totally weird, slightly annoying, but not a big deal. Any thoughts on these issues?
Thanks for the feedback and help. Much appreciated smile.gif

The VT50 comes close to the Kuro in black levels. I haven't raally noticed anything with the blacks, do they blend into the bezet ? No but it is very close. Haven't really noticed film grain but that could be dvd specfic, some transfers are just not as pristine as others. Do you have "cats" on by chance, otherwise you may be seeing abl(auto brightness limiter) that is common to all newer plasmas.
post #7 of 14
Thread Starter 
Oh thanks, this is very helpful information actually. No I don't have CATS active with either tv. It of course seems to dim the image too much, but it does seem to limit image noise when it has been present and I have turned it on momentarily. But the info about the blacks not blending in with the bezel is a good way for me to get an idea of a comparison. If I had to judge I'd say my blacks sometimes come very close to blending with the bezel but if I have the lights off long enough, my eyes adjust, and then I'm watching source material that is very dark I see the TV's true limitations concerning doing truly deep blacks. What ever the case you've been very helpful and now I feel releived actually because I realize my TV's are performing at about the level that is to be expected from the entry level model I have. I've got a 3 month return warranty, so I'll give it maybe 10 weeks. By then if there is any further drop in black level performance or any other issues I can still return the TV's. Otherwise I'm very pleased with the image quality. it really is extremely good. When I saw Avatar on this Panny my jaw was on the floor eek.gif I hope they keep working well. Thanks again, you've been a big big help!!

PS- I purchased 5 year costco warranties on both these TV's and that includes a service tech comming to your home to do the repairs, so that is a very good reason to hang onto these Panny's as long as possible. No matter what there's total piece of mind no matter what happenes
post #8 of 14
the grain level is actually NOT a fault of the plasma. DVD's didn't have the resolution to display grain properly, basically it was "smeared" out in a sense due to the low rez. With the higher resolution you're actually seeing the film grain that wasn't able to have been displayed properly on the DVD. there's HUGE amounts of threads describing film grain and how this is actually a positive and when you should expect to see it etc...
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
I actually thought that might be the case, the only thing that made me wonder was the fact that on my 1080p Vizio 47" I can't detect any grain at all with the same Blu-Rays. So the thought I had was that the plasma is producing a picture with so much purity that you can see the grain where as the Vizio isn't able to pick it up. But the only thing is, this looks more like mosquito noise than film grain, and there is in fact a mosquito noise setting on this plasma but I never owned an LCD that ever had a filter to deal with it. So that made me wonder what I am really seeing.
post #10 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natja-ss-1334 View Post

I actually thought that might be the case, the only thing that made me wonder was the fact that on my 1080p Vizio 47" I can't detect any grain at all with the same Blu-Rays. So the thought I had was that the plasma is producing a picture with so much purity that you can see the grain where as the Vizio isn't able to pick it up. But the only thing is, this looks more like mosquito noise than film grain, and there is in fact a mosquito noise setting on this plasma but I never owned an LCD that ever had a filter to deal with it. So that made me wonder what I am really seeing.

it almost sounds like you're describing dithering... do you have it set on "cinema" mode?? if not I'd try and switch to it. common issue with this model
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wormraper View Post

it almost sounds like you're describing dithering... do you have it set on "cinema" mode?? if not I'd try and switch to it. common issue with this model

Yea, they've both been set to Cinema from the start based of suggested calibration settings I read on AVS forum. Well crap LOL! Thanks for suggesting that anyway, I just wish I hadn't tried that so I could still actually have something to try confused.gif


OH yea- PS...

The only thing I am not doing as far as following the rules is I keep turning Contrast down to 50 then back up to 100 again depending on what I am watching. Some movies look a bit too dark with contrast at 50, so I turn it up then I turn it down, then I turn it up again, then I turn it down again. experts(Which I am far from) say to keep the contrast at 50 for the first 200 hours. Naughty me tongue.gif I have the brighteness at 35 most of the time and contrast at 100. Brightness at 35 sounded low to me but it looks good like that
post #12 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natja-ss-1334 View Post

Yea, they've both been set to Cinema from the start based of suggested calibration settings I read on AVS forum. Well crap LOL! Thanks for suggesting that anyway, I just wish I hadn't tried that so I could still actually have something to try confused.gif
OH yea- PS...
The only thing I am not doing as far as following the rules is I keep turning Contrast down to 50 then back up to 100 again depending on what I am watching. Some movies look a bit too dark with contrast at 50, so I turn it up then I turn it down, then I turn it up again, then I turn it down again. experts(Which I am far from) say to keep the contrast at 50 for the first 200 hours. Naughty me tongue.gif I have the brighteness at 35 most of the time and contrast at 100. Brightness at 35 sounded low to me but it looks good like that

lol, yeah , the brightness and contrast don't have to be THAT low IMO. I do mine at 68 contrast and like 52 brightness and kept it there for the first few hundred hours. after that just run a calibration disc and you should be fine
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Affirmative, I'll try these suggestions, thanks a bunch!! smile.gif
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Natja-ss-1334 View Post

Yea, they've both been set to Cinema from the start based of suggested calibration settings I read on AVS forum. Well crap LOL! Thanks for suggesting that anyway, I just wish I hadn't tried that so I could still actually have something to try confused.gif
OH yea- PS...
The only thing I am not doing as far as following the rules is I keep turning Contrast down to 50 then back up to 100 again depending on what I am watching. Some movies look a bit too dark with contrast at 50, so I turn it up then I turn it down, then I turn it up again, then I turn it down again. experts(Which I am far from) say to keep the contrast at 50 for the first 200 hours. Naughty me tongue.gif I have the brighteness at 35 most of the time and contrast at 100. Brightness at 35 sounded low to me but it looks good like that

I'd definitely wait to do a full evaluation till you get a couple hundred hours in at 50 contrast you are definitely clipping whites big time. Your brightness should be in the mid 50's definitely crushing blacks at 35.
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