OOB Experience for PS64 50" is PHENOMENAL!!
The purchase at Costco:
I can certainly see why Panasonic is having trouble selling plasmas if the Gwinnett (county) Georgia Costco is typical. The display unit was so poorly set up that its picture was nearly greyed-out, esp. when compared to the many LED/LCD sets. (I'd asked by phone before going if the display was connected to a blu-ray player, hoping to take a disc w/me, but it wasn't; it turned out to have just some uninteresting store feed.) There was no remote available with which to do a basic corrective setup on it, either.
When I told the salesclerk which set I wanted to buy, and pointed to it, she said, "You know it's a plasma, right?" ... like she was asking me if I were sure I wanted to buy the day-old bread when they had fresh available. I told her this was the set I wanted. Still, she proceeded to inform me of "reflection problems when not viewing in the dark, that plasmas were "the old technology," etc. I told her that Panasonic has continued to research & implement improvements to the technology every year, and that they will continue to do so for at least another year [that's what I've read]. I felt called upon also to point out to her that plasmas have deeper blacks & truer colors than LEDs/LCDs, and that this HDTV has had stellar reviews. And the clerk could not even fathom that perhaps the display unit had been improperly set up; she insisted that since the picture was bad compared to the others, any unit sold would look the same at home! The way that unit looked, it was almost as though someone had deliberately set it up to drain out all color & brightness. If I'd been able to test a Blu-ray DVD, I actually don't think it could have made a difference on that set. Anyway, the clerk finally said, "Well, it looks like you've done your homework and know what you're doing." I said, "Yes, and I'd like to buy one of these, and not one of the others, if you have no further objections to my doing so. I came here to buy this set, and no other, and I'm leaving with this, or nothing." Gees!! First time I've ever had to justify to a salesclerk my intention to make a $600 purchase!
BTW, it did
travel to its new home standing up. Turns out my neighbor's SUV had the headroom, with less than an inch to spare! I placed pillows & a big blanket beside it, just in case she had to suddenly veer in traffic. Plus, I held onto it going around the few turns we had to make. But unlike her usual driving, she drove slowly and carefully, bless her! All was well.Setup & Testing:
Once my friend the installer had it attached to the pedestal and up on the glass rack where the Pani 42" had been, all I had to do was plug it into the wall & connect the AVR's HDMI-out to the HDMI1 input. I just ran the Quick Setup, while my friends (2 adults, 1 child) anxiously waited to see the results. They were thrilled with how it looked with the defaults, with the Dish Network feed, but waited till I made just a few minor adjustments. (The default picture was NOTHING LIKE the awful display unit in Costco! I wish I knew how to contact someone important at Panasonic to let them know how Costco Gwinnett is sabotaging their sales.)
I only made these minor adjustments, and am completely happy with the results in PQ:
Picture Mode: Cinema
Contrast: Took it down only 1 point, to 84
Color Temp: went from Warm 2 to Warm 1
Video NR: Off
I also remembered to go into the Dish menu & change the display from 720p to 1080i. That helped noticeably.
That's it! I've tested it on Dish feed, Dish DVR HD content, 3 Blu-rays, a regular DVD, Netflix, and Amazon Video; all look fabulous. No Red Push here, no artifacts during fast motion; it's all good. BTW, the person who said that when black goes to the edge of the screen that it's so black that it merges with the panel's edges, like for some movies when the credits are scrolling, was absolutely right. Amazing. My 42" certainly couldn't display black like that!
Also, all the colors of the spectrum are bright when they should be, and subtle and muted when appropriate. (In a Blu-ray of Lonesome Dove
, the browns & beiges of the desert setting were beautifully displayed while still providing a clear picture.)
It's remotely possible that I'll tweak some settings later; but with the picture I have now, I don't see why I would bother.
All that being said, I'm still keeping the packing box, just in case the unthinkable should happen. I wonder how long I should save it?Netflix via this unit:
I did set up the tv to access my Netflix account, but was not at all pleased. I tested the connection w/an episode of Bones
in HD, and it was jerky and tended to pixilate. I later ran the same episode from the same point using my Sony Blu-ray player, & had none of those problems; the picture was perfect. (This show is really good for testing, IMHO. The lab has a good sense of depth, and there are lots of shiny, reflective objects in it. The outdoor scenes of the "Jeffersonian" (I believe it's really grounds surrounding the Smithsonian complex of buildings in D.C.) are beautiful. Conclusion: I'll stick with my Sony Blu-ray for Netflix, as well as for Amazon, etc. If others here need this feature, I hope they'll have better results. If you're not already on Netflix, it does give you a free 30-day trial.A New Question:
I've seen some warnings here that seem to be about black bars, and b&w in general. I was using the Blu-ray X-Men 2
to test, & it was obviously recorded in a wider format than 16:9, so there were black bars above and below. Should I avoid using these movies for awhile to prevent burn-in, and if so, for how long? What about old b&w movies? I love really old movies, and often watch Turner Classic Movies channel; I also have many DVDs recorded from TCM. Are these double-jeopardy, since most are both b&w AND have black bars on the sides, because of being natively 4:3 ratio? (I am enough of a purist that I will not watch them in any screen-filling format.) Are any/all of the above dangerous to my new Pani during its infancy? If so, how long till it can learn to love them? I will normally have this tv running for about 8 hours a day, but could leave it on for longer if it would help. Can anyone answer this question for me? TIA.
I will say that it kind of stinks that there's no extensive manual included in the box for these sets, but there's one in .pdf format online at Panasonic. Anyone interested can view/download it here:http://service.us.panasonic.com/OPERMANPDF/E-HELP_PS64.PDF
So that's my OOB Experience that I promised to post. In a word, fantastic!