Whatever it is I wish it would go away
I'd like to share what I'm finding in reviews of plasmas regarding this issue.
I am the most visually sensitive person I know and this issue is driving me nuts. I have 3 plasmas at home right now and I've spent a ridiculous amount of time evaluating plasmas at home and in the store over the last few months.
There are a few things I can say for certainty with regards to this issue for me alone:
I notice it much
more on Pioneer-based plasmas. I've had 3 in my home in the last 4 months and I see the problem without having to dart my eyes at all. Just turn on some content with medium-high contrast and I can see it from 25 feet away in my kitchen on a 50" plasma! I watched a few minutes of The Wedding Date last night where everyone is in dark suits standing outside prior to the wedding and the rainbows were very apparent as it is in other movies. Watching black and white movies is nearly impossible for me with all of the flashing I see on these displays. I told my wife that it's extremely annoying and could maybe be likened to someone standing behind the TV and shining a little pen light in your eyes occasionally while you're watching TV. This is a little dramatic, but it should give some idea as to how annoying it could be.
It's still visible, but not nearly as noticeable on Panasonic-based plasmas. I think this is for two reasons--the effect just seems
to happen less frequently on these displays for some reason, and/or it seems to not be as bright or have as much color information. Sometime it just seems like a quick flash of white or yellow and not always a full bright rainbow of colors, if you will, like I see on the Pioneer units. Overall though it's more difficult to spot and doesn't seem to catch the eye as much for me on the Panasonic-based plasmas.
It's not source dependent, but it does vary by display. Right now I have a Fujitsu and a Runco plasma in my living room connected to digital cable via Comcast and an HD DVD player. I can see rainbows on the Runco very easily with either source. This is the same as I've seen with the Pioneer 5070 and 1140, both of which I have also had at home. It's much more difficult to spot this issue on the Fujitsu with the same source/content and similar initial AVIA calibration. In fact, it's basically a non-issue on the Fujitsu as it's so much less noticeable.
It doesn't give me eye strain and headaches like watching DLP. It's just super annoying. So I could live with it if I chose to, but it's prevalent enough that I would frequently see it and I could not ignore it.
I have a 4 year old Panasonic commercial ED plasma and I don't see anything significant in this regard on that unit. They may be there, but I can't spot them easily even if I try. I can't help but wonder if it has something to do with the fact that the older plasma has lower contrast, but I really don't know.
This is a significant enough problem for me that I've spent a number of days trying to decide if I can live with it on the Runco as it's just about the only thing stopping me from keeping it over the Fujitsu. I probably shouldn't have tried the Runco, but I was hoping it would be a problem. I may actually buy a plasma I don't completely prefer, in the Fujitsu, because of this issue so it's definitely very real...for me.
I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed the issue varying from one brand of plasma to another?