Originally Posted by cpcat
The NEC seems to have significantly more light output. It would probably do better in poorly controlled lighting conditions (room with alot of windows for ex.)
than the Panasonic would.
The NEC doesn't have a setting which floats blacks or I haven't found it at least. Not that I'd use it necessarily. The only pic modes available to me while feeding native rate are "default" and "normal". I don't know if the other modes float the black. I'll play with setting a pass-thru mode on my scaler so I can further investigate.
I hardly ever watch in a completely darkened room and my visual memory of this for the Panny would be absent, so there's no use in trying it. I can tell you that the blacks in the picture on the NEC look *ink black* and seem to have gotten better each day with run-in on the panel so far. The sidebars for ESPNHD are very dark grey in the in-between areas behind the logo. I can, of course, adjust the set so that these areas are nearer-black but then I lose too much shadow detail. This is comparable to the way the Panasonic behaved as well. If you take into account the floating black level on the Panny, I'd say they're about equivalent. The sidebars (Panny) were on average very dark grey with low brightness scenes versus looking more ink black when a light scene was on the screen.
Great feedback cpcat, thanks!
I agree not many people watch a plasma in a completely dark room but it is the only way I found to visually determine black level as lighting, i.e. like using a backlight, can fool your eye and make the apparent black level look better. However since you already own a Panasonic and say the NEC black level is comparable, is already a real testament to the quality of the blacks on the NEC.
Another question, does the NEC have an image size and position adjustments in the user menu?
One last request, a while back I asked if you had looked at the Horizontal Gray Ramp test pattern on your AVIA DVD located at Title 1, Chapter 103 (also can be found by menu selecting Chapter 7 - Audio & Video Calibration, Video Test Patterns, Gray Scale & Levels, Grey Steps & Ramps, Horizontal Gray Ramp). It should be smooth with no banding or color shifts across the ramp. The eye is especially sensitive on the dark end. I think it is an easy and one of the most revealing tests for checking a display's quality. It will check the gray scale tracking, color temp variation, contrast and if there is any banding issues (also called false contouring, posterization). I have been noticing many of the recent display reviews in Home Theater Magazine include the results of this test. When you get a chance, I would much appreciate having you check this out. I think you would also find this test very interesting.
If this test looks positive my NEC is going on order!