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2010 Panasonic Plasma TV's Only

Note: I cannot help you if you do not follow directions. Just entering the new service menu contrast setting is not the whole fix. I have given you a mid-point to start with. So follow the directions carefully.

Details you should know about your 2010 Panasonic Plasma TV.


Without any indication to the user, all 2010 models have built-in Dynamic Contrast. Unlike most TVs there is no user controls to turn the function off.


Why???


It seems that in order to be competitive and produce Energy Star rated plasma devices, some magic must be done with power mode to allow for better energy conservation. This magic of sorts is the power mode. Low power for deep blacks and good contrast levels. Normal power for bright viewing locations and high contrast levels.


All one can hope for is that next years models will have the ability to disable the inheirent dynamic contrast within normal power mode, or have a newer plasma panel to deliver the dynamic range without floating black levels.


What can be done to eliminate floating blacks?


You can calibrate with a gray scale ramp pattern with a lower contrast and brightness settings. Though there is nothing to keep anyone from changing the levels unless you lock the menu. Hotel mode anyone???


You may note my values (Lower on this page) have brightness around 50 - 52 on my picture modes. I can go higher without causing any ill effects with floating blacks. But for my viewing I like the brightness level as what I have listed.


Now for contrast... in my extensive testing, I noticed contrast will trigger when the tv will switch into normal power mode.


Even if you do not see any change with the black level at a setting of 65 on the contrast, it may take a very bright scene with a few deep blacks to notice.


It may be a trivial subject at that point, but for most who want the best the TV can deliver without worries about black levels shifting. You may opt on my tweak of the service menu default contrast setting.


What does this tweak do??


Here is the scale for user adjustments:


0 ------ 50 ------100


Lets say you find that once you get to 60 floating blacks become noticable.


By lowering the default contrast level in the service menu, we'll moving the maximum usable contrast in low power mode further up the scale.


Usable contrast of 50 will now be at 100 on the scale.


There will be two benefits maybe more.



One, contrast is restrained within the low power range.

Two, you will have doubled the contrast adjustabity for a more exact level of detail.


Any drawbacks???


Two, CATS may not function properly and needs to be disabled on all picture modes and inputs used.


The second is minor, on my TV... Warm, Normal, and Cool have shifted settings. Normal gives a Warm picture, Warm is Cool, and Cool is normal. Go figure why that happens, its F'n magic to me.


Now what should I expect when I go into the service menu???


When in the service menu, all picture settings used are factory default for service menu only.


Vivid, high brightness and contrast levels and so on.


The screen will be bright!


Once you have changed the value to the default contrast, the screen may change brighter or lower. This is only a service menu visual issue. Once you power off the tv for 10 seconds and power it back on, you should notice the screen should be not as bright.


If it is brighter there must be a difference on the settings for your particular model.


I am using what I gathered from testing with my C2 model.

Note: Some have reported 000 as their default. Make sure HDMI is not used during the Service Menu setup. HDMI locks available options. Once you make the changes and things are set, then you can use HDMI.

Please connect component cable when using 720 or 1080 HD connection. The Service Menu is locked when HDMI is used. Once the setting is done to both SD and HD, you can connect HDMI.


Example:


Lets say FE as your default use any number 70 down to 6C (6C is mine) as your new setting. Holding down the down volume button will speed up the change.

Setting the default Contrast:

The Default Contrast Setting is the first option after pressing 1 at the service menu. It will be predefined in a two or three digit HEX code.

Write down the number and keep it as reference.

Here is some values to help you decide what number to change to.


Any value F0 to FF use 70

Any value 260 to 275 use 135

Any other value just divide by 2

Just use the Hex button in windows calculator, type in the number shown for editing and divide it by 2. Plug in the value using the down volume button, and power off.

Please take note if your TV counts in decimal or HEX... If you should see F through A during count down to make your change. Your in HEX, do not put a decimal number in or visa versa. [/color][/b]


Power off the tv for 10 seconds.

Once you power on the TV adjust brightness to 45 and contrast to 50.
This is a starting point for you to calibrate brightness and contrast.

Use Grayscale ramp bars to dial in brightness first. Slowly move the brightness up until you see all the bars are visable.

Move the contrast up as far as you want, your black level should not change. If you see black become grey take note how far you went up the scale. If it was 90, then you will need to lower the default contrast again. This time you will lower the value you entered by 15%. You will not miss the 5% and it will be a good buffer in the long run.

Once you have completed all the brightness and contrast settings for each picture mode.
You can run the THX optimizer or Pluge test pattern to make sure things are perfect.

Originally after burn in with my new un-tweaked TV, I used gray scale ramps pattern to adjust brightness and contrast. I was able to determine that contrast was the trigger to black levels shifting. I had dialed in my brightness initialy to have both the two last bars the same brightness or black level. Once I set the contrast above 60... bam my brightness jumped! WHOA!!!!

Leaving room for the contrast ajustment to have whiter than white seems to have cured the floating blacks.


Oh one thing... I am impressed that the 450.00 Panasonic display has wonderful blacks and bright whites to match my 61" DLP at 1/3 the cost! Oh the picture is wonderful too... Just have no good camera to take a side by side image comparison.


Here is my settings after I lowered the default Contrast in the Service Menu.

Mode: Cinema, Custom, Vivid, Standard

Contrast: 59, 54, 49, 73
Brightness: 54, 52, 52, 52
Color: 52, 42, 52, 52
Tint: +4,+5,+4, 0

Color temp: All are set to Normal... I think lowering the initial contrast level offset the temprature information. The names may not correspond to the actual temp, though each setting is there and distiguishable.

Some other models may not be affected or maybe similar with the mixup in naming modes.

I setup my C2 next to my DLP both on Cinema and compaired picture.

The C2 is darker and will lighten up with time, most all colors were near identical just the C2 seemed saturated and sharp around object from the darkness of blacks.
 

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Looking forward to it. I think I understand why the black tape method would be harder since you need to remove the from bezel to get to the front of the sensor whereas I assume disconnecting CATS just requires access to the back. But as stated in the other thread I would like to know if this forces the blacks down to their blackest level or just puts them in permanent floating grey (The same as lighting the sensor with an LED).


Hoping you can clear that confusion up a bit
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Emery /forum/post/19564040


Looking forward to it. I think I understand why the black tape method would be harder since you need to remove the from bezel to get to the front of the sensor whereas I assume disconnecting CATS just requires access to the back. But as stated in the other thread I would like to know if this forces the blacks down to their blackest level or just puts them in permanent floating grey (The same as lighting the sensor with an LED).


Hoping you can clear that confusion up a bit

+1.


Really looking forward to reading your findings about this. Thanks for taking the time to investigate!
 

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I thought the CATS sensor was responsible for overall light output, not black levels?


If you cover the sensor with Tape, won't the set assume your in the dark, and then greatly decrease the sets light output at all times?


Once I disable CATS in the menu, it seems as though it clearly turns off, as the tv set becomes much brighter. Are you claiming its actually still working, even disabled...even though I can easily see the difference when I toggle it on and off?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by redwolf4k /forum/post/19564140


I thought the CATS sensor was responsible for overall light output, not black levels?


If you cover the sensor with Tape, won't the set assume your in the dark, and then greatly decrease the sets light output at all times?


Once I disable CATS in the menu, it seems as though it clearly turns off, as the tv set becomes much brighter. Are you claiming its actually still working, even disabled...even though I can easily see the difference when I toggle it on and off?

These mysteries and others will hopefully be cleared up once the tests commence!
But to answer one thing. When I have the sensor lit by an LED the black levels rise and when I switch CATS on and off the brightness of the image itself goes up and down but the black levels remain the same (Stay dark grey).
 

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Hi,

good initiative to try this. I bought the 50g20 three weeks ago an noticed the floating blacks. It's very annoying I tried every setting but the problem persist.


I don't understand why Panasonic don't release a firmware that let us disable this "feature".


For Panasonic it isn't actually an issue but more like a feature. I'm okay with that BUT why don't they give us the possibility to disable it??


It is a shame that the end-user himself must find a solution to correct this problem.


I hope you can correct the problem, but if we open the TV don't we lose the warranty? Can you give details on any warranty labels that can be found when you disassemble it?


One more question I went to the service menu to see the uptime of the TV (+-60hrs), I wonder if I lost the warranty now?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by OcEaN85
Hi,

good initiative to try this. I bought the 50g20 three weeks ago an noticed the floating blacks. It's very annoying I tried every setting but the problem persist.


I don't understand why Panasonic don't release a firmware that let us disable this "feature".


For Panasonic it isn't actually an issue but more like a feature. I'm okay with that BUT why don't they give us the possibility to disable it??


It is a shame that the end-user himself must find a solution to correct this problem.


I hope you can correct the problem, but if we open the TV don't we lose the warranty? Can you give details on any warranty labels that can be found when you disassemble it?


One more question I went to the service menu to see the uptime of the TV (+-60hrs), I wonder if I lost the warranty now?
You get a years warranty by default. But consumer rights usually mean a device such as a TV has an expected lifetime which means even if your TV goes bad after a year you can still contest it with the manufacturer. Don't let them put you off saying your warranty ran out. Your consumer rights mean they cannot use this excuse (Yes I saw the 'Don't get done get Dom' on the telly all about that hehe). Not sure about the US etc (UK here).


If you open the TV you invalidate your warranty. The trick is to do it in such a way as to not let them know you did I would guess. Yes it is dishonest but hey these things are fair game when they can't be bothered to admit there is a problem when there is. I don't know if they have some mechanism of telling whether you have had the back off or not (Other than you scratching the screws or breaking some seal that is). I will wait on more info from OP before going at my G20 with a screwdriver. I did not catch which model HDTV he has BTW?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Emery
These mysteries and others will hopefully be cleared up once the tests commence!
But to answer one thing. When I have the sensor lit by an LED the black levels rise and when I switch CATS on and off the brightness of the image itself goes up and down but the black levels remain the same (Stay dark grey).
Where is the CATS sensor on the outside of the tv? If CATS is set to "off"...how does an LED light effect it?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by redwolf4k
Where is the CATS sensor on the outside of the tv? If CATS is set to "off"...how does an LED light effect it?
I don't know if this is by design or a flaw that Panasonic never picked up on (Or just will not aknowledge). But yes the sensor is still doing something when CATS is set to off which makes the black levels float up and down. The sensor is still sending a signal describing light levels which the TV is acting on to the detriment of the viewing experience (at least for some of us who get annoyed by it). I must admit it is entirely bizarre and for Panasonic to not even aknowledge there is an issue is laughable.
 

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On my 65VT25, it's pretty obvious when CATS is on or off, there's no mistaking it. And it's off when you turn it off in the menus.
 

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There is a sensor for the ambient light in you room. You can disable this one by disabling CATS, but you will till notice floating blacks which are dependent on the content you see on the TV.


You can see on movies every time at the exact same moment that you screen will brighten up/ brighten down, independently of your ambient light in your room.


The utility of this is to have deep blacks in every image the TV displays (dark or bright).


Now the question is, are there two sensors one for CATS and the other which is responsible for the dynamic blacks?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by OcEaN85
There is a sensor for the ambient light in you room. You can disable this one by disabling CATS, but there is also another sensor -which is dependent on the content you see on the TV- who can't be disabled.


You can see on movies every time at the exact same moment that you screen will brighten up/ brighten down, independently of your ambient light in your room.


The utility of this is to have deep blacks in every image the TV displays (dark or bright).


The problem is that it is easily noticeable, and very annoying.
I see two squares on the front. I thought one was the remote sensor and the other the ambient light sensor. I will be curious to know if disabling the ambient sensor has any effect on floating blacks. It would be disappointing if the floating blacks are processed internally through what is being displayed on the screen. If so then the only way to overcome this is through the LED light into the sensor trick. But then you are stuck with lighter black levels all of the time. I currently use this method but it's not the best method (Although probably the easiest and does not invalidate your warranty).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Emery
I see two squares on the front. I thought one was the remote sensor and the other the ambient light sensor. I will be curious to know if disabling the ambient sensor has any effect on floating blacks. It would be disappointing if the floating blacks are processed internally through what is being displayed on the screen. If so then the only way to overcome this is through the LED light into the sensor trick. But then you are stuck with lighter black levels all of the time. I currently use this method but it's not the best method (Although probably the easiest and does not invalidate your warranty).


"It would be disappointing if the floating blacks are processed internally through what is being displayed on the screen." I thought that this was the purpose of this thread.



From post #1:
Quote:
Panasonic's plasma display panel radiates light internally just above the sensor location and along the width of the panel.


Light will be radiated at various levels according to the plasma panels brightness. This is best seen in a dark location, looking down through the vent holes with an image being displayed.
Larry
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Emery
I see two squares on the front. I thought one was the remote sensor and the other the ambient light sensor. I will be curious to know if disabling the ambient sensor has any effect on floating blacks. It would be disappointing if the floating blacks are processed internally through what is being displayed on the screen. If so then the only way to overcome this is through the LED light into the sensor trick. But then you are stuck with lighter black levels all of the time. I currently use this method but it's not the best method (Although probably the easiest and does not invalidate your warranty).
I tried with a flashlight pointing to the ambient light sensor, in fact the screen is brightened up, but you can try to lower contrast and brightness. Obviously is is more a workaround than a solution.

I think we have to wait and see the conclusion of Low tech
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by OcEaN85
I tried with a flashlight pointing to the ambient light sensor, in fact the screen is brightened up, but you can try to lower contrast and brightness. Obviously is is more a workaround than a solution.

I think we have to wait and see the conclusion of Low tech

This does not happen with the 2009 models. I hope Low Tech can rename his thread. As it stands it is going to be a cause of much confusion.


Larry
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by LarryInRI
This does not happen with the 2009 models. I hope Low Tech can rename his thread. As it stands it is going to be a cause of much confusion.


Larry
Done! Sorry.. I read way back on some threads and some seemed to have complained about 2009 models too. But I assumed it was partially about CATS.


It seems that I too can get confused, as it may have been just black level rise durring aging.


Note: I did make head way but I got stumped... I will try to make the TV float blacks again... but it is impossible at this time. You can read my Bold information on the top of the thread, I will explain further, and have more information soon.


Thanks for letting me know about 2009 models being ok.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Bumped... Almost done! Please read the begining of this thread.


Will be posting images soon!
 
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