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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My Panny's idle blacks are currently on the rise, but my PQ is still amazing! It seems like everyone puts so much emphasis on Kuro black levels and they were no doubt excellent for an non CRT display. When I was forced to abandon CRT technology I knew that the best black levels in the business would be no longer. Now, the second best black levels in the business (Kuro) are also no longer as well. So, are we just expecting too much out of these displays these days? Is it possible to have great PQ with mediocre black levels?
 

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I think I know why people are upset about panasonic rising blacks. People overlooked Panasonic's flaws because their blacks were the best available. Now that they aren't, your taking away probably the only reason why anyone would buy a Panasonic plasma over a Samsung plasma (or any brand for that matter). The one thing you'd think Panasonic would have down pat would be blacks.


They have (at least in most of their models) limited calibration adjustment ability, mediocre color accuracy, crappy internet features, BUT they HAD great blacks.


I really hope this gets fixed. I don't want to see 1 step forward and 2 steps back performance out of their TVs.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gov /forum/post/18269589


Is it possible to have great PQ with mediocre black levels?

No. Black level is the single most important feature that differentiates between mediocre PQ and great PQ. Almost every plasma out there (and LCD) have very good to excellent resolution, color, etc. Nothing makes a picture look like crap faster than lousy blacks. Panasonic never had excellent black levels... thsy were very good. When they rise, they suck.

Pioneer could make a set with excellent PQ so it's not impossible.


Blacks are not overrated. If anything, compared to CRT, they are underrated. I read so many times about inky blacks on certain digital sets. Only the Kuro's approached CRT quality and had inky blacks. Anything else was wishful thinking. 0.008 ftL. is not inky at all IMO, and 0.020 is just plain horrendous. We may as well have bought Vizios.
 

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I don't know why some people don't simply get a piece of black poster board and tape it to the front of their TVs.


Problem solved since seeing black is all that matters.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC74 /forum/post/18270816


I don't know why some people don't simply get a piece of black poster board and tape it to the front of their TVs.


Problem solved since seeing black is all that matters.

Well, yeah. But, In reality - deep blacks are the foundation for the entire image. Deep blacks are what provide that 3D-pop that everyone clamors over. It does this by increasing the contrast between the light and dark scenes and therefore your whole image appears "deeper" and more 3D-like. Nothing sucks more than LCD-haze which is what I mainly see on ost LCD screens. They have gotten better, and LED-lighting does help. But, even with LED-based LCDs, you still have some issues.


And, dark scene detail is a HUGE component of a good image. Most LCDs and some cheaper plasmas pool or crush their dark scenes so you just get a dark blob/area on the screen. If you watch the same scene on a good plasma(like a KURO) you'll see detail in those dark scenes that you didnt know was there. If you dont think that matters, thats fine. But, to question its importance for true image quality just isnt accurate.


I'll use the posterboard idea if its deep black, not the grey-tint stuff.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Since my blacks have rose a bit there are more times than not that THX mode looks a bit to washed out now. THX mode on the V10's for the most part have very good gamma and are reportedly around 2.2 from what I have read here.

I now find a more pleasing picture using custom mode with gamma setting of normal. This boosts the gamma up a bit and with the rise in the MLL gives the illusion of better black levels without crushing them (if that makes sense).

Before the MLL rise, in custom, I was using a gamma setting of "mid". This even looks a bit more washed out now as well
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gov /forum/post/18271094


Since my blacks have rose a bit there are more times than not that THX mode looks a bit to washed out now. THX mode on the V10's for the most part have very good gamma and are reportedly around 2.2 from what I have read here.

I now find a more pleasing picture using custom mode with gamma setting of normal. This boosts the gamma up a bit and with the rise in the MLL gives the illusion of better black levels without crushing them (if that makes sense).

Before the MLL rise, in custom, I was using a gamma setting of "mid". This even looks a bit more washed out now as well

That sort of contradicts your original post.


Anyway, I always hated THX mode. It gives everything a yellowish tint. You can especially notice this when looking at a bright white screen and changing from custom to THX. Whites are no longer white. And I have the latest firmware.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JC74 /forum/post/18270816


I don't know why some people don't simply get a piece of black poster board and tape it to the front of their TVs.


Problem solved since seeing black is all that matters.

That's just kinda silly to say.


TV manufacturers have always strived for that ultimate black level. I come from the CRT days and recall the Sylvania "DarkLite" CRT, of which I still own and that was it's claim to fame, the black levels and contrast it could reproduce. I saw so many people counteract that by cranking up the brightness so that black looked like washed out grey. But hey, it lit up their livingroom like a beam of light and they loved it. I learned long ago that most people dont care about or dont know what a good tv picture should look like. For those of us who do know and care, we notice black levels and realize that a tv isnt supposed to be a room illumination device.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pw5599 /forum/post/18271224


But hey, it lit up their livingroom like a beam of light and they loved it. I learned long ago that most people dont care about or dont know what a good tv picture should look like. For those of us who do know and care, we notice black levels and realize that a tv isnt supposed to be a room illumination device.

If it looks good to them, isn't that all that matters?


TV viewing is about enjoyment, not what professional watchers claim is the most important factor.


Everyone I know is a casual viewer, and I've never heard them comment on blacks. Just how clear the picture appears.


That's probably why you don't hear much about rising blacks outside of these forums. The average person really doesn't notice or care.


If they came here and read some of these threads, they may obsess a bit. I wouldn't recommend it.
 

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Lets take a page from the great Photographer/Photo Print master Ansel Adams.


Adams wrote a series of book defining what he calls the Zone System. He starts off with the proposition that no medium reflective/transmissive could/can reproduce the entire brightness range that the human eye can resolve.


Adams suggested that one determine the brightness gamut of the media and build ones image up from the ultimate black the media could produce.


For the best print Adams felt that this ultimate black MUST be present in the image BUT only exist at one very small point in the picture. Everything else should be brighter (non black)


There is an earlier post in this thread observing that the best program material adheres to this proposition.


Yes... I agree that dark (near black) shadows are important BUT they must contain perceptual visual information. No one wants to stare at blocks of featureless shadows. Thats why correct gamma and brightness tracking at low luminance level is MUCH more important then the ultimate black your panel can produce.


Spend a little time with AVIA or better yet, get your panel calibrated. Sit back and enjoy the show!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by JC74 /forum/post/18271202


That sort of contradicts your original post.


Anyway, I always hated THX mode. It gives everything a yellowish tint. You can especially notice this when looking at a bright white screen and changing from custom to THX. Whites are no longer white. And I have the latest firmware.

How is that?


The yellowish your seeing has to do with a non-calibrated "warm2" color temperture, not THX mode itself.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gov /forum/post/18271293


How is that?


The yellowish your seeing has not to with a non-calibrated "warm2" color temperture, not THX mode itself.

Honestly, if THX mode is such an important feature and drives up the price of a TV, it should already be calibrated and look decent out of the box.


How many average people do you think really know about or go through with calibration? They just see a dark, yellowish mode and say to hell with it. I may try to calibrate it after my meter gets here, but as of now it seriously puts me to sleep.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by powertoold /forum/post/18271053


The black level determines how much of a veil there is over the whole image. That's basically it.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...4#post16300514
Quote:
Black level improvement is still critical in PQ because it's the key determinant of contrast ratio potential of the calibrated display.
Quote:
For all intents and purposes, contrast ratio is a phrase denoting black level. This is because contrast is peak white/black level, but a desirable peak white varies relatively little among displays .
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So essentially all the good modern displays can achieve the desired peak white but they cannot all achieve the desired lowest black. The black level is therefore the differentiator.

According to the Image Science Foundation (ISF) the following is the order of importance.

Quote:
http://reviews.cnet.com/4520-6449_7-6661274-1.html


1. Contrast Ratio

2. Color Saturation

3. Color Accuracy

4. Resolution
 

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They are talking about RATIO everybody around her is complaining about absolute level.


In a normally lighted room with the set OFF compare the screen with the jet black bezel. Lighter right. How can you expect the display to be "blacker" when its turned on.


The issue is room lighting. Get the room light enough that the viewer perceives the bands of a letter boxed movie as black. To light and the hi-lites suffer.


Last night I watched the BluRay release of Ran in my light controlled room. Under these conditions I could sometimes separate the black of the bezel from the letterbox bar... other times not.


Turning to brightness in scenes with intense hi-lites there was more then enough brightness. The contrast (brightness ratio) of my set measures around 1900/1.
 

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All else being equal, better black and near-black performance generally equates to a more dimensional and impressive picture, even when not displaying 0% black or close to it. Call it "pop", "3D-like" or whatever you prefer. It's not simply about blending black letterbox bars into the bezel. Combine excellent blacks with excellent gamma and you should achieve a fantastically detailed picture with endless depth and dimension. For me, that seperates a display that reminds me that I'm simply watching TV from one that offers an image of something that looks like it actually exists in the room with me. Of course, getting the most out of any display with high-quality blacks requires good light control.


As for good dark-scene test material, a couple good options would be The Dark Knight Blu-Ray, most especially the car-chase IMAX scene, and most of the Sin City Blu-Ray.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by robi1138 /forum/post/18270679


Almost every plasma out there (and LCD) have very good to excellent resolution, color, etc. Nothing makes a picture look like crap faster than lousy blacks.

That's not really true. There are fairly profound differences among plasmas in the area of color accuracy. Also, much program material--such as live sports, Letterman, etc.--will not be visibly affected by the difference in black level between, say, a Kuro and a Panasonic (even a new one). The difference between 0.001 fL and 0.012 fL is certainly visible, but you must have the right program material to see it.


Personally, I would rather have a display with mediocre black levels and excellent color accuracy rather than the reverse. Of course, excellent color accuracy AND excellent black level is best of all. A lot of this is personal preference. People rank image characteristics differently based upon their own preferences and sensitivities.


Much of the focus on black level arises from using the CRT as the basis of comparison. However, if you use commercial theaters--at least the good ones--as the benchmark, they operate under very tight tolerances for color accuracy, but relatively forgiving standards regarding black level. A 4,000:1 on/off contrast ratio is considered reference performance in this context, which is a fraction of what Kuros are capable of. On the other hand, none of the Kuros meet the very rigorous standards for color accuracy set by SMPTE for Digital Cinema (the Elites, Pros, and KRPs come close, the standard Kuros do not).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TomHuffman /forum/post/18273215


That's not really true. There are fairly profound differences among plasmas in the area of color accuracy. Also, much program material--such as live sports, Letterman, etc.--will not be visibly affected by the difference in black level between, say, a Kuro and a Panasonic (even a new one). The difference between 0.001 fL and 0.012 fL is certainly visible, but you must have the right program material to see it.


Personally, I would rather have a display with mediocre black levels and excellent color accuracy rather than the reverse. Of course, excellent color accuracy AND excellent black level is best of all. A lot of this is personal preference. People rank image characteristics differently based upon their own preferences and sensitivities.


Much of the focus on black level arises from using the CRT as the basis of comparison. However, if you use commercial theaters--at least the good ones--as the benchmark, they operate under very tight tolerances for color accuracy, but relatively forgiving standards regarding black level. A 4,000:1 on/off contrast ratio is considered reference performance in this context, which is a fraction of what Kuros are capable of. On the other hand, none of the Kuros meet the very rigorous standards for color accuracy set by SMPTE for Digital Cinema (the Elites, Pros, and KRPs come close, the standard Kuros do not).


The color gamut in Custom mode on my V10 is way off in terms of accuracy yet it hardly looks any different than the dead-on THX mode with program material.


Most non-bargain basement plasmas or lcds have excellent resolution now.


Calibrating the white balance is the most noticeable difference and can be done on almost any set.


A set's PQ is not determined by material that most sets handle well (live sports or Letterman) because most sets handle this stuff well to begin with. It is based on tough material like dark, low contrast scenes where CRTs and the Kuro shine. The difference between Samsung, Pioneer, and Panasonic plasmas has always been the black levels. All handle normal programming well. Only the Kuros, apparently, handle blacks the way they should. Everything else (including my Panasonic) is a compromise.
 
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