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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got a 50" GWIII from Sears this week, ordered it about 2 months ago. After getting things setup I noticed that the black levels on this set are not really black. Dark scenes look worse with a lot of black crush. I tried the service menu adjustments posted on this forum and it just made the picture blurry and grayish, even on colors...but there was no black crush. I find the "vivid" mode to be the best but with that comes a lot of black crush. Is there any work around to adjusting the black levels on this set? Btw, I also used a calibration DVD to set contrast, brightness, color and hue, along with sharpness. Unless I can find a work around I will be returning the set. Don't get me wrong, I love the picture on bright scenes but watching parts of The Matrix and Blade II are painful, especially when a normal RPTV can display much better black levels with less black crush. I also find that the black levels get worse if the room is totally dark, something that I assumed would get better when I saw it in the store. I'm going to look at Gateway's 56" DLP today, which is priced the same as the Sony 50" (MRSP) with it's current sale price with shipping. I'll post my findings here and how they compare to the GWIII. But it would be great if other GWIII owners could give some feedback on how they rate the black levels and black crush.
 

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I think it really depends on your viewing environment.


The GW III is a great choice for those who will use the set as a "workhorse" in a den/family room environment. The sets advantages in other areas more than make up for black level deficiences in this setting.


Those who want to use the set in a dedicated home theatre setup with total control over lighting might want to look at other options.
 

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Can't say I know what black crush is, but I will agree that the color black just doesn't exist on this set. Best work around I've found is to keep the room well lit and raise the picture setting (80-90%) while dropping the brightness (50-60%) in either standard or vivid. I'm sure this is, by no means, a recommended value for picture quality, but it certainly seems to help add some range. Aside from this one glaring problem though, I think the unit's quality is high, and I especially enjoy how well it handles SD (even weaker signals).
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by mfequity
Yeah, the DLP sets look brutal watching anything in SD.
Do you notice when you go to the store they only display LCD's and DLP's with bright HD material, rarely do they use SD or DVD's.
 

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Quote:
Do you notice when you go to the store they only display LCD's and DLP's with bright HD material, rarely do they use SD or DVD's.
Do you notice when they fashion womens clothes they show sleek, slender attractive young women?


Do you notice that when they show a commercial for an SUV they show it off road in 4 wheel drive mode and never mention that on the highway it rides like a truck?


Do you notice that when they advertise a Big Mac they show this stacked sandwich where you can see each layer of the stuff that makes it a Big Mac, yet when you actually buy one it looks like someone squashed it down?



And so it goes in advertising
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Black crush is when the fall off from light to dark drops off rapidly, losing detail because you can't see it - basically the black levels fall off so much that they "crush" the surrounding details (ex: shadows, etc.). You can see this on the GWIII when viewing dark shows/movies like Blade II. But it can also be seen in bright scenes as well, just not as bad as in dark ones. Just pump up the brightness all the way in "STANDARD" mode and you'll see the detail you're missing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Most stores play predetermined HD material (store loops) and 3D animated DVD's like Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Ice Age, etc. These source materials will rarely show the flaws of any HDTV set, in fact they exploit the best thing about these sets - detail, color, and brightness.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I saw a Samsung playing a SD signal from a digital source (ex: Digital cable, DirecTv, DishNetwork, etc. - not HDTV) and it looked very good, actually better in some ways to the GWIII - Sony was blurry a bit but had better colors and the Samsung was sharper with less warm colors, this was at CC so I doubt either set was properly calibrated. I'm sure a pure analog SD signal would look real bad on DLP but is something I'll never use the set for.
 

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This is incredibly subjective. Raising the brightness on my GWIII took care of the black crush, which definitely existed OOTB. But blacks are still black to me and I have no complaint there. Although I'm satisfied with the black 'detail', I'd say that black detail is more of an issue to my eyes than black level.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by LucidScreen
Black crush is when the fall off from light to dark drops off rapidly, losing detail because you can't see it - basically the black levels fall off so much that they "crush" the surrounding details (ex: shadows, etc.). You can see this on the GWIII when viewing dark shows/movies like Blade II. But it can also be seen in bright scenes as well, just not as bad as in dark ones. Just pump up the brightness all the way in "STANDARD" mode and you'll see the detail you're missing.
are you using the DVI input or the component? the blacks were ****** over DVI from my 931 -- but other than that, they are great. eye doctor for you, my 20/12 doesnt fail me =)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
LennyH, I hear what you're saying. I was just expecting the GWIII to be on par with the DLP sets but after getting it home and watching some movies I can see where the differences in black detail, levels, and crush are. With the GWIII it's either pump up the brightness to get the detail but at the cost of washing out some of the sharpness and color. The service menu mods worked great to push out all the missing detail but leave the picture looking washed out, blurry, and grayish in nature. As stated before, the black level/crush issue is only a real concern on dark scenes on some movies - Blade II, Freddy vs Jason, parts of The Matrix, etc.. Btw, someone on this forum has said that the GWIII have a 400 to 500:1 contrast ratio (depends on the size of your GWIII) which is about 1/4 to 1/2 of what the contrast levels are on DLP sets (1000 to 2000:1), that's probably why Sony doesn't post such numbers for the GWIII.


I think mfequity said it best, this set is for a different application then I'm trying to use it for (a dedicated home theater). Not that it won't perform in that function, you just need to know what it's limits are and be satisfied with them. But to be fair, a 43" Samsung DLP costs more then a Sony 50" GWIII so one should expect to give up something for the cost savings and 1K more is no joke.


Btw, I wouldn't even consider a DLP RPTV because of the cost, around 4K for the 56" Samsung. But after hearing about Gateway's new DLP and the price reductions they recently made (sale?) it's hard not to consider, especially since for the same price of the Sony's 50" GWIII (MSRP) I can get a Gateway's 56" DLP RPTV. Unfortunately I wasn't able to check out the Gateway DLP set today but will do so tomorrow and post my findings here on how it compares on digital SD, DVD, and HDTV to the GWIII.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
TheBobGoat, I'm using a Panasonic XP30 with progressive component out (tried interlaced as well). Like I said, only on "some" movies and scenes do the black levels/crush become a real issue. I'd say for 85 to 90% of the movies/scenes I've watched so far the black levels/crush are acceptable but by no means equal to a CRT tube TV or CRT RPTV. What I need to find out is how much of a difference there is between the GWIII and the Gateway DLP (since that's comparable in price). Otherwise I will have to consider a heavy bulky CRT RPTV with limited viewing angles, burn in/alignment issues, etc. .
 

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personally, i think the GWIII is great -- since you are doing a dedicated room, your needs are different than mine. i watch mine in daylight and at night and cable dvd's and xbox.



to each his own!
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by LucidScreen
... Btw, someone on this forum has said that the GWIII have a 400 to 500:1 contrast ratio (depends on the size of your GWIII) which is about 1/4 to 1/2 of what the contrast levels are on DLP sets (1000 to 2000:1), that's probably why Sony doesn't post such numbers for the GWIII....
You need to read the UMR Does GWIII thread and try that. This set does not crush blacks unless you calibrate it to.


I have measured around 400:1 on these sets. Credible measurements on the DLP sets is more like 800:1.
 

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My set came set up so that it had some moderately severe black crush. The first calibration pass with Avia using Standard mode helped, but not as much as I wanted.


Second pass with DVE on Pro and Standard mode made a significant difference. Now the blacks aren't as great as they could be, but they're much better than they were OOTB. And quite acceptable given the other merits of the set.


And I watch now in Pro mode, while OOTB the color was too strong and I thought the picture was too soft.


Before you make a final judgement, spend some effort calibrating it.
 

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Not sure what some purists are saying or if their GWIII's out of the box are as good as my 60" GWIII January build out of the box is. I am totally satisfied with the TV, including black levels. Blacks are very black on mine as I witnessed on both TV and DVD. Detail is sharp. Colors are phenominal. For the price and picture quality at least to me, this TV can not be beat. Of course if you are willing to wait until the new TVs come in the Fall, they may end up being better. And then in the Fall, they may want to wait again for a newer technology next Spring and so on and so on. I say buy what looks good to you and enjoy it. Same advice I have for new computer owners. If you keep up with the technology news, you will never be able to enjoy what you have....a new, better, cheaper, technology is always on the horizon...if you want to keep waiting. I do notice that older movies, whether DVDs or videos have problems with blacks whether on the GWIII or my old XBR CRT. If we are honest with ourselves and look closely even at movie theaters as good as AMC, blacks aren't always that great. I think we need to have realistic expectations. Each type of TV has strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to get the one that has the most pluses in the areas you are most concerned with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Umr, if you set the GWIII not to crush blacks then you end up with a grayish picture - black is not even close to black anymore on dark scenes. I tried the service menu tweaks and they did wonders to eliminate black crush but I'm not satisfied with the type of picture it produces - a gray like cast to it.


Btw, thanks for posting credible numbers for the contrast rating on DLP. Still double the contrast is a lot to think about for those that value it in their picture quality. And until very recently the price between GWIII (the best of the LCD RPTV) and DLP was huge, over 1K more for similar size. I'm just wondering if the Gateway DLP can give the GWIII a run for it's money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
DMF, can you post the adjustments you made. If they are posted elsewhere a link will do. I know the exact adjustments may not be identical to yours but they should be in the "ballpark". Thanks.
 
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