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Jitter/artifacts plasma's dirty little secret?

1307 Views 27 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Ross in Toronto
I'm looking into plasma and have heard that jitter and other "artifacts" are quite common to plasma, especially in broadcast HD signal vs DVD. I saw it every several minutes at a local Sears and am wondering if they just had a bad signal and/or my buddy is wrong, or if in fact artifacts are just something you have to get used to. I did read something about deinterlacing artifacts such as jitter; are they all that common? How often (like per hour, or whatever) do they occur?

I can use all the education I can get before a lot of money on what looks like a great product, but are these problems common?
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Artifacts are common when digital cable and satellite are deinterlaced and displayed on nearly all digital displays.

Much less so when a good DVD source or HD source is displayed.

I'd start by visiting another retailer with better setups.

Also, read around the FAQ here and feel free to keep asking questions. That's why people gather here.

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Thanks, Mark:

I'm thinking I'll drive down to Phoenix this week and spend some time looking around at several shops; I think I need to see how much the artifacts will bug me (I'll be spending a lot of time watching SD) before I invest, and I will keep on reading here.

Keep in mind, that the better the resolution, the worse that SD will generally look. Of course, a better onboard scaler may help, but there's only so much you can do with a crappy signal.
When I first received my SA3100HD, Jitters/dropouts/artifacts were all very common. After I swapped it out for the Pioneer 3510HD, the jitters/dropout/artifacts have been greatly reduced to near extinction.
Clepto, Kilmar (and anyone else who can offer some advice):

Thanks for responding, and the info.

I have a 36" Sony XBR and DirecTV. Picture stability (if that's the right word) is very good (actually I've never been aware of anything like what I saw yesterday re: jitter, etc.) and I'm super anal about "visual disturbances" (again, there's a better term, I'm sure) while watching TV.

I know that outboard deinterlacing units exist which reduce artifacts more than that on-board on the Panasonic TH-42PHD6UY, and that they aren't cheap. Will later gens of plasmas incorporate them? (Seems like they would.)

I'm wondering whether to wait a year or two until the technology "catches up" re: absence of artifacts at the level I'm used to with the CRT. I'd hate to spend $4K and then be seeing the artifacts instead of immersion in content (movies, hockey, football, network series).

I'm guessing significant DirecTV HD coverage is a few years away so I'll basically be limited to SD; does that mean with the Panny PQ will be worse than what I see now?(Sounds like the answer is yes.)

The plasma is for a small cabin where magnetic interference and space considerations dictate that sooner or later I'll get a plasma. Based on the foregoing, what would you do? (Like I said, I obsess over poor PQ)

Klepto, you say basically artifacts are no longer a real concern with your new unit: What do you think about the 42PHD6UY? How often (per hour, say) do you experience them?

Thanks everyone.

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Hmm...I have a pwd6uy, comcast digi cable, HD Motorola 6200 STB. Watching sports on the HD channel is incredible, no artifacts, no jitters, just pure "window" like quality and clarity.

Our SD channels are just as stable, but look washed out and much softer than the HD channels. Even channels such as NBC, when not showing HD shows, look better on their HD channel counterpart, much sharper, more detailed, and have a better color palette.

The only time I notice any artifacts is during DVD playback, and from what I've learned here and on my own trial process, that is due to the DVD transfer itself, not the plasma. I've even taken DVD's that have visible artifacts and tested them out on our old 19" CRT, and they're there, just blurred and less "visible" due to the age and low "resolution" of the CRT we have.

It's tough to go into any B&M and get an idea of what the unit will look like at home, properly calibrated and receiving the correct feed. Just last night I was in a local B&M and noticed that all the content on the plasmas and lcd's looked terrible. There was a huge amount of grain, fuzz, pixelation, smearing, etc. I asked what the feed was, and the sales associate told me it was HD recorded down to a dvd. He informed me their DirecTV signal had been cut due to a recent storm, so they were showing the dvd from a dvd player in the back, which was being split to oh, about 30 units. No wonder it looked terrible. :)

I hope that this helps!

It's times like these I wish there was some sort of plasma group in cities, that would have occasional get togethers and let people interested in seeing properly calibrated plamsas really get to check one out in the proper environment, which is at someones home, calibrated, and showing the proper feed.

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Originally posted by JuiceRocket

It's times like these I wish there was some sort of plasma group in cities, that would have occasional get togethers and let people interested in seeing properly calibrated plamsas really get to check one out in the proper environment, which is at someones home, calibrated, and showing the proper feed.

check out the Area Home Theater Meets Forum
Hi, Mark:

Clearly as the plasma moderator you know tons about what I've described above. I'd love your input. As moderator, are you allowed to weigh in, and is it OK (I'm new here--started last night) for me to ask you?

I've been talking to Visual Apex re: this thread and the techs have had a lot to offer. I'll go with them (either now, or later); I'm grateful to the Forum for turning me on to them--much better than some other e-tailors I've spoken to.

Any help you can give me is much appreciated; ditto to those others who have responded, or will.


There is no artifact/jitter/visual disturbance caused by plasma. The only reason for the anomalies is from the source and that is few and far apart. There is no way to stop a faulty source from producing artifacts/jitters. If a signal has an error, it's going to show no matter what. My Panasonic TH-50PHD6UY never ceases to amaze me on picture quality.
Originally posted by markrubin
check out the Area Home Theater Meets Forum
Thanks Mark! :D


I think you are getting good advice here:

recently I went into my local Sears and they had the worst feeds/setups of plasmas displays I have ever seen: they all looked terrible!

Jitter is something you should not observe on a plasma

Artifacts will occasionally be seen but it is often the source that is the cause

Do yourself a favor and go to a high end store with properly setup plasma displays and good HD and SD sources (bring a couple of your favorite DVD's) and see for yourself:)
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Hi, Kilmar:


I appreciate your help. Without the forum I wouldn't have access to users with experience and without a profit motive. That you have generally the same unit I plan to get and love it is great to hear.

I've been speaking with Visual Apex (who I also learned about here, and echos your info) and plan to go with them once I build up the nerve to ignore finances and enrich my life. (I'm generally successful at that.)



Thanks for your detailed reply and positive info. The tech I spoke to last almost repeated what you had to say about how SD would like on a plasm verbatim.

Reading the forum, surfing and talking to the guys at Visualapex has cleared up a lot of the misinformation I absorbed yesterday.

I'm hoping the HD/DTV/Tivo comes down in price soon. (Like before the football season? Doubtful.) It'll be great when DTV broadcasts the major networks. I wish for the Olympics.

Your help is appreciated.


Yeah, I'm going to make the 100 mile pilgrimage to Phoenix tomorrow--I know a few good A/V places there. Now I'm kind of excited about it. Bringing DVDs I know is a good idea I hadn't thougt of. And its a really pretty drive through low moutains and saguaro desert, especially in Spring.

Thanks for your help and talk to you later.

The forum is a really good thing you're doing. In this area its value is nearly inestimable.

I had one DVD, "Ace Ventura, When Nature Calls" that is a really bad transfer. It looks like they transfered it with a helmet cam because the jittering is unbelieveable. You will also notice jitter on some of the openning studio animated logos because they are also not great transfers.

My point is, watching these on a regular TV looks okay and is definitely not as noticeable but a plasma will bring the exact details of a good or bad DVD transfer to the viewer.

Bring Monster Inc. or The Fifth Element if you own either. These two seem to be a favorite to showcase plasma displays.
I watched "No Wat Out" the other night and saw some horrendous artifacts, so much so I thought something was wrong. I then popped in Titanic and the PQ was BEAUTIFUL. These plasmas have a way, as juice and others have said, of showing off a bad DVD transfer. On the flipside..a nice transfer can look stunning. I like this though. I want to know when a transfer is bad. On my sony 40in tube all DVD's looked pretty good. But then again, none looked stunning. I was never able to vote for a "reference" DVD in the software forum when I had the tube because I couldn't tell "for sure" if the transfer was good or not. Now I know almost right away.

Oh..and Finding Nemo is another plasma favorite. My brother came over the other day when I had this on and he said "why doesn't Nemo look like a window on my Mits?" I just shrugged my shoulders and said..don't know. But I do know.

edited: because I somehow managed to spell Titanic wrong..

I was in Scottsdale in April for my first-ever trip to Arizona (golf trip). Between rounds, I checked out a couple of AV stores. The Bang & Oulfsen store in Scottsdale had their plasmas set up very nicely, but their price tag was outrageous. I have the Pioneer 1110HD at home, and in my home environment (with the Scientific Atlanta 3250HD box & Rogers Cable) the HD is just as good as what I saw at B&O.

My point is: if you do swing by the B&O store, you'll have a chance to see what a good Panny, Pio, Sony, Fuji, etc. brand will look like when configured properly -- not that they carry those brands; they just have their equipment set up nicely.

A few nights after I got back home, HD PBS had a program on the Airzona desert. Absolutely incredible (both the PQ and the desert itself). My wife, who has never been to Arizona (just the guys on the golf trip!) was amazed by the beauty of AZ, and was most upset with me for not bringing her.

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