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434HDE unused screen portions not black

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by WindBag, May 26, 2004.

  1. WindBag

    WindBag
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    When the input signal doesn't fill the plasma, we seem to have two options for the bar fill - "auto" and "fixed intensity". Auto gives us a peculiar "grey picture fill", whereby the areas are filled with what the monochrome equivalent would be had the picture been stretched into those areas - which is most disturbing and, frankly, naff. The fixed intensity seems to be fixed as a very light grey. Putting this against the piano black frame looks atrocious. We assumed that it would default to black to match the plasma surround. Or that we could fix the fixed level - and fix it to black, as all the other letterbox/side bars we've seen are. The grey bars completely destroy night-scenes, especially viewed in a darkened room.

    PLEASE - can anyone tell us how to get these black?
     
  2. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Grey is black as far as Pioneer goes.
    This is one of the reasons why others chose Panasonic.
     
  3. reckless

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    Have to agree and that is the reason why, when I sent my panny back due to flicker, I didn't replace it with a pioneer. The lack of black on 2.35:1 films on the borders top and bottom was, in my opinion, emphasised by the really black surround. I still think that even though it looks lovely, that was a bit of an own goal by Pioneer.
     
  4. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Doesn't bother me as I don't look at the unused portions of the screen when watching a movie.
     
  5. Diapason

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    Guys, the OP isn't talking about the poor black levels, he's referring to the fact that when watching 4:3 material, you can't set the sidebars to be "black" (or even to the grey that Pioneer call "black"!!) Instead you have a choice of 2 incredibly crap options.
    The "fixed" option is quite a bright grey, and *very* distracting to the eyes.

    I agree with you, Windbag, it's shockingly bad, but from what I can tell there's no way to change the colour of the sidebars in 4:3 viewing. Perhaps Gordon has found a way in the service menu, but I don't remember him mentioning it. On my old CRT, I'd never dream of watching a stretched image, but on the Pio, I end up stretching all 4:3 images in "Wide" mode, because I just can't deal with the distracting sidebars.

    Si
     
  6. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Yes, I understand the distinction but if the Pio black levels were better then it wouldn't be so much of a problem.

    My sidebars have a peculiar "fault" though and I'm not sure if it's my set or common to all.
    On one of the settings, it looks like a greyed out version of the same image that has been stretched to fill out the whole screen is behind the actual image.
    So imagine a stretched grey image which fills the whole screen and overlaid on that is the normal image.
    I don't watch a lot of 4:3 stuff so it doesn't bother me but does anyone elses set do this?
     
  7. SimonO

    SimonO
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    Is the black level on Pioneers not as good as Panasonic then..? ;)
     
  8. Brogan

    Brogan
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    Apparently not but I wouldn't know as I have never seen a Panny in operation.
    I didn't even see a Pio working until I got mine on the wall.
     
  9. LV426

    LV426
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    I can't speak for the monochrome stretched image syndrome, but the intentionally mid-grey sides are there to limit the visible effect of phosphor burn on Plasmas which are used for extended periods with 4x3 material. The mid-grey is intended to "age" thiese otherwise unused parts of the screen at roughly the same rate as the active part. If it were black, and the set was used for prolonged periods on 4x3, then the middle would age (dim) quicker than the sides.
     
  10. WindBag

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    No, no! Diaperson has got it. When we do get something which fills the whole screen, there's no problem (eg some of the dark portions of "Seven") - but a lot of what we watch doesn't do this. There is NO WAY I'm going to watch stretched images, they really send me squiffy, and on any CRT unit that was fixed to be that way, it would be a fault I could return it on. Having what amounts to a poorly illuminated light box strapped to either side of the screen when I'm watching live broadcast material is just plain awful - even more so when butting up against a piano black gloss surround.

    And the point is, this is a digital display controlled by software. Those grey bars are set by a single number in a piece of software which could be changed. So where's the user control?

    Yes, that's the "auto" setting I mentioned at the start - what I described as "a peculiar "grey picture fill", whereby the areas are filled with what the monochrome equivalent would be had the picture been stretched into those areas" . This is a deliberate option, and must have been much harder to provide than setting the darned things to black. What is this nonsense? I've now put in a question to Pioneer support on this, as I am seriously dischuffed about something which could be cured so easily.

    Maybe if they were set to black, then I'd stand a chance of noticing what Reckless sees. That would be progress for me!
     
  11. Liam @ Prog AV

    Liam @ Prog AV
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    The Panny is definitely quite a bit blacker, there is a pic floating around here somewhere showing so although it really doesn't do the Pioneer any justice at all. It just shows it being grey to the Panny's black where the pioneer's strengths lie in colour and detail.

    I'm still a Panny man though - not least of all because you get the option to have the sidebars black or grey!!!
     
  12. Brogan

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    Apologies - I had not realised that's what you meant.
    I suppose it's some consolation that it's not only mine/yours that's doing it so it would seem to be intentional.

    Please let me know what response you get from Pioneer.
     
  13. WindBag

    WindBag
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    I've been led to believe that other manufacturers don't need to do this (tho this is my first plasma, so I can only listen those that know). From other posts, it has been said that this is a problem of the past. So is the Pio display not as robust? I think we need to know. Or get be able to set black side bars.
     
  14. calscot

    calscot
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    I've seen the gray in other manufacturers' screens eg Philips and believe it to be due to exactly what Nigel says.

    Phosphor dims over time. When it gets to half intensity it has come to the end of its life (or if you like half-life...). The average usage time for this to occur is the 20,000hrs (say) lifetime figure you get for your plasma.

    If you have black for the widescreen areas and always watch in 4:3 mode, the phosphors there will grow dimmer with usage. The edges will not. So after a while if you start using widescreen signals, the middle with be less bright than the widescreen edges.

    So the midtone gray ages the edges at the same rate as the centre. Inconvenient but necessary.

    Can anyone think of a way of preventing this using blacks instead of midtones?
     
  15. LV426

    LV426
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    It most definitely WILL affect all Plasmas. The only difference may be in the rate at which deterioration takes place. But no phosphor-based technology can ever be immune to ageing (dimming). The trick is to try and make sure it happens evenly - then it's never really visible.

    Any manufacturer that claims it's unnecessary is being hopeful at best (eg that your usage patterns will render it unnecessary) or untruthful at worst.
     
  16. WindBag

    WindBag
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    You need to think about the "factor of two". If that is in lumen intensity, you won't even see a factor of two (thus spake the physics graduate). Factor of eight, yeah (that would then be 60,000 hours, assuming first figure was close)

    So what is a typical half-life? At 20,000 hours, 4.5 hours a day, that'd be 13-ish years. About the age of the TV I've just replaced & perfectly good lifetime.

    So unless it's very much less that 20,000, then it is not really necessary - but 20,000 hours of grey side bar inconvenience is a big deal.
     
  17. calscot

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    Are you sure?

    If we use Weber's Law results for the JND (Just Noticible Difference) for vision, the Weber's fraction for rods is about 0.14 and for cones is about 0.015, so say a Weber's fraction for vision of about 0.08.

    That means we can detect a difference in brightness of about 8%. If the edges are 100% brighter than the center, then that's 9 noticible graduations of difference - pretty noticible.

    According to your usage stats, assuming 50% 4x3 viewing, and assuming linear degradation of the phosphor (not the real case) that would mean a JND between the brightnesses after about 3 years. Due to logarithmic decay, let's say about 1.5 years.

    I'm a physics graduate too. :)
     
  18. calscot

    calscot
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    Just to back this up anecdotaly, A 1600 lumen projector is definitely much noticably brighter than a 800 lumen unit and I'm sure you wouldn't buy a 250cd/m2 plasma.
     
  19. WindBag

    WindBag
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    If you hold upm a 50% attenuation filter up to anything, normal view items, sky, light bulb, you won't see it any dimmer, even half-covered as an a-b. If you can see 8%, then that's near the reflectivity of super-clean window glass (~4%)

    That implies a £4k plasma lasts about 500 days, or about £8 per viewing day. Call it 3 years for luck, only £4/day. Are you sure?
     
  20. calscot

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    Polaroid lenses are exactly 50% filters which is why you can't see anything with two crossed polaroids - it's how lcd works! I'm sure most people would know whether they have clear lenses or polaroid ones on... the latter are sunglasses after all.

    If I have my clean car window half open, I can definitely tell the difference between the open half and the half I have to look through glass.



    It should last 13 years as you say - as long as it fades uniformly. It's lifetime is considered at an end when the brightness is 50% of the original and that is deemed too dim. You would be basically watching a 250cd/m2 tv and probably complaining it isn't bright enough.

    Imagine a 100 watt bulb turning into a 50 watt bulb... time to replace.

    Of course if it has not faded uniformly as in the scenario we're discussing, it will have annoying but subtle brightness artifacts after 3 years and still be watchable if you can ignore it.
     
  21. cb31

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    I suppose that is assuming you run the 100w bulb on full power all the time. I cannot imagine anybody running a plasma on full brightness as it is just too much. When it is half as bright in 13 years just turn the brightness up to full and watch for another 13 years.

    Of course the 13 years is assuming you are a couch potato and manage to watch 4.5 hours of tv every day for 13 years :)
     
  22. WindBag

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    All of the polaroid lenses I've seen in sunglasses are massively more than 50% attenuated. Of course I can see that. Have you had a 50% calbrated optical filter in your hands from an optics lab? I have, and my recollection is that I couldn't see the attenuation. In fact I was gobsmacked that this was the case, which is why I remember it. The biggest thing I can see when holding up a piece of *clean* glass is edge, not any attenuation.

    Oh, amalgam of Pioneer response over two posts over two days:

    Response (JDLCS) 28/05/2004 09:37 AM Hi,
    Thanks for your email from which I can confirm that the grey bars on each side only have the two options you describe.
    This does assist the screen to alleviate screen burn, but unfortunately this is how it has been designed.


    Anyway, I'm off on jolly hols for 5 days, join in discussuion after that...
     

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