Is Dolby Vision best avoided on Panasonic OLEDs?

Nick74

Distinguished Member
Sorry, this will be long. I hope people find it useful.

A few quick points. This post isn’t about Dolby Vision IQ, which should be avoided due to undefeatable processing. This is about Panasonic’s wider DV implementation. I have a 55HZ1500 and Panasonic 820 BDP. All firmware is up to date. I’d imagine the below applies to earlier Panasonic OLED models, based on what I’ve read. With those observations out of the way…

After a good amount of viewing (and toggling Dolby Vision on and off on my BDP), I’ve concluded that Dolby Vision is best avoided on my HZ1500.

To start with, the frame drop issue mentioned in reviews only seems to happen with Dolby Vision content. I’ve seen frame drops in every DV film I’ve watched on this TV (some films more than others). I’ve never seen frame drops with any other kind of content. As far as I can tell, frame drops are strictly an issue with Dolby Vison playback.

Frame drops with DV aren’t as rare as reviews suggest, either. For instance, I saw about 20 frame drops watching The Fellowship of the Ring (extended). There are five frame drops in the opening sequence of The Shining. Watching UHD discs with Dolby Vision off, there isn’t a single frame drop. The issue goes away completely.

I think there’s another argument for avoiding Dolby Vision on Panasonic OLEDs, at least if you own a Panasonic 820 or 9000 BDP. There’s no adjustable tone mapping option for Dolby Vision content. Settings are fixed. Specular highlights are somewhat blown out with DV material. You only realise this after doing the following:
  • On your BDP (820 and 9000 only), switch Dolby Vision off and tone mapping on. Make sure the TV type selected in the BDP settings menu is OLED.
  • On your Panasonic OLED, switch tone mapping off, so the BDP is doing all the work.
Doing this reveals more detail in brighter areas and reduces banding around specular highlights. I feel the image is more natural and nuanced. It’s not just very bright highlight detail that’s improved, but detail in faces, clothing and scenery.

One last point on tone mapping. You can check what the BDP is outputting by pressing “playback info” twice on the remote. Peak brightness and average brightness numbers are identical with DV both on and off. This means you’re not losing brightness by switching DV off. Instead, disengaging Dolby Vision gives you greater balance across the contrast range.

Is there any disadvantage to switching DV off? I can think of an obvious one, which is that DV offers 12 bit colour, while HDR10 and HDR10+ offer only 10 bit. Can you tell the difference? Well, yes, but that difference is less pronounced than you’d think and, in my humble opinion, is outweighed by the gains I’ve described.

All things considered, then, I think it’s better to switch Dolby Vision off if you own both a Panasonic OLED and 820 or 9000 BDP. It’d be great if Panasonic fixed these Dolby Vision issues on their OLED TVs. Unless or until that happens, I think this is the best way for Panasonic OLED TV owners to view UHD material.

If you’ve read all of that, thanks for sticking with me. It’d be good to know what other people think, especially if they can experiment as I’ve done.
 

dotnotbot

Active Member
Finally someone else noticing these issues. It's so bizzare to me that most people don't even notice this or blame it on the source/device. With some examples like LOTR 1 intro it's crazy annoying.

Regarding DV vs HDR from Pana player, DV should definitely be superior because it has actual metadata for each scene/frame instead of just "guessing" on how to adjust EOTF. If it has issues you described then maybe OOTB calibration of DV mode isn't too good. I think I remember someone mentioning here on avf that EOTF in DV mode is overbrightened OOTB (but I don't remember wheter it was about GZ or HZ series and which model), also I'm not sure if it's possible to correct it well.
 

Nick74

Distinguished Member
Finally someone else noticing these issues. It's so bizzare to me that most people don't even notice this or blame it on the source/device. With some examples like LOTR 1 intro it's crazy annoying.

Regarding DV vs HDR from Pana player, DV should definitely be superior because it has actual metadata for each scene/frame instead of just "guessing" on how to adjust EOTF. If it has issues you described then maybe OOTB calibration of DV mode isn't too good. I think I remember someone mentioning here on avf that EOTF in DV mode is overbrightened OOTB (but I don't remember wheter it was about GZ or HZ series and which model), also I'm not sure if it's possible to correct it well.

That's a good point regarding EOTF out of the box. Maybe a calibration will address that aspect of performance. The frame drop issue is more glaring in my view. I'm convinced after plenty of viewing that this only happens with DV, and that it happens more often than online commentary suggests.

I also don't want to overstate problems, because TVs from every manufacturer have their foibles. I really struggled with near black performance on a Sony A8, which is why, in the end, I opted for Panasonic (after owning a VT65 plasma). Other people may feel differently. That's not to say they're right or wrong. I think choosing which TV to buy involves understanding what the issues are with each manufacturer and working out which you find easier to live with.

EDIT: I also agree that writing frame drops off as a problem with the disc or BDP would clearly be wrong. If either were the case, the frame drop issue would be perfectly repeatable on TVs from all manufacturers.

One final point - while I've only seen frame drops with Dolby Vision content, it's worth noting that the example reviewers mention is in an overhead tracking shot in War For the Planet of the Apes, which isn't a DV title. I don't own the disc so I can't check. I'd assumed this was a DV presentation, but this isn't the case.
 
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kevjp

Active Member
There is a setup of mode 2 to allow processing on source device. It not the input modes but in the setup menu where dv is enabled. I had an hz and this fixed it on my ATV.
 

lgans316

Distinguished Member
Frame drops - are you referring to the 24 fps micro stutter bug?

I see micro stutters mainly with 4K HDR content (DV / HDR10), more on streaming via ATV 4K box over disc.

Besides this, I have no major issues with my Panny GZ OLED.
 

Nick74

Distinguished Member
Frame drops - are you referring to the 24 fps micro stutter bug?

I see micro stutters mainly with 4K HDR content (DV / HDR10), more on streaming via ATV 4K box over disc.

Besides this, I have no major issues with my Panny GZ OLED.

I mean frame skips specifically, which amount to the TV not displaying frames it should be.

I'm a bit sensitive to micro-stutter, but that's inherent to 24p material anyway. Fast OLED pixel response times don't help, but overall I don't have a problem with the HZ1500's handling of 24p material.
 

Nick74

Distinguished Member
There is a setup of mode 2 to allow processing on source device. It not the input modes but in the setup menu where dv is enabled. I had an hz and this fixed it on my ATV.

Thanks. I'll give this a go and see if it helps. If there's a genuine workaround that would be great.
 

dotnotbot

Active Member
Thanks. I'll give this a go and see if it helps. If there's a genuine workaround that would be great.

It's a switch for player-led and player-led is believed to be broken by some people. Fromy my blu-ray player (Sony X700) LOTR looked noticeably dimmer, it was especially noticeable during daylight scenes. I had to crank up contrast enhancer to get roughly similar APL but then I was probably overblowing highlights. DV Bright preset would be helpful, shame that Pana got rid of that.

 

Nick74

Distinguished Member
It's a switch for player-led and player-led is believed to be broken by some people. Fromy my blu-ray player (Sony X700) LOTR looked noticeably dimmer, it was especially noticeable during daylight scenes. I had to crank up contrast enhancer to get roughly similar APL but then I was probably overblowing highlights. DV Bright preset would be helpful, shame that Pana got rid of that.


I've done some experimenting with the two films mentioned. I selected Mode 2 to enable player led DV, then left the settings on my BDP alone. This is what I found.

1. The frame skips I saw with DV content are gone. I'll have to try more discs to state conclusively that this resolves the issue, but I know where skips occur and they don't happen anymore.

2. I don't have the dimming issue you describe. If anything there was a small brightness increase (especially with specular highlights). There may be slightly more top end clipping, but subjectively I couldn't see a big difference.

I wonder if our different experiences are down to our BDPs (this would make sense since we're comparing player led DV). I don't know much about the X700's menu options, but the 820 allows EOTF adjustment to a degree by selecting display type. With my 820 set to "OLED," I assume it's applying generally suitable tone mapping.

I'll experiment more, but this seems a pretty good workaround to me. It would still be better if Panasonic improved their OLED DV performance, so none of this was necessary. I'm not sure where those observations leave you.
 

dotnotbot

Active Member
I've done some experimenting with the two films mentioned. I selected Mode 2 to enable player led DV, then left the settings on my BDP alone. This is what I found.

1. The frame skips I saw with DV content are gone. I'll have to try more discs to state conclusively that this resolves the issue, but I know where skips occur and they don't happen anymore.

2. I don't have the dimming issue you describe. If anything there was a small brightness increase (especially with specular highlights). There may be slightly more top end clipping, but subjectively I couldn't see a big difference.

I wonder if our different experiences are down to our BDPs (this would make sense since we're comparing player led DV). I don't know much about the X700's menu options, but the 820 allows EOTF adjustment to a degree by selecting display type. With my 820 set to "OLED," I assume it's applying generally suitable tone mapping.

I'll experiment more, but this seems a pretty good workaround to me. It would still be better if Panasonic improved their OLED DV performance, so none of this was necessary. I'm not sure where those observations leave you.

According to Vincent in the comments all blu-ray players should act the same. Any tone-mapping should be always off for DV but that's assuming DV works properly. If it helps and doesn't add any visible problems (like posterization around brighter objects for example) then that's a very nice workaround. X700 is a pretty basic player and doesn't have anything like this.
 

markush

Standard Member
I really struggled with near black performance on a Sony A8, which is why, in the end, I opted for Panasonic (after owning a VT65 plasma). Other people may feel differently.
I am coming from a VT plasma too - how was your experience when changing to OLED?
 

RichWalk

Active Member
On mine (HZ) its only TV led so no option with players etc, i see it now and then and LOTR/Hobbit are examples but both were 48fps movies so that could be a factor? I tried film smooth on custom 1 for the first time this week and that did seem to help. As to avoiding DV, certainly not from my perspective, its a noticeably better and far more vibrant picture that HDR10, so I'll happily live with the odd frame drop, others more susceptible to motion issues may find it far more distracting I guess.
 

Nick74

Distinguished Member
I am coming from a VT plasma too - how was your experience when changing to OLED?

Honestly, I feel the jury's still out.

For SDR I view OLED as more of a sideways step - OLED offers higher brightness and true blacks, plasma gives you better motion and a more natural image. Plus a native 1080p image looks cleaner than a 1080p image upscaled to 4K.

Of course OLED can do 4K HDR, while plasma can't. Even then, I'm not sure HDR is always a good thing. With some titles it feels like revisionism, when videophiles always wanted something closer to the filmed image. This leaves me questioning whether HDR is a plus, outside of new titles filmed with HDR in mind.

I'm not 100 percent sure I'm blown away by the change, but I've made it now (and gained a little in screen size).

EDIT: I know there are many people who've moved from plasma to OLED and are delighted with the change. I'm definitely not trying to rain on their parade.
 
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S3rv3d

Well-known Member
On mine (HZ) its only TV led so no option with players etc, i see it now and then and LOTR/Hobbit are examples but both were 48fps movies so that could be a factor? I tried film smooth on custom 1 for the first time this week and that did seem to help. As to avoiding DV, certainly not from my perspective, its a noticeably better and far more vibrant picture that HDR10, so I'll happily live with the odd frame drop, others more susceptible to motion issues may find it far more distracting I guess.

You can set to Player Led on the HZ somewhere in the menu “Mode 2”. I think it might be in the setup menu.
 

RichWalk

Active Member
You can set to Player Led on the HZ somewhere in the menu “Mode 2”. I think it might be in the setup menu.
I've tried that (using ATV4K) all it does is kill the DV unless you need to reset the ATV to just output in DV rather than the default SDR 4K?
 

S3rv3d

Well-known Member
I've tried that (using ATV4K) all it does is kill the DV unless you need to reset the ATV to just output in DV rather than the default SDR 4K?

Not sure, when I tried it. Screen went black for 10-15 seconds then was working. I use 4K SDR with match content. Not DV mode.
 

S3rv3d

Well-known Member
Correct if I wrong but isn't Mode 2 for the Tv lead Dolby Vision which is superior to the bluray player version

HDMI HDR Setting is Mode 1 for TV Led, there is HDMI Auto Setting which is Mode 2 for higher definition signals or something as the description.
 

wesslan

Member
Coming from a Oppo 203 and HZ2000 DV have never been so good as now. My old sony oled was much much worse. I've seen many talk about DV problems and they often have a panasonic player, nothing concrete just a observation.

DV is inherit often a little darker since it's tonemapping each frame but I guess it all depends on your tv, other equipment, eyes, movie and your rooms. With vincents diffrent HZ reviews I personally don't think panasonic got a general DV problem and for me it looks great.
 

Tarzan2000

Active Member
There is a setup of mode 2 to allow processing on source device. It not the input modes but in the setup menu where dv is enabled. I had an hz and this fixed it on my ATV.
Can you specify a specific path to the setting in the menu for this option?
 

kevjp

Active Member
Can you specify a specific path to the setting in the menu for this option?
Setup hdr . Something like that. It's not the picture setting for each source but the setup menu. It's around the dolby vision stuff. I don't have the tv anymore so can't quite remember.
 

S3rv3d

Well-known Member
Can you specify a specific path to the setting in the menu for this option?

Setup/HDMI HDR Setting

Then the 2nd one down. Can’t remember what it’s called. The youth should have mode 1 or mode 2, the description states tv or player
 

Tarzan2000

Active Member
HDMI HDR Setting is Mode 1 for TV Led, there is HDMI Auto Setting which is Mode 2 for higher definition signals or something as the description.

Setup/HDMI HDR Setting

Then the 2nd one down. Can’t remember what it’s called. The youth should have mode 1 or mode 2, the description states tv or player

For the HZ series, there are menu items as you indicated. Probably Panasonic made them in order to give the user a choice to use Dolby Vision IQ or not.

There are only such menu items for the GZ series :

menu -Setup-HDMI HDR Settings -HDR Setting = "dynamic\Static\Off"
menu -Setup-HDMI HDR Settings -HDR dynamic Setting -HDR10+ = "On\Off"
menu -Setup-HDMI HDR Settings -HDR dynamic Setting -Dolby Vision = "On\Off"

menu -Setup-HDMI Auto Settings -HDMI1(2,3,4)= "Mode1\Mode2"
 

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Nick74

Distinguished Member
Coming from a Oppo 203 and HZ2000 DV have never been so good as now. My old sony oled was much much worse. I've seen many talk about DV problems and they often have a panasonic player, nothing concrete just a observation.

DV is inherit often a little darker since it's tonemapping each frame but I guess it all depends on your tv, other equipment, eyes, movie and your rooms. With vincents diffrent HZ reviews I personally don't think panasonic got a general DV problem and for me it looks great.

My argument wasn't that DV content looks bad on HZ OLEDs, but that frame skips are more prevalent than blink and you'll miss it, not really an issue comments in reviews suggest.

I'm not criticising reviewers, who have a limited amount of time to test across a range of content. Inevitably they can only pick up so much. Only by living with equipment do you really get to know it.

I was arguing that, for me at least, frame skips are more distracting than the alternative described in my original post. I think the Mode 2 workaround is probably the best way forward.

We're probably too tribal when it comes to manufacturers. I've owned several Panasonic plasmas, including a VT65. The VT65 was fantastic. I had a Sony A8, which handled motion and upscaling better than my HZ1500, but suffered from near black flashing with all content types. That was the deal breaker from my perspective.

I think Panasonic's DV implementation has some problems. That's not to rubbish the television. I raised the question because I thought it was worth discussing and getting other people's views.
 

kevjp

Active Member
My argument wasn't that DV content looks bad on HZ OLEDs, but that frame skips are more prevalent than blink and you'll miss it, not really an issue comments in reviews suggest.

I'm not criticising reviewers, who have a limited amount of time to test across a range of content. Inevitably they can only pick up so much. Only by living with equipment do you really get to know it.

I was arguing that, for me at least, frame skips are more distracting than the alternative described in my original post. I think the Mode 2 workaround is probably the best way forward.

We're probably too tribal when it comes to manufacturers. I've owned several Panasonic plasmas, including a VT65. The VT65 was fantastic. I had a Sony A8, which handled motion and upscaling better than my HZ1500, but suffered from near black flashing with all content types. That was the deal breaker from my perspective.

I think Panasonic's DV implementation has some problems. That's not to rubbish the television. I raised the question because I thought it was worth discussing and getting other people's views.
I think you make a good point. I moved from hz1500 because of DoVi frame skips. Unbearable. I have a Sony a90j with no frame skips but the PQ is possibly not as good. I'm hoping a calibration in two weeks will remedy as I think pani is better ootb than sony. But I think sony pq can be improved. I loved my old vt65. Probably best tv I've had. Motion and pq on sky hd was amazing. I'm now on oled with sky q. I've gone backwards I think. Should have stuck with it but too late now. If it ain't broke.......
 

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