My 436XDE: 'grey' blacks

yellowpostit

Standard Member
Okay, it's on the wall. Unfortunately I don't have a digi camera, so can't show you, but first impressions: not the blacks I was expecting. Everything else is fine.

I saw the 505 and 435 in a Pio Works Dealer with a Hi-Def setup, and the blacks were fine for me. Without seeing the 436, I took it for granted that it would be better, if not the same as the 435 in terms of blacks.

But to be honest, the blacks are kind of grey, especially is a dark room (i.e., at night). The black bars on a 2.35:1 DVD are quite bright. Also, the blacks just seem to wash into each other, and I can't make out any detail in it at all. Everything's set to MID at the moment, by the way, until the 200hrs passes and Liam or Piers get the call. But just testing the brightness down to minimum ain't much help.

Now, before anyone screams, I suspect my DVD player is the weak link in the chain, but I could be wrong. I can forgive Freeview. My next step is to go for a Pio 575 or an Oppo or a Denon 1920 (all about the right price range for my pocket until HD is viable), as I always factored that my current DVD recorder (Philips DVDR75 with QED scart, non-progressive) would have to be part of the upgrade from CRT to plasma.

Liam/Gizlaroc/mal/MAW/Piers/ikon66/X-Style/Eitzel/Alan A/mremulator/anyone wanna offer some comfort here?!
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Haven't seen one mate, but if the black bars are not very dark, it doesn't bode well.
Totally guessing , I hasten to add :smashin:
 

stevedster

Novice Member
I Reckon Somehting In Your Setup Must Be Helping With The Bad Blacks, Most People Seem To Think Thay Are Ggood In The 436 Matey
 

MAW

Banned
'Most people' who are they. The only thing I thought on 1st sight of the 6 series was 'well, grey is the new black this season'. Pioneer have hired Trinny and Suzanna on their design team. Your DVD player will not make black bars blacker. Turning down the brightness might help. Do you have a THX DVD in your collection? Run the optimiser as the 1st step, runing at a realistic brightness and contrast will extend panel life anyway. It's in the Language menu on all THX discs.
 

yellowpostit

Standard Member
stevedster said:
I Reckon Somehting In Your Setup Must Be Helping With The Bad Blacks, Most People Seem To Think Thay Are Ggood In The 436 Matey
That's my feeling. The DVD recorder/player is my first thought, which I knew I'd have to upgrade anyways. The blacks ain't great on Freeview, but maybe I should forgive that one.
 

yellowpostit

Standard Member
MAW said:
'Most people' who are they. The only thing I thought on 1st sight of the 6 series was 'well, grey is the new black this season'. Pioneer have hired Trinny and Suzanna on their design team. Your DVD player will not make black bars blacker. Turning down the brightness might help. Do you have a THX DVD in your collection? Run the optimiser as the 1st step, runing at a realistic brightness and contrast will extend panel life anyway. It's in the Language menu on all THX discs.
Will give it a go. Renting DVE as well, so will see how that takes.
 

reckless

Novice Member
I haven't seen a 436 but I have a 435 and owned a 434. Whilst the blacks look ok in daytime, in a darkened room they are very poor and the black bars do indeed look grey. I used to love to watch films with all the lights out but to do that with the 435 is impossible. It was the same on a 434.

Having said that, I had a panny 6 and even that, with the black level that everyone raves about, looked grey in night scenes when watched in a darkened room. If you really want to see how bad it can be, try watching a film like Batman.

I don't think any plasma does well in that sort of environment. Having said that, I have never had a plasma calibrated and do not know of the difference that would make.

Sorry I can't be more positive.
 

Piers

Active Member
Sorry, can't offer any comfort from here as I have yet to calibrate a 436 but after all the hype of the much improved black level on the 6 series I am surprised.
 

MAW

Banned
Hype it is, Piers. Hardly different at all, emperors new clothes and all that. Black on freeview should only be affected by calibration, not by the signal. Pitch black just starting, check that out!!
 

reckless

Novice Member
In short, the only good black on a pioneer is on the screen surround. And that's coming from an owner of one. It is however a very pleasing image otherwise with very little banding.

I will go and see the 436 when possible but this sort of issue is not one that can easily be seen in a shop environment..
 

reckless

Novice Member
MAW said:
Hype it is, Piers. Hardly different at all, emperors new clothes and all that. Black on freeview should only be affected by calibration, not by the signal. Pitch black just starting, check that out!!
Pitch black is not a good film to watch on a pio ;)
 
B

Blade10

Guest
Hi.

Just got the 436 also. Love this tv and the bars are very black.
But if you watch full screen with a black signal, in a dark room, the black screen will look like this Pana PV500:
http://www.dinside.no/php/art.php?id=218898&bid=25
They both have 3000:1 in contrast.
Anyway black is produced very deep and colors are rich and natural.
 

Badger0-0

Distinguished Member
Blade10 said:
Hi.

Just got the 436 also. Love this tv and the bars are very black.
But if you watch full screen with a black signal, in a dark room, the black screen will look like this Pana PV500:
http://www.dinside.no/php/art.php?id=218898&bid=25
They both have 3000:1 in contrast.
Anyway black is produced very deep and colors are rich and natural.
I'd say my "crappy" :rolleyes: 7200 can do better than that black.
But I do keep saying it's not that important :rolleyes:
If you're happy with the picture, fair play :smashin:
 

rudy

Standard Member
Try increasing the blue and reducing the red by 15% each. It seemed to dramatically improve dark scenes on my hitachi
 

Jazz Monkey Jr

Distinguished Member
The problem is at the moment is that no-one had played with and calibrated a 436 and PV500 side by side to see what they can do.
If the blacks aren't great on DVD and freeview then the set must need tweaking.

I don't know if I am right, if Piers or someone can help me here, but even if you set the brightness so that the pixels don't flicker when showing black, this has to be the blackest black the plasma can display.
Can you get the blacks any blacker by calibrating it, or is a non-lit pixel the blackest it can be?
 

yellowpostit

Standard Member
mal600908 said:
...or is a non-lit pixel the blackest it can be?
I'd assume so, but I can't get them not to light. Non-lit is where I'm trying to get...

One thing I have noticed - contrast blacks (IYSWIM) are very very black. You know, areas of light against areas of dark. It's just when it's a large dark area that the definition between the grades of black and it's overall depth is not quite there.
 

Jazz Monkey Jr

Distinguished Member
Thats the best way to set the brightness - use DVE or test pattern and in a dark room notch it up till the pixel starts to flicker, then notch it down one when looking at the plasma from a few cm away.

If you can't get the blacks unlit then you may need a pio engineer or an ISF.
I nearly went for the Pio 435 when I bought my PV500 and the styling is excellent and I like the idea of one cable to the plasma, but the previous posts about buzzing and the black levels put me off.

There seems to be a few people that have said the blacks are good on the new pio - yours sounds like it needs looking at.
 

yellowpostit

Standard Member
mal600908 said:
If you can't get the blacks unlit then you may need a pio engineer or an ISF...There seems to be a few people that have said the blacks are good on the new pio - yours sounds like it needs looking at.
I'll give the DVE a go. If the pixels really won't go unlit, you really think I've got a case to ring my dealer?
 

Jazz Monkey Jr

Distinguished Member
Yu might want it confirmed by an expert, but on the pannys the pixels don't flicker when you have set the brightness correctly.
 

MAW

Banned
Yellowpostit, Pioneers do not 'unlight' their pixels, once you have correctly set contrast and most particularly brightness, that's as black as it goes. The black level is all about perception, what you see is what you know, and we all see differently. Good greyscale calibration by ISF might enable brightness to be set lower, without losing detail, but best ask a ISF expert on that.
 

yellowpostit

Standard Member
MAW said:
Yellowpostit, Pioneers do not 'unlight' their pixels, once you have correctly set contrast and most particularly brightness, that's as black as it goes. The black level is all about perception, what you see is what you know, and we all see differently. Good greyscale calibration by ISF might enable brightness to be set lower, without losing detail, but best ask a ISF expert on that.
Cheers MAW. I just expected that a totally black screen in the dark would be like having it switched off, rather than having the room lit up with a dim grey light, which is how it is at the moment.

You reckon I should get one of the ISF guys on the case then? I'm gonna try DVE, but I haven't seen anyone else's 436 yet, so I've no way of truly knowing if it's faulty or not. I'm worried I could end up paying loads for an ISF and it turns out to be faulty, so will have wasted money on an ISF. Unless perhaps LE Concepts with their 3 year warranty will send someone out to check for me??!
 

Rahmorak

Novice Member
yellowpostit said:
Cheers MAW. I just expected that a totally black screen in the dark would be like having it switched off, rather than having the room lit up with a dim grey light, which is how it is at the moment.
My Fuji 50" still outputs a fair bit of light when showing a pure black screen, setting the screen as black as I can take it does not change this.

A part of this is the nature of plasmas where a residual charge is needed so that it can respond quickly to a change in scene lighting. How much this bothers you will depend on a whole load of factors not least of which is personal taste but I am more than willing to make the trade-off for size. :)
 

MAW

Banned
Panasonic claim to have overcome this with the 'real black drive system' but my Panasonic is certainly emitting light at full black! Not much, but very obvious in a fully darkend room. With a 506XDE I installed last week, I could see the light emission quite clearly in a sunlit room. It's an order of magnitude different.
 

ddlooping

Active Member
Hi all. :hiya:

After having tested a few plasmas in different lightning conditions, my conclusion would unfortunately be this technology cannot deliver good blacks.
Darkish greys are all we can hope for. :(

I think I'm gonna keep my Toshiba 36" CRT for a little longer, even though I'd love to have a wider and slimer screen. :)
 

reckless

Novice Member
It's all about perception. If I see, for arguments sake, a normal daytime scene in which someone is wearing something black then it will look black. Where it becomes really obvious is where the scene you watch is predominantly dark or black and then it becomes dark grey.

It happens on pannys as well (at least it did on my panny 6). As with all these things, there is no perfect solution. Every screen has some sort of defect that will irritate some people: the knack is finding the one with the fault that will irritate you the least. :)

I ended up with a pio because I could see the flicker on a panny. That, to me, was worse than the pio faults which are grey blacks, the way it continues horizontal lines all the way across the screen, judder (although the 435 is far better than the 434 in this respect IMHO), the buzzing from the screen when it's displaying NTSC etc.

The burning question is though: would I buy the same one again? Well, for all it's faults, I'd have to say "yes" although in a perfect world I would have bought the 50" version and a scaler :)

I will go to see the 436 as a matter of interest but I don't believe the hype between different models from Pio or any other manufacturer.
 

MAW

Banned
Every screen has some sort of defect that will irritate some people: the knack is finding the one with the fault that will irritate you the least.
Proper words of wisdom there. And new models are always well hyped, generally with little grounds to do so. After all the only difference between old and new pannys is accepting more 50Hz digital signals. The Pioneer revision seems little more than a facelift.
 

Leerock

Standard Member
I have the same problem with my 435hde.
Before buying it I was hearing a lot of people complaining about pios blacks but I thought that it was not importand for me coz what I was watching in the stores was acceptable for me.
But the problem becomes obvious when you buy the screen, install it in your house and watch dark scenes in a dark room.
IT JUST SUCKS.
The image seems washed out.
I can t live with it.
My father s philips lcd blacks are twice as deep as my pios.
3 months after I bought it I heard that a new version was coming with much improved blacks, and I was going to cry :)
But now I see that the new model sucks too.
I wonder why people keep buying plasmas.
 

tscotsman

Active Member
thats exactly why Ive opted to stay with my order for the Pv500, I still think the general concensus is that its the best plasma on the market for blacks, so ill definitely be happy.
 

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