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My Demo of 4 vrs 5 series Panasonic re flicker

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Paul D, Oct 31, 2002.

  1. Paul D

    Paul D
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    There has been some debate as to whether the new 5th series Panasonic 42 inch plasma is inferior to the 4 series etc.(Due to technical changes)

    As i was just about to buy my first plasma, i had spent some time demo-ing the 4th series (TH-42PW4B).
    After ruling out previous plasma efforts due to poor contrast/colours, the Panasonic was a revelation!.
    I was very happy with the 4 series picture.
    But since the new series 5 was due out i decided to wait.

    Then the rumours started about a problem with the 5 series using a single scan system versus dual scan, could cause screen flicker.
    :(
    Since i have seen rainbows on all the DLPs projectors i have seen up to now (even when my friends didn't). I assume i have fast eyesight. I even see a slight rainbow effect on my Barco CRT projector due to phosphor persistance etc!

    So before buying, i wanted to see both models (TH-42PW4B/TH-42PW5B) side by side.

    Well i've just got back from Sound and Vision, after buying the ? series model!:D

    The screens were setup showing identical films via the same DVD player etc. (Toshiba 210e)
    The 5th series via svideo, the 4th via component.

    Let me start by saying before i carry on with the review:-
    BOTH MODELS ARE NEAR IDENTICAL! so people would be happy with either.

    OK?

    So no flaming which ever model you have!

    I will start by saying that the reports of the 5 series flicker ARE CORRECT. (edit: may have been made worse OR better due to using Svideo, more testing needed!)
    There! 4th series owners be happy, your screen has "near" zero flicker( i say "near zero).....ok?.:p

    But what about 5th series owners?

    Don't worry!, as the lengths i had to go to to see the slight increase in flicker was silly.

    Standing in front of both screens (at normal viewing distance), flicker just wasn't an issue, ie i couldn't see it. ( but you may etc)
    To see the difference, i had to have the room in near total blackout, and the screen showing a very bright scene. And even then i had to look "across" the screen using my peripheral vision, with my face nearly touching the screen. And then yes the 5th had more flicker then the 4th. But at this angle the 4th series had very slight flicker!.

    So with the flicker issue..errr not an issue (to me at least etc), i carried on the demo.

    The first slight difference is black level. As 4th series owners know, the blacks are very good anyway. But there is a very slight "glow". On the 5th series, this very slight glow is darker still.
    I then went on to check colour diferences.
    The colours are slightly different, but not by much. Some of the difference would have been caused by the different inputs anyway. But the 5th series did have a more natural feel to the colours, the reds and the blues seeming more accurate. The greens looked identical on both models. Again to be honest the difference would only be spotted if viewed side by side.
    Now for the biggest difference.....gulp here starts the flaming!:rolleyes:
    "Posterising"
    I tried several scenes i knew would create the colour banding effect seen so far with plasmas.
    This is where the 5th series carries on from the 4th.
    Scene after scene, where banding was evident on the 4th series, it was near banished on the 5th. That is not to say the 5th was perfect, just that during normal viewing it wouldn't be seen.

    Overall the 5th series is an improvement (IMHO) on the 4th series in most areas. The picture also seems more vibrant, but again this would only be noticed side by side. So both screens are near identical, and if you own a 4th series, you would see NO real gain upgrading to a 5th series. They are just too close etc.

    Now i had to make up my mind!
    The 4th series was much cheaper with zero flicker, and i did love the picture anyway. So i thought why bother paying the extra for the 5th series!.

    But it came down to the "posterising".
    Not a big deal as i could live with either screen, and the other differences were tiny.

    But you pays your money and takes your pick!
    I picked the 5th series!

    Anybody worried about the 5th series should relax it's superb.
    Anybody who has the 4th or is thinking about getting one should relax it's superb.

    I await a more indepth review by Joe or Liam when they have a chance to view the two side by side. But i'm sure they will agree with my findings!;)

    PS i also picked up a multi region Sony Dav-s880 while i was there.
    Should look great with my new toy!
     
  2. CarlB

    CarlB
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    I have a series 4, but would also choose a series 5 if I were buying now, solely for the 10bit video card. Posterization is the only (slight) noticeable flaw in the picture for me on my series 4 but it's certainly nowhere near bad enough for me to consider an upgrade. I think your advice is great though, if the flicker doesn't bother you go for the SD series 5 and have the improved video processing. If the flicker is noticeable to you, then pick series 4 (while they last) as the posterization is certainly not bad enough to constitute a deal-breaker.
     
  3. Jon Weaver

    Jon Weaver
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    Thankyou for your report.. I am one of many people who will find your obeservations interesting and re-assuring.

    The first thing that jumps out at me was the fact that the Series 5 was connected by S-Video and the Series 4 by Component.

    If this really was the way that it was, then couldn't this account for some of the differences that you saw?

    Anyway.. I am most interested in what you described as 'posterising'.

    Even since I saw my first Panasonic demo, I was concerned about patches of 'shimmering' that could be see on some backgrounds.

    After taking an Avia setup disk along and checking various test cards, I found that the Series 4 wasn't able to generate certain shades of colours. Certain test cards would show this problem on certain shades.

    Under 'normal' viewing, as I said, the problem would only manifest itself as large patches, which looked a little like 'solorization'.

    Are you saying that there is a improvement in this area on the Series 5 (Assuming you understand what I have tried to describe)

    Again, good work.. I should have my Series 5 (Toshiba 46WP27) out of the box this weekend, as my stand should arrive tommorow. I guess then I will be able to see for myself.

    All the best

    Jon
     
  4. CarlB

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    Jon,

    I thought we covered this in another thread, the improved 10bit card in the model 5 allows 1024 shades of grey as opposed to the 256 on the model 4. If you imagine the tonality of the image this means that on a very subtle tonal gradient there will be coarser gradation steps on the model 4, which accounts for the banding or posterization which can occur.

    This is reduced on the model 5 due to the greater number of grey steps.

    As for shimmering in the backgrounds, this may not be the issue as you may be referring to 'mosquito noise' which can occur due to low bitrates on the DVD mastering as well as due to the plasma display. I have found generally that plasmas give a slightly noisier image than CRT and it takes a little time to adjust to this phenomenon.
     
  5. Paul D

    Paul D
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    Jon
    If you mean the black dots that sparkle on bright whites on the 4th series as shimmering, then yes these are much reduced on the 5th, but not absent.
    Did you see this affect at normal viewing distance?
    It's just that i've yet to see a pristine plasma picture when close up etc. (Maybe it's the nature of the beast!)
    Plasmas are normally much larger than CRTs, so need to be viewed at the correct distance in respect to screen size. Even high res screen need distance if showing non HD material etc.

    And yes, some of the differences could have been cause by the different inputs (as stated). But i put the Svideo to the 5th series and the Components to the 4th series on purpose. I assumed that the better feed to the 4th series would help it!. I didn't have time to change them over. Plus i was starting to feel i was a pain in the neck, as i had insisted on a four hour demo last week!.
    I only hope this means the 5th series will be even better with component and maybe even progressive scan via the Dav-s880!:devil:


    I made sure both sets were the same ie normal mode and 25 on contrast, zero for all other settings.
    Remember these were not ideal conditions, and i would have liked to have tweaked both sets with AVIA, before making a choice. But since CRTs have their fair share of annoying faults, i decided a real world (ie DVD/UHF) demo, would suffice etc.
    I was still taken aback with the pure "pristine" saturation of colour on both plasmas. I don't know why, i just imagined my Panasonic 36PF10 CRT would have blown them away, but no!.

    PLASMAS have finally arrived!
     
  6. sapper

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    So, for a 42 inch Plasma, what is the 'optiaml viewing distance'?

    What is the minimum one can really sit?

    Does it cary much for a 50" screen?

    Adrian
     
  7. CarlB

    CarlB
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    I think for a 42" plasma (480p resolution) you want to be at least 8ft away. I sit about 10ft away and the picture is great.
     
  8. Jon Weaver

    Jon Weaver
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    Carl,

    I don't think that we did cover this.. You posted a comment some time ago that the Hi-Res version had a 10bit display, but from what I remember, you wern't sure if this was the case on the PW5.

    Anyway, this was the first time that someone had chance to compare that two side by side and I was genuinly interested how much an improvement the 5 was over the 4 in this area.

    I went for a Series 5 for this very reason (based on your comments actually), however, due to my location, I had no way to get a demo of the PW5 (or a good demo of the PW4) before I bought it.
     
  9. Paul D

    Paul D
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    Just a quick update.

    I had another quick demo today whilst picking up my plasma and some cables etc.

    I got them to swop the cables over, ie the 4th series on Svideo and 5th series via component.

    The first thing that i noticed was "edge enhancemnet" or "ringing" on the 4th series via Svideo was far more evident. The 5th series via Svideo was very clean. I'm not sure but i thought the RCA input board for the 4/5 series was the same?. Maybe it was down to the video processor etc.
    But to be honest from a reasonable distance it actually made the image look sharper(better than the 5th series))!. It was a similiar effect you get when you turn up sharpness on a CRT TV. Ie less detail but looks sharper.

    In comparison the 5th series via component looked softer, but did have more detail etc.

    On this demo both series looked even closer than ever!

    The benefit to using RGB or Component on a Plasma is much stronger than for a normal TV. The image just improves so much.

    The colour shift in red/blue etc was still there.

    Component did seem to reduce the very slight flicker as well. Svideo "noise" must make the flicker more noticeable on the 5th series.

    Did have a little shock when i got it out of the box at home.
    I demoed it next to the 50 inch Panasonic, and this monster made my puny 42 inch seem fairly small.
    However when positioned next to my Panasonic 36PF10 CRT, it seems HUGE!:)
     
  10. Richard46

    Richard46
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    Paul
    Thanks for all your detailed comments. I have been trying to resist replacing my 36PF10 with a panasonic plasma and have been comforting myself with the same conviction that the colour saturation on a Plasma would still not be as good as on the CRT. You have now removed my last vestige of resistence.

    All I have to do know is convince my girl friend that we need a new telly already and work out what to do with the PF10. Usually put the old telly in my den; but the PF10 wont even go through the door! Are you selling or sold yours? If you are any idea what to ask for them? Thanks again.

    Richard
     
  11. sapper

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    Hi

    I have an old Philips WS tv 1994 vintage.

    Its not even flat.

    Im about to( hopefully) upgrade to a panny, or perhaps the tosh clone.

    I might offer mine for a £100 max, but its too big for most people's front room!

    Im not sure what to do with my TV either, or how much to ask for, perhasp in Loot for example.

    Any suggestions welcome

    Adrian
     
  12. NeilMcRae

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    Do what I do.

    Ebay it with a higher than you want reserve, people will email you with offers and you can take the best one, or if you are lucky someone will bid above the reserve price.

    Neil.
     
  13. keyser

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    Has anyone compared the panasonic HD vs. the SD, in terms of flicker, brightness, contrast and buzzing??

    I´d imagine that if new dvd players utilize a scaler (the new faroudja chip) then the HD would display SD material as good or even better than the SD plasma, what are your thoughts on this??
     
  14. Jon Weaver

    Jon Weaver
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    I finally have my Series 5 (Toshiba 42WP27) up and running.

    I can confirm that it does flicker.. Whether its worse than the Series 4, I don't know, but there is an obvious flicker.

    However.. You only seem to notice it for the first few minutes of watching.. After that, the effect seems to disappear (Its still there, but you get used to it)

    Its certainly worse than a 100hz CRT, but no where need as bad as what you would get on a 50hz TV.


    I can also confirm that it does buzz.. But again, its no worse than a CRT.

    I am very happy.. its early days yet, but i havn't seen a single problem with it!
     
  15. keyser

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    John,

    is the flicker the same whatever the connection, wheter it´s s-video or a progressive dvd through component?

    How loud is the buzzing during very bright scenes (I have never heard a sound from a CRT), can you compare the the buzzing noise at it´s loudest to anything else?
     
  16. Guest

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    Paul D,

    Thanks very much for all the information. That made excellent reading.

    The MRS gave the the go ahead to buy a 42" plasma on Saturday. We were walking through PJ's department store and she stopped at the 50" Pioneer and said 'You should get one of those. A little smaller prehaps'. I obviously jumped at the chance and am trying to find a cheap price but keeping level of service in mind.

    If you don't mind me asking how much did you pay ?

    JUs.
     
  17. Paul D

    Paul D
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    It's hard to put an exact price as i bought other stuff (including a multi region Sony Dav-s880) at the same time.
    I was tempted to wait and see if Richer Sound got some stock in, as the have them on their site for about £3300.
    But in the end i bought local (S&V Bolton)to make sure of a perfect pixel model etc. Oh and they actually had stock. :D
    But it worked out i paid about £3600 give or take £50!
    I also got twelve months interest free :)
     
  18. keyser

    keyser
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    A friend of mine lives in luxemburg, which is close to germany, france an belgum right? Can you tell me where and for what price I could get the panasonic 5 HD ?
     
  19. keyser

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    Does the panasonic support pal progressive?
     
  20. ijwoo1

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    I could have written Jons posting word for word. Jon has hit the nail on the head with it all re buzzing and flicker. Both there, it would better if they werent but you don't notice it after a while.

    For what its worth I checked out a Sony Vega plasma today in a store and I could see no flicker whatsoever. Yet as Jon says the 5th gen Panasonic/Tosh definitely does, seemingly regardless of input. Just to put this to bed I'd love to know whether this is specific to the 5th gen or not.
     
  21. EvilMudge

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    Flicker

    Has anyone seen evidence of this flickering effect on any other manufacturer's plasma panels? I can't help but think that this is a side effect of the system Panasonic uses to get such high contrast values out of their products.
    Can't remember what the technique is called, but if you have a pixel with a minimum brightness of say 5, and you want to get a brightness of 2-3 then turning the pixel on and off extremely fast fools the brain into seeing a darker pixel than the display can really generate.

    Does anyone know more/ can confirm or deny?
     
  22. keyser

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    How bad is the flicker on the 5 panasonic.. say compared to 50hz and 100hz CRT´s?
     
  23. ijwoo1

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    An interesting theory, I can tell you that the flicker is more noticeable on lighter pictures which have large bright areas. But I'm not sure that supports the theory as only 'dark' pixles would need to be pulsed to be made to appear darker.
     
  24. keyser

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    It sounds from your posts that this flicker is worse than say on a normal 50hz CRT(I have never really noticed any flicker on them, except on menus and that sort of statit stuff).. is that right?
     
  25. CarlB

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    No flicker on my 4th gen Panasonic so I do think it's specific to the 5th gen model.
     
  26. mikeq

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    Found this definition on Webopedia

    >>>>>>>>>>

    The phenomenon whereby a display screen appears to flicker. Screen flicker results from a variety of factors, the most important of which is the monitor's refresh rate, the speed with which the screen is redrawn. If the refresh rate is too slow, the screen will appear to glimmer. Another factor that affects screen flicker is the persistence of the screen phosphors. Low-persistence phosphors fade more quickly than high-persistence monitors, making screen flicker more likely. Screen flicker can also be affected by lighting. Finally, screen flicker is a subjective perception that affects people differently. Some people perceive screen flicker where others do not.

    <<<<<<<<<<<

    Screen Flicker

    I think it comes down to the person being able to perceive it. A lot of us have the same screens but we dont all see flickering. I certainly don't see it on my Panny 4 series.

    When Jon was talking about being able to see it out of the corner of his eye I think that is true for everyone. The other day I looked out of the window and could see my 21" CRT at the bottom of my vision, with a bright scene on the screen I could see it flickering. It must be a similar effect to being able to see some stars out of the corner of your eye but when you stare directly at it you can't see it.

    Fortunately I tend to look directly at the screen when watching:D
     
  27. EvilMudge

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    Well, I checked but still can't find the name of the rapid switching technique, but did find out more about it - namely that it can be used for half-integer shading which improves the contrast ratio of a fixed pixel display. This maybe why it's only noticeable on very bright patches.
     
  28. ijwoo1

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    Its marginal for sure. I'd say its between a 50Hz and 100Hz CRT. But I'm beginning to wonder now if it reduces once its been on for a while. When I first switch it on I find the flicker fairly noticeable, then after about 15-30 minutes I find it much harder to see. I actually have to look for it to see it which is why I've said in my previous posts that the flicker is just about acceptable.

    I can't be sure whether it's me adjusting to it or whether it reduces once its "warmed" up. I'll hopefully be able to spend more time watching it this weekend and come to some sort of conclusion.

    What I don't understand, unless its specific to PAL models is why the forums in the US don't mention flicker at all and why its never been mentioned before, as far as I can see, relating to other Plasmas in the UK. This all tends to point to this being a PW5 specific issue.

    I know its not just me as others can see it on my screen as well, without prompting !
     
  29. Mintguy

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    As the person who first raised the flicker issue with this panel, I was surprised that it hadn't been mentuioned before myself. The guy at Sevenoaks reckoned it was because of the single scan on the 5 instead of dual scan on the 4. I don't know whether other manufacturers panels have dual or single scan. I'm a real novice. I myself can't see the flicker. My other half and her brother can. I was interested to find out how much screen flicker they could see on a regular CRT and they both could see flicker my 21 inch IIyama refreshing up to 72Hz, although at this point it was hardly noticeable. At 75Hz and above there was no problem. At 60Hz they both say it's enough to give them a headache.

    BTW: MikeQ
    No. This is because of the blind spot in your vision because of the optic nerve in the middle of your retina.
     
  30. Jon Weaver

    Jon Weaver
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    When ever I watch my Plasma, I see something, which I have been calling "flicker" but it might be something completely different.

    If I am watching somethign with 'white' and I QUICKLY (and I mean quickly) look from one side to the other, the white actually looks like its made up of green.

    As I look across the screen, I see a what its best described a "trail" of green.

    I showed my wife this phenominon last night, by putting on the white bar screen saver, but she couldn't see what I was describing at all, where as for me it as totally obvious.

    She then said that if she scanned across the screen REALLY quickly screen, she finally understood what I was talking about, but she had never seen it before under 'normal' watching condition.

    It seems that I must be more sensitive to 'strobing' than some, but also its clear that due to my 'hyperactive nature' I tend to constantly look around, rather than focus on one thing.

    For me the problem is also compounded, as I sit 7-8 feet from the screen.. This means that I have to look from left to right to actually see all of the screen.. I would imagine that if I could sit a few feet further back, I wouldn't have to look around so much.

    The actual 'flicker' that I see when I first start watching, definitly reduces the more I watch.. Whether I just get used to it, or whether the Plasma 'warms up', I don't know. But this 'green trail' phenominon that I have tried to describe is always there.

    I hope that this makes sense.
     

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