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Panasonic 6 : spectacularly conficting reports : where's the truth?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by napp, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. napp

    napp
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    Hello,

    if you browse (and I'm sure you do) this forum you can read various reports from people who already own and use the Panasonic 6-series plasma displays.

    I just wonder how such different messages (I'm going to paste and copy some here) can live together and be true at the same time. I want to understand that because I'm a potential Panasonic 6 buyer.

    "bond007" users recently wrote :

    ---
    I did notice last night that my image was slightly brighter at the top (not very noticable and was larger than 2cm and did move to the side at one point, most likely related to another prob described below), which is yet another problem i have notice with this damn plasma, I really dont like it, I feel its the worst thing i have ever bought. At the start, when i got it, started watching dvds, thought god this looks good, but cable looks crap, but thought, hey thats the crap bit rate they have on the channels not the plasma, but then a few hours after using the plasma I noticed more problems, such as colour banding, I again didnt think it was the plasma, was down to the mpeg2 compression techniques, but decided to try and put my mind at rest, so plugged my PC in, and opened photoshop and did some gradients, red to white, looked fine, inverted the colours, banding appears, and incorrect colour placement between the bands, tried it with other colours, all the same.

    So I tried other devices too, just to make sure, all were the same, so a friend posted on forums for me, other people said plasmas do have a small amount of banding and if you dont look for it you will not see it. Well I see it on every DVD I watch, without actually looking for it, as it is sometimes so obvious, a large block of colour joined to another of a different colour. (2 dvds i have seen in the last day that show really bad banding in parts are spiderman and insomnia, especially in the foggy scenes in insomnia and really bad in the scene when spiderman is taken by the hob goblin).

    I reported these to panasonic, after a bit of a run around between the shop and panasonic (which they said they have never heard of this before on the plasma) and the shop saying they can see the problem, panasonic told me to compare it with one in shop, and it was exactly the same. So I talked to the manager of the shop (panasonic shop) and he decided to write a letter to panasonic (yet to hear anything yet from that).

    I came home and watched another movie and what happens, another god damn problem with the image (which I have yet to verify with testing on other images) is that in the credits of a film, I could see that top being a little brighter and then as the credits started to roll, these horizontal green lines each 1 pixel thick and around half the size of the width of the screen at the top started to appear, fickering and scolling in the top left of the screen around 5 or 6 of them. All this on top of the above and also that what ever is displayed in one section of the screen changes the rest, ie, one section becomes brighter, the other bits of the screen go darker (like what would happen if there is a crap PSU in a CRT) and also use the OSD and that affects the screen too, everything horizontally from that interface becomes affected slightly, becomes darker or lighter in different sections. And the dithering in the blacks, which I can live with but why dither only the blacks if the rest of the colours cant be displayed correctly too.

    For the money, I would have hoped for a little better than a display that does appear to even fulfil its spec sheet, ie 10bit (1024 shades) colour per channel (30bit colour, 1.07billion colours) which is more like 5bit per channel.
    ---

    On the contrary, "blue_tarragon" user wrote :

    ---
    Incredible - my new Panny 6 is incredible!

    I wasn't prepared for this. All my kit connected to the Panny 6 is heaven. I don't think my eyes could see a better image. The attached photo doesn't even do it justice.

    Thank you Plasma!

    plus :

    I sit 7ft to 8ft away and you cannot see any pixel structure at all. (I have perfect eyesight - over 20/20)

    Simply the best image possible. I seriously cannot believe it myself.

    The picture is perfect.

    I cannot see how technology could make my eyes see a better image.

    All kit (DVD, CD, Xbox, PS2, Sky etc) is going via RGB scart, optical cables and a Quattro+ RGB switcher box.

    I cannot describe the image!!!!!!
    ---

    and "GAmbrose" user wrote :

    ---
    I connected my DVD player direct to the PC port and the picture is clean as a whistle...and damn if this TV isn't the best AV piece of equipment i've ever bought.
    ---


    WELL, I think we have to investigate about these conficting reports.

    Thanks,
    napp
     
  2. bond007

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    Hi,

    I thought I would put a reply to this, so you can put my post in to context. I think i may be a little picky about my screen, I don’t know, other people in these forums appear to love their screens, maybe they don’t see what I see, or can live with it. I cant, paying £3000 for a screen, I would expect it to be able to at least display 24bit colour or at least display the same number of colours as my previous £200 TV. But to me it doesn’t, I see the banding and various other problems (the green line scrolling, yet to carry out some tests on that, will do and post back to you) Or the people in the forums don’t really want to see these problems and admit that they have them due to the amount of money spent on the screens, I don't know. But I will say, some things, especially CG films, look very good, bugs life, and what I have seen (about 2 mins, so can’t really say about the whole film) toy story 1 and 2, all looked really sharp and detailed, small amounts of gradenting occur. But in sections of real film, bright skin tones, darkish skies etc gradients appear. People who have come around have said they can see it when I point it out and some could see it before I did. But all have said that I shouldn’t worry about it (well they haven’t paid for it have they :) ) Others have said if you’re not satisfied with it then try and get it returned.
    One thing i will say is, 2 girls that live with me, watched the plasma for about a week and they didn’t notice it until I said about it, and now they see it.
    If you do look around at plasmas what I would say you do is, try and get one put in a demo room and use it for a quite a while, say 45mins+, watch a few films and if you can test with a computer if you want to be absolutely sure about gradients. I did try the plasma before I bought it and I never saw the problems I do now. I went in and watched a couple of films, small sections, dark sky (for the blacks) T2, and another film that I cant remember what. And also watched what they had in it. I only saw it after a couple of hours of use as you read in my post, so try and watch the plasma for as long as you can before buying.
     
  3. neomoz

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    From what I have noticed, the panasonic dithering algorithms aren't really all that agressive compared to other models out there, this reduces the fuzz/noise some people might not like, but it causes more visible banding and affects the colour depth I have noticed, other model plasmas have more aggressive half toning algorithms that helps reduce the banding but it still exsists to a certain point.
     
  4. MAW

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    The green lines are quite common too. Plasmas are still not really that good compared to a good CRT. They're just flat stylish, big and sexy! No, I'm 1/2 joking. The perfect plasma does not yet exist. (Wait for 500 Hitachi pd owners to claim theirs is) Yes I'm sure there is a small element of convincing yourself that you haven't just spent £3000 on a pile of poo, but hey they're not that bad either. I take it you lot with the troubles have used top class cables, good adapters as necessary, and have not used a Mico DVD from Sainsbury's to pronounce your miseries?
     
  5. neomoz

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    MAW is right, plasma are not perfect and do have their flaws, those being blacks and grey scale performance. Just like how crt technology has problems with geometry/focus and size limitations. If you constantly focus on the weeknesses of a particular display technology you're never going to be happy with any display. So just sit back enjoy your display and stop your brain from concentrating on particular aspects of the picture, which cause you to not enjoy the picture and image quality as a whole.
     
  6. SimonO

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    That's fine if you're paying up to £1500 for a CRT, but not £3000 plus for a plasma..! You should expect and get alot more..!
     
  7. MAW

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    You are paying for what is still cutting edge technology. It may turn out to be a blind alley display wise, look at the newest LCD panels, now up to 54". They lack contrast, but they suffer few other disadvantages. Then we might all be watching nanotechnology displays from Mororola, if that thread a month or so ago wasn't a spoof!
     
  8. NeilMcRae

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    LCD sucks. Its not anywhere near the viewing quality of plasma.

    Neil.
     
  9. lloydo

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    My two pence worth is I've had 5 series Panny 37in for about 5 months fed by Sky +, now you do see digital artefacts now and again (Sky feed) but the best test for me has been watching TV's on holiday, friends etc. and then come back to the plasma. I would never be without it, the picture is so natural looking and clear, Bo' Selecta just doesn't look right on anything else!
     
  10. LV426

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    Now, there's a sweeping generalisation, and a personal opinion, all in one. It is a view that I do not share.

    The fact is, there is no such thing (yet?) as a perfect display. Every technology suffers from some weakness, and, within a given technology, different manufacturers make better or worse attempts at addressing these weaknesses with greater or lesser success.

    For anyone wanting to buy a new display - really the only thing you can do is use forums and other sources to understand what these weaknesses are - in other words - to find out what to look for or expect - but then you MUST make our own choice about which shortcoming aggrieves you most, and avoid it.

    For me (and this is a view i do not expect others necessarily to share) I chose LCD because, quite simply, I prefer the 'look' of an LCD image. This is largely a subjective view. I recognise the poor black levels issue, was aware of it before I bought. But, in my case, it doesn't bother me to anything like the same extent as flicker, geometry and convergence problems (CRT) or flicker and dithering (Plasma). These are my preferences. They may not be yours. If my TV and/or projector (both LCD) 'died', I'd replace either with the same technology.
     
  11. Lydecker

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    "Can I get a reeee-wind?"
     
  12. napp

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    Hi bond007, thanks for writing.

    Well, I know the Panasonic 5-series very well, I saw tens of DVD movies and much digital satellite on it, although I don't own it.

    I, as well as many others were waiting for the the 6-series because Panasonic has never failed an upgrade up to now and we were expecting something better (or at least equal) than the 5-series.

    Be aware I haven't had the chance to test a 6-series up to now (distribution in Italy will start soon), but let me analyse some of your 6-series reported problems following my 5-series experience :


    (you wrote) "I did notice last night that my image was slightly brighter at the top (not very noticable and was larger than 2cm and did move to the side at one point, most likely related to another prob described below), which is yet another problem i have notice with this damn plasma"

    The 5-series does NOT have such a problem. Definitely!
    No portion of the screen is brigther than the others and no problem like this "moves" across the screen.
    Question : what kind of input are you using? Which is the input videoboard installed in your 6-series? What is your source?


    (you wrote) "I really dont like it, I feel its the worst thing i have ever bought. At the start, when i got it, started watching dvds, thought god this looks good, but cable looks crap, but thought, hey thats the crap bit rate they have on the channels not the plasma, but then a few hours after using the plasma I noticed more problems, such as colour banding, I again didnt think it was the plasma, was down to the mpeg2 compression techniques, but decided to try and put my mind at rest, so plugged my PC in, and opened photoshop and did some gradients, red to white, looked fine, inverted the colours, banding appears, and incorrect colour placement between the bands, tried it with other colours, all the same."

    I have never seen such evident colour banding on the PWD5 with TY-42TM4Y, however I need the help of the present 5-series users in order to quantify this. Also PC looks quite good and no banding for what I recall! Another bad step backword of the new 6-series?
    Please LET'S FIND OUT.


    (you wrote) "So I tried other devices too, just to make sure, all were the same, so a friend posted on forums for me, other people said plasmas do have a small amount of banding and if you dont look for it you will not see it. Well I see it on every DVD I watch, without actually looking for it, as it is sometimes so obvious, a large block of colour joined to another of a different colour. (2 dvds i have seen in the last day that show really bad banding in parts are spiderman and insomnia, especially in the foggy scenes in insomnia and really bad in the scene when spiderman is taken by the hob goblin)."

    NO problem like this with PWD5 and Spiderman! Please 5-series users : do you see "a large block of colour joined to another of a different colour" when watching Spiderman?
    And what can other new 6-series users say about that?


    (you wrote) "I reported these to panasonic, after a bit of a run around between the shop and panasonic (which they said they have never heard of this before on the plasma) and the shop saying they can see the problem, panasonic told me to compare it with one in shop, and it was exactly the same. So I talked to the manager of the shop (panasonic shop) and he decided to write a letter to panasonic (yet to hear anything yet from that)."

    Very bad that other 6-series behave like yours!
    6-series users : do you see the same SERIOUS problems that bond007 is experiencing?
    Please, let us know.


    (you wrote) "I came home and watched another movie and what happens, another god damn problem with the image (which I have yet to verify with testing on other images) is that in the credits of a film, I could see that top being a little brighter and then as the credits started to roll, these horizontal green lines each 1 pixel thick and around half the size of the width of the screen at the top started to appear, fickering and scolling in the top left of the screen around 5 or 6 of them."

    That DOES NOT exist on the 5-series. My friend's PWD5 has never displayed a single green line that didn't have to be there. I've my friend's confirmation, as well. If the 6-series has got this problem then Panasonic made a horrible job this time. Please, let's find out if this's the case!


    (you wrote) "All this on top of the above and also that what ever is displayed in one section of the screen changes the rest, ie, one section becomes brighter, the other bits of the screen go darker (like what would happen if there is a crap PSU in a CRT) and also use the OSD and that affects the screen too, everything horizontally from that interface becomes affected slightly, becomes darker or lighter in different sections."

    TERRIBLE and I am terribly sure that this doesn't happen with the PWD5. Well, let me be clear : these're problems that we expect in products by LOW-quality companies (made in Korea/China...) BUT NOT BY PANASONIC. The PWD5 brightness is rock-solid and NO OSD can make it change. Yes, it looks like you're talking of a very bad CRT TV, not a Panasonic 6-series plasma. I confess I'm getting very CONFUSED. Opinions from dealers, opnions from users are urgently needed!


    (you wrote) "And the dithering in the blacks, which I can live with but why dither only the blacks if the rest of the colours cant be displayed correctly too."

    The PWD5 has almost perfect colours rendition. The blacks don't dither so much. I'm astonished by your report!


    (you wrote) "For the money, I would have hoped for a little better than a display that does appear to even fulfil its spec sheet, ie 10bit (1024 shades) colour per channel (30bit colour, 1.07billion colours) which is more like 5bit per channel."

    The question I ask is simple :

    Is the 6-series Panasonic an unbelieveable downgrade compared to the 5-series?

    Why should the leader in plasma technology have done such a mistake?

    Thanks,
    napp
     
  13. Liam @ Prog AV

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    Bond007 - could your problem be electrically related??? It sounds a lot more like an earthing problem or possibly even interference, our demo D6 and none of our customers' D6's are sufferring from this problem......
     
  14. tbrar

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    Now come on.............. Pioneer dont make mistakes !

    Just a joke guys, no flaming and all that ! :D:D
     
  15. napp

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    Liam, he sees the same group of serious problems in another 6-series at his dealer... so I suppose the reason cannot be of electrical nature.

    Interesting that none of your customers reported these problems.
    Does any of them want to join this thread?

    How would YOU compare the 6-series performance to the previous 5-series?

    Thank you,
    napp
     
  16. Epoman

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    I think some of you are missing the point.

    Life, and AV, is all about compromise. Which set of compromises you chose is all down to your own preferences.

    For me I am happy to put up with the compromises posed by my plasma when set against the space it's saved in my living room.
     
  17. napp

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    Epoman,

    that's wise but we're talking about a new Panasonic model that, according to bond007, has a wide range of problems that the old model did not have.

    I think many of us just want to dig into this matter
    (especially the ones with a PWD6 on order like me)

    [sorry for my english]

    napp
     
  18. cwick

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    As I'm one of Liams PWD6 customers, I guess I should chip in.

    Have already posted that I don't have problems with uneven brightness across the screen, and I've looked for it using AViA patterns and test screens etc. Have checked Scart and component inputs - no problems here.

    Green lines ? Nope, never seen anything like that.

    Colour banding (solarisation, posterisation, false contouring, whatever) - depends. After much playing around (3 different dvd players, HTPC, all panel inputs ... and on and on), I've come to the conclusion that it's all down to the source - and by that I mean the software and the hardware combined.

    For example - Freeview (Netgem iPlayer into the Panny 6 scart board). Plenty of colour banding, although hugely dependant on the transmission. Always present to some degree.

    DVD - (Momitsu player into DVI board) Depends on the disc. Some are close to perfect - I see no colour banding at all from the viewing position, even when looking hard for it, e.g. R1 Charlies Angels. Others are awful, approaching freeview levels of (non)quality, e.g. R2 The Matrix - first release of the DVD - I still cannot believe just how bad a transfer this appears to be.

    Of course if I sit two feet from the plasma, it's often hard to see anything good about the picture. But then I really couldn't care less what it looks like from two feet away. The only meaningful measure to me is what it looks like from the viewing position (about 10ft away).

    Based on my experience, with the sources I've tried, I find it hard to fault the panny 6. I'd certainly have no qualms recommending it to others.

    I don't have enough experience of the PWD5 to draw any conclusions on the relative performance of the two.

    HTH.

    Cheers, Carl.
     
  19. Epoman

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    You're quite right napp, that was the purpose of the thread in the first place, but some of the posts were a little broader.

    Oh and sorry, I didn't mean to get all philosophical on a Friday :D
     
  20. napp

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    Thanks Carl,

    it's nice to hear the usual "transparence" and high picture definition of the Panasonic plasmas kept in the 6-series (the 5-series doesn't mask almost anything of the input signal).

    However I wonder how all the problems reported by bond007
    (green lines moving, uneven brightness, hard colour banding, black dithering and last but not least OSD affecting picture's brightness!) could be only source-related.

    bond007 : what sources are you using? Did you use the same sources when testing the other 6-series unit at your dealer's?

    Carl : do you see OSD affecting picture's brightness?

    Thanks,
    napp
     
  21. cwick

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    To be honest, I've never noticed. But then I wouldn't - much as I don't care what the picture looks like from two feet away, I don't really care what the picture looks like when the OSD is up. My personal preference is to have the OSD off when watching stuff :devil:

    But I'll take a look when I'm back home and let y'all know.

    Cheers, Carl.
     
  22. mikeq

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    Hi all,

    On my Panny 4 series the only thing that ever appears is colour banding (gradation, solarisation, whatever you want to call it). Only appears in scenes like a sunset/rise, candle light in a dark room or one of the worst scenes was from The Others, the foggy scene.

    But it doesn't bother me, it doesn't happen very often.

    Anyway, I think the important point to be made is go and demo the screen you are thinking about. It is a subjective thing, I love my plasma and it's not because I spent £3k on it if it had faults I would own up. Just because I think my plasma is the dogs doodahs I wouldn't tell you to go buy one.

    Go and see for yourself.

    Mike
     
  23. NeilMcRae

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    :) :)

    Nigel I agree it was pretty sweeping. OK LCD for me sucks, I play alot of games though and the refresh rates just aren't close yet. Things have improved alot but its still not good enough for me so you are right in the subjectiveness of this discussion.

    Neil.
     
  24. NeilMcRae

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    I just had another look at a Panny 6 in some detail and I don't see any light or dark areas. The picture looks as sharp as my panny 5 but with better blacks. The wife thinks that the 6 doesn't flicker as much but I don't see flicker on either screen!

    Neil.
     
  25. bond007

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    Hi,

    Thanks all for replying on this and trying to find out if its just me, or that it could be a bad batch of plasmas that this panasonic shop got, they only had 2 in when i bought it and one was on display.

    Well to answer people’s questions about sources, I have used the following:

    NTL pace cable box, a limit and a pioneer 656 DVD player and a crappy VCR, which isnt worth using - connected via S-Video, composite and RGB, using a crappy maplin s-video cable, and rgb /composite cable (bought some more cables later on) a thor s-video to scart cable, QED RGB cable except for the limit DVD player, this couldn’t do RGB so only s-video and composite.

    With the PC I have connected it via the VGA and s-video inputs, it was using a shuttle SB51G, using a Gainward gforce4 4600 ti, dual DVI TIVO, using 2 different VGA cables, one which came with my Iiyama vision master pro 450 monitor and one that came a Dell 18" TFT.

    I have done a direct comparison with the 18" Dell TFT (brough home from work to show the guy from the shop that came around how the image should look) and an indirect comparison with the 2 19" Iiyama monitors (different versions a pro 450 and another model that i cant remember (not at home at the moment)) The CRTs have no banding at all with the VGA source the TFT shows very minor banding, using DVI and VGA (2 slightly darker lines than they should be, around 3 pixels thick) in the darker regions of the colours, and the plasma does what I said in my previous posts.

    I have tried playing the DVDs on the 2 DVD players and my PC, the 2 DVD players quailty was almost identical, and the banding was the same. The PC showed up the banding more, but then I have set up the input for the DVD players to have lower brightness and contrast to reduce the banding effect, and I can’t lower the VGA input anymore its on -30 for brightness. I haven’t tried lowering the brightness and contrast on the PC much via software because I thought that would most likely make it worse as it would be flattening out colours in the lower brightness range.

    If you could check the display with a PC connected to it, one way you can see the whole display reacting to what’s on screen is open the start menu and if you have a lot of things in there, then the rest of the screen will go darker as the menu is bright, or you could just open notepad or something that white or a bright colour. This could be the result of processing that the plasma does to make it appear it is showing it brighter than it is, or due to the PSU not being able to supply enough power to the screen. This isnt limited to VGA its all inputs, another way of seeing this is, use pip, one source will affect the other, if ones bright the other goes dark. And its not my eyes reacting to the bright image as some of you might suggest, I have even covered up the bright image and can see the other one change (that covering was done when using the PC).

    When I went to the shop, i used a different PC, it was a laptop (a dell c400) taken from work to do this, and it was exactly the same. I used the cables that I used at home and the same application, Photoshop 7 in 8Bit and 16Bit per channel colour. With the out being 24Bit (so 16bit/channel will not make any difference) on the laptop and 32bit on the shuttle.

    If I manage to get a good digital camera off someone I will take some pics of these sections so you can see what I mean.
     
  26. Matravers

    Matravers
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    i do not think that the panny is the best to display from a PC, and think this has always been the case due tos resolution, i would assume also that the computer is only outputting the same resolution as the standard for the panny, otherwise this would cause picture issues i think.
     
  27. cwick

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    Just checked the OSD issue, and couldn't see a problem. Tried various stuff to get different scenes (e.g. weather report to get a pretty static backdrop, Avia test disc), and saw no change on the rest of the display as the OSD was brought up.

    Ditto for the light/dark areas issue (thought I'd double check while I was at it).

    Also tried the greyscale tests on Avia, and reckon I *did* see the same banding problems bond007 has mentioned. Certainly the gradation from light to dark wasn't as smooth as I'd imagine it could/should be, although I don't have any reference points as to how it should look.

    Cheers, Carl.
     
  28. bond007

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    Should be having panasonic engineers coming around, after the manager talked to them they decided to come. I just have to give them a call to arrange when, but as its the weekend, they arnt open :( I will give you lot some more information on this if you like, as I will most likely go through some more tests so I can show the engineer and I will also tell you what the engineer says, whether its just what the plasma is like or if it is actually a fault.
     
  29. napp

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    Thank you bond007,

    we wait for your news, hopefully the Panasonic engineers will come soon!

    napp
     
  30. bond007

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    Hi,

    Well here is whats happening, after trying to get them to send an engineer, which they wouldnt, even after the shop manager talked to them, they said they would take my plasma back for repair, I said I thought someone was going to be sent around, they said nope, we dont have engineers come out, I said but thats what I was told would happen. After a bit, I was told I would be called back as he would talk to the engineering department, nothing for 2 days and now I got a call saying take you plasma back to the shop and give them this reference number and we will credit the shop. So basically they are refunding me.

    So im on the look out for another screen this weekend, this time I will do alot more testing, ie take a sleeping bag with a few DVDs a PC and some food :)
     

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