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Solarisation...is it caused by the source or the Plasma?

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Family Guy, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. Family Guy

    Family Guy
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    I have a Fujitsu plasma, which I now know to be much older than what i was told when I brought it second hand in a private sale. When I first connected it up via s video, the picture looked sharp & clean (this was at the guys house during the demo) and we watched various feeds from Sky+ via s video for 3/4 hour. No problems.
    However, when I got it home and connected it to my Sky+ box, the picture on Men In Black II via Sky on s video was unwatchable...DVD via s video was no better, but was at least watchable in bright scenes.
    Splashed out on a new DVD player with Pal & NTSC prog scan...much better during bright scenes, but dark scenes become a total mess...rather like a badly encoded video CD...I though the improvement was good enough though to splash out on a syncblaster cable from keene to use via RGB and VGA socket for Sky+ feeds. Immediate impression was satisfaction, but dark scenes are again very bad indeed. Underwater scenes, like the cave sequence in Tomb Raider 2 are terrible, and even night time scenes in films that showrooms use to show off their plasma's. eg. Finding Nemo, parts of the picture look like an old PS1 game...
    Now, the question is, is this down to the source? Channel 5 from Sky looks brilliant - no solarisation at all. But ITV, a channel that I've heard is supposed to be one of the best, is really bad, particularly on programmes that have been recorded on the hard drive...Island At War was particularly bad, to the point where I lost my rag and stopped watching it!!! :suicide:
    If I add an external scaler, such as the Zinwell Briteview, would this help at all - maybe by taking some of the strain from the internal video board (which is obviously well overworked these days...)? Can I expect a dramatic improvement by feeding the Plasma a 720p feed rather than an RGB one...?
    I hope so, 'cos I'm at my wits end here...it's not much fun having home cinema as a hobby when your main viewing source is spoiling your enjoyment... :thumbsdow

    Incidentially, the picture is better during the day (should really say the solarisation is less noticeable during the day) than during the evening when it's darker in the room. I brought a couple of lamps that are next to the screen, but I haven't watched much yet to see if it's any better

    Any help would be good...

    Cheers :beer:

    Brian
     
  2. Piers

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    Army Bloke,

    I have been a long time lurker on here and know that you know what you are talking about so hope you will bear with me. I bought a Panasonic PW4D a couple of years ago, delighted with the PQ at the shop but got it home, connected it up to Sky and the PQ was disappointing to put it mildly. The solution was to get it calibrated, and the man that did it was Gordon Fraser who worked his wizardry to perfection. Result, a great looking picture even from Sky (which isn't easy to achieve).

    Having been made redundant in June last year I was looking around for an alternative career. The ISF training course in Glasgow was too good to miss (previously you had to go to the USA to be trained) and I signed up. Passed the exams, spent four months calibrating friends' TVs, projectors , plasmas, LCDs etc and set up my own business. Now advertising top right on the log in page.

    My advice - get it calibrated. You will not believe the difference that it makes! And more than happy that you give Gordon rather than me a call!


    Piers
     
  3. Family Guy

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    And how much does calibration cost...? I've heard that it's not cheap...also, you will need to get into the service menu for my particular plasma to adjust the colours etc. I take it you have access to that information...?
     
  4. MAW

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    Hiya mate, what model is it? We could have that meeting at your place if you want a 2nd opinion. I am not a ISF man, but can probs. tell you if it will help your problem, or if it's the source or not. Maybe bring a PW6 to connect to your kit.
     
  5. Family Guy

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    Hi Martin...it's a 4203W, pretty ancient by todays standards I believe. I was led to believe it was only 18 months old...but it's taken me a week to find the info on the net and have discovered that it's probably nearer 5 YEARS old...but was sold as seen, so a refund is out of the question in the world of second hand sales I suppose...It's also a business model
    You're more than welcome to come round and have a look mate. But dont bring the Panny...I would just want one straight away and can't afford it for 6 months or so... :( (unless I can work it off... :D )

    To give you a head start, the manual is in pdf form here

    When the picture's good, it's sublime. But when it's bad...**shudder**
     
  6. MAW

    MAW
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    4203 is fairly ancient. It might be helped by a briteview or similar. I might well have a used pro-v you could have for a nominal sum, try before buy. We must have that chat!
     
  7. Family Guy

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    I got a Briteview from the classifieds for £100 - which I thought was a bargain. I'm off work all next week, I'll PM you my number now...give me a ring when you get a minute...
     
  8. Piers

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    Army Bloke,

    A quick search suggests that there is no service menu for the 4203W and the adjustment in the user menu is very limited. Not a good candidate for an ISF calibration.

    Piers
     
  9. Family Guy

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    Thanks Piers - I've spent a week searching and come up with the square route of f...nothing!!
    I'm gonna connect up the briteview when it arrives on Friday, but I've been told not to expect miracles by a guy I know who is a THX installation engineer...but he's saying I should get SOME improvement...
    Is there a guide somewhere on the net that suggests viewing distances, angles etc for watching 42" plasma screens? I'm 3 metres from mine at the moment, and it feels to me as though I'm a little to close...I'm a sucker for guides. Been in the army to long. If a guide tells me I should be 4 metres to get the best out of it, I'd spend the weekend knocking a wall down to get 4 metre's... :rolleyes:
    Is there not even a sniff of a menu that tells you how many hours it's been run etc...?
     
  10. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    I would also mention that if its solarisation that is the main artefact you are seeing then I am not sure that a video processor will improve things. It might help remove other artefacts of course which will make picture better but that may not be one of them.

    Gordon
     
  11. Family Guy

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    Thanks Gordon...I had a feeling that's probably what would be the outcome...However, if I'm one thing, it's a tryer. I'll give the Briteview a shot and see what happens. Worst case - I'll keep it for 6 months, donate it to a worthy cause and talk to Martin about getting one at trade... ;) :beer: :clown:

    One other thing I forgot to add - I phoned Domestic & General yesterday about an extended warranty...they quoted me £4000 for a year!!! :eek: :beer:
     
  12. Piers

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    Army Bloke,

    How about this for a guide to viewing distance. From the ISF training course, "for a CRT device running at 525 lines most trained observers have to be 8 times the picture height dimension away from the monitor before the line structure is no longer a factor in the picture" ...... "the minimum distance of 5 times the picture height holds true for viewing a CRT display at home".

    With a good plasma you should be able to sit closer than to a CRT. I sit 4m from my 42inch Panasonic but it still looks good even as close as 2.5m.

    Hope that rear wall is now safe!

    My sources suggest that there is no service menu whatever, unless anyone knows otherwise.

    Piers
     
  13. Family Guy

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    Thanks for that...the resoulution of my set is low - 852 X 480 - and I swear at times I can see the pixels.(I have eyes like an outhouse spider BTW...)
    Maybe moving back a metre or so will help...that will require the loan of a sledgehammer from work though... :devil:
     
  14. Techno

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    I was interested by this thread - unfortunately not because I can offer any help to you Brian - but because I have a new Fuji 42VHA30 which, on first setting up was excellent but after a few weeks started to show solarisation effects. It doesn't seem to be getting any worse but it is at a point where it is beginning to bug me. No end of messing with settings seems to solve it and it occurs on both Sky and DVD in a similar way to Brian describes.

    Is it faulty perhaps?
     
  15. Family Guy

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    I would reccomend you call Fujitsu under the warranty - which I believe is now 3 years on their new sets. I, unfortunatly, don't have that luxury... :(
    I just tried to set the coulour and contrast using a THX optimode disc...the contrast test with the 8 squares works fine...however, the brightness side of things is not so fine and dandy. The idea, as we all probably know, is to lower the brightness until the shadow behind the THX logo dissapears but the log is still visible. I lowered the brightness, and the log just dissapeared!! I upped it one notch, and the logo came back again... :confused:
    There are also supposed to be 7 shades aof varying black bars around the logo...these are a shimmering mess, and there is no distinction between them, it's just one bar that changes it's shade of black of grey on the way up. Tried this on s video, component (in interlaced and PS) and RGB to VGA with the same result every time.
    Could the brightness control be dicky...? The solarisation (if that IS what I'm seeing...I'm not very experienced at this...) is non existant on all formats in bright scenes, but when we move indoors, it appears again...

    Techno - maybe you could try the THX optimode disc with your plasma. It's most THX certified discs. I havent tried avia just yet, but I do have it. I do also know someone local that does an unofficial version of ISF calibration (he has the sensor linked to the laptop...), but without the service menu info, it's pointless trying it...
     
  16. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Army bloke I think you are just seeng limitations of your plasma's processing. I really doubt its broken.

    Techno: I was at a dealer looking at one of those fuji's. Is it the stand alone unit (no media box) and an alis 1024x1024 panel? If so then they do posterise and it's not broken. It might just be that it took you a while to notice it.

    Gordon
     
  17. Techno

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    Brian - I will give the THX disc a go but I've tried setup discs on other sets in the past and at the end of the day I find that everybody has there own preferences - worth a try to prove a point though.

    Gordon - it's actually the 852 x 480 model, doesn't have ALIS and everything is connected up by YUV. It does have, I quote, "... the latest version of Fujitsu’s AVM (Advanced Video Movement) digital video signal processor, which helps to eliminate motion artifacts and flicker, producing a smother image." Wonder if that has something to do with it?

    Thanks
     
  18. Blu-rayx

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    Techno,

    I've had the Hitachi 400E & Fujitsu P42HHS30ES(42" Flagship model)
    The Fujitsu was the worst :thumbsdow

    I can tell you from my experience you will never get rid of the solarisation.
    From day one i knew the Fujitsu had to go back ASAP.

    Now i have the Pioneer 42" MXE-1 :thumbsup:

    There are a few DVD's i have that showed solarisation on the Hitachi & Fujitsu,but now i don't have any solarisation with the MXE-1 :)

    Also using the Fujitsu DVI connection was crap :thumbsdow.

    Go for the Pioneer,you will not be disappointed

    DVD
     
  19. AngryofMayfair

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    I'm looking at returning my Hitachi 37" due to (IMHO) unnaceptable solarisation.
    It seems the MXE-1 is the way to go but could you tell me if with it being a 'commercial' display - does it have fans and are they noisy?
    Also what sort of inputs does it have out of the box?
    My Hitachi is totally silent and I also like it's range of inputs (DVI/VGA/Scart etc)

    Thanks
     
  20. Blu-rayx

    Blu-rayx
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    AngryofMayfair,

    Because the MXE-1 is a commercial display unfortunately it dose not have a scart.

    The MXE-1 has DVI-D but it is not HDCP compliant :thumbsdow

    But the good news is the component feed is so good you will not miss DVI-D HDCP :smashin:

    In the 4 weeks i've had this screen the two fans have never turned on :D

    more info: http://www.pioneer.co.uk/uk/product_detail.jsp?product_id=8649&taxonomy_id=43-105

    hope this helps


    DVD
     
  21. AngryofMayfair

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    Thanks for the info and the link - this looks & sounds good but I will have to check one out in person first...
    The link seems to show only two inputs - VGA & DVI - is the component one standard too or do you have to buy it as an add-on card?

    Cheers and thanks again
     
  22. MAW

    MAW
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    Techno, your VHA30 should not do this, Gordon can probably help you there. The biggest trouble we get with the VHA is a case of 'clay faces', though it has to be said, the only 2 plasmas I have ever seen with NO solarization are the Pioneer MXE and the Panasonic HD models. Funny that both of these are still quite expensive. They say there's nothing in the world that can't be made a bit cheaper by being made a bit worse. Nonetheless, the VHA is a pretty good plasma display, and will respond to careful setup.
     
  23. Family Guy

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    Okey Dokey - an update...and it's not all bad news.
    I am prepared to accept that my plasma displays "more than average" solarisation...but is DEFO down to the source and not a fault in the plasma...
    I watched a couple of programmes that I had recorded onto my hard drive on my Sky+ box last night...Cold Case and Tru Calling. Cold Case had virtually zero solarisation all the way through...and took up 7% of the hard drive. Tru Calling, on the other hand, was "Mr Clay Face" (love that by the way , Martin... :smashin: ) from the word go...and only took up 4% of the hard drive. It says to me that the recording of Cold Case was less compressed than the Tru Calling one and therefore was a better source.
    Watching the "big channels" like BBC & ITV & in particular, Channel 5 shows next to no solarisation. Sky one is variable, depending on whats showing. 24 is parctically unwatchable some of the time, but is perfectly acceptable other times...DVD appears to be the same, depending on the coding on the disc. A good disc, Like Star Wars EpII (I said disc, not film... :rolleyes: ) is fine, except in scenes where there is lights in dark areas. The first scene where the ship flies overhead, there is a light in the bottom right hand corner which shimmers badly...yet all the indoor scenes are fine.
    Tomb Raider II is a different matter altogether...solarisation all the way through... :thumbsdow
    I'm hoping that by adding an external scaler tomorrow, I will be feeding the panel a better source all the time and it will cut the problem quite a bit...I hope...
     
  24. Techno

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    Cleverly described MAW.

    The majority of what I notice is in the face, sometimes you notice it when, for example, there is a sky scene where it can look like a picture that has been converted to a GIF with 32 colours instead of 256.

    I don't disagree, I'm very happy with it on the whole, the problem isn't enough to make me not want it, just a bit concerned that we didn't notice the 'effect' until we'd run it for a while.

    Brian - I think you are dead right about the quality of the broadcast. Good luck with the scaler.

    Cheers
     
  25. MAW

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    I got the clay face idea from 'er indoors (actually hardly ever indoors, has high profile public sector job..) 'ooooh! it looks like one of those horrid figurines in H.Samuels,' she said. This was a Netgem box on component video. It has been set up with digital video essentials DVD now, it's much better. The settings are source dependent though, so not a lot of point in copying them.
     

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