Solorization on Panasonic Plasmas

Jon Weaver

Distinguished Member
I have heard that the Series 4 had 8 bit capability (256 shades), where as the Series 5 has 10 bit (1024 shades).

Does this mean that the series 5 will offer improvement on the following phenominon:

Since I first saw the Panasonic/Toshiba Plasma, I was disppointed with the 'patches' of shimmering colour which is often seen in backgrounds.

I went to my local Panasonic centre at lunch time and first watched a bit of Jurrasic Park 3.

All the way through the film, in the backgrounds, there were the large patches of shimmering that I saw before.

I then changed to 'Monsters Inc', and again, on some backgrounds there was the same effect.

I then tried my 'Avia Setup Disk'.. I wanted to see if any of the colour spreads would show this problem.

When I got to the screen with different stripes of grey, all of the shades were different. However, some of them 'shimmered' This was especially noticable if you scanned your eye quickly from left to right.. You could also see it worse out of the corner of your eye.

I have a feeling that the Plamsa is quickly swapping between 2 different colours to generate the single colour.

I then moved onto the section of Avia which generates screens of solid colour.

When I got to the blue frame, the effect was obvious. Whilst the blue screen was a lovely deep blue.. When you flicked your eye over the screen, you could see that it flickered and I am sure that one colour was green.

I am hoping that this is because the display is only 8bit and therefore it can't generate enough colours.

Do you think thats its possible that W5 10bit capability will improve this phenominon?


I'm guessing, Jon, but shouldn't you allow for such things as the effect of ambient lighting? If, for example, the shop was lit with bulbs powered by an alternating-current source (e.g. bog-standard mains-voltage lighting) then there would be stroboscopic interference between the lighting and any TV screen in the shop. This would be more noticeable as you pan your eyes across a TV screen.

Jon Weaver

Distinguished Member
Nope.. This wasn't to do with the lighting..

Its the same effect that I have seen on ALL of the W4 models (Panasonic and Toshiba, 37 and 42 inches).

Its a kind of shimmering that you seen in 'patches' in the backgrounds which I have been told is normal.


Jon, I've not noticed this - I'll take a look tonight. Were you viewing from a reasonable distance? How was the signal getting into the plasma? I use the JS RBG converter but I doubt that a shop would.

I don't have the disks you mention - what should I look for - areas of a single colour (or nearly a single colour) as this would show up an inability to resolve slightly different colours (which a low bit depth would cause). Are you describing the effect you see in the scene at the start of the Matrix when the police first shine a torch at the girl in the dark room (I forget her name) - if so, I used to see this on my TV too. Mind you, I thought it was called Mach Banding, but my Uni course on computer graphics was about 17 years ago - gulp! Perhaps the shimmering you describe is different.


Thinking about this, maybe Mach Banding is the wrong term...irrelevant anyway ;-) Perhaps I'm thinking of Moire...


Standard Member
I see this, it tends to be large areas (ie walls) in the background, I am using the JS Tech RGB to Component box, and viewing the 37" plasma from about 10 feet.


Jon Weaver

Distinguished Member
The setup I saw this week was on a Panasonic, but only using S-Video... But when i saw it last it was a Toshiba connected by Component.

Each time, i was only a few feet away when i saw the effect, but from 10 feet back, it was still visable.

On every disk I have tried, I have seen this phenominon... Its like a large irregular shape which just seems to shimmer.

I am hoping that its caused by the fact that the 8bit capability of the Series 4, can't resolve enough colours, the the display trys to create the colour using 2 colours.

As the Series 5 is apparantly 10bit, my fingers are crossed that it will be better.

But, then again, this effect may have nothing to do with the 8 bit capability of the screen.


Has anyone who owns a Plasma/HTPC setup noticed this?

I only ask because we have a now quite old Plasma display at work, which is alternately driven by a PC using a VGA connector and a Sky box fed through an RGB switch. The shimmering you describe is there on the Sky feed, but not present on the PC display, but then again the PC is continually running Powerpoint, on fairly static presentations (big blocks of solid colour).

In that case it may be some sort of frequency instability in the Sky Video-DACs causing the shimmering effect.

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