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About PersianImmortal

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  • Birthday 09/04/1971

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  1. Feel free to buy whichever set you want. Obviously advice here is advice unheeded, and anyone who thinks the U30 is almost equivalent to a Kuro, or can't see the difference between it and an ST30, is surely in need of either more education or glasses, or both I thought I'd give DTV Forums a chance, but clearly it's somewhat pointless. This used to be a great forum with lots of genuinely useful tech advice back in 2004-05. But now it seems the majority of the people here just post to find the "cheapest, biggest TV" available. To heck with image quality, to heck with useful features, they're obviously for "fussy people". Then we all wonder why the HDTV market is collectively going down the gurgler, with successively thinner, larger but ultimately worse TVs coming out every year! If anyone wants to know why edge-lit LED LCDs are selling so well, look no further than the demographic here. I won't be posting here any further, but for anyone actually interested in understanding the differences in HDTV technology and features, I'm currently completing a major article on HDTVs which will appear on my site in the next few weeks. Take care guys.
  2. Those prices aren't representative of street prices. At the moment if you look around at places like this whirlpool thread, you'll see people are getting, as an example: 50" VT30A = $2411 50" GT30A = $2000 50" ST30A = $1499 add to that your: 50" U30A = $999 Now in each case, there's only several hundred dollars difference for incrementally a range of additional features. If you read feedback on what people think of the U30, it is variously described as crap to adequate, and the ST30 is a substantial improvement over it. If you watch the majority of your TV during the day in a brightly lit room then the difference may be less noticeable, however then of course you have to deal with additional glare off the screen given the U30 has no anti-reflective coating. Anyway the point is there is a difference between these TVs, and each person needs to decide whether that difference is worth an extra $400-$500 on average to them in each case. Or you could go LCD, but in that case I personally would change my viewing habits and perhaps draw the curtains/blinds in the room rather than watch an LCD over a plasma.
  3. I think people are confusing the fact that the ST30, GT30 and VT30 are similar, but not the same. Yes they appear to share the same basic panel, but that doesn't mean they're not different enough to warrant a price difference. The GT30A has over the ST30A: - a better filter, - better blacks - additional settings like the Professional 1/2 modes which are basically THX mode but with much greater control (2-point calibration) - 3D colour management settings - is thinner and has a different bezel to the ST30 which some may prefer. The VT30A improves on the GT30A by having: - lower blacks again - 10-point calibration settings - better inbuilt speakers - a one sheet glass bezel design (same thickness as GT30) - comes with a pair of 3D glasses. All of these features has some impact on image quality. If none of these features appeals to you or is of no use to you, then I agree that the ST30A is a great buy. But let's not rain on peoples' parades if they want or need these additional features and will pay a few hundred more for them.
  4. Owen, I think at some point you need to disclose in your signature or somewhere prominent that you are heavily biased against Panasonic and towards Samsung. Almost all of your recent posts read like Samsung advertisements. Yes, floating brightness is the major issue on this year's Panasonics. But Panasonic has recognised it, and has issued software to individuals who report this problem to minimize the effect. It will probably then be rolled out as a standard firmware update for everyone at some point. In terms of it "being the worst" compared to other brands, let's check out someone who has a Samsung D6500 and has recently made this post saying: This person then notes in another thread that he has confirmed his exchange for the ST30. Note in his post the infamous appalling customer care of Samsung. Note the floating brightness being bad enough for this person to return their set. Note the reference to Samsung screen peeling issues again. I think it's absolutely ridiculous to suggest that Panasonic is somehow worse than other brands in any respect. Everything I have read indicates that Samsung is by far the worse brand, both in terms of performance and customer service. I think most people go Samsung simply because it's cheaper, which is fine. But can you please not crap up every thread with biased pro-Samsung anti-Panasonic comments? Maybe applying your expertise to help owners of both brands would be a better course?
  5. Floating blacks and rising blacks are a non-issue on this year's models - see this article. Floating brightness is the only major issue, and aside from the fact that a fix has been unofficially out and used by some people with success to mask the effect so it is imperceptible, plenty of people have posted about their TV not exhibiting any sign of this issue regardless (e.g. this post). It seems to vary from set to set and person to person. I'd wager that most people will not notice it unless told, especially in THX mode. But if you want to be sure, give the set a good test drive in the store to see if you can detect it using this spreadsheet to work out which material to view and at which point to look for it. I'll be getting the P50GT30A in the next week or two, so I'll post my honest experiences with floating brightness shortly.
  6. Apparently they're really only trying to make it imperceptible. As Owen says, it's inherent to the technology, and he's also correct in that it's probably due to the recent effort (especially with "NeoPDP") that Panasonic has been making to reduce the power consumption of the set. As the Panasonic employee says in that thread I linked to further above: So it's a double-whammy. Panasonic is going for greener tech but is also being bitten in the backside due to a massive reduction in profits in the plasma field due to what I earlier called the "race to the bottom". This is why these plasmas exhibit various faults. It's not that Panasonic doesn't know how to make a good plasma. They bought the Kuro technology from Pioneer several years ago after all. It's that making a good plasma which is also competitive with LCD in terms of power consumption, but also competitive with the cheap and nasty chinese/korean stuff is hindering them.
  7. By the way, it's been confirmed at High Def Junkies forum in this thread that the floating brightness issue evident on the ST, GT and VT is being addressed by software that is being field tested by Panasonic right now. It should hopefully be rolled out as a firmware update in the future.
  8. OK time to update this saga and hopefully put it to bed After weeks of trying to find out how to replicate this fault and get to the bottom of what causes it or makes it worse without any success, I decided to go ahead with the repair attempt in late June. Given there are only two authorised repairers in Canberra - Maxtech (which I had lodged a complaint about), and Associated Electronics - I went with Associated Electronics. They were much better, sent a guy out who had tech knowledge and listened to me as I described the faults, and took it back to their shop with a lot more care in handling the TV. Unfortunately they couldn't replicate the intermittent light horizontal band fault, although they only had the TV for 4 working days from start to finish so they really weren't trying. The job description states that they "dismantled, relocated and lubricated connectors on SU SD and C1 boards". They then ran some basic tests and certified it OK. When it came back, literally within 40 minutes of firing the TV up, setting everything back to factory defaults and putting on a blu-ray, the faults appeared again. I watched a movie the next night, and again the same fault occurred. So nothing had been fixed. I contacted Panasonic and explained that the issue persisted, and that it was pointless putting it in for another repair if the repairer isn't willing to take the time to replicate the fault properly (which could take days or weeks of testing). After several phone discussions with the customer care manager who I'd dealt with earlier, we finally settled on me emailing her a 2-page document which explained the fault and the things I had tried to rectify it, and this would be forwarded to their Chief Engineer. At this point unfortunately things became quite frustrating as I didn't hear anything back from Panasonic, and after 3 attempts I couldn't get in touch with the customer care manager for almost two weeks. Finally I got through last week and was told that the engineer suspected it was a panel fault, and was requesting advice from the factory for confirmation. The next day I received confirmation that they did believe it was a panel fault, and thankfully authorisation was given for a new replacement TV. The final step was relatively painless but necessary: I didn't want the ST30A which is the standard replacement for the V20A; I wanted the GT30A primarily due to the Professional presets it has which allow for easy instrumented calibration - plus I prefer the GT30A's aesthetics over the ST30A. Thankfully Panasonic seem to have a shortage of ST30As and a lot of GT30As, so they happily agreed to upgrade me as long as I paid the difference in cost price. I agreed to this, because it means that inclusive of the initial cost of purchasing my V20A and the cash difference, I get a P50GT30A for $1,750 all up - several hundred below the lowest retail price I've seen for this TV. Plus I get to keep the free BDT-300 top of the range Panasonic 3D blu-ray player I originally got with my V20A, which I think is reasonable compensation for for all the time I spent stuffing around on these issues. I should receive my new set (in the box) next week, and I'll report on what I think of the GT30A in the Panasonic thread. Hopefully this is the last warranty issue I'll have. Although frustrating, I am grateful that Panasonic handled this well. They could have put me on the repair treadmill and made me go through at least two more repair attempts and weeks of waiting, and thankfully Panasonic's policy of replacing the TV for a panel fault means I get a brand new TV again.
  9. The main differences would be in the fact that the newer series doesn't have floating blacks, but it does have fluctuating brightness (though THX mode reportedly fixes this). At the same time, the newer VT30 has 10-point calibration options, auto calibration capability, and a thinner bezel. Rising blacks was never a real issue with the 2010s - it only rises slightly and imperceptibly after 1,000-1,600 hours to the point where it matches the black levels of Samsung and other competitors. The newer sets may or may not have rising blacks, it's unclear. So overall I agree that a VT20 if you can find one would definitely be a great buy, especially given the higher prices for the GT30/VT30 right now.
  10. There's no reason for plasma to die off, and it's good to see it's growing in popularity - mainly because it's the best all-round bang-for-the-buck display tech out there right now. But in some ways the writing's on the wall if the major plasma manufacturers can't make as much money out of plasma as they can other technologies. It's not just about sales, but about margins and total profit.
  11. It doesn't matter what you want to call it, in the Professional modes, it is identical to THX mode, except you can adjust everything including gamma, white balance, colour saturation and hue. I don't think you, I or the average user should care if it is called "THX" mode or not, when Professional mode is identical in colour accuracy to THX mode. And yes, I've measured both and they are identical. By the same token, most people will also not calibrate their TV, nor will like calibrated colours. So this tends to work against your argument that the Samsung "is better when calibrated". It's simple. Bring your TV home, stick it in THX mode, job done. Adjust Contrast, Brightness, Colour, Sharpness and Gamma to taste. The result - which I can personally attest to - is extremely impressive. Most people can and will do something this easy when it's available to them. I think you'll excuse me if I don't take your word for it, as this is not substantiated by what my own eyes have seen, nor by reviews. Most reviewers still rate Panasonic higher than Samsung at the top end when it comes to image quality. You are now. Here is a D8000 Plasma thread from Whirlpool where an Australian owner says: It's a design flaw. It is likely going to occur in most of the early run of this model throughout the world. It's a tribute to Samsung's policy of built-in defects, cutting corners wherever possible. /EDIT: I Should also add, from that thread, some other gems in terms of the quality of the Samsung D8000 here in Australia: And none of that is relevant to the fact that when Samsungs do make plasmas - for whatever reason - they have a higher incidence of faults, even though they don't actually have more than a few % higher market share in plasmas. The future of HDTV is sadly going to be bigger, brighter, cheaper TVs - not better TVs. There is no real reason for Plasma to die off except precisely for the fact that companies like Samsung have wrung out any profits from the market and now everyone has to chase the LCD/LED market to make a dollar. A race to the bottom, with the chinese and korean companies in the lead.
  12. THX mode can be calibrated, it's done via the Professional presets which are THX-based on the higher-end Panasonics. Even though I personally advocate buying a cheap colorimeter and doing a calibration, there's no way I would imagine most people doing this. Most people would want the TV they buy to have some mode which is reasonably accurate out of the box - and that's THX (or True Cinema) mode. For the majority of people this is more than sufficient. As for the noise and pixellation issues, I honestly can't say it's any more of a problem on a Panasonic than the Samsung. Samsung is not reknowned for being image quality leaders. They've certainly made up a lot of the distance in the past few years, but Panasonic still wins in the IQ department. And that's not even touching on the infamous quality issues of Samsung, including this year's peeling AR filters on the D8000. In doing a little research for an upcoming article I'm writing, I found that Samsung doesn't outsell Panasonic by as wide a margin as implied. This article using NPD data shows that in Plasma, Samsung has only recently just surpassed Panasonic in the US, reaching a 41.3% market share for plasmas. Yet anecdotally at least, they have many times the number of complaints on forums, especially as their TVs pass the 1-2 year mark. Caveat emptor as always.
  13. This part I can completely agree with. Unfortunately in the past few years not only TVs, but consumer electronics in general, has been progressively turned into a race to the bottom. It's no longer a case of finding "the best", it's more along the lines of finding "the least worst" product. In chasing the korean and chinese manufacturers and their mass-produced cheap garbage, Japanese companies like Panasonic have unfortunately dropped quality levels as well. This part of your comment I can't agree with. I've already pointed out several times that at the very least, Panasonic has the better warranty policy. That in itself is worth an extra hundred or two. However I'm currently dealing with Panasonic over ongoing issues with my TV and I can say that they're not exactly fantastic either. I shudder to think how much worse it would be if I had to deal with Samsung though. The stories I read about the faults and length of time in resolving them make me steer completely away from Samsung and LG. The bottom line though is that for better or worse, the push for cheaper electronics and the competition from the junk manufacturers is driving all semblance of "quality" out of the marketplace. If the price difference is quite large, it's hard to recommend Panasonic over the cheaper options right now because frankly they're not that much better to justify a major price premium. As prices fall - and who knows how low they'll go this year - then Panasonic becomes the better option overall.
  14. We're getting into circular arguments again which will derail this thread. I'll quickly reply to what you've posted then hopefully we can get back to discussing Panasonic TVs for 2011. You're right about the CMS, I shouldn't lump in White Balance with the CMS - technically it's only hue and saturation (as pictured here on the VT30: ). My mistake. As for your other claims, while I respect your expertise, I think it's highly misleading to make statements like "the VT30 cannot be calibrated properly" in this thread, as it puts people who are less informed on the wrong purchasing path. The reviews I posted have shown that the VT30 can be calibrated quite accurately. Even better, since most people don't do instrumented calibrations, the fact that THX mode on the Panasonics has consistently been shown to be extremely accurate means there's no fuss at all - switch to THX and enjoy. As for the continual preference for size, I sense a real groupthink mentality on this and other forums which tends to suggest that "bigger is better". I've argued before that bigger simply equates to more visible flaws in an image at closer viewing distances. At 3m viewing distance a 50" TV will show far fewer flaws and a much smoother image than a 65" TV, all other things being equal. If you want a big TV, that's perfectly fine as it's your choice, however as we've already seen with people like JamesT earlier in this thread, some people follow this thinking, buy a bigger TV, bring it home only to find they'd have preferred a smaller one. It is NOT in any way, shape or form a given that bigger = better when it comes to TVs. The viewing distance and most commonly used sources need to be considered before making the decision. Viewing a DVD or a rather ordinary blu-ray transfer on a 65" display at 3m can be absolutely atrocious in terms of visible artifacts, pixel swirl and so forth. People need to make an educated decision with regards to size, not automatically grab the largest display they can afford. As for your suggestions regarding projectors, I continue to disagree with what you're saying. I can't see how you can get 1:1 pixel mapping on a projected (analog) image. Only digital displays give "pixel perfect" output as you call it. Light coming out of a projector and being expanded as it's cast on a wall from a small source cannot retain the same accuracy as a digital image reproduced on a fixed pixel display. A digital display showing a 1920x1080 image from a native (blu-ray) source has unique information for each one of those 2,073,600 pixels on the screen. To say that a bad source on a projector somehow doesn't show posterization can only be attributed to either analog's inherent blurring/blending - or a miracle. At the very least you would be seeing some false contouring as the image pans across the screen. Again, it's in no way a given that projector = best display technology. We're also not going to get anywhere with the Samsung vs. Panasonic issue. I personally won't touch a Samsung - and yes, this is even though I've had two faulty P50V20As (though admittedly not major faults). I can only warn people that regardless of which brand you choose, the warranty process is not particularly fun. In my case, even though Panasonic were as helpful as possible, a lazy local authorized repairer meant I was without a TV for almost a month. At least I got a new replacement; if it was a Samsung it would be an automatic repair and return job, with some wonderful tales about the condition you receive your repaired TV back in found here for example. I'd strongly recommend choosing a brand which has the better warranty policy, whether we're talking TVs, cars, electronic equipment or kitchenware. The one thing I've noticed in the past few years is that most of the stuff I buy these days is nowhere near the quality it used to be. Hope for the best but prepare for the worst.
  15. Posterization = colour banding. It's when clear gradations in colour are visible, instead of smooth gradations. CMS = Colour Management System, used to control/fine-tune the colour of white (White Balance) and Saturation of colours so that they are accurate on the display. Most people won't and shouldn't alter the CMS settings because it requires an instrument like a colorimeter to properly calibrate to the correct values. Yes, it's a similar effect to that. A low resolution .gif image usually has only a maximum of 256 colours, which is why it doesn't have enough colours to reproduce smooth gradations. On the latest flat panels TVs, they can display 6,144 shades of gradation, so colour banding is more dependent on the source. Lower resolution, poor quality sources, like old transfers on DVD, show it more; high resolution high quality transfers like recent movies on blu-ray (e.g. Avatar) show it the least. In general it is known that the Panasonics still have some (minor) posterrization/banding issues. However as you've noticed, it's not limited to Panasonics. Again, it depends more on the source than anything.