Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Phosphor Trails: Scourge of the Plasma

This post is not mod-related as such; It's more of a rant. In October, I purchased a Panasonic Viera TH-42PZ85U Plasma Television from Amazon. One of the caveats about owning an HDTV is that it requires quite a bit of time to tweak picture settings in order to ensure that your TV is giving you the best possible picture. In the proceeding months, I've fiddled with the various settings, like color, contrast, brightness, and even used a THX calibration disc and blue filter glasses in order to calibrate my set for optimal viewing from all of my sources (FiOS, DVD, PS3/Blu-Ray, DVR, Xbox). Overall, I've been quite happy with my Panny.

However, in recent months, I've noticed a very disturbing and annoying trend occuring in my TV: phosphor trails. These are green or blue trails that are left behind a moving object in a high contrast scenario. It occurs, as I understand it, because plasma pixels cannot shift directly from black to white, or vice versa. They have a brief green or blue phase in between. An example of this might be a hockey game that has players with dark jerseys on a white ice background. This scenario is plagued by phosphor trails on my TV. The players leave streaks as they move across the rink. I love hockey, and this is a major issue for me. Another example might be a movie or TV show where a person with light skin is moving through a dark room. This scenario is even worse for me. Light objects on dark background leave horrible green trails and are physically taxing on my eyes. Video games often have high contrast scenarios like this, and this effect is present in many that I own.

The video above is not my TV, but shows what I've been dealing with. Unfortunately, I don't have a video camera capable of accurately depicting this phenomenon. On the cheap point-n-shoot I have, the effect is far worse than it appears in person. Nevertheless, I'm very close to selling my TV, cutting my losses and getting a Samsung LN46A650 LCD. I know that I may just be trading one issue for another, as LCD's have problems of their own, but I've just about had it. If a representative from Panasonic is reading this, please contact me, as I would love to remedy this somehow.