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Hey guys and gals. This is my first post on the site and I am honestly excited to be a member. I'm quite obsessed with HT stuff so hopefully I fit in okay. I need to start off with a question though as I have no experience with Plasma TVs.

I got the okay from the miss to pick up a large screen TV (she actually asked, I was shocked). We previously owned a Toshiba CRT display and I refused to upgrade to LCD because I have tried a few at home and just never liked the over exaggerated colors and flesh tones. I never really gave plasma a chance because of all the sales people telling me about how picky they are about ambient light, huge power consumption, and image retention. Since I am a die hard CRT guy, I decided to go out and give plasmas a chance anyways. When I saw one at the store, I fell in love. The black levels were good but not quite CRT level but the colors and flesh tones were so natural. I also notice how much smoother the motion was with fast images ... and it looked antural, unlike the 120hz modes I've seen on some LCDs. Anyways, to make a long story short, I looked at two 42" plasmas in my price point, the Samsung PN42B430 and the Panny TCP42C1. I set both TVs to standard settings and had them side by side. I enjoyed the very neautral tone and black levels of the Samsung quite a bit more than the Panny. I know images can be tweaked to look the same on both TVs but the Samsung simply looked great out of the box, so I picked it up.

Now comes the question. Black levels looked good in the store but for some reason at home the screen doesn't even look black even when turned off, it's almost a medium grey color. When I play a movie, I notice the blacks can only be as black as the tube itself ... and it's not black at all. What makes it worse is that the TV shell is deep black and it makes the black levels of the image even more pale. I have done a calibration with AVIA but am still not satisfied with the deep blacks at all. Maybe it's because I'm coming from a CRT that has amazing black levels, but I am slightly dissapointed. Everything else is great though, I just love the natural tone of the picture ... it's amazing and makes me wanna watch movies all night. Anyways, can anyone tell me if my lack of satisfaction for black levels normal with plasmas or is the Panny actually better after calibration? I have 15 days to return the TV. Thanks a bunch guys!
 

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Don't know why you're getting lighter blacks-perhaps another can help with that, but my pany 720p 50" has very deep blacks- it really is a night and day difference compared to my friend's lcd picture. You might look to see if you have auto image or color correction at play.

I get alot of glare through the window shutters (even closed) during daylight hours, but hey, I rarely watch at that time and certainly not movies. :T on going plasma
 

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Have you adjusted both white and black levels with AVIA? Sometimes adjusting one throws the other for a loop so you should go back and forth between the two until you get them both correct. If this doesn't fix your issue then you may very well have to take it back as there isn't much more you can do. Does it have some sort of advanced contrast/black level control? Is it turned off?

Welcome to the Shack! :T
 

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Yeah, I used AVIA and no matter how much I tone down brightness, the tube stays the same black level after going below "54". The screen can simply get no blacker and it's not deep at all, better than some LCDs but not nearly what I thought a plasma would be. And of course, all features turned off (Dynamic Contrast, Edge Enhancement, etc). Black tone is also set to "Deepest" but it makes no difference, it only kills shadow detail but keeps the same "not so black" color.
 

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To achieve "blacker that black" you need more than Avia. The set needs to be tackled in it's service menu's by a trained calibrator. I've been paying $225 to my calibrator every year since the first calibration to keep it that way. The end results are fantastic.
 

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The place where you purchased your TV can calibrate it for you and the reason behind all the great looking TV at stores, from what i gathered from an Older gent who works at bestbuy is that the TV they receive for product display are pre-calibrated to look like that for a long time so don't feel worried if you have a fussy look at first the TV needs to wear a little bit since Argon gas inside of the pixels of a Plasma are still not ion-settled as i would put it. Also IMO $200 to have your TV calibrated is alot of money you might find other ways by controlling visual setting on the receiver Denon makes really nice ones and Onkyo so if your receiver is old that may one thing to look at.

But great choice samsung makes wonderful product, if you do decide to return get a Panasonic there even better since they have had the time to toy with plasmas there a little more technically advanced in plasmas i own a 720p plasma and its perfect and takes a while to become un-calibrated.:sn:
 
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