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Panasonic sued over plasma TV picture quality

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Panasonic, complaining of picture quality degradation, including a loss of black-level performance.

Panasonic is being sued over its plasma TVs' black levels, and calls the charge "baseless."
Sarah Tew/CNET

A class action lawsuit against Panasonic was filed February 12, claiming an increase in the brightness of black levels, as well as a corresponding decrease in contrast ratio that is detrimental to picture quality.

The suit, filed in federal court in New Jersey, alleges that "the television is no longer producing the same image quality that [Panasonic] represented it would produce."

We first learned of the suit when we contacted a Panasonic representative while seeking comment regarding our most recent test results on black-level performance. That test did find worse performance in two aged 2009 Panasonic plasma TVs.

The company could not comment on the results, citing the pending litigation. Here's the full text of Panasonic's response:

Unfortunately, after our discussions about providing you with further information, a lawsuit regarding this issue was filed. While we believe that the lawsuit is baseless, since this is now a matter in litigation, Panasonic company policy prohibits us from responding to your questions.

If you are interested, the lawsuit is pending in federal court in Newark, N.J., filed under docket number 2:10-CV-00846.

For the record, a report on this blog quoting Panasonic's response was cited in the suit.