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Black Levels & Dynamic Contrast...Help Needed!

by Arvindh19 / March 26, 2010 9:38 PM PDT

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Plasma Model : PS42B450
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Hi! I have some doubts with my new plasma (month old) and was hoping you could clear them for me.

[1] How do I test if my black levels are working correctly? When I increase the Brightness, my blacks turn almost white at 100%. But it seems to reach a minimum at 50% and doesn't get blacker below that. It's black at 50% but not as deep as I would have imagined.

[2] Why is the HDMI Black Level sometimes greyed out? It seems to be there when I watch videoclips from my USB drive (hooked up to my PS3) and also when I play PS3 games. But for some reason it's greyed when watching Blu-Ray / DVDs, and it's always at Normal when grayed out. Does this have anything to do with movies not being in RGB?

[3] When people say "rich blacks" or "deep blacks", doesn't it mean the blacks should match the color of the TV frame...or am I just seeing a lighter black because I constantly compare it that way? I haven't seen a solid deep black on my TV to date, although movies look stunning on it!

[4] Dynamic Contrast : Why does turning DC on cause an awkward "dip" during "fade to black" moments in movies. Example: Transformers 2 opening with the savages; everytime the image fades to black, the TV sort of dips it further, causing a weird flicker. I like the D.Contrast but have to turn it off because of this. What's the workaround?

[5] I'm not sure if I'm using HDMI 1.2 or 1.3 cables. Any major differences (especially in black levels)? I'm using the cable that came with Samsung's HD-1080 DVD Upconverting player.

Thanks a mil in advance, all!

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Black levels
by murphylaw / March 27, 2010 11:56 AM PDT

I just bought a new samsung plasma and have the same issue with the hdmi black level greying out as well. Not too concerned because I wouldn't use it anyway. Re your black levels...try getting a calbration disk or even use some of the video tests that come on a thx DVD or bluray movie. Maybe also do a search online for suggestions re your tv settings. There's a few sites that can help you tweak your set. Regading the hdmi 1.2 vs 1.3 cable the one one have should be fine. The version (ie 1.2 or 1.3) refers to the interface on your tv or your bluray ht rceiver etc not the cable itslf. You are fine so long as it's a high speed cable. Also, tests time after time show no need to believe the rhetoric about getting a better signal picture etc with expensive cable. You don't need to spend the bucks

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What About Dynamic Contrast?
by Arvindh19 / March 27, 2010 1:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Black levels

Thanks, that helped. But what about Dynamic Contrast? Do you have it on? Many sites (including CNET) discourage users from using Dynamic Contrast and Black Tone, saying one messes with brightness and the other crushes black levels. But to me both these 'enhancements' help the picture quality. Apart from a few 'side-effects' like the flicker during "fade to black" moments, I really like the way Dynamic Contrast and Black Tone enhances the image...so should I still turn them off or is it all in the eye of the beholder? Any serious issues I should be worried about (ie TV lifespan) using Dynamic Contrast?

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