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New Replacement Panel... Now I'm Blurry?

by pitchman1 / March 21, 2009 3:00 AM PDT

I posted in an earlier thread about the trials and tribulations I had with severe flashlights and clouding on an LN46A850. I mentioned how rolling back to FW1003 eliminated much of the clouds, but not the flashlights. As a result, and per HDtech's recommendation, I scheduled a service call. The service was done yesterday by a very courteous and thorough service technician. He replaced the panel with a new (Made in Korea) version. The good news is that my screen uniformity issue is completely gone! There are NO flashlights anywhere on the screen and even in the darkest room setting I can muster, only the very slightest hint of a cloud or two is barely perceptible. In other words, it's ALL GOOD! Or so, I thought...

I spent most of last night watching the 1080i CBS network feed of NCAA Basketball, and for the most part, it looked great. Even my wife, who is usually oblivious to such things, grudgingly offered, "...I hate to say it, but the TV looks better." And, I agree with her. There is a very noticeable difference in overall contrast ratio and black level. And, the viewing angle is also greatly increased. With my old panel, if I wasn't sitting directly in front of the TV, straight-on center, the image would begin to wash out. With the new panel, I can literally stand alongside the screen and still a reasonably strong image.

Like I say, all of this is GREAT and I am pleased with the difference that the new panel makes.

There does appear to be a downside, though, and hopefully, someone here can tell me if there is an easy fix.

The more I watched last night (long after my wife got bored with the hoops action) I became aware of occasional slightly blurred images and a general lack of detail in others. It was most apparent when animated supers containing scores or bracket information would fly up onto and fill the screen. The image was always soft and blurry at first, but after 4-5 seconds, would gradually become clearer. It was very noticeable during commercial breaks when certain ads reverted to a 4:3 aspect ratio. The images would be soft and blurry throughout the entire ad. The more I watched, the more bleary-eyed I became. Switching to 720p and analog sources made it worse! I never had this problem with the old panel.

I should also state that all of my settings for the old panel were still intact when the tech powered up the TV with the new panel for the first time, so I basically left everything alone. The panels appear to be identical with one exception. The new panel had a vented black box covering the inverter board. I asked the tech if it was packaging and he replied that it was a heat shield that was supposed to be on there and was somewhat surprised that there was not one on the factory installed panel. No other boards were replaced and no other settings were adjusted. I never turn on AMP, edge enhancement or DNR.

So, here is my question... Could this blurriness be a calibration issue? Is it possible that some internal factory settings are slightly off due to manufacturing variances between the two panels? Or, do I have a more serious issue? Could the different inverter board be the culprit? If it is simply a re-calibration, can I contact my local repair center directly or should I go through Samsung again?

As always, any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.

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RE: New Replacement Panel
by pitchman1 / March 21, 2009 5:36 AM PDT

I forgot to mention, things look normal (spectacular, in fact!) when watching HDMI sources like Blu-ray, DVD or PS3. My Wii component connection looks fine too. This issue seems to be confined to digital and analog TV viewing. Perhaps it is a tuner configuration issue?

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RE: New Replacement Panel
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / March 21, 2009 10:53 AM PDT

pitchman1,

Good to hear that your problem is not only fixed, but your picture is actually improved. Happy

What may be happening is that this is the result of broadcast compression. In order to send the digital signal, in many cases, broadcasters compress the digital signal. There's a whole technical explanation to how this can often affect picture quality (less bamdwidth costs less), but the simple explanation is that as a result of higher compression, background movement seems blurry, as does some fast moving images.

The fact that this isn't happening on your other inputs suggests that the issue is isolated to your broadcaster. You may find it worse on some channels and better on others, as well.

Hope that helps!

--HDTech

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RE: New Replacement Panel
by pitchman1 / March 21, 2009 1:29 PM PDT

Thank you HDTech!

I think you hit the nail right on the head. I temporarily disconnected my cable and hooked up an indoor digital flat antenna. The few channels I could receive all looked fine and nothing appeared blurry. So, I am pretty sure that (cable) compression is all it is.

Now that I know, I will reconnect the cable (to to receive all of the channels I cannot pickup with the antenna) and finally get down to the serious business or really enjoying my LN46A850! Happy

Thanks again for the help!

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How is your cable box connected?
by The_Pickle / March 21, 2009 4:06 PM PDT

You said you had to disconnect the cable to hook up the antenna. Is your cable box hooked up using coax? If so, do you have a HDMI output on your cable box? If you do, I would use the HDMI for the cable and then always keep the antenna connected. You should get a better picture. That is how I have my setup connected. That way, I can switch over to the antenna and get all the sub channels that DirecTV does not carry.

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RE: New Replacement Panel - HD_Tech Please Advise...
by pitchman1 / March 23, 2009 2:45 AM PDT

I don't have a cable box -- just coax straight in. The built-in HDTV tuner takes care of the rest.

What is a bit puzzling to me is that I did not have this issue before the panel was replaced. Theoretically, I am still using the same tuner, unless it is contained in the new panel or the attached inverter board. The more I watch the new panel, the more I am aware of this condition. The black level is almost too deep (inky is the best way to describe it) and as a result, blacks tend to be crushed and details in the blacks get lost. Images appear slightly soft focus and smeary at first until they gradually increase in sharpness. It seems to me that the panel's overall response time is slower. It is definitely different enough that I notice it now when I never did before. It is fatiguing to watch this TV for extended periods of time.

No adjustment of settings seems to resolve the issue, either. When the picture "locks in," it looks good (albeit with a bit less black detail than before) but, getting there, is a problem. On the plus side, as previously mentioned, the screen uniformity issues are gone.

I know consumer products like this are designed to perform within accepted tolerance levels, and that as an end user, there is always going to be a bit of a compromise as to where your specific unit lands within those tolerances. At this price point though, it is a bit disconcerting to have to settle for a new issue at the expense of resolving an old one.

I can't help but think that this panel is either somehow mismatched to the other (original) components in my TV, or some internal settings are out of synch. I hope this can be rectified without having to go through another panel replacement and thereby increasing the likelihood of more screen uniformity issues. I welcome any suggestions and insights you can offer HD_Tech. Thanks much for the ongoing help!

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Suggestions....
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / March 23, 2009 10:15 AM PDT

pitchman1,

Well, it's good to hear that the screen uniformity issue was handled correctly, but about the other images - that's disconcerting to me too.

I seriously wonder if the signal would be improved with the use of a cable box. I'll say right off the top that I realize this is an unpopular concept; however, the box does establish a powered connection in which to pass and condition the signal. I realize that this may not have been an issue before, which is why I'm throwing it out there as a friendly suggestion.

I have no idea why the new panel would create a color issue that the old one didn't. Another option is to have the unit calibrated, but if you do this, definitely do it AFTER installing any firmware updates you might add.

The other option is to call back Samsung and note that this fix isn't an acceptable solution for you, since you noted that here, and take it from there. I don't want you to watch a TV that causes fatigue - that takes away from the whole experience.

Please keep me posted.

--HDTech

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Couple of questions regarding your LCD panel replacement...
by hevnz2mergatroid / March 25, 2009 1:35 AM PDT

Hi Pitchman1

Seems like you got positive results with your LCD panel replacement for your LN46A950. I'm kind of in the same situation you were in at the moment. Could you answer the following questions for me?

1. How long did it take for the technician to replace the panel?

2. Would you be able to tell me what was the original build number on the unit you got? Mine is SQ02 and was built in February 2008

3. How long did you own your 850 before noticing it needed a replacement?

4. Do you use Verizon for your cable provider? Reason why I'm asking is because one of the other issues I'm experiencing in addition the clouding, flashlighting and "purple haze" is that I've noticed a very thin faint vertical white lines on both the left and right edges. It's about 1/8 from the bezel. The lines became suppressed after upgrading to a different HDMI cable but they are still there. Also, it seems like it may also be on other inputs such as switching to HDMI 2 which has my Blu-Ray disc.

5. Also just curious to see if you have surround sound hooked up to it to. The sound quality is not the greatest.

Thank you

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RE: A couple of questions...
by pitchman1 / March 30, 2009 12:23 AM PDT

In response to your questions - -

1. It took the technician less than a half-hour start to finish to replace the panel. As mentioned, he was very courteous and appeared to be very knowledgeable.

2. Mine is a SQ01 with a build date of January 2009.

3. I knew I had a severe flashlight problem almost immediately (less than one day in) once the TV had been turned on for a few hours.

4. My cable provider is Mediacom. I do not have faint vertical white lines on either side of the panel. I am no expert, but when you are connected to cable and BD, what is your screen mode setting? If it is set to "just scan," that may be the issue. For Blu-ray playback you may want to use "just scan" to properly view the film in its OAR, but for digital TV/Cable viewing, then I believe 16:9 is the preferred default setting. Also, although I am not a firm believer in this myself, some folks swear they get different results with different HDMI cables. Depending on what cable you're using, you may want to try replacing it with another HDMI cable from a local retailer (who will let you to return it if it does not fix the problem.)

5. The internal speakers on this TV are nothing to write home about. I rarely use them. When I do, I have a tweaked "Film" mode setting I created that is at least acceptable. I have a Denon AVR3805 7.1 surround receiver that is my primary source for TV audio. I simply take the optical digital output from the TV and feed it into the receiver. The receiver automatically flags and plays back any Dolby Digital TV signal it is fed (up to 5.1 surround.) IMO, aside from occasional crowd noises in sports broadcasts, most 5.1 TV audio is pretty weak, but as always, this is a YMMV type thing.

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Panel Replacement.
by iVersatile / March 30, 2009 8:03 AM PDT

What did you have to say to them for them to replace the panel? everytime i get sent a tech for flashlighting they brush it off and tell me it's normal.

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RE: What I did...
by pitchman1 / April 1, 2009 11:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Panel Replacement.

Basically, I just followed the guidelines of HDTech. In another thread, he said that when you call Samsung tell them you have a problem or issue with "screen uniformity." He explained that is a term they understand, as opposed to "flashlights" or "clouding." That's what I did and the Samsung CSR immediately set up a service call. The local repair center called me a day or two later and I described the problem to them the exact same way. I emailed them a couple of pictures (that clearly showed the problem) and they forwarded them to Samsung. The local company wanted to make sure that when they came to the house, they had everything they needed to do the repair (which, I might add, makes a great deal of sense to me.) A few days later Samsung notified them that they were sending a new replacement panel for my TV. And that, as they say, is that.

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Panel Replacement.
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / April 2, 2009 12:02 PM PDT
In reply to: Panel Replacement.

iVersatile,

What's the status on your situation, iVersatile?

--HDTech

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ECR
by iVersatile / April 2, 2009 2:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Panel Replacement.

HD_Tech,

To answer your question, I called on Monday and explained the situation, they asked me to send them pictures via e-mail and that if they see the problem than that the next step would be to try and repair it, if that fails than they would do another exchange. It's Friday now, and i have not heard back from them. Would you suggest that i call them up again?

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ECR
by Samsung_HD_Tech Samsung staff / April 3, 2009 5:44 PM PDT
In reply to: ECR

iVersatile,

If you can, post those pictures here, and I'll forward them to one of the managers who might be able to assist you. (Along with your transaction number).

I really want to make this right by you.

--HDTech

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