Without going into too much detail, some gradient is normal, and it can be either how the picture is processed (as you noted), but also with how the source material was recorded or mastered. Unless it's excessive or constant, then it doesn't sound like it's out of the ordinary.
That said, if you still have a concern, validate it and call 800-SAMSUNG to see about having your TV inspected.
But based on the fact that it could be adjusted out for one source, it would be an issue with the TV itself if it couldn't be adjusted out at all. In other words, the panel is likely fine, so check the output resolutions of your Blu-Ray/Game consoles/cable/sat box and see if adjusting them help.
Does that help?
I was hoping tech support could read this issue and provide some thought??
I noticed something weird last night when watching Dark night and wonder your thoughts; if it normal, or if something may be wrong with my tv (only 4 months old). At the very beginning of the movie before it starts it goes through some cool intro's. I am noticing a small amount of colour gradient banding (if that's the right term?). For example, there are dark clouds at the very beginning and if you look real close at the clouds, were the colour shades from say dark gray to blue, it is not a perfectly even gradient. I can see a couple bands of grading. I only notice it when watching the TV in 240hz (standard) mode. If its in clear mode its perfect. I upgraded the fw last night and I think it helped a bit, but it is definitely still there a bit. This happens for all sources, Bluray and HD cable. Can anyone shed some light on this situation and if its normal for the tv? (unc467000)