Unfortunately, the panel has no service menu for grayscale calibration. The omission is inexcusable, given the set's lofty price tag. We had to settle for the User mode, which measured 11,200K at a luminance of 30IRE and 11,700K at 80IRE. Those readings are far from the ideal 6,500K, and the image had an obvious blue cast at all light levels. The red, green, and blue global gain controls at the DVI and PC inputs should help you tame the grayscale when you're using those types of sources, but we're still disappointed by the limited adjustment options.
The color decoder exhibited extreme red push and heavily accentuated green. Black-level performance was quite poor, washing out colors and eliminating any possibility of fine shadow detail. Like some plasma panels, the Gateway also suffered from significant false-contouring artifacts, which looked like moving patches of noise in black and nearly black areas of the picture.
Despite the built-in Faroudja processing, we saw ample video noise. If you're a novice, you may be less attuned to this problem, but you'd definitely notice it if someone pointed it out to you. The opening moments of Star Trek: Insurrection were riddled with moving dots and noise from the panel's internal scaling. In one scene of the Video Essentials test DVD, the camera pans in close on a tree, and the leaves became indistinguishable on the Gateway, bleeding into each other.
After we'd tweaked the regular picture controls with patterns from various test DVDs, we sat back and watched the great documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, one of our reference discs. The picture was definitely a bit washed out, and color saturation suffered, as well.
Similar issues came up with HDTV from our DirecTV satellite feed, but the huge difference in resolution made the image look much better. Even with HD material, however, washed-out blacks and false contouring detracted from dark scenes.
Overall, the Gateway 30-inch LCD TV is not a home-theater product. Ideally, you'll use it in a room with a lot of ambient light, where the set's poor black-level performance will be less of a problem.