"Stay away! - Terrible annoyance in viewing"1.0 starson by logan_c
Pros: Outstanding picture quality
Decent anti-reflective coating
Sound okay for a flat panel
Cons: Fluctuating Brightness (more below)
Requires an earthquake cable for anti-tipping
Sound could use some improvement
Summary: I rely on the Internet for my research. Sure I head out to the stores to see things in person, but once I've made my list I head to the Internet to read reviews and learn about features and read reviews. I decided that this model was the one for me.
I liked the styling and the fact that it performs okay for a plasma in moderately bright rooms in daytime, which I have. I did secure the TV with an earthquake cable as the base felt a bit tippy (young ones in the house).
I must say, first of all that the picture quality is outstanding. I went though some calibration settings found here and elsewhere and got it looking great. But one thing the Editor reviewer here only touched briefly on is this thing called "Fluctuating Brightness" FBr for short. This issue causes the screen to rapidly change in brightness based on content of the viewing material. Fbr is fickle as the material displayed, settings mode of the display (THX, Custom, Vivid) and luck of the draw on what parts where used when building the TV, all factor in. ALL the 2011 Panasonic's have this issue...not just this model!
This FBr problem causes the screen brightness to "pop" suddenly to a different brightness level. Instead of a gradual ramping in brightness the change is so startling that once seen it will slowly drive you crazy!
If you are a more critical viewer of movies (which, I assume, is why you are reading this review, and not a lower end model), this problem will make you concentrate on the screen of the TV, instead of the immersion into the TV and into the material you are trying to enjoy.
This problem is so pronounced that complaints are appearing all over the Internet, just Google "2011 Panasonic Fluctuating Brightness" and you will get many many hits. Panasonic has been made aware of this and it has been addressed and corrected by firmware in the European Panasonic market, BUT NOT HERE! Panasonic North America insists that this "dimming" is a beneficial "feature" and is designed into the TV. What!?!?
Fluctuating Brightness happens when a change in contrast is great enough that the mid gray levels change brightness rapidly. The fluctuating brightness occurs about 0.5 to 1 second after the scene brightness change. Opposed to a gradual ramping in brightness, as done on even low end model TV's, this model makes one BIG ramp change that is jarring. The first time I saw FBr I was Tangled (blu-ray), I was like, "What the h*** was that!?" I spend the rest of the movie watching these Fluctuating Brightness occurrences. Not a great way to spend what could have been enjoyable family time. Now every time I pop in a Blu-Ray I'm worried I will (and continue to) see this Fluctuating Brightness.
This is like a zit on a supermodels face. Once you see it, you can't stop looking at it! Makeup covers up the zit, and firmware code needs to be shared with Panasonic North America and released to us consumers.
I have returned my TV for an exchange...hoping that the next one won't have this Fluctuating Brightness problem as much, but if it does I think I'll be forced to move on to a different brand.
If Panasonic can make a firmware release that would correct this seemingly simple to fix problem, that I would rate this a 5 star TV, but this problem is so annoying I don't even want to turn the thing on! What a shame.