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Ruined by fluctuating brightness issue
on 6 August 2011
The GT30 SHOULD BE a top plasma, and there's a great deal to like about it, but like its VT30 brother it suffers from a serious problem which is likely to all but ruin your viewing experience. Namely its inability to transition smoothly from dark to bright scenes and vice versa (another reviewer referred to it as 'contrast shifts'). Instead of a clean transition the set has to think about it a moment, during which time you'll get on-screen shifts in brightness as the TV tries to adjust, and its EXTREMELY distracting and annoying. It's almost as though with every shift from light to dark someone is trying to compensate by adjusting the brightness levels using a remote.
It's actually a function of the way the screen is designed to be driven, so that less power is delivered when a darker picture is being delivered, but in practice it works very badly, with a significant delay being obvious while the set decides whether to dim the brightness or not. If the shift was instantaneous it wouldn't be an issue.
This problem has been reported on AV forums all over the Internet, and in the USA Panasonic are now sending out field engineers to solve the issue by flashing the onboard EPROM (there's no firmware download to correct it). Unfortunately, in the UK Panasonic are doing NOTHING to correct it, leaving the poor customer saddled with a TV that displays an annoying and frustrating flaw while claiming that the TV is performing to spec. Which is absolute nonsense, because nobody would design a TV that caused such annoying brightness shifts in content! And the problems are EXACTLY the same as those being suffered by North American customers, and which are now being fixed.
I STRONGLY caution people not to buy a GT or VT Panasonic plasma until this problem is addressed by Panasonic, because you will be frustrated beyond belief by this fault, and there is currently no way to fix it on the UK models.
You can read more on this issue by Googling 'Panasonic Fluctuating Brightness' or read reviews on Amazon.com of the TC-P50GT30, many of which explain just how bad this problem is.