Display Issue I'm Trying to Diagnose

Discussion in 'Displays' started by MattAlbie60, May 27, 2011.

  1. MattAlbie60

    MattAlbie60 I Work for Mr. E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific

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    Hi all --


    I'm having a weird display issue on my 42" Panasonic plasma set. Occasionally some pink-colored digital noise (I don't know what else to call it) will briefly appear on screen, typically when light colors or white are being displayed. Its like a weird pink swirl that flashes for a second and then disappears.


    It happens on *everything* I watch -- both Blu-rays and stuff from my Verizon FiOS box. Both pieces of equipment are hooked via HDMI to a receiver, and the receiver is hooked into the TV via HDMI.


    The weird thing is that if I pause the pink while its on screen, it will stay put. It stops flashing, and it almost looks like its part of the source. But I know its not -- I don't remember weird pink swirls when I saw BATMAN BEGINS in theaters.


    What could this be? Is it an issue with the TV itself? The HDMI cable? At first I thought it was the PlayStation 3, but then it started happening with the FiOS box too. So it would have to be either the HDMI that connects the receiver to the TV (oh please oh please...) or the TV itself, right? How do I go about checking?


    Thanks in advance. Pulling my hair out over here.
     
  2. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    I don't have that specific television, so I can't comment specifically on your issue - that said, I have had issues with televisions before and that sort of thing, so I can suggest some basic troubleshooting things. You may have already tried these so please disregard if you already have.


    Now you said that you've had the trouble when using both your Blu-rays and your FiOS box, which would suggest that the issue isn't with either of those components individually. The first thing I'd do is try to determine or rule out if the receiver or the connection from the TV to the receiver was causing the issue. Unplug the HDMI cable that's connecting your receiver to your television, and for the rest of these tests, make sure that you don't use that particular HDMI cable.


    Next thing I'd do would be to plug either the PS3 or the FiOS box directly into the TV and check out how that works. If it plays back fine, then you know that your problem is either in the HDMI cable that had connected your TV to your receiver, or the receiver itself. If you're still having the issue when you plug one of the devices directly into the TV, then it's more likely that the problem is related to the TV.

    (If you don't have the problem, try using that different HDMI cable to plug the receiver back in, and plug in one of your devices to the receiver - doesn't matter which - with the HDMI cable that was *not* the one originally connecting the receiver. That should allow you to determine whether it was the cable or whether it's the receiver. If it's just the cable, buy a new one - some companies have lifetime warranties on their HDMI cables, if your cable was made by one of those companies give them a call to see if they can replace it for you.)


    Now, if you still have the issue when you're plugging one of your devices directly into the TV, it may still not be the display on the television. You want to check to see if the HDMI input on your TV is somehow faulty - stranger things have happened. If your TV has multiple HDMI inputs, try plugging your device into a different HDMI input than the one you had used with the receiver. If it works fine after that, then it just meant that input port had gone bad - and if your TV has multiple inputs, then it's not a huge deal, you just use a different one. If your TV only has one HDMI port, or if the issue still persists after trying a different HDMI port, see if you can use an alternate method to plug the device into the TV - perhaps the yellow-red-white RCA cables that come standard with most things for standard def picture. This will let you test whether the problem is the entire chipset with the HDMI ports or whether the problem is elsewhere in your TV.


    If, after testing all of that, and using different inputs on the TV doesn't solve the problem, then it's most likely the TV. But before you completely panic, try going into the TV's settings or menu options. Usually somewhere in the menu, maybe it's under a heading called picture or setup or something like that, there's usually an option that's something like "restore factory defaults" - it's always worth giving that a shot. TVs afterall are pieces of hardware but they do have software in them that allows them to run, and like any computer program, it's possible (even if it's unlikely) that something just got glitchy and resetting to factory settings might fix the problem. As simple as it sounds, try unplugging the TV from the wall outlet and leaving it unplugged for a few minutes before plugging it back in. Those things usually aren't the problem, but you never know, I've seen stranger and weirder things than that. It's also worth taking a look around your TV - do you have anything magnetic near by, tons of cables, wireless receivers, anything like that? It may be unlikely but occasionally something nearby can be causing interference either with the cables or to the TV itself, and simply moving the offending item might solve the problem. (I had an older, pre-plasma/LCD tube-style TV that had some color distortions, and it turned out that the speaker I had right next to the TV was somehow related to the problem - I have no idea exactly what caused it, but when I moved the speaker away, problem solved. Always make sure to exhaust the simple options first, even if it's not likely that it's something simple, it's worth taking a moment to be totally sure.)


    If you've gone through all of those steps and you're still having the problem, it's probably the TV -- and as much as your instincts are probably going to tell you to freak out (mine certainly would be, when my stuff goes haywire staying calm isn't always a strong suit), try to take a deep breath and not panic. Is your TV under warranty still? If so, then it's a matter of calling either Panasonic, or if you bought a service plan with the TV from the store you bought it from, calling the store. Also, some warranties cover different things - for example, my computer came with a one year parts and service warranty, but then just replacement parts are covered two years (so that the only charge I'd have to pay was for the service swapping the part and not the cost of the part itself). So even if you're not totally covered, you may still have some partial coverage remaining.


    But even if you're no longer under warranty, take a visit to Panasonic's website and look up authorized service providers in the area - pretty much any reliable service provider will provide a free examination (or for a very negliable fee) and estimate of what the problem is and what the cost to fix it would be. It may be something in the TV that's not super-expensive to replace, you never know. Don't authorize them to do the repair before telling you what the problem is and what the replacement cost would be. If the replacement cost seems high, it's worth doing a google search or searching other forums to just verify that the price you've been quotes is right. Also, if it's something where it might cost you X amount to fix it, but the cost of buying a new TV is slightly more, that may be the better option. In general, though, Panasonic makes good stuff so hopefully if it needs a repair it won't break your bank.


    It would also be worth doing a google search with keywords like panasonic, the model number of your TV, pink swirls, etc., to see if other people have experienced a similar problem. Chances are anything that could go wrong on your TV has happened to someone else before, and if someone's had a similar experience, they might have posted on a forum like this one, maybe a more hardware dedicated forum, etc, about the issue and their solution.


    Whatever happens, please come back and post and let us know how it turned out - someone else here might have additional insights, and also, your experience may help someone else in the future troubleshoot a similar problem. Good luck - I hope everything works out OK.
     
  3. Gregg Loewen

    Gregg Loewen Video Standards Instructor, THX Ltd.
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    hi


    try replacing the HDMI cable and going directly from the source.


    Good luck!!
     
  4. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    It almost "feels" like some sort of "digital clipping," for lack of a better term. Since it "pauses," it should be completely repeatable. Get it "paused" off of a Blu disc or something like that, and then try a direct connect.

    If it goes away, then there's some active process in the receiver that's screwing up. If not, then there are a lot of ways you can "break" a display -- in that making it attempt to display something that it physically "can't." When you do that, what actually happens... varies. In the days of CRT, it generally just got rolled and crushed into the blacks or whites. Some digital displays... are less graceful. If you find it's the monitor, you might try backing down the contrast a little, and seeing if it goes away as a first stab-in-the-dark.


    Leo
     
  5. MattAlbie60

    MattAlbie60 I Work for Mr. E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific

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    Thanks for all your help, guys. I really appreciate it. I'm planning on doing some tests later this afternoon and I have a new HDMI cable on the way via UPS that should be hear tomorrow. If I can pause at just the right time, I'll try to take a picture of it as well and see how that comes out. I'll report back in a little bit.
     
  6. MattAlbie60

    MattAlbie60 I Work for Mr. E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific

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    Alright, its been a busy couple of days, but here's an update.


    I plugged the player directly into the TV and didn't notice the issue -- however, I wasn't able to do a *ton* of testing during that time so I'm still not ready to pin it on the receiver. I got a new HDMI cable and am using it to connect the receiver to the TV. I haven't been noticing the issue until just now, when I was watching SUPERMAN II.


    Here's a picture:



    Here's a video:




    They're not the best (the iPod Touch camera kind of blows), but you can still kind of see the weird purple glowing around the top of the Fortress of Solitude. I've typically only noticed in in scenes like this one, where there is some extreme brightness on screen. The photo and video were taken while the Blu-ray was paused, but it shows up while its in motion as well.
     
  7. Leo Kerr

    Leo Kerr Screenwriter

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    Still, seems like something's doing some limiting. Although by the scene, it's not luma limiting, so much as a color-depth issue.

    Possibility: your player is doing deep-color; the display can do deep-color, but the receiver isn't, and when it truncates, you get issues like this?


    I'm speculating, 'cause (a) I can't remember how many bits are "normal" and how many are "deep," (b) your receiver obviously has to touch the signal to get the audio out; it might not have a true "pass through" mode, and there's probably a (c) here, too, but I'm not sure what it might be.


    Another check for this possibility would be to see if your player has a setting to support "deep" or "extended" color, and try turning it off. Unless it's in the monitor. But... (shrug,) it's not something I've dealt with before, and doing remote diagnosis is not always easy!


    Leo
     
  8. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    Have you calibrated this TV? I am guessing that the brightness and color level may be too high.
     
  9. MattAlbie60

    MattAlbie60 I Work for Mr. E. H. Harriman of the Union Pacific

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    I haven't had a professional calibration done, but I've been playing around with the settings for the last few weeks and I think that may be it. It doesn't explain why I didn't notice the problem in almost a year, but that's probably just on me.


    Every time I get it to where I think is appropriate, I notice something else that's weird. However, I'm not sure if the current settings are bringing out noise in the source material or if its just the settings or the set itself. Its driving me crazy, but I'm leaning more towards "The set isn't calibrated correctly" as opposed to "The set is broken" at this point.


    I haven't noticed the pink noise issue since I took that picture and video, but I haven't had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with it either. I turned off "Deep Color" on the player and just played with the settings. I did go back to that scene in SUPERMAN II *after* I adjusted some settings and I couldn't get the problem to recreate itself where it had before, so I think that issue is likely solved. And I couldn't have done it without you folks :)


    I do have another question -- I don't have a proper calibration disc, but I had an idea I thought was decent in that I would just find Blu-ray screen shots online from reviews, queue up that exact part of the movie on my TV and try to make the TV look like the screenshot. Its not ideal, but is it even something that will remotely work? I can do it, and I can get the TV looking exactly like the screenshot (which ended up bring my contrast way way down, for example), but it works off the assumption that screencaps from sites like DVD Beaver accurately represent the way the disc is *supposed* to look. Is this an accurate assumption, or am I off base?


    I really need to just pick up that $20 "Essentials" calibration disc, I think.
     
  10. winniw

    winniw Second Unit

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    I highly recommend the Disney WOW disc set. It's around $27 and worth every penney. I would be willing to bet that that will solve your problem. I thought that I could "eyeball" the calibration too. What a difference now.
     
  11. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    TV components, much like human components, change as they age. That's why most users do at least a consumer-level calibration (with Avia, Digital Video Essentials or a similar disc) at last a couple of times a year. Calibrating "by eye" just never works. Use a disc. (I can't comment on Disney's WOW disc, which I've recently seen recommended, as I've never used it. But I've used both Avia Guide to Home Theater and Digital Video Essentials and can swear by them.) Remember also that you many have to calibrate different inputs seperately, or even calibrate different sources coming in over the same input separately. (When I was using my old Onkyo receiver and component cables, I had to do my DVR, cable box and Sony SD DVD player independently of one another. But my 2nd Sony DVD player automatically picked up the same settings I used on the first. Since switching to a Yamaha receiver and HDMI, my TV retains one configuration for all my HD digital sources - 2 upconverting DVD players, a Blu Ray player and HD TV channels, and another for pure SD sources (the analog channel tier from my cable company and the odd OTA lo-res channel I might look at.)


    Regards,


    Joe
     

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