Over the last few months, people have been reporting that the black levels in their Panasonic plasmas had suddenly and sharply increased. Though initially the incidents seemed isolated, it appears that many of Panasonic’s 2008 and 2009 plasma television models are affected.
It’s not uncommon for a set’s black levels to increase over time, but the difference in Panasonics plasmas comes suddenly, according to owners. Panasonic’s official response on the matter has made them less than popular.
“Viera plasma HDTVs incorporate an automatic control which adjusts an internal driving voltage at predetermined intervals of operational hour,” said Panasonic. “As a result of this automatic voltage adjustment, background brightness will increase from its initial value.”
Though this does help to explain a normal increase in black levels, it fails to address why they increase as much as two-fold so quickly. When asked directly about the issue, Panasonic’s Bob Perry responded by saying “Since the TVs work as designed, there's nothing to fix.”
Perry said that Panasonic’s plasma models for 2010 feature a more gradual change in black levels. He also offered a bit of advice to those experiencing the issue. “There is no reason for dissatisfaction with a product that works as it was intended to… However, customers do have access to the Panasonic Plasma Concierge Program, which can provide advice and assistance on all customer satisfaction issues.”