How to Calibrate a Panasonic Viera Plasma

by Joe Murray

    Panasonic Viera Plasma flat screen video monitors are capable of producing some of the highest quality image reproduction available to the general public. In order to achieve this level of performance you need to tweak the factory settings slightly because the TVs are optimized for economical power consumption rather than picture performance when you first get them. There is an automatic calibration setting control (C.A.T.S.) easily set by two clicks of your remote, but making an effort to fine tune your Viera can prove more rewarding. This tweaking requires a tool used to measure various grayscale, color temperature and hue settings that include brightness and contrast controls as well as some advanced settings available on Panasonic Viera Plasma units.

    Standard Calibration Procedures

    Step 1

    Select the type of colorimeter tool you will use to measure your Viera’s performance parameters. Several options are available ranging from inexpensive apps to devices costing thousands of dollars. Whatever you select you also need a minimum number of video test patterns including whiteboard, grayscale and color board or color bar. These come with most colorimeters and can also be downloaded from the Internet and transferred to the Viera via SD or thumb drive.

    Step 2

    Warm up the Viera by powering it on at least an hour before initiating the various tweaking procedures. Also keep in mind that plasma units require a “break-in period” of up to 250 hours of use before accurate calibration is effective. Check with Panasonic to see if your Viera plasma unit was set up at the factory if you are uncertain.

    Step 3

    Run through the white board, grayscale and color-bar test patterns making the appropriate adjustments. Various settings are available on the Net in forums and reviews, but it really comes down to your personal preference. A standard suggestion follows: Picture mode: THX, all settings default except the following: Contrast: +62 Brightness: +68 Color: +50 Sharpness: 0 Video NR: Off Blur reduction: On

    Advanced Calibration Procedures

    Step 1

    Turn off the automatic calibration setting control (C.A.T.S.).

    Step 2

    Set the picture mode control to “Standard,” “Cinema” or “Custom” depending on your lighting-intensity preference.

    Step 3

    Follow the instructions listed in the Panasonic's article "Calibration and Operation of Panasonic Plasma Monitors" (link in Resources) to adjust the Gamma settings, white level and black level, measure the dynamic range and gamma of the monitor, calibrate the color temperature, set the high and low color temperature values, check the grayscale tracking and calibrate the video inputs. Additional measurements and calibrations for contrast and frequency response are also available

    Tips

    • Check the forums for specific settings other users have deemed successful. Very sophisticated colorimeters are occasionally available for short-term rental from photographic outlets. Calibration software and video test patterns are available for free download on several Internet sites. Retest your Viera after every 200 hours of use.

    Warnings

    • Do not leave a test pattern image on the plasma screen any longer than necessary to make calibrations and adjustments. Overexposure can damage the screen.

    Required Items

    • Colorimeter
    • Calibration software

    About the Author

    Joe Murray San Francisco, CA, US Joe Murray began writing professionally in 1980. As a technical writer, he authored numerous white papers, journals and articles for publications and websites for Hewlett Packard and Intel. Since retiring, Murray has written several home-exchange travel articles for KnowYourTrade.com and CHECtravel, among other outlets. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy from Santa Clara University. Murray has made more than 50 vacation home exchanges worldwide.

    Photo Credits

    • Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images News/Getty Images