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Launch of the Plasma-TV FAQ


Running In, Screen Settings, Retention, and Screen Burn

How long do I run it in for?
Between 200 and 500 hours. Some folk at Pioneer have been stating 1000 hours

How can I see how many hours I´ve watched it?
You need to use the installer menu - see later section.

I hear loads of bad things about screen retention or burn in these plasmas - what is the situation?
Screen burn is permanent damage. Screen retention is temporary and is due to pixels still holding charge that needs to be released. Burn is very rare on any plasma - Pioneer included.

Three things seem to have been causing retention problems:
  • Your plasma TV needs running-in whether it´s a Pioneer or something else. This will reduce retention. Unfortunately the screen default settings aren´t recommended for the running in period - mostly because of the very high CONTRAST setting - so people using the defaults have had problems
  • Pioneer make some recommendations at the front of the manual, but don´t highlight the need for running-in well enough so many users just use the same settings that it ships with
  • There was a problem in earlier editions of the 436 where the voltages were set too high. Pioneer engineers can patch the 436 with new firmware to reduce the voltages, but only if the screen has run less than 200 hours. New models shipping since Feb 2006 (see next question) now have the voltages reduced.

What does Pioneer say about screen retention?
Pioneer give the same advice to 436/506 FDE/XDE/RXE/SXE owners.
Taken direct from page 7 of the XDE manual it says:
Usage guidelines
All phosphor-based screens (including conventional tube-type televisions) can be affected by displaying static images for a prolonged period. Plasma Display System´s are no exception to this rule. After-image and permanent effects on the screen can be avoided by taking some basic precautions. By following the recommendations listed below, you can ensure longer and satisfactory results from your plasma:
  • Whenever possible, avoid frequently displaying the same image or virtually still moving pictures (e.g. closed-captioned images or video game images which have static portions).
  • Do not display Teletext for a prolonged period of time.
  • Avoid viewing the On Screen Display for extended periods, from a decoder, DVD player, VCR and all other components.
  • Do not leave the same picture freeze-framed or paused continuously over a long period of time, when using the still picture mode from a TV, VCR, DVD player or any other component.
  • Images which have both very bright areas and very dark areas side by side should not be displayed for a prolonged period of time.
  • When playing a game, the "GAME" mode setting within "AV Selection" is strongly recommended. However, please limit its use to less than 2 hours at a time.
  • After playing a game, or displaying a PC image or any still image, it is best to view a normal moving picture in the "WIDE" or "FULL" screen setting for more than 3 times the length of the previous still moving image.
  • After using the Plasma Display System, always switch the display to "STANDBY" mode.

The following are typical effects and characteristics of a phosphor-based matrix display and as such, are not covered by the manufacturer´s limited warranties:
  • Permanent residual images upon the phosphors of the panel.
  • The existence of a minute number of inactive light cells.
  • Panel generated sounds, examples: Fan motor noise, and electrical circuit humming / glass panel buzzing

Taken direct from page 8 of the XDE manual it says:
Plasma Display protection function
When still images (such as photos and computer images) stay on the screen for an extended period of time, the screen will be slightly dimmed. This is because the protection function of the Plasma Display automatically adjusts the brightness to protect the screen when detecting still images; so this does not designate malfunction. The screen is dimmed when a still image is detected for about three minutes.

Taken direct from page 9 of the XDE manual it says:
Panel sticking and after-image lag
Displaying the same images such as still images for a long time may cause after-image lagging. This may occur in the following two cases:
  1. After-image lagging due to remaining electrical load When image patterns with very high peak luminance are displayed for more than 1 minute, after-image lagging may occur due to the remaining electric load. The after-images remaining on the screen will disappear when moving images are displayed. The time for the after-images to disappear depends on the luminance of the still images and the time they had been displayed.
  2. After-image (lag image) due to burning
    Avoid displaying the same image on the Plasma Display continuously over a long period of time. If the same image is displayed continuously for several hours, or for shorter periods of time over several days, a permanent after-image may remain on the screen due to burning of the fluorescent materials. Such images may become less noticeable if moving images are later displayed, but they will not disappear completely.
  • The energy save function can be set to help prevent damage from screen burning (see page 38). [FAQ Note: this refers to changing Power Save to "SAVE 2"]

How can I see when my panel was made?
Check the rear of the panel for a small sticker.

If I suffer screen retention - what can I do?
Don´t Panic! Run a snow channel on your screen, ideally overnight whilst you´re in bed. A snow channel is an analogue channel tuned to get only the fast moving white dots onto the black background. This is how:
  • Within the power menu disable the no signal auto power off feature
  • Select an analogue TV channel and pull the aerial out of the Media box/wall to get the snow signal
  • Set your screen to Dynamic as this helps the pixel to go from high power (brightness) to none, and therefore facilitates to release the excess of energy that causes the retention
  • Wait a few hours and this normally fixes it

If this doesn´t fix it - contact Pioneer.

Should I run the panel in?
Yes. It prolongs the life of the plasma and makes it less likely to have problems.

But someone in my house complains that the run-in settings make it look absolutely rubbish and too dark!
So run the snow screen (or a channel without a fixed image/logo/DOG) overnight or during the day to get through the first few hundred hours faster

So what are the shipping settings and recommended run-in settings?
It is likely that the box is delivered with settings like Contrast at 40 The recommendation is to run the box in using these settings. Items in RED are the most important. Be warned that EACH INPUT SOURCE WILL NEED TO BE SET SEPARATELY! That means do this for INPUT1, then do it for INPUT2, and so on. These are also contained in this text file.

Note that you have profiles for STANDARD, DYNAMIC, MOVIE, GAME, and USER (as well as ISF DAY and ISF NIGHT for ISF calibration). If you change the defaults of STANDARD, DYNAMIC, MOVIE, & GAME - these will be changed for all inputs simultaneously. However, we recommend that you change those for USER, which is what they are designed for - USER configuration - and if you do this, you need to change the settings for all of your inputs separately. This is important to remember. Note that it is unlikely that ISF DAY and ISF NIGHT will be used by whosoever does your ISF calibration due to some limitations in these modes, and so its likely that your calibration guy will use the USER modes anyway. ´

  • Picture / AV Selection = USER
  • Contrast = 15 to 20 (this is the killer bit for running in)
  • Brightness = -10 to 0 (lower is better, but it´s your call as to what is reasonable to watch). Brightness should be set to the point where you can´t see the pixels starting to emit light in dark parts of the image. Having brightness too high is unlikely to cause any issues during run in except make the image look washed out. Contrast is the killer not brightness.
  • Colour = -10 to -5 (lower is better, but it´s your call as to what is reasonable to watch). Most people never go below -10.
  • Tint = 0
  • Sharpness = -9 to -3

  • Pro Adjust

  • Pure Cinema OFF (for progressive source) & STANDARD (for interlaced source), but see the question dealing with judder/interlacing in the Picture Quality section. It doesn´t matter what this is for running in.

  • Colour Detail

  • Colour Temp = MID-LOW or if you want to MID depending on preference for white balance (the default colour temp is very cyan)
  • CTI (Colour Transient Improvement) = OFF

  • NR (Noise Reduction)

  • DNR (Digital Noise Reduction) = OFF or LOW
  • MPEG NR = OFF or LOW

  • DRE (Dynamic Range Expander)

  • Dynamic Contrast = OFF (very important)
  • Black Level = OFF
  • ACL = OFF
  • Gamma = 2. The gamma tends to flip between 2 or 3 dependant on the source. Some people swear by GAMMA 1, although there´s a feeling that 2 is likely to be most accurate most of the time.

  • Other

  • I-P Mode = 1

  • Power Control

  • Energy Save = Save 2

  • Option

  • Drive Mode = 100Hz (DVD and PC input should be 75Hz)

  • The following recommendations also seem useful during running in, but your mileage may vary:

  • Play video games using the "GAME" mode (under AV Selection) for the screen, and try not to play them for more than a couple of hours at a time
  • Don´t leave static images on the screen, and definitely for less than 2 hours at a time

What settings could I change after running in for 200+ hours?
You can slowly alter your settings as you use the box more (i.e. you could slowly adjust settings every hundred hours or so). Exact choices depend on the light settings for your room and how your sources output to your box. Everyone has different settings. Recommending how to setup your box for your specific house doesn´t really work. You really need to use a DVE disk yourself (cheaper) or get someone in to do a professional ISF callibration (more expensive)

However, there are discussions running round on how to set things up, so these are included here for information only. Things that forum folk have changed after runnning are as follows - but there is no guarantee these will look good in your room:

  • Contrast = 27 to 34 (although some say above 30 is still on the high side). As this is the major setting that can cause problems, it´s better to increase this in small increments bit by bit (say every hundred hours or so)
  • Brightness = -1 to +2
  • Colour = nothing lower than -10 (although some people have set this as low as -18)
  • Tint = 0
  • Sharpness = 0 to +1
  • Black Level = ON
  • CTI = ON

This goes to prove that your mileage WILL vary in all this and no one can really tell you what the right settings are for your room unless they are an ISF calibrator.

Hang on! What about Dynamic Contrast? Can I turn that on? This setting is to make it look very bright in a large shop filled with fluorescent tube lighting. Folk recommend that you calibrate with a DVD (or ISF) or adjust other settings other than this one.

Can I use a product to "wash away" screen retention?
You can use Pioneer Official Retention Washer, that you find a part of here.
The original DVD is 4GB +, so managed to rip the other 22 identical tracks and kept just one in this dvd iso, that can be burned or mounted (as you wish).You can therefore set repeat track,within your dvd player and set the Plasma Panel to Dynamic.
Should Help for Retention Issues.

Extra Info

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