Zenith P60W26P High-Definition plasma monitor Calibration
The Zenith P60W26P had obviously been used before it came to me, so it was impossible to get a typical, out-of-the-box reading. Nevertheless, Jamie Wilson of Overture Ultimate Audio/Video in Wilmington, Delaware, performed the Calibration for me and found 7800 kelvins to be the highest color-temperature value before he calibrated the display. That's relatively good performance, and not too far above the NTSC standard of 6500K.
But the Zenith displayed an odd quirk that neither of us had seen before. Normally, the color temperature of a display will graph as a more or less straight line, from low- to high-IRE readings. But before and after Calibration, the P60W26P jumped around, sometimes hopping up or down 300 or 400K from one IRE value to the next. We couldn't explain this erratic behavior, but it was unlikely to produce visible effects.
The picture-control menus could not be more poorly designed. The menu box sits right in the middle of the screen, and when you pick a parameter (Contrast, Sharpness, etc.) to adjust, the box doesn't fall away, as it does with many TVs, but remains in the middle of the screen, obscuring the test pattern you're trying to use.
On several Video Essentials test patterns, particularly one that shows a graduated page of white to black, I noticed a bit of red in the image. Also, with a 4:3 grid pattern on the screen, echoes of the horizontal lines were visible in the gray panels to the left and right of the 4:3 window. These were visible only close-up, not at normal viewing distances.
Plasma displays always present perfect alignment and geometry; it's inherent in the technology. But sharpness is as variable with plasmas as it is with CRTs. The P60W26P's Sharpness control had to be turned down by about two-thirds to eliminate white-echo lines. As with all plasmas, this came with a price. The Sharpness control does actually control sharpness: The more you turn it down, the softer the picture. So use it with discretion.—JB