0Fix grey letterbox bars on LG Plasma TV

I have an LG Plasma TV as part of my main HTPC setup.  Although I cal­ib­rated it (and turned off things like dynam­ic con­trast) when I first got it, I have always had an issue with the let­ter­box bars (e.g. on 2.4:1 ratio films) look­ing grey — i.e. being light­er than the darkest parts of the film.  I googled to try to find a solu­tion but was even­tu­ally con­vinced by repeated for­ums that it was just my per­cep­tion and even­tu­ally gave up.

I recently rewatched Ter­min­at­or 3 and dur­ing the intro sequence there is just white text dis­played on a mainly black pic­ture.  There was no doubt­ing this time that the let­ter­box bars quite clearly were light­er than the main pic­ture — it was no trick of the eye.  I again came back to google but still could­n’t find any solu­tion.  So I star­ted play­ing around with set­tings.  It turned out to be the simplest solu­tion — I had the black level set to “high” rather than “low” on the TV set­tings.  By default I tend to think of “high” as “good” but of course in the case of blacks “low” is actu­ally what is desir­able — this is a case of a con­fus­ing labelling of the setting!

So — to cure grey let­ter­box bars on your LG Plasma go to set­tings: pic­ture: expert set­tings: black level and set it to “low”

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