TV picture issue, anyone?

I am not a videophile. I don't do HT. Basically, I'm not too concerned about anything beyond getting a picture that looks decent to me and doesn't have any distracting stuff going on that shouldn't be there.

I recently moved, and now we're sitting farther away from the set, so it was time to get a new TV with a bigger picture than my 15 year old NEC 20". As it has turned out, I have now gotten two new TV's, and both have had a problem (which is the reason I returned the first one) that is bothering me.

Probably the only real reason I pay for cable, other than local sports, is to watch old movies on TCM and AMC. I love black and white. When I watch B&W movies, black and white (and shades of gray) is what I want to see.

I first got a Panasonic 27" model for $400 at my local Circuit City (man, does that place suck or what?) as a floor demo, marked down from $500. It seemed alright, but I noticed that B&W images had slight spurious colors imposed on them, no matter where the color level control was set. There was a bluish cast at the left and right edges, and a blotchy orange cast in the middle. Since there were no sources of magnetism anywhere near the set, back to the store I went with it.

Rather than have them try to service it, I decided to upgrade to a Sony KV27FS100 for another $100, because there were a couple of operational issues I didn't like about the Panasonic anyway. This unit was NIB, and when I got it home, it was easy to see that it actually had the better picture of the two in just about every way. But when I tried B&W, guess what? Same thing, only this time a little bit more noticable if anything, and now the colors are reversed, being reddish at the side edges and bluish through the middle.

The TV sits on a wooden cube, and is placed about three feet out from a corner, so it's not against any walls. There are no outboard speakers being used with it. There is a VCR, but nothing changes when this is removed. The anomoly occurs with all sources including antenna and prerecorded tape, is present no matter what cables are in use, and is independent of all adjustment control settings. I never saw this problem with either of two old NECs, and now I've had it with two new sets in a row. I assume it is also present with color images, but is just harder to notice.

I emailed Sony, and after jumping through all of their hoops to get a real response, they basically just said "remove all possible sources of magnetism". No duh! My brother had an interesting take: he thought that maybe, since both sets had side-positioned internal speakers, that it was possible that the manufacturers simply weren't properly shielding the drivers from the CRT. I don't know about this, but I do know one of the NECs also had speakers positioned along the side, and didn't show this problem.

Anyone know what the deal is with this? What kind of TV am I going to have to get just to watch unsullied B&W, and how much is it going to cost me? Or is there something else going on here, or something else I can do about it? TIA for your suggestions.
It the problem with your cable provider? Garbage in, garbage out?
Well # 1,I would sure have watched the same tv,and in B&W, at the store. (Bring your own software.) Everybody's eyes are different,but I would guess it might be poor QC at the factory. NTSC standard for B&W is 1000 kelvins lower; 5500 vs 6500. My sister has a newer 27in Sony and the colors and the convergience are all over the place;but she loves it. I'll have to take a look at its B&W performance.I don't do much b&w but I do remember renting this John Wayne movie on dvd, "Red River". The B&W was spectacular;on my calibrated 60in Pioneer Elete. Good B&W is a treat.

Search for an ISF calibration tech;on the web. Call or email; One of those guys will have your answer.
Perhaps the sets were exposed to some magnetic field during shipment or storage. You didn't mention but I assume you tried the degauss button. If there is no degauss button, you might get the store to send a tech with a degaussing device. Is there some way to remove the internal speakers without disassembling the whole set? Also, Sugarbrie's idea that it could be a signal problem sounds worth investigating. You might have a faulty cable box, too. Good luck.
Great suggestions above. We have some inexpensive TV's and B&W works great. So, it is not just a matter of cost.

The recommendations stated are the more likely scenario but on an off chance, have you tried moving the TV to another location in the house. Take your TV and VCR into another room and see if the problem still persists with your VCR tape. Maybe the physical location of the TV is an issue. This approach also lets you see what happens with absolutely no cable hookup so you might be able to see if that is the problem. Good luck.
I agree with the above: the set needs degaussing. Probably got magnetized during shipping. Had this happen on a small set purchased at Best Buy, and all they had to do was run a degaussing ring in front of the set and presto, no more problem.
The DVD for the B&W movie "The Man Who Wasn't There" has a setup routine to adjust the black & white on your TV. Rent it a Blockbuster. (Not sure it won't then mess up the color?????)
Thanks for the response so far. I do want to reiterate for those who questioned the cable feed quality or set adjustments, that the problem is apparent on all sources, not just the cable, and exists over the whole range of control settings, including if the color is turned all the way down so color images are also rendered as B&W. The degaussing issue is interesting and I will have to research it, and I will try moving the set physically just in case. I still find it amazing, and hard to explain, why the same basic problem should show up on two different sets from two different makers. I should probably also have pointed out that both of these sets are flat-screens, something I haven't owned before. I like the look of the flat screen, I hope this isn't a price that has to be paid for going that way.
First, I would look into the degaussing thing, with the following added remark: if it got magnetized during shipping, perhaps you have a big magnet (subwoofer in the trunk?) or some electrical device in your car that causes trouble - try a different vehicle, maybe? Second, from my personal experience, I've seen two NIB sets that came already magnetized from the factory - a third brand, but also flatscreens. Either they're all very sensitive, or the QC is getting worse in those cheap-labor factories everybody seems to prefer nowadays.
Sorry to hear about your problem. I'm NOT a TV or video technician, but I do own a commercial video editing and media duplication company. And I've worked in the television industry since back in 1984. Sounds like you have some magnetic problems, as well as a problem with a colorburst signal that cannot be completely turned off. This is no doubt a factory setting problem that can easily be corrected if you take it to an authorized Sony service center. As someone who routinely has professional video equipment serviced, I would seriously recommend that you DO NOT take it back to Circuit City for service - but rather to an independent service company that does Sony warranty work.
--All sets automatically do degaussing each time the set is turned on. --Much like old brake drum shoes self adjusting; each time you back up.
Also the last thing I would do is lug around a brand new tv to have it analized. Go back to the store check out the same brand just turn the color all the way down;and see if they look like yours.
At this point, although the problem is still in evidence, unless I'm seeing things, it does seem to have somewhat ameliorated itself as I've used the set over the past few days, looking less pronounced than when it was just out of the box. Do TVs break-in? Doesn't seem unreasonable. I'll try to confirm your auto-deguass point George, but since the others mention professional deguassing, I would assume this procedure exists for a reason, and may give more complete results.
Update: After continued use (and a location change, although I don't think that really played a part), the TV is no longer showing colors on B&W images strongly enough to bother me at this point. Live and learn - I suppose the first TV may have done the same with additional use, but this set is better anyway. Wonder if it was 'break-in', or a deguassing undergone at each turn-on?

Now my question becomes, Anyone know of some decent-sounding, inexpensive, small self-powered and shielded speakers I should check out for use (in stereo) with the TV's external outputs? Thanks again for all your suggestions, everybody...
AR used to make something like this. Perhaps you could find an old pair of used Meridians. I suspect you might be better off with a used small Adcom, B&K(?), Nikko, etc. power amp with built in level controls and have a better selection of speakers to choose from. The Adcom SLC 505 (?) passive pre-amp when used in an approriate system can be a very fine value. Congratualtions on fixing your picture problems. Good luck with the audio end.