Today Samsung announced that its 2017 QLED TVs are the first consumer displays in the world to offer “CalMAN ready” autocalibration for HDR.
Autocalibration is a crucial capability for a TV to possess as HDR calibration is both tricky and time-consuming to perform manually. Samsung and Portrait Displays (makers of CalMAN) worked together to provide this CalMAN Ready solution.
A calibrated TV is one that is been adjusted so that its color and grayscale reproduction is as close to a specified standard as possible. For current HDR titles, the color space known as DCI/P3 that comes from commercial cinema is used for mastering (within the wider BT.2020 space). For non-HDR titles like HD Blu-ray and also broadcast TV, the standard in use is called BT.709. The key here is if you render video that’s graded to a standard with sufficient accuracy, you will see what the director/artist intended you to see.
CalMAN autocalibration functionality is not new. What’s new is its application to HDR, previously it could only perform SDR calibration.
“We are thrilled to bring the CalMAN with AutoCal software into people’s homes through our partnership with Portrait Displays,” said HS Kim, President of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “Samsung QLED TV is the world’s first complete TV product line that incorporates CalMAN’s superior calibration and allows our consumers to have the tools at their disposal for a premium viewing experience.”
Because the autocalibration functionality does not require on-screen menus, it does not interfere with the readings taken by the meter. This, combined with its automation, results in calibrations that are both faster and more accurate than what is possible when performing them manually at this time. The new system will also allow pro calibrators to get the best result possible by reducing the tedium of manual adjustment while still allowing for tweaking of the end result.
“After working with the experts at Samsung, we are excited to officially have our CalMAN with AutoCal software enabled on all 2017 Samsung QLED TVs,” said Martin Fishman, Portrait Displays’ co-CEO. “Developed specifically for a variety of viewing environments, together with Samsung, we envision CalMAN with AutoCal opening up a new horizon of picture quality for TV displays.”
This new software also lets you measure color volume, which is a way of describing the color reproduction capability of a TV at all brightness levels. Samsung touts its QLEDs as the only TVs that can express 100% color volume in the DCI/P3 gamut.
I am very excited to get my hands on this new software. I have a Samsung QLED Q9F review unit and while I’ve completed my SDR calibrations, I have been waiting for this software release to see what it can do for the challenging HDR calibration process. My manual efforts have yielded improvements, but since I’ve seen a beta version of CalMAN performing autocalibration I know what’s possible with this new system.
The benefit to the average user is when they hire a calibrator, the resulting HDR calibration will be a good one. That’s because it largely takes human inexperience out of the equation. But again, the real pros will be able to go beyond what the software can do on its own.