Originally Posted by Doug Blackburn
Despite my best efforts and the efforts of HogPilot and GeorgeAB and RayJr's offer to discuss calibration on the phone, you continue to make yourself look stupid in "public". It is difficult to continue to try to open your parachute before you hit the ground when you keep slapping our hands away.
Calibrators could care less if any given person wants their TV calibrated or not. I don't care if you want your TV calibrated or not, nor do any of the rest of us. If you want your TV to be as accurate as it can be, then it has to be calibrated because it is NOT accurate out of the box. I don't care who calibrates it... it could be you or it could be a friend or a pro. Whatever works for you. But it won't be accurate if it isn't calibrated. And during the calibration process, you will learn what it is, exactly, that your TV is good at and what it may not be so good at because there are either no adjustments or the adjustments may not work exactly as they should.
It is quite possible, even quite probable that 10 calibrators would end up with 10 different sets of adjustments. But that doesn't really matter too much. Because there are 10 (and possibly way more than 10) combinations of settings that will provide essentially the same calibrated result. Because... all calibrators (you, friends, pros) have the same "end point" targets right there in their calibration software. They either hit those targets or they don't. The calibration software is very specific about that.
There is an element of "art" to calibration also. For example: Let's say you measure 100% white and find there's too much red and green and not enough blue, so you make it accurate by subtracting some red and green and adding some blue. But now 90% white has too much blue and not enough red or green. The calibrator has to use their best judgement (and knowledge of how human vision responds to light) to decide what the best compromise settings are so that both 100% and 90% appear to be as error-free as your video display allows. But it's more complex than that because there may only be 6 adjustments (or possibly even only 4 adjustments) to make the entire grayscale from 0% to 100% as accurate as it can be. The goal is to make the overall errors as small as possible and hopefully to keep all the errors small enough that they are undetectable by human vision in moving images.
The SCIENCE part is that ALL calibrators and calibration software know what the "aim points" are for all the grayscale steps and for red, green, blue, cyan, magenta, and yellow. The ART part of calibration comes into play when the TVs controls won't allow you to hit the SCIENCE targets perfectly. The calibrator (again, could be you, a friend or a pro) has to "finesse" the grayscale into having invisible or nearly invisible errors and they have to do the same thing for the 3 primary colors and the 3 complimentary colors.
You could give me 10 TVs and I could set them up with 10 different combinations of User Menu settings (like Contrast, Brightness, Color, Tint) etc. and I could make all 10 of them come out within a few % of each other and none of those 10 would have the same combinations of settings.
Furthermore, you could give me 10 "identical" TVs all with the same User Menu and Service Menu settings and I could calibrate all of them to within very small differences, but at the end, you would have 10 different sets of settings in the User Menu and/or Service Menu. Because 10 "identical" TVs won't have identical settings once they are calibrated.
So your statement that 10 calibrators would have 10 different results is wrong in one way, but right in another. Any 10 calibrators who know what they are doing will very likely end up with 10 diffferent sets of control settings for the TV in question... what won't be very different in the end is the final RESULT which is the whole goal of calibration. We know the aim point for each grayscale step based on the gamma we want the display to have. We all know the coordinates for Red including the luminance (brightness) of Red and we will all try to get the red xy (or uv) coordinates as accurate as possible and we will all try to get red luminance as accurate as it can be. Any differences at the end of the process will be small enough that the should be invisible.
There is a "threshold of visibility" at work. My threshold is probably lower than most people's threshold because I worked for the worlds foremost imaging company for 34 years and have been reviewing home theater equipment and calibrating for more than 10 years. Calibrators who have been working for years probably have a lower threshold than "civilians". It's an "experience thing". On the other hand someone who has taught themselves calibration and spent some money on a good meter and software and maybe a good test pattern generator and has only worked on their own TV but has spent 100s of hours learning and working on that ONE TV may be able to do a pretty good job without the help of a pro. But there's going to be a BIG investment either way... you can hire a pro calibrator and save the money you would spend on a meter and software and save the 100s of hours of time you might invest in learning calibration and learning your particular TV's capabilities... or you can do it all yourself.
Surprisingly enough (sarcasm), most people place more than $3 an hour value on their time. So if they spend 100 hours teaching themselves how to calibrate their own TV, $300 for a pro calibration seems pretty reasonable. If your leisure time is worth $10 and hour to you, then $300 for a calibration is a bargain. It all depends on how you value your time and whether the whole calibration thing is interesting to you. For some, it is the learning experience that is the most important thing and the cost of the gear is inconsequential. For many the cost of the gear (and maintaining it over the years) is significant and they just aren't into learning the whole calibration thing and they just want an accurate video display. 3rd party calibration is just the ticket for them.
Nobody here is "pushing" calibration... and I have no idea where you got that impression... your own personal vision that not an accurate picture of the situation.
I answer calibration questions here for free. Almost every day. So do a lot of other calibrators. Free information. Just for the asking. Could be a beginner, could be someone going DIY, could be someone who had a calibration but has questions about it... doesn't really matter. 99.9% of them live places I won't ever travel to (I don't do wide-sweeping calibration "tours", some other calibrators do). Where's the insidious evil in that?