Setting Sharpness: For people with glasses - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 85 Old 01-05-2012, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
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I just picked up new glasses today(after an exam last week) because my 106" diagonal projection screen was getting blurry. Up until now, I've only worn glasses for reading. When I re-check the sharpness setting tonight, do I do it from my seating position? Since these glasses are for "distance"? If I do it up at the screen it seems like I would have the wrong setting for when I'm in my viewing position, correct? Thanks.
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post #2 of 85 Old 01-05-2012, 05:20 PM
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Greetings

Yup ... do it from where you sit ...

IF you can't see edge enhancement at that location then it is fine ... unless you decide to sit 6 inches from the screen.

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post #3 of 85 Old 01-05-2012, 08:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks. So if I see no difference when raising or lowering sharpness, just leave it at the default, zero?
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post #4 of 85 Old 01-05-2012, 08:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim McC View Post

Thanks. So if I see no difference when raising or lowering sharpness, just leave it at the default, zero?

I too wear glasses (progressive bifocals) and found that at my usual sitting distance, leaving the sharpness at its default worked best for me (and fortunately, everyone else at home as well).
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post #5 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 01:13 AM
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There's really only one right setting for Sharpness. Using any other setting is adding distortion. If you had a stereo system with a "distortion" dial, you wouldn't want to set it for some amount of distortion if it was capable of delivering zero distortion. Same thing with Sharpness. If you can't see some sharpening at your seat, you are still viewing an image with distortion added to it and while it may not be obvious, it's unlikely that using the RIGHT setting would ever look worse and it might even look better with the proper Sharpness setting. Glasses or no glasses, there's one right setting for the sharpness control and that's the setting that produces the least distortion. Edge enhancement is distortion and it really gets obvious when the image is complex because there will be so many more edge enhancement artifacts than in an image that's less complex.

Since "sharpening" an image has nothing to do with REALLY sharpening an image, any amoung of sharpening is distortion. Some sharpness controls exist but do nothing because the marketing people won't allow the engineers to remove the Sharpening control but the engineers know it adds distortion to images so they left the Sharpness control there, but moving it up and down does not affect the images.

Some sharpness controls range from 0-15 or 0-100 or 0-50... and 0 is the only setting where no sharpness is added. In these cases 0 would be the right setting.

Some other sharpness controls may have settings like -50 to +50. In some cases, 0 will be the "no sharpening" setting and negative settings actually soften the image... almost as if it is being de-focused. It would be wrong to use a setting that softens the images.

Then there are the wild-card Sharpness controls where the numbers have little meaning. I've seen cases where "20" is the right setting (no sharpening) and settings lower than 20 soften the image and settings above 20 add sharpening.

I have a projector here now where "11" has a sharpening artifact on vertical lines and no sharpening artifact on horizontal lines. But if you move to "12" you get sharpening artifacts on horizontal lines but not on vertical lines. There is no setting for this projector that has zero sharpening artifacts.

You need a proper sharpness evaluation pattern to set the sharpness control -- it's just too hard to see what is happening in moving images. But the sharpness pattern does need to be a video image and not something like a JPEG image which is likely processed differently by the TV than video images. This is typically a gray background with several widths of lines, both horizontal and vertical. Every test/setup disc I've ever seen has a sharpness evaluation pattern on it. No sharpening is the goal, and the best way to see if there is sharpening happening or not is to be as close to the screen as you can get and still focus on the screen (may require reading glasses for some). A proper sharpness pattern is really important because you may find that your TV or projector sharpens narrow lines but not thicker lines... you don't want to leave the Sharpness control on a setting where thin lines have edge artifacts as that will definitely show up in images, especially complex images, even if you think you can't see if from your viewing position. If you want the best images your TV or projector can deliver, you really have to use a Sharpness evaluation pattern to assist with finding the right setting.

The sharpness pattern with gray background and black lines... sharpening artifacts will appear on 1 or both sides of horizontal or vertical lines or BOTH horizontal and vertical lines. If the sharpness pattern you are using has a large black circle on a gray background, you want to look at both edges of the circle all the way around the circle. Those circular patterns may not include multiple thicknesses of lines and you might miss edge artifacts that appear along very thin lines.

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post #6 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 01:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Blackburn View Post

There's really only one right setting for Sharpness. Using any other setting is adding distortion......

Agreed! It must be noted that genuine sharpness of detail will enhance the perception of contrast. It's also helpful to adjust focus and sharpness at the screen. I disagree that acceptable appearance from the seated position is sufficient. The image should be as absolutely resolved as possible with a projector. There may be subtle differences, not readily recognizable from the primary seating location, that contribute to the overall image quality of the display system. These subtleties can be more easily identified, and adjusted for, when viewed closer to the screen.

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post #7 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 02:25 AM
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Aren't there sets where lowering Sharpness below some point actually blurs the picture?
Haven't experienced myself except with a DVD player I had, it had about 4 settings and the lowest blurred the picture and the setting above that produced the cleanest picture.
But with my Sony Bravia, Sharpness behaves as it should, ie Min/0 is the correct setting.
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post #8 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 04:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeAB View Post

Agreed! It must be noted that genuine sharpness of detail will enhance the perception of contrast.

To add: Increasing white to the edges of black increases contrast and thus the illusion of a sharper picture. In reality, the added white is noise that both adds content that is not part of the intended picture and the added white obscures content that is intended. You lose both ways.

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Originally Posted by rickardl View Post

Aren't there sets where lowering Sharpness below some point actually blurs the picture?

Explained by Doug Blackburn above.

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post #9 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 05:09 AM
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Interesting..
I would like to ask Michael to elaborate on why he gave the OP the initial answer.
I have always set sharpness up close to the screen for all the reasons stated.
But considering Michael is a ISF/THX Instructor, I an curious as to why he said to set it from the viewing seat.
Thanks,
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post #10 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 07:09 AM
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Good background on sharpness: http://archiv.arri.de/4kplus-systems/index.htm
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post #11 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 07:20 AM
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greetings,

because if you cant see its effects on a test pattern, you wont ever see it on real material.

like setting brightness from your seat and not 6 inches away. just noticeable differences.

also... sharpness on crappy sources is just fine since it does not matter... its a crappy signal. if it makes the signal more watchable to you... then use it.

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post #12 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 10:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

greetings,

because if you cant see its effects on a test pattern, you wont ever see it on real material.

like setting brightness from your seat and not 6 inches away. just noticeable differences.

also... sharpness on crappy sources is just fine since it does not matter... its a crappy signal. if it makes the signal more watchable to you... then use it.

regards

Thanks! That is what I figured!
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post #13 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 11:14 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

greetings,

because if you cant see its effects on a test pattern, you wont ever see it on real material.

like setting brightness from your seat and not 6 inches away. just noticeable differences.

also... sharpness on crappy sources is just fine since it does not matter... its a crappy signal. if it makes the signal more watchable to you... then use it.

regards


A sensible and reasonable answer. I have always set it from viewing position for people as well. And some daily viewed material or old sourced movie content can benefit from it. Who is to say if an older source material that has deteriorated somewhat, was not at one time crisper. Ergo, if a viewer finds the picture quality improved, within reason, viewers prerogative.
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post #14 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys. I used the sharpness pattern on the Spears and Munsil disc last night. If you're familiar with that disc's sharpness test pattern, what specific area should I look at?
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post #15 of 85 Old 01-06-2012, 02:04 PM
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Greetings

Just raise the sharpness to max and see what it does to the black lines. Then back off until that stuff disappears. Stop. Don't keep going.

At the website below, go to the tutorial section and watch the spectracal video on doing sharpness.

regards

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post #16 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 09:47 AM
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Thanks for bringing attention to your website- I had seen your .sig many times and never noticed it.

Great articles there. Keep writing- it's very helpful for many of us!
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post #17 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 10:44 AM
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I don't agree that setting sharpness from the viewing seat is "correct" or "good enough". Because you ARE going to impact the images if there is ANY sharpening applied to them.

I'm talking about setting up the video display to be AS GOOD AS IT CAN BE. (and that has nothing to do with whether you wear glasses or not). I'm not talking about setting up for crappy sources or for someone who doesn't care if the TV is the best it can be or not.

Here's an illustration of why you CANNOT set sharpness from the viewing seat and achieve optimum image quality:

Let's say you are sitting 15 feet from 2 video displays... both the same size, let's say they are 36" diagonal models. But one is a 480i display and the other is a 1080p display. Sitting 15 feet from these displays means you CANNOT see individual pixels on EITHER TV. Do you think you will be able to tell which TV is 480 and which is 1080 from 15 feet (assume both are calibrated and are otherwise essentially "perfect" displays). I KNOW you will be able to see the difference in images even at 15 feet and even though you can't see individual pixels.

Same thing applies to the Sharpness control... even though you may THINK you have the right setting while sitting in the viewing seat, it's unlikely you will achieve the right setting without getting close to the display. And the results of having the wrong setting WILL be visible in the image even though it may not be obvious from the viewing seat... just as the 480 display can be easily identified from 15 feet even though you can't see enough detail at 15 feet to see the large (compared to the 1080 display) pixels.

Back to the stereo system "distortion" knob... let's say the knob has settings of 0-100 and each step add 1% distortion. If you start at "10" and turn it down 1 click at a time, you may think there's no distortion at the 2 or 1 setting. But that would be an incorrect observation and the amount of distortion with the knob at 1 or 2 WOULD alter the music.

So do what you want, but there is only one way to optimize image quality and that's to find the best possible setting, not the close-enough-for-government-work setting. If you have a projector, I don't think ANYBODY would advise setting focus from the viewing seat. EVERYBODY gets real close to the screen to see if focus is "perfect" (or as perfect as it can be). Sharpness is the same thing... softer-than-perfect focus is a distortion, sharpening is a distortion... and you will ALWAYS get the best possible images when focus is as good as it can be and when sharpness is set as best as it can be set for any given display -- so that the distortions are as low as they can be.

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post #18 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 11:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

greetings,

because if you cant see its effects on a test pattern, you wont ever see it on real material.

like setting brightness from your seat and not 6 inches away. just noticeable differences.

also... sharpness on crappy sources is just fine since it does not matter... its a crappy signal. if it makes the signal more watchable to you... then use it.

regards

It should be understood that "just noticeable difference" (JND) can be applied as an average for 20/20 vision, or it can be specific to one individual viewer's visual acuity. In the case for the OP, there will likely also be other viewers present at times he operates his projection system. Will they see better, worse, or the same as he does with his glasses? Will they sit closer, farther, or the same distance he adjusted the display from? When it comes to image quality in a projection display system, I still recommend checking such adjustments as focus and edge enhancement near the screen.

Michael, Doug, and I are all imaging quality advocates, display industry professionals, calibration colleagues, and friends. There is certainly room for disagreement in all of those categories and relationships. Methodologies can vary among imaging science practitioners, especially when it is understood that there are differences between genuine industry standards, versus published engineering guidelines, and recommended practice. I am of the school that values clarity over absolute agreement in the process of public debate and discussion.
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post #19 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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I set the sharpness last night right up at the screen with my reading glasses on. With my new glasses the image is nice and clear again. It's like going from a 480p projector to a 1080p !!
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post #20 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 01:31 PM
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Greetings

Doug,

I've done this viewing seat versus my nose to the screen so many times for so many systems. 20/20 vision ... biggest difference ... about 1 click in sharpness. 50 optimal ... so you end up at 51 ... / 100 ...

You can't see a difference on a real image based on this no matter what you say. The test patterns are torture tests. If you can't tell there ... you are not losing anything on a real image. You lose way more by arbitrarily setting contrast to 235 than one click of sharpness. And that is real stuff too ... when it is there.

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post #21 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 06:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

I've done this viewing seat versus my nose to the screen so many times for so many systems. 20/20 vision ... biggest difference ... about 1 click in sharpness. 50 optimal ... so you end up at 51 ... / 100

Surely that makes the best case for setting sharpness to the correct neutral setting, so there is none of that (potentially) harmful processing being applied, rather than setting it by eye at a distance, if the difference is so small.
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post #22 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 08:20 PM
 
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Hmm. . . since there is no numeric value of Sharpness that is specific, and it's effect is somewhat arbitrary, I think Michael's original reply still is valid. After all, it still would amount to making the setting "AS GOOD AS IT CAN BE" from the distance being viewed.
The idea of whether there are 1, 3, or 10 people viewing the screen doesn't matter, since there are also other viewing aspects that would also enter into it. Usually any viewing room, has a "sweet spot" or area where viewing is best or possibly even preferred by the owner. So it would make sense to adjust sharpness from the position and distance most often used. So. . . the following still makes sense:


Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

Greetings

Yup ... do it from where you sit ...

IF you can't see edge enhancement at that location then it is fine ... unless you decide to sit 6 inches from the screen.

regards

And, since were are dealing with a value that is immeasurable unlike most other picture parameters, adjustment from the most commonly viewed distance seems valid. Ergo, the followup reply also is valid. Just as a setting for brightness may be different by one or more numerical values for it depending on distance, possible ambient light levels, etc; so may sharpness. Also, since no 2 TVs or projectors are exactly alike (as calibration settings would indicate) no absolute value or "effect" of sharpness can be validated as "better" or "worse" except by the viewer. This is one area that clearly can not empirically be defined.

As Micheal stated:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

greetings,

because if you cant see its effects on a test pattern, you wont ever see it on real material.

like setting brightness from your seat and not 6 inches away. just noticeable differences.

also... sharpness on crappy sources is just fine since it does not matter... its a crappy signal. if it makes the signal more watchable to you... then use it.

regards

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post #23 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 08:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronoptimist View Post

Surely that makes the best case for setting sharpness to the correct neutral setting, so there is none of that (potentially) harmful processing being applied, rather than setting it by eye at a distance, if the difference is so small.

Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing what the "neutral" position is. Assuming it is some "mid point" or "zero" position of the setting is not an absolute and can not be validated. Also, the idea of leaving a control at a "neutral" position is a bit absurd. Why would the control be provided at all if it should not be used?
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post #24 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 08:46 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael TLV View Post

Greetings

Just raise the sharpness to max and see what it does to the black lines. Then back off until that stuff disappears. Stop. Don't keep going.

At the website below, go to the tutorial section and watch the spectracal video on doing sharpness.

regards

And, this is as good and practical explanation on how to set sharpness as I've seen However, on some TVs and video equipment it may likely be more than 51 /100 or 49 out of 100 as some controls are very subtle. The video and other resources offer very good reference. Let the user use discernment and their own eyes.
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post #25 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 09:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Blackburn View Post


Back to the stereo system "distortion" knob... let's say the knob has settings of 0-100 and each step add 1% distortion. If you start at "10" and turn it down 1 click at a time, you may think there's no distortion at the 2 or 1 setting. But that would be an incorrect observation and the amount of distortion with the knob at 1 or 2 WOULD alter the music.

I'm sorry. This is really grasping at straws. No audio equipment ever had such a control. . . at least on purpose. And the Sharpness is a setting in the basic controls of a TV or piece of video equipment. It is there to be used should the user deem it useful with their own discernment.
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post #26 of 85 Old 01-07-2012, 10:04 PM
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Greetings

As an aside ... it should be noted that controls sometimes get put into a TV not because they need to be in there, but rather because the marketing department dictates that it is needed. It is not an engineering issue at all.

In a battle between the design engineers and the marketing department ... would one care to guess who wins? Not the engineers.

Sometimes the engineer gets the last laugh because they put in the requested control, but they make sure it does nothing. They don't tell anyone. Marketing is happy because the control is there and the consumer somewhere scratches their head and wonders why a certain control seemingly does nothing.

Pioneer Kuro plasma sets for instance ... did not even need that haphazard CMS since the TV was so well built in many ways. But marketing dictated that it was needed for people that address features in a tv ... and without such a feature, the tv would be deemed less than some competitor product that had it. Whether the feature worked right or not really did not matter at all.

The feature did not work right and the engineer who was responsible for it even said so. (This is Doug's story)

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post #27 of 85 Old 01-08-2012, 02:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phase700B View Post

Also, since no 2 TVs or projectors are exactly alike (as calibration settings would indicate) no absolute value or "effect" of sharpness can be validated as "better" or "worse" except by the viewer. This is one area that clearly can not empirically be defined.

This would maybe apply to CRT displays (I would argue that it's more likely that focus would need to be adjusted rather than sharpness) but is not at all true when it comes to modern digital displays. There is only one correct value for sharpness on them.

There is only one way to view the original source 1:1 as intended, and that is without adding or removing any sharpness from the image. What that value is, ends up being different on different display models, but it's typically 0 or 50 for the vast majority of displays out there, depending on whether they allow "negative" sharpness. Any display of the same "type" e.g. all Panasonic P50GT30s or all Pioneer KRP600s will have the same setting.


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Originally Posted by Phase700B View Post

Unfortunately, there is no way of knowing what the "neutral" position is. Assuming it is some "mid point" or "zero" position of the setting is not an absolute and can not be validated. Also, the idea of leaving a control at a "neutral" position is a bit absurd. Why would the control be provided at all if it should not be used?

It's usually very easy to tell where the neutral position is with most displays, especially with a PC source hooked up. The Sony displays that require a setting of 50/100 rather than their traditional 0 are the only exception I can think of in recent years where it hasn't been immediately obvious which setting is correct. You can turn down sharpness from 50 to 0 on them and not see any difference on the desktop or with sharpness test patterns (or a negligible one at most) but as soon as you load up a good Blu-ray or look at some detailed photographs, it becomes obvious that 50 is correct. Going above 50 still shows signs of ringing immediately.
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post #28 of 85 Old 01-08-2012, 05:48 AM
 
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^ ^ ^
I disagree. CMS and some other controls are usually not part of basic adjusts in a TV. Basic adjusts is where Sharpness is found. The "effects" of digital sharpening is still an observed quality regardless how close or how far from a screen a person is. So eyesight acuity enters into it. One person may see one amount of what he deems "an effect" and another something else. The example of what adjustment point is "neutral" (or does anything at all) that you gave probably does not apply to all TV since there is no way of knowing. Let the reader and owner of a TV use their own discernment.

The problem with something like Sharpness or even Brightness settings, to some degree, is like viewing a painting on the wall of an art gallery. We all know the artist painted it with something in mind and wanted the viewer to see (maybe). Yet, in the gallery how the painting is illuminated may be different than the light the artist painted it in. Even the direction of said light will accent or lessen brush strokes. Most paintings do not come with instructions of these types of details on how to view them; so the painting is viewed under differing conditions depending on the environment and the person viewing it. The viewer or owner of the painting is left to use discernment in determining it's viewing excellence.
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post #29 of 85 Old 01-08-2012, 07:57 AM
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There is absolutely a way to know what the "neutral" setting is for sharpness on a given display or processor. Doug outlined it above, and it's quite simple. Adding digital sharpness to a video source adds distortion (called ringing), period. Proper calibration is agnostic to the quality of the source, so adjusting controls to compensate for a poor source is really outside the realm of a discussion about proper display settings.

There are 10 types of people: those who understand binary, and those who don't.

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post #30 of 85 Old 01-08-2012, 08:10 AM
 
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Let not the effort to abstain from any kind of setting that may be viewed as an enhancement deter a TV owner from obtaining excellence in their viewing experience. Yes, visible haloing (yes I know it is called ringing by some) certainly would be undesirable, but is not a measurable aspect. And going too much in a negative direction , or softening, would also cause image degradation. Some have done this only to later find out artifacts are introduced of another sort. There is no way of knowing a mid or zero setting is "neutral" nor that position would stay "neutral" over time.

As I said, " The "effects" of digital sharpening is still an observed quality regardless how close or how far from a screen a person is. So eyesight acuity enters into it. One person may see one amount of what he deems "an effect" and another something else. "

There can be no debate on the acuity of another persons eyesight and how it may differ from another, not to mention distance viewed.
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