Proper Calibration for HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 02-23-2012, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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I searched all over the forums and didn't find an answer.

I have a new Samsung PND7000 and a HTPC with an ATI 4870. The HTPC is my only source at present. I use it for OTA TV, blurays, internet videos, mkvs and etc.

What is the proper procedure to calibrate this setup?

Should I have a pro come and calibrate the display? or use CALPC and a meter to setup an ICC profile?

Also, right now my setup is outputting 0-255. Do I want to set that to 16-235?

Will 16-235 mess up normal windows games?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 32 Old 02-23-2012, 02:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gadianton View Post

What is the proper procedure to calibrate this setup?

The proper thing to do is calibrate the display first and get it as close to rec.709 as possible, then tune the PC to match.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gadianton View Post

Should I have a pro come and calibrate the display? or use CALPC and a meter to setup an ICC profile?

CalPC works well on an HTPC, but it will only correct gamma and grayscale, it won't fix gamut errors. The ICC profile it creates is used to correct gamut, but only in applications that use ICC (photoshop).

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Originally Posted by gadianton View Post

Also, right now my setup is outputting 0-255. Do I want to set that to 16-235? Will 16-235 mess up normal windows games?

The way I have my HTPC setup w/ an ATI 5450 is using pixel format YCC 4:4:4 (this means the video card is acutally outputin in 16-235 space) and then I have the video setting map video content 0-255. So all the content for both games, windows, and videos goes to the TV at 16-235, that way it matches my cable box and my Wii so I can have the same calibration for all 3 devices (since they all go through my reciever).

FYI there is a small bug in the ATI 4000 and 5000 series cards that effects YCC and RGB limited mode. It adds a bit of green to the darker colors, it's not alot of error, but it's there. CalPC could easily correct this, but the kicker is that the error isn't their for Blu-Ray playback (meaning full commercial disks in commercial BD software), but the corrections CalPC can make will effect both normal and BD playback so you have to pick one to optimize for.

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post #3 of 32 Old 02-23-2012, 03:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

The proper thing to do is calibrate the display first and get it as close to rec.709 as possible, then tune the PC to match.



CalPC works well on an HTPC, but it will only correct gamma and grayscale, it won't fix gamut errors. The ICC profile it creates is used to correct gamut, but only in applications that use ICC (photoshop).


The way I have my HTPC setup w/ an ATI 5450 is using pixel format YCC 4:4:4 (this means the video card is acutally outputin in 16-235 space) and then I have the video setting map video content 0-255. So all the content for both games, windows, and videos goes to the TV at 16-235, that way it matches my cable box and my Wii so I can have the same calibration for all 3 devices (since they all go through my reciever).

FYI there is a small bug in the ATI 4000 and 5000 series cards that effects YCC and RGB limited mode. It adds a bit of green to the darker colors, it's not alot of error, but it's there. CalPC could easily correct this, but the kicker is that the error isn't their for Blu-Ray playback (meaning full commercial disks in commercial BD software), but the corrections CalPC can make will effect both normal and BD playback so you have to pick one to optimize for.

Thanks. I am running CCC 12.1. Where is the YCC option? I could have sworn I've seen it before, but I can't seem to find it now.
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post #4 of 32 Old 02-24-2012, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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After spending an evening messing around with drivers and researching online, it appears that the ATI 4870 won't show the pixel format option when using a DVI-HDMI cable. I think it will work with a ATI HDMI Dongle (which I am not sure if it came with my card.)

On the other hand, the Nvidia 430 I have install in my system (as a PhysX card) allowed YCC444 and 16-235... but since I do a bit of gaming on this machine, I will either upgrade to a better Video card or hope the HDMI dongle will work.

Anyway, so my understanding is set the YCC444 and then 16-235 and let the TV take in 235?
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post #5 of 32 Old 03-12-2012, 12:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

The proper thing to do is calibrate the display first and get it as close to rec.709 as possible, then tune the PC to match.



I just finished calibrating my epson 8100 projector using my HTPC as the display source to run the gray scale patterns.

Could you elaborate on "calibrating the display first and then tune the HTPC to get match"

Calibrating meaning using a blu-ray player, for example, to run the testing patterns?

Fine tuning the HTPC to match, how?

Thanks
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post #6 of 32 Old 03-12-2012, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

I just finished calibrating my epson 8100 projector using my HTPC as the display source to run the gray scale patterns.

Could you elaborate on "calibrating the display first and then tune the HTPC to get match"

Calibrating meaning using a blu-ray player, for example, to run the testing patterns?

Fine tuning the HTPC to match, how?

Thanks

Video cards have an 8bit lut for gamma and grayscale. So calibrate the TV first and the computer part second. But only if you actually have software that can do that for you.

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post #7 of 32 Old 03-12-2012, 01:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

I just finished calibrating my epson 8100 projector using my HTPC as the display source to run the gray scale patterns.

Could you elaborate on "calibrating the display first and then tune the HTPC to get match"

Calibrating meaning using a blu-ray player, for example, to run the testing patterns?

Fine tuning the HTPC to match, how?

Thanks

You would use a BR player that would hopefully output reference standard video and calibrate the display.
Then run over the calibration using your HTPC as the source and see if thing match. If so done.

If you have Calman, pc client add-on and the HTPC runs windows, use these to calibrate the HTPC video card now that the projector is done.

If you do not have the needed software and your HTPC is your only source, what you have done should be fine, unless I am missing something..

Doug

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post #8 of 32 Old 03-14-2012, 01:14 PM
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That's what I am confused about.

If I calibrate the video card on the HTPC, that doesn't mean that when I go play a movie on the HTPC, that I am gotting to get the correct output.

The outputted picture would varied depending on the playback software (TMT, MPC-HC, WMP, VLC, etc).

Also, how would you calibrate the video card or a video playback software? Do they have RGB, CMS, and gamma control like a projector do?

Thanks!
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post #9 of 32 Old 03-14-2012, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

That's what I am confused about.

If I calibrate the video card on the HTPC, that doesn't mean that when I go play a movie on the HTPC, that I am gotting to get the correct output.

The outputted picture would varied depending on the playback software (TMT, MPC-HC, WMP, VLC, etc).

Also, how would you calibrate the video card or a video playback software? Do they have RGB, CMS, and gamma control like a projector do?

Thanks!

You calibrate the Windows Hardware LUT for the video card (not the driver settings, not the software settings).

This then effects the grayscale and gamma system wide.

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post #10 of 32 Old 03-15-2012, 11:11 AM
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There are movie playback programs out there that utilize ICC gamut profiles. None of the popular ones do though (Windows Media Center, VLC, etc.).
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post #11 of 32 Old 03-15-2012, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZandarKoad View Post

There are movie playback programs out there that utilize ICC gamut profiles. None of the popular ones do though (Windows Media Center, VLC, etc.).

I believe MPC-HC is the only one.

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post #12 of 32 Old 03-15-2012, 07:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

I believe MPC-HC is the only one.

From, what I've read last couple of days, MPC-HC with madVR is the only option.

sotti: i've re-read your first post a few times, and like a little more details if you don't mind.

so in CCC, you would set your pixel format to YCC 444.

then under the 'video' option, you would enable 'dynamic range' 0-255?

what do you do with the processing options under 'video' do you disable all of them (such as dynamic contrast, skin tone, etc, etc.)

thanks much!
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post #13 of 32 Old 03-16-2012, 10:42 AM
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Realized that I set my Epson 8100 to 'Expanded HDMI' which mean it accepts 0-255 color space.

Does this mean I should set my vid card to RGB 'Full' in pixel mapping and video option to Dynamic 0-255?
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post #14 of 32 Old 03-16-2012, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

so in CCC, you would set your pixel format to YCC 444.

Yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

then under the 'video' option, you would enable 'dynamic range' 0-255?

Yes

Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

what do you do with the processing options under 'video' do you disable all of them (such as dynamic contrast, skin tone, etc, etc.)

Turn all of them off, yes. Depending on the content you watch the edge enhancement, De-noise, Mosquito noise reduction, and De-blocking may improve video quality for bad quality video. Not really needed for Blu-Ray quality video.

Make sure dynamic contrast is off.

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post #15 of 32 Old 03-16-2012, 12:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

Yes.


Yes


Turn all of them off, yes. Depending on the content you watch the edge enhancement, De-noise, Mosquito noise reduction, and De-blocking may improve video quality for bad quality video. Not really needed for Blu-Ray quality video.

Make sure dynamic contrast is off.


Thanks for the confirmation.

Is there a reason you use use YCC444 instead of Full RGB for pixel mapping?

This is one setting where I get the most conflicting information?

Somesay use RGB Full, other says YCC4444.
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post #16 of 32 Old 03-16-2012, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

Thanks for the confirmation.

Is there a reason you use use YCC444 instead of Full RGB for pixel mapping?

This is one setting where I get the most conflicting information?

Somesay use RGB Full, other says YCC4444.

RGB Full can be bugged with certain EDID, so you get RGB Limited. RGB Limited clips WTW and BTB in Blu-Ray, but YCC 4:4:4 passed WTW and BTB for blu-ray.

RGB Full can be problematic if you use multiple video sources. With RGB full if you leave video in 16-235 and calibrate for that, then your desktop, games, web apps will all look wrong and have clipped shadow detail. If you expand video to 0-255 with RGB full, then you have to calibrate the TV for 0-255, so you can't use a receiver to switch inputs since a wii, cable box, or other stand alone electronics won't match the levels from your PC.

Because of all that I find it easiest just to use YCC 4:4:4 with video range at 0-255, blu-rays are at "pixel mapped" levels, video content works, desktop content works, the output matches your cable box, wii, ps3, roku box, apple TV, ect...

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post #17 of 32 Old 03-16-2012, 01:49 PM
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sir. i thank you. was very informative.

one last piece to the puzzle

1) CCC pixel mapping: YCC444
2) CCC video setting: Dynamic 0-255
3) Video Player - such as WMC, XBMC, VLC, etc. what need to be done here? 16-235 or 0-255
4) Projector = Expanded HDMI to accept WTW BTB
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post #18 of 32 Old 03-16-2012, 02:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

sir. i thank you. was very informative.

one last piece to the puzzle

1) CCC pixel mapping: YCC444
2) CCC video setting: Dynamic 0-255
3) Video Player - such as WMC, XBMC, VLC, etc. what need to be done here? 16-235 or 0-255
4) Projector = Expanded HDMI to accept WTW BTB

Where is the Dynamic 0-255 setting? I can't find it under video at all.
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post #19 of 32 Old 03-16-2012, 03:01 PM
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It's under 'Video' setting in Catalyst Control Panel.

i will take a screen shot later if you haven't find it my then.

You need to check on 'Dynamic' and then select '0-255'
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post #20 of 32 Old 03-16-2012, 03:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

I believe MPC-HC is the only one.

Not true, but I am unable to demonstrate so at the moment... I stumbled upon a poorly ranked site that had a movie player for $50 some guy made... Meh, guess it's not really important as long as there is at least 1 option.
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post #21 of 32 Old 03-16-2012, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

sir. i thank you. was very informative.

one last piece to the puzzle

1) CCC pixel mapping: YCC444
2) CCC video setting: Dynamic 0-255
3) Video Player - such as WMC, XBMC, VLC, etc. what need to be done here? 16-235 or 0-255
4) Projector = Expanded HDMI to accept WTW BTB

The player settings should be getting overridden by the video card setting since the actual decode is hardware accelerated in the video card, it should be taking full control over the levels.

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post #22 of 32 Old 03-18-2012, 11:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

The proper thing to do is calibrate the display first and get it as close to rec.709 as possible, then tune the PC to match.

As a first principle that's okay however over the many years I've been doing this I've found its not always the best approach with many displays.

What I generally do is target a white point as high as the display will go without clipping any of the color channels.

Then I usually target a black point which display everything down to 1.

Color temp seems secondary to this process. What you are tryng to do is minimise the impact of the usually less than transparent color management controls on the display hardware whilst providing the maximal amount of precision and dynamic range on the display for the LUT to work with. If you don't do this you tend to find the end result on the screen impacts into the maximum potential precision that the system as a whole can provide.

In other words you are better off putting the bulk of the correctional work into the graphics card rather than the display itself whilst just maximising the available dynamic range and precision at the display side.

When you are applying luts it doesn't matter if you are applying a little correction or a lot just make sure the end result is optimised in terms of each component in the chain and that you are not exacerbating precision limitations at each stage.

For example , in film work we often have to target D.54 , this used to be applied in the display hardware , however this causes a lot of problems ; monitors cannot reach useful white ,luminance levels for very long when run in this mode even old stye CRTs. Targeting D.65 and doing the color temp correction in the lut breathed new life into displays that had previously been categorised as NG ( could no longer give useful luminance and reach the D.54 target).

Nowadays I don't even bother with display hardware calibration as long as the dynamic range and precision are maximised without any clipping.

digital film janitor
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post #23 of 32 Old 03-19-2012, 06:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.D View Post

As a first principle that's okay however over the many years I've been doing this I've found its not always the best approach with many displays.

What I generally do is target a white point as high as the display will go without clipping any of the color channels.

Then I usually target a black point which display everything down to 1.

Color temp seems secondary to this process. What you are tryng to do is minimise the impact of the usually less than transparent color management controls on the display hardware whilst providing the maximal amount of precision and dynamic range on the display for the LUT to work with. If you don't do this you tend to find the end result on the screen impacts into the maximum potential precision that the system as a whole can provide.

In other words you are better off putting the bulk of the correctional work into the graphics card rather than the display itself whilst just maximising the available dynamic range and precision at the display side.

When you are applying luts it doesn't matter if you are applying a little correction or a lot just make sure the end result is optimised in terms of each component in the chain and that you are not exacerbating precision limitations at each stage.

For example , in film work we often have to target D.54 , this used to be applied in the display hardware , however this causes a lot of problems ; monitors cannot reach useful white ,luminance levels for very long when run in this mode even old stye CRTs. Targeting D.65 and doing the color temp correction in the lut breathed new life into displays that had previously been categorised as NG ( could no longer give useful luminance and reach the D.54 target).

Nowadays I don't even bother with display hardware calibration as long as the dynamic range and precision are maximised without any clipping.



i believe this is a great post, but i think i am lost. could someone translate this to plain english so dummies like me can understand?

thanks!
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post #24 of 32 Old 03-22-2012, 08:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

It's under 'Video' setting in Catalyst Control Panel.

i will take a screen shot later if you haven't find it my then.

You need to check on 'Dynamic' and then select '0-255'



had a chance to play around a little tonight and here are my observations:

1) Dynamic > 0-55: my image is a little brighter, about 1ftL. however i can this seems to kill both my white and black clipping pattern. e.g. i can not get anything higher than 235 on the white to flash even if i turn contrast all the way down.

2) Dynamic > 16-235: my image is a little darker; but i am now able to get both white and black clipping patterns to work properly.

I guess for me, Dynamic 16-235 seems to work as it should.
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post #25 of 32 Old 03-30-2012, 04:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post


had a chance to play around a little tonight and here are my observations:

1) Dynamic > 0-55: my image is a little brighter, about 1ftL. however i can this seems to kill both my white and black clipping pattern. e.g. i can not get anything higher than 235 on the white to flash even if i turn contrast all the way down.

2) Dynamic > 16-235: my image is a little darker; but i am now able to get both white and black clipping patterns to work properly.

I guess for me, Dynamic 16-235 seems to work as it should.

Any new thoughts? I was messing with checking my XPS w/NV435m and with 0-255, I saw the whole scale and with 16-235, the same thing but bit the same levels related to calibration. It was as if once set to stop at 235, switching to 16- setting produced all bars flashing above 235. So not sure which to use. This was directly connected to a 929. I am wondering if this is functioning like if DVD then clips, if PC signal it keeps the full range. Any thoughts? It would be nice to know what it is doing. T
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post #26 of 32 Old 03-31-2012, 06:26 AM
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my final setting is RGB Limited and Dynamic 16-235.

this give me all flashing bars, plus a slightly brighter image.
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post #27 of 32 Old 03-31-2012, 09:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

my final setting is RGB Limited and Dynamic 16-235.

this give me all flashing bars, plus a slightly brighter image.

That's where I am, but it still does not agree with the mp4 from the PC. Think I will try the Sony bd as a PG to see how it interacts with CalMan & the IR controller. The PC, while providing a lot of interesting insights, it a bit unreliable the way I have been trying use it. Shame it is such a pain to get a reference signal out of a graphic card for some reason. T
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post #28 of 32 Old 03-31-2012, 11:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

my final setting is RGB Limited and Dynamic 16-235.

this give me all flashing bars, plus a slightly brighter image.

Yes but it's wrong.

you are compressing your range down to 30- 217, since you are mapping video content black to desktop 16, and desktop 0 to HDMI 16.

Video black doesn't match your desktop black.

You can never get it working right and see the BTB bars and the WTW bars, unless your only goal is to get video right. Even then if the RGB full range is broken you'll be completely unable to do it.

I've done hours and hours of testing and told you the exact correct settings. Please dont' propagate bad information, if you want to do whatever you want to do that's fine, but don't share it like it's a good idea.

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post #29 of 32 Old 04-27-2012, 08:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sotti View Post

Yes but it's wrong.

you are compressing your range down to 30- 217, since you are mapping video content black to desktop 16, and desktop 0 to HDMI 16.

Video black doesn't match your desktop black.

You can never get it working right and see the BTB bars and the WTW bars, unless your only goal is to get video right. Even then if the RGB full range is broken you'll be completely unable to do it.

I've done hours and hours of testing and told you the exact correct settings. Please dont' propagate bad information, if you want to do whatever you want to do that's fine, but don't share it like it's a good idea.




hey sorry, i missed this reply.

wow, didn't think my post was offending.

well, i tried your settings and i would have love for it to work but it's not. maybe my equipment/setups are different than yours?

when i set it to your suggestions, my HTPC is crushing my whites and blacks. no matter what i do to contrast/brightness settings, the flashing bars is not moving in all directions.

i mean, isn't the very basic calibration would require that all your black and white bars move in both directions?

hey, i am not tryin to be offensive just trying to learn.

thanks
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post #30 of 32 Old 04-27-2012, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokarz View Post

i mean, isn't the very basic calibration would require that all your black and white bars move in both directions?s

Not necessarily. This is a limitation of the PC, when correctly calibrated you won't see BTB or WTW. Calibrating from a PC isn't like calibrating from a DVD player or a pattern generator totally different rules apply.

Use my settings and figure out on the TV how to make that look good. Playing video content below 16 will be clipped, desktop content will go down to 0. Since the pluge patterns don't work you'll have to concentrate on making just above black level (18,19,20 for a DVD/video or 2,4,6 on desktop content) just barely visible.

This is why shy away from recommending people using PC sources, they are overly complex and have a different set of rules compared to a standard consumer electronic device.

Joel Barsotti
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