How do I calibrate my HTPC? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-14-2012, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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I have a i1-display2 (not the pro one) and I have used HCFR along with the patterns on the bluray AVSHD with my ps3 to calibrate my plasma tv. The picture looks pretty good (from what I can tell) for cable and ps3 but it doesn't look quite right when using my computer.

What is the proper way to calibrate (my pc does not have a bluray drive yet, but I did dl the mp4 patterns). When I use the basic calibration patterns (black and white level) on the ps3, I see the flashing black or white patterns but no matter how high I turn up the brightness or contrast none of the black or white bars are flashing using the mp4 patterns in windows media player.

Windows has color adjustments, then the video card has catalyst controls which has more settings, and then my tv has settings and I don't know how to handle all this.

For ease of use I'd prefer to set the tv settings with the ps3 and then using those tv settings, setup the pc settings so that they will be correct.

I also wonder about the whole video and pc 16-255 or 0-255 thingy. How do I make sure this is correct?

Thanks for any help.

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post #2 of 10 Old 10-14-2012, 01:29 PM
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First, what are your HTPC specs? If your PC can handle it, I recommend you follow mindbomb's guide here if you want the best PQ possible on your HTPC.

Calibrating your PC and PS3 can be very complicated and hard to explain if your PS3 and PC share an input on your AVR. If that's the situation, the first thing you want to do is make sure that both devices are using the same levels (0-255 or 16-235) as your TV, otherwise you'll either end up with clipped black/white detail, or a washed out picture. If setup properly, your PS3 and PC should look very similar and your calibration settings should be very close between both devices.

The PS3 can output two different colorspaces for Blu-Ray (or any disc-based video): YCbCr or RGB; this can be set in the Blu-Ray settings menu on the PS3. Games/XMB will always output RGB (this can't be changed). Seeing as how you saw all of the flashing bars on the AVSHD709 clipping pattern, that tells me you have your PS3 set to output YCbCr for Blu-Ray, because the PS3 can't pass Blacker-than-black (BTB) or Whiter-than-white (WTW) using RGB (more on that below).

If you didn't see any flashing bars, that means that your levels are set incorrectly and aren't matching. If set properly, you should at least see 16 and above flashing on the Brightness test pattern, and 235 and below flashing on the White clipping pattern. You can still use those patterns to set brightness/contrast, but even if your levels are matched between your PC and TV, you won't see levels below 16 or levels above 235, regardless of how high you set your Brightness, or how low you set your Contrast because ATI/AMD cards (or pretty much any PC video card) can't pass BTB/WTW information. The PS3 can pass BTB/WTW using YCbCr and having super-white enabled, which is why you could see all of the flashing bars on your PS3.

Few questions:
1. What do you have your PS3's RGB Range set to? Limited or Full?
2. Do you have your PS3 and PC connected to your AVReceiver via HDMI?
3. What TV do you have?

edit: Another thing is, YCbCr is 16-235 and RGB can either be set to 0-255 or 16-235.
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-14-2012, 02:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I think my PC should be able to handle it, i5 2500K (not OC'd), ATI HD6570. I will follow the instructions on that post, thanks.

Both the PS3 and PC are connected to my Onkyo 709 the output goes to a LG plasma TV and an optoma GT750 projector (more calibration headaches). Of course the Receiver also has to have video adjustments (I leave everything on default).

Since games/XMB will always output RGB, should I set the ps3 to play back disc in RGB too? I can deal with some PQ issues, I can't deal with setting a bunch of different settings to go from 1 source to another....it gets too bothersome to me. I think I can set up different profiles through catalyst control center and assign hotkeys so that's pretty easy to switch settings if I need to.

I actually have 3 monitors to calibrate, which of course all have different resolutions. My acer LCD computer monitor (only connected to PC by VGA) at 1680 X 1050, LG plasma TV 1024 X 768 but I have to use 1280 X 720 if I want to use 3D options, and the projector 1280 X 800 but again I have to output 1280 X 720 for 3D. The plasma and projector are both connected to the receiver outputs, cable box, ps3, computer, all connected to receiver inputs.

1. PS3 display settings: RGB limited, Y Pb/Cb Pr/Cr super white ON, Deep color output - Auto...and yes it is set to output YCbCr for bluray.
2. Yes PS3 and PC connected to receiver by HDMI, PC also connected to Acer monitor by VGA
3. TV is LG50PW350 (it has isf controls which is setup using the calibration disc in ps3)
Projector is Optoma GT750)
Computer monitor is Acer LCD X223W
Receiver is Onkyo 709

My thought is:
PS3 has no color adjustment settings so use calibration disc in PS3 and adjust with TV controls and Projector Controls. Then use the mp4 files from the PC and catalyst control settings to set the PC output to give me the same readings that I got with the PS3. Then calibrate the computer monitor, that doesn't matter so much too me since it's for general computer tasks, with either monitor controls or setup a different profile with catalyst control.

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post #4 of 10 Old 10-14-2012, 02:23 PM
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LG displays have an option to switch between 0-255 and 16-235, however the setting doesn't work as it should (at least my LG displays don't). To switch between 0-255 and 16-235, the setting is called Black Level and you can set it between Low (16-235) and High (0-255). On most displays, the RGB range setting is supposed to only affect RGB inputs, but on the LG, it's universal and it affects all sources (YCbCr or RGB). So your options are to either set your PS3 Blu-Ray to output RGB and set your PS3 and PC to RGB Full -or- keep Blu-Ray at YCbCr and make everything RGB 16-235. If the LG RGB range worked as it should and only affected RGB sources, you could keep Blu-Ray as YCbCr and use RGB Full for everything else. YCbCr is ideal for Blu-Ray because that's the color space Blu-Ray uses, and RGB Full is ideal for PS3 games/PC because that's the color space PCs or the PS3's GPU natively outputs. Really though, it doesn't really matter that much... it will all look very similar, assuming all of your levels are matcing.

Your HTPC should handle mindbomb's guide just fine. The ReClock portion of the guide is kind of optional. ATI cards are usually pretty good with refresh rates that it's not really necessary (IMO). In madVR, set the output to 0-255 or 16-235 depending on which setup you go with. madVR uses your GPU to do high quality video processing. IIRC, it ignores all of the picture adjustments in the video card drivers control panel, but just in case, I would uncheck any color enhancements, edge-enhancements or dynamic contrast settings in the control panel. Only leave the deinterlacing option enabled. I personally like to do all of my calibrations using my TV's controls.

Once everything is setup, you can calibrate your PC just like your PS3, except using the MP4 files. I recommend the newly released GCD MP4 files, though, especially for plasmas. You can download GCD in this section. It also comes in disc form so that you can use it with your PS3.
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-14-2012, 04:03 PM - Thread Starter
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I want to set everything to rgb full since I mostly care about movies which I watch from the HTPC but if I set the black level on the tv to high, cable looks a bit washed out. For the projector I have to use the auto setting so that cable from the cable box is recognized as YUV. The problem is that my projector sees the PC as RGB 0-255 even if I set pixel format in catalyst as RGB limited.

Is my only solution to set up 2 different picture settings for the tv (one with black level high and one with it low?)

thanks for your help, I know it's time consuming, I appreciate it.

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post #6 of 10 Old 10-14-2012, 06:59 PM
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Most video devices/displays are 16-235 and most PC based devices/displays are 0-255. Some have options to use both. You have a lot of things in your chain, so you're going to either have to set everything a certain way, or compromise something in order to have it setup the way you want.

I've explained this several times before, and believe me, this is relatively easy because you're picking it up quickly. smile.gif
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-18-2012, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rahzel View Post

Most video devices/displays are 16-235 and most PC based devices/displays are 0-255.

I have an old laptop (Thinkpad T60) with DVI out and I want to use it with my Panasonic Plasma TV. Not sure what video card it has. How do I set the PC to 16-235? Is this setting in the video player, and only active when the video is playing? or a global setting so Windows desktop also outputs 16-235? I don't see such option in control panel. Are there 3rd party software that will tweak the graphic card to do this?

Thanks.
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post #8 of 10 Old 10-18-2012, 04:04 PM
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It's usually in the videocard driver's control panel. If it's not in there, there's no other way to change it AFAIK.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-21-2012, 11:25 AM
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desktop output and video output are 2 separate things with their own color settings. i calibrate both separately...1st the desktop then the video output via the video card settings. i have the hdtv and video card output both set to 'Full' black level (0-255) and have no problems calibrating
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-21-2012, 12:52 PM
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They both output different levels and colors, but as long as my levels are matched I'm happy. I recommended to the OP to set madVR to 16-235 or 0-255 depending on what setup he decides to go with. Colors should be close enough on the desktop. I'm more concerned about my video. I play test patterns (AVSHD709 or GCD mkv/mp4) with the same player that I use to watch movies (MPC HC) and calibrate using my TVs controls. AFAIK, any enhancements are ignored in madVR, but I recommended to disable them above, just in case.
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