I previously posted this under LCD monitors without realizing there is a separate display calibration thread. My bad.
I own an i1Display Pro Calibrator which my wife (the pro Photographer) and I use to calibrate our Mac displays. But I was unable to use the i1 to calibrate the Home Theatre. I was always manually-calibrating the Home Theatre monitor because the i1 only works with a PC, not with a standalone Blu-Ray player. It's not a standalone calibrator. And i1 won't sell me a license to upgrade it, to my knowledge. Anyway, I've recently revamped the entire Home Theatre with a dedicated HTPC and now I'm using JRiver for video playback. It looks wonderful. So nice to have everything in the computer and now I can use the i1 do calibrate the display.
The monitor is a 2008 Sony 46" Bravia, KL-46VL130. It's not an XBR, but it does have a lot of Sony's high-end features including 10-bit video, a wide Gamut CCFL backlight, and so on.
So I installed the i1Display calibration program in the PC and proceeded to do the calibration. When I was done the result looks great to my eyes, but I think it can be better. As you may know, the i1Display program is an auto-setup program that displays color swatches on the screen and creates a monitor profile for your monitor. It's all automatic.
To start off with, I reset the Sony monitor's Cinema setting to default. I then set a goal of 235 cd/m square luminance in the i1. I set it to achieve a custom contrast ratio of 1000:1. The Sony advertises 2000:1, I wonder if I should try again with 2000:1? Unfortunately, I set the backlight setting in the program to a "normal cold cathode" and discovered later that this Sony monitor has a wide gamut CCFL backlight, so I should definitely redo the setup. I then adjusted the brightness and contrast and rgb guns to reach the program's level mark for r, g, and b which would yield the desired luminance and color temperature (65k).
The result: No pain, much gain! Black levels look good, there are good deep blacks, yet inner details are visible, the video looks real nice. Colors look good, maybe a little pale on the Enchanted Blu-Ray and some blu-rays that come direct from HD rather than film. But the slightly pale look could be the Blu-Ray movie itself. Really, it looks great, there's nothing to bother anyone but a techno-nerd like me.
So why am I complaining? Because I popped in the Joe Kane HD Essentials Blu-Ray and discovered the gray scale ramp looks greenish on some of the lower-mid-level swatches. Which could explain the slightly pale look of the color on skin tones. And I cannot see the 2% black swatch, though some threads here say if you can't see the 2% black, don't try to fix it or you'll wash out your blacks, and I don't want to do that! In fact, I was not able to reveal the 2% black swatch with any adjustment of the brightness or picture controls, so I assume the set must be cutting it out to begin with. But it would be nice to see some distinction in the gray scale ramp between the lowest and second lowest swatch (bar). This set also has the dreaded "picture" control which affects black level as well as white, so you really have to play with all the controls if you want to do manual adjustment.
I have the backlight on minimum because I was really ignorant of how to set it, but this wonderful AVS thread is going to be very helpful: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1351213/for-those-struggling-with-brightness-contrast-backlight-settings-on-lcds
So now I'm looking for a method that can combine manual setup with the i1 setup. Since I do not have a standalone colorimiter, I wonder if I can get any more out of the i1Display's routine. Perhaps it's doing its best with what you give it in the monitor setup. But maybe if I knew what to do with the backlight I would give the i1 Display program more meat to work with.
Looking at the Joe Kane grayscale ramp, I concluded brightness and Picture are at their optimum; definitely there's nothing better there than what the i1 ended up with. However, I wonder if I played with the backlight as a variable. I wonder if I leave the brightness and contrast where I set them for the i1, and use the Joe Kane and AVS disc to find the optimum backlight whether I'll get a better result if I then run the i1 program all over again. Would the backlight help distinguish the difference between the lowest two bars of the grayscale ramp? And then when I re-run the i1 program would it just undo it all? Inquiring minds want to know.
Wow, that's a mouthful. Hope you all follow this....