Why won't my Blu-ray player display black correctly? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 10-17-2013, 12:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

 

I have an LG 50PQ30 plasma TV. I can't get the Blu-ray player to behave like the other inputs. My HDDVR does black correctly, as does my Xbox 360. My Sony BDP350? Can't manage below a dark grey.

 

I've tried it in both YCbCr4:4:4 and RGB0-255. The latter actually does black better, but I've always heard to use the former for HD sources.

 

This is most noticeable in films framed in 2.35, so they're letterboxed in 16:9. In mostly dark scenes, the black bars... aren't really black. So the whole screen just kind of looks this ugly, muddy grey color.

 

Not sure why this is unique to the Blu-ray player, but maybe some of you might have some insight.

 

Also--in YCbCr, some darker grey colors have a red tint to them. Not sure why. Doesn't happen in RGB.

 

Thanks!

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post #2 of 21 Old 10-17-2013, 12:48 PM
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sounds like you might have your other two devices mis-configured.

Black is suppose to be at level 16 for TVs and consumer electronics.

If you setup your xbox for YCC it should match the BD player as well. YCC is the prefered encoding for living room type displays.

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post #3 of 21 Old 10-17-2013, 01:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Err, so it is supposed to look an ugly grey? The star field at the beginning of any Star Wars film... shouldn't be black like this?

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post #4 of 21 Old 10-17-2013, 01:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerj View Post

Err, so it is supposed to look an ugly grey?
No, black should be as dark as possible. Level 16 is where video black is and should pretty much be the point at which your blacks won't get any darker.

Sounds like your other devices are set to RGB 0-255, or something is mis-configured. If everything was set to YCbCr or RGB limited, your black levels should be the same for all 3 devices.
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post #5 of 21 Old 10-17-2013, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm just confused. The image I get from the other devices look how I expect. The night's sky is black. Black bars in a letterboxed film are black. Why is this "wrong"? Why shouldn't my Blu-ray image be black and instead be dark grey?

 

The plasma has an option of "high" or "low" black level. Everything's set to "low". If I were to set it to "high" and lower the brightness, is that accomplishing anything?

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post #6 of 21 Old 10-17-2013, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's a visual.

 

Here's what I expect:

 

Here's what I get:

 

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post #7 of 21 Old 10-17-2013, 02:07 PM
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Yeah your brightness is off, or you have some other setting in your TV screwed up.

You have different configurations on the other devices, so you don't get consistent results.

IMHO it sounds like the Blu-ray player is correct and everything else is wrong.

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post #8 of 21 Old 10-17-2013, 02:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm still confused why you say the Blu-ray player is correct when it looks like the bottom image. It's like a computer is telling you something is green when you can look and see it's obviously blue.

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post #9 of 21 Old 10-17-2013, 02:44 PM
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Set your Sony player to YCbCr 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 and keep your LG's Black level at Low. Burn the AVSHD709 calibration disc to a DVDR/BDR and run the Black Clipping test pattern in the basic setup to set the Brightness. Set Brightness so that 16 blends to the background and 17 is barely visible. Do blacks look normal? What is the Brightness setting that you came up with?

Does your HD PVR have an option to set the RGB Range or to output YCbCr or RGB over HDMI? Your X360 and HD PVR should be set to either YCbCr or RGB Limited (16-235) if given the option. If everything is setup properly and your Sony still looks off, I honestly don't know what the cause could be. Maybe one of your devices is doing something with the black levels.
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post #10 of 21 Old 10-18-2013, 07:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Alright--set to YCC4:4:4, black level at Low. I used the calibration disc, which actually had me set Brightness to 55 (higher than usual). Still having the same problems in overly-dark scenes.

 

Maybe it's a gamma issue? I only have three options--"Low", "Medium", "High". Low makes things really bright, much lighter-grey in the blacks. Medium is what it's currently set on. High doesn't have much of a difference from Medium--maybe slightly. Wish there was more options there.

 

Also, in the calibration disc for White Clipping... moving from 0 to 100 doesn't change much. It's impossible to make some of the white bars invisible (the ones it's telling you should be invisible).

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post #11 of 21 Old 10-18-2013, 09:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerj View Post

Alright--set to YCC4:4:4, black level at Low. I used the calibration disc, which actually had me set Brightness to 55 (higher than usual). Still having the same problems in overly-dark scenes.
What is the problem as you see it?
So with the calibration disc you should turn brightness up till you can see below 16 (16 visible against the background). The turn brightness down till 16 just disappears.


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Originally Posted by kerj View Post

Also, in the calibration disc for White Clipping... moving from 0 to 100 doesn't change much. It's impossible to make some of the white bars invisible (the ones it's telling you should be invisible).

You shouldn't clip any white. Reference white is 235, peak white is 255. You should be able to resolve detail all the way up. I just had this conversation with Charles Poynton last week when he was in our office.

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post #12 of 21 Old 10-18-2013, 01:37 PM
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Curious, films that use white above 235, how far do they usually go? has any film ever used white up to 253?
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post #13 of 21 Old 10-18-2013, 01:47 PM
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Greetings

I've seen some films go to the mid 240 range and others that go pretty much to the end.

Problem is ... Movie boxes don't tell you if a movie has stuff there or not. Just like they don't tell you what gamma the film was mastered in.

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post #14 of 21 Old 10-18-2013, 02:48 PM
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Interesting. Would most professionals/enthusiasts be able to spot the whiter than whites in those specific films/scenes?
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post #15 of 21 Old 10-18-2013, 06:20 PM
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No, nobody can tell if white stops at 235 or goes up to 254 (255 is reserved and never used) as long as the "headroom" above 235 is being used correctly... it is there ONLY to support specular highlights... very hard reflections from things like chrome, or a chandelier crystal, or the sparkling reflections you get off of water under the right conditions, etc. When the video display stops displaying anything brighter than 235 it is essentially impossible to tell from video images whether video is cutting off at 235 or extending to 255. You can tell with a test pattern, but not with a movie or TV show.
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post #16 of 21 Old 10-18-2013, 07:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerj View Post

Alright--set to YCC4:4:4, black level at Low. I used the calibration disc, which actually had me set Brightness to 55 (higher than usual). Still having the same problems in overly-dark scenes.

That's because raising Brightness is not the solution to the problem. You may have been using the wrong Brightness setting, but you have a fundamental problem in some setting somewhere else. Either in the TV and cable/satellite box OR in the Blu-ray player but not in all 3 at the same time. Joel said the Blu-ray disc player is probably right because Sony's default settings are always correct out of the box on their Blu-ray players. If your cable/satellite box and TV are both set to full range RGB (0-255), black will look correct, but you Blu-ray disc player's blacks will look gray (because the default setting will send video at 16-235 which is what ALL your sources SHOULD be sending for consumer video. If the TV and cable/satellite box are set to 0-255, they expect black to be represented by digital level 0. If your Blu-ray player is sending black at digital level 16 (which it will with out of box default settings, black from the Blu-ray player will be 16 and never anything lower than that. That means black will be a shade of dark gray, not really black. WIth your setup, black has to be sent at digital 0 in order to look black. So you want to set the TV to YCbCr mode. By default, YCbCr is SUPPOSED to always be 16-235 so the Blu-ray player SHOULD look right. BUT, some TVs still have an active black level setting option when you select YCbCr mode (they should not do that, but sometimes they do). The black level settings are usually named expanded or full or enhanced or PC/computer to indicate 0-255 (what you do NOT want to be using) or normal, limited, standard, video or something like that to indicate 16-235. On some TVs, (most notably Samsung's) the black level control is labeled backwards and that confuses people considerably (as you might expect). When the TV, cable/satellite box, and Blu-ray player are all using the same settings, you should have the right black level from both cable/satellite and Blu-ray. Until you get those settings straightened out, you are going to continue having the problem you are describing and that you photographed. Your photo is a CLASSIC example of a 16-235 source (your Blu-ray disc player) being displayed on a TV set for 0-255 mode. No twiddling with the Brightness control will fix the problem you photographed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kerj View Post

Maybe it's a gamma issue? I only have three options--"Low", "Medium", "High". Low makes things really bright, much lighter-grey in the blacks. Medium is what it's currently set on. High doesn't have much of a difference from Medium--maybe slightly. Wish there was more options there.

This is a classic case of not understanding gamma. Not a dig at you, most people who have not studied calibration and consumer video in general do not understand gamma at all. Gamma has nothing to do with black point or white point. You can change gamma all day long and your black point will never change, nor will your white point. What does change is how dark (or light) every point BETWEEN black and white is. High gamma numbers make everything darker between the black point and white point. Lower gamma numbers make everything between the black point and white point lighter/brighter. Your problem is that your black level (and white level, though that's not quite so obvious) is wrong when using the Blu-ray player. And unless you changed that setting in the disc player, we think it is more likely that you have the TV and cable/satellite box set to full range (0-255) even though you may not realize it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kerj View Post

Also, in the calibration disc for White Clipping... moving from 0 to 100 doesn't change much. It's impossible to make some of the white bars invisible (the ones it's telling you should be invisible).

That is not unusual. Most test/setup discs fail to point out that some digital video displays NEVER clip white and you ALWAYS see all the steps from 235-254 no matter what Contrast setting you use. NO test/setup disc can help you determine the correct Contrast setting... all they can show you is whether the TV clips white or not (no steps visible above 235 is referred to as clipping white). And similarly, some digital video displays ALWAYS clip white at 235 no matter what Contrast setting you use. In fact, you have a pretty even chance of having 3 things happen when you view the so-called Contrast pattern on setup discs:
1) Above some Contrast setting, the TV clips white and you no longer see some or all of the steps between 235 and 254.
2) The TV never clips white no matter what Contrast setting you use - you always see every step from 235-254
3) The TV always clips white at 235 regardless of the Contrast setting - you never see any steps above 235

If any of these is more or less likely on newer TVs, I'd say #3 is getting less common than it used to be. None of those conditions tell you what the best Contrast setting is. But no setup disc will admit that. To know if your Contrast setting is correct, you really need a meter. Everything else is just guesswork. You COULD try to use eyestrain as an indicator of whether the Contrast setting is too high or not, but you'd have to view 2 or more hours of content then decide if you were feeling any eyestrain from squinting. If you did experience eyestrain, more than likely the Contrast setting is too high (best to do this test in a dark room and use a movie with a good mix of bright and dark scenes, if the movie is mostly dark, you'll probably never get eyestrain). If you reduce Contrast by 2 or 3 clicks, you then have to view another 2 hours or so of content before deciding if the picture is too bright. If you have a meter, we know that 30-40 fL is a comfortable light level in a dark room. 30 fL if the room is very dark, 40 fL if you have a light on or perhaps if you are using a bias light behind the TV.

Study what I've posted here... everything you need to solve your problem is likely to be in this message if you understand what I'm saying here.

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post #17 of 21 Old 10-20-2013, 10:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks all for the information!

 

The Xbox is confirmed set to YCbCr444. I don't think the DVR can tell me what it's set to/whether or not it's adjustable--I will continue to look.

 

I've decided to set the Blu-ray player independent of the other two--which are set on Standard. I'm using Expert 1 for the Blu-ray player now. Again, it's set to YCC444. So I'm assuming any problem is with the TV. But I have no idea which setting to look at. You've educated me on Gamma--thank you for that. Brightness is obviously not the issue. Black Level is set to "Low"--wait a minute. Could "low" be referring to 0-255 and "high" 16-235? Perhaps if I set it to "high" and redid the calibration disk to adjust brightness (I know brightness isn't the issue, but I assume it would need recalibrated anyway)? That's the only setting on the TV that could refer to RGB vs YCC. Unless the Eco Intelligent Sensor has anything to do with it (set to "off" now). Or there's a setting hidden, or one I've overlooked. Color Gamut and Color Standard are always greyed out, set to "wide" (which sounds like that might refer to 0-255... but again, it's greyed out, so I'm not sure what to do with that ) and "HD", respectively.

 

On the Contrast front, I've been using eye strain as my indicator, seeing as I don't have a meter. To continue the Star Wars comparison--I noticed especially in the scene in A New Hope where Greedo and Han meet at the cantina, there's a light on the table. Originally it was SUPER bright and distracting. Turning down the contrast helped it. It's just trying to find a balance between that and not making the image look too dull. Since gamma is the lightness or darkness between those points, does a high gamma create the eyestrain problem (of a bright object in a dark scene) worse? Or better?

 

One final thought--maybe I'm just expecting too much from my plasma TV. It's by no means a high-end set, so perhaps the black point problems are inherent to its relative inexpensiveness.

 

Again, you've all been immensely helpful in making me understand certain settings and calibration patterns.

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post #18 of 21 Old 10-20-2013, 11:02 AM
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Low is the correct video setting. Well, I'm referring to HDMI. Seems so many things share the same names.
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post #19 of 21 Old 10-20-2013, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, crap. That's the only thing I can think of indicating what the TV is set to. If It should be Low, then I don't know what other setting could be doing it.

 

EDIT: Yep, Low is for YCbCr444 on HDMI (which is how it's connected). I'm stumped as to what else it could be. Maybe if I could figure out how to unlock "Color Gamut"--Wide sounds like it might be 0-255. But then Color Standard being HD makes it sound like it'd be right for YCbCr... Argh.

 

EDIT2: But it seems most likely that Color Gamut has nothing to do with it. Double argh.

 

EDIT3: The weird thing: USUALLY "Low" is darker, "High" is brighter. I just flipped between them, and "High" is darker for some reason. Not sure why.

 

Again, this may not be the right option at all. Seems the most logical to tell the TV which standard to use, though. What else could it be, anyway?

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post #20 of 21 Old 10-21-2013, 02:37 PM
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Samsung has a habit of labeling the black level control backwards. Do not worry about which setting you are using, just use the setting that makes your images look right. There's a fairly obvious difference if you aren't using the right setting.

That said, all of your sources should look right with the same Black Level setting if they are all in YCbCr mode (TV, cable, Blu-ray).

If you can't make all the sources look right with the same Black Level setting, something is not right, in the source. Cable/satellite boxes may have an RGB vs YCbCr setting. If you set the cable box/DVR to YCbCr... that SHOULD always be 16-235, but you never know, the manufacturer may have screwed up. If you do end up needing different black level settings for different sources, you may have to manually switch the black level when you change sources. If the sources are connected directly to the TV, the TV MIGHT "remember" settings for each input so you won't have to manually change, but that usually only happens with more expensive models... as you move down the model lines, they tend to remove features like separate settings memories for each HDMI input.

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post #21 of 21 Old 10-24-2013, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I checked it again last night during Coraline (which has plenty of darkness), and it's definitely flipped for whatever reason: Black Level set to "High" is, in fact, darker. Still, there's several instances where it just doesn't look as black as I'd expect. Dark grey with maybe a hint of blue in it? I'm stumped.

 

I've set the Blu-ray player independent of the other inputs, where the cable box and Xbox are on "standard", and the Blu-ray player is on "Expert 1".

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