Maybe I should take a minute and try to clarify whats "better" about it for those not familiar with these. I think this has been mentioned here one way or another spread out in posts, but I'll take a shot at summarizing.
Many of us use several commercial discs to do our display calibrations and tuning. The most popular are Avia, Digital Video Essentials (DVE) and Sound and Vision home theater tuneup (or something close to that name). Those are the affordable consumer level calibration discs. They are packed with patterns, most of which regular folks would never use. Many patterns will do tests to reveal shortcomings of a display, but in many cases there is nothing you could do about the shortcoming once it is known (IMO).
For the patterns that are popular on these discs, the experienced folks often find themselves having to switch discs to get to the fundamental, or regular often used patterns they prefer. For example, Avia (consumer version) is known to have slight color errors. DVE is difficult to navigate if you are not familiar with direct chapter and title selection on your DVD player (if it will do it at all).
The main solution to this has been to purchase very, very, VERY, expensive "pro" level calibration disc sets such as Avia-Pro and DVE-Pro. This is not an attractive option, even for those who have test gear/colorimeters, if it can be avoided. But even these pro level discs are loaded with patterns and can be more difficult to navigate.
One good thing in defense of the consumer discs is they come with at least 3 things my disc does not have.
1) spiffy little video segments explaining ow to use a particular pattern. These videos are just "in the way" once you've seen them and are something to navigate around once you know how. Some of the videos are as simple as how to hook up your equipment. My disc is not meant to address any such needs as a dummies guide to home theater.
2) Audio calibration sections. My disc does not have, nor is it likely to ever have an audio calibration section. I use an inexpensive commercial disc dedicated to audio for this task (http://www.rivesaudio.com/software/TestCD.html
) . This is also a more advanced disc probably, but is better than what's on the commercial discs (IMO) and made to interface with the Radio Shack SPL, adjusted specifically to that inexpensive instruments behavior.
3) A blue filter. Both Avia and DVE will come with at least a blue filter. You need one of these to adjust color and tint. So what do I recommend? Easy, go to www.thx.com
, look under Optimizer, and order a pair of THX optimizer glasses. They are $2.00. They are a 3-D cardboard type pair of glasses with the requisite blue filter. And they are easier to use than holding up a piece of raw film which is included in the consumer disc packages. Order yours now if you plan to use my disc and don't already have the film. One can also buy a more accurate Kodak optical blue filter, I forget the exact part number, I need to look it up. I always thought it would be cool to order 2 of those filters, take them to Lenscrafters and have a pair of "real blue" glasses made. Have to look into that, but I digress...
OK, so there you have what's wrong with the consumer discs, and what mine does not have that they do.
My disc is designed to provide the FUNDAMENTAL patterns used to adjust or tune a display. Some of the patterns are usable by anyone without special equipment. Some of those patterns are better
- superior contrast and brightness patterns (IMHO)
- color and tint patterns
- basic alignment patterns
- Y/C delay
The disc also have the patterns one needs to use WITH special equipment mentioned previously in the thread. These include:
- grayscale calibration window patterns
- color window patterns
This disc is meant to put ONLY the fundamental video patterns that would be used by someone using a colorimeter (like me) in one place and with spot on color accurate patterns. I've gone to great lengths to get help to ensure my color patterns are at least identical to the pro level discs, these patterns are created and verfied literally at the binary level in YCbCr (digital YUV which is what's on a DVD). In in a few tests mine were one digital level better
than one of the pro level discs. My disc is meant to be quick and easy to navigate, designed to function in a work-flow arrangement, and make pattern navigation and availability quick and easy. So in that respect it is a better
disc than the other options for what it's designed for.
* Will the disc have the fundamental patterns a novice or someone without a colorimeter can use? Absolutely, especially for brightness and contrast patterns which are the fundamental display adjustments. Are they better, I think so.
* Will it have a cute hand holding video in front of the patterns explaining what each pattern is and how to use it, no, it will not. Will I be available to explain same, no, I will not.
* Will it have instructions at all? Probably, but abbreviated, just the basics. If anyone submits any documentation for a particular pattern, set of patterns, or method, I'll be happy to review, turn into a pdf or text file and add to the disc. But I probably wont' have time to do much in that regard, at least not soon.
* Can someone (novice) figure out how on their own? Sure, first place to start might be at the consumer disc's websites where there is a wealth of information explaining how to use the basic patterns. Then asking questions on forums like AVS will get you the help you need for adjusting contrast, brightness. But to encourage anyone, I think my disc is a accceptable solution to anyone needing a basic calibration disc. It does not have any hand holding, but this is not rocket science anyway. Depends on how technically adept one is I suppose. By reading the suggestions above, and poking around with google one can easily find a wealth of information on using the fundamental patterns.
But if you sent me a PM and said "...I want to beta test your disc. I will stick it in my DVD player and have it calibrate my TV. I'll let you know if it worked....
", then this disc isn't what you are looking for. If you said that, you need to hire someone .
This is not a magical disc that calibrates anything. It has patterns you use to make adjustments to a display to get it set properly. Fundamental (basic) adjustments do not require a colorimeter (brightness, contrast, color/tint, Y/C delay), other adjustments can be done by experienced eye (sort of) but are best done with a colorimeter of some sort (gray scale, primary colors). Even without a meter, one can ascertain the quality of the devices grayscale by viewing the gray ramps so even that advanced pattern has value for a novice.
So, I hope that helps and will cut down on some of the very new to it PM's like the one above. This describes briefly what's better
about mine. And maybe I can reference this post for those who don't understand what this is and is not.
Experienced guys feel free to elaborate or correct me.