SpyderTV Pro reviews. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 322 Old 08-12-2006, 10:01 AM - Thread Starter
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After months of discussion and speculation about it, the SpyderTV Pro is now available. Has anyone on this forum purchased it? Perhaps no one has actually got one in hand as of yet.

How's its grayscale calibration accuracy? Does it use only two data points as its manual seems to suggest? Is it worth the price of two professional calibrations? I'm sure many others on this forum would like to know the answers to these questions - and others - as well. If I were in a good position to evaluate it I'd like to offer an opinion, but I have to rely on those who have the requisite knowledge and equipment to give it a thorough evaluation.

C'mon, someone start a thread - or use this one.

Arwe

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post #2 of 322 Old 08-12-2006, 12:55 PM
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Based on whatever message I saw which stated that there is a upgrade path for current SpyderTV users, it sounds like nothing more then a software update, and that the hardware is the same. If that is true, I find it very hard to see the value over it (maybe its wizards are a little better) and CalMAN. I say save yourself some money and get the CalMAN bundle.

-pd
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post #3 of 322 Old 08-27-2006, 04:10 AM
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Bump !
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post #4 of 322 Old 08-28-2006, 08:28 AM
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I'm interested in the differences between TV and Pro. I just ordered pro this weekend, so I haven't had a chance to play with it. I guess what interests me in TV is the ablity to calibrate from the available menu items. eg You don't have to get into the service menu. My thought is, "If I'm going to drop some cash down I might as well calibrate some friends sets as well". However, I'm not interested in going into a friends service menu and blowing something up. I ran over to the calman site and read the document about the basics of calibration. Luckly my panasonic 900 has Contrast, brightness, a gamma for each of the color channels so I won't need a service menu...I think. If so I have no issues of blowing my set up by accessing a service menu I also noted that he mentions what the tint and hue sliders do on a set.

Point of my rambling is this -> Sure, I may not be able to get of a good of picture with out the service menu, but if the pro software doesn't really guide you on how to calibrate a TV without the service menu, and the TV version does then the TV software seems to be appealing as well. However I'm not interested in dropping another $200 for some convience software. Actually I don't even see any "upgrade" path from Pro to TV on colorvisions website. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Is calibrating a TV set with Pro only viable if you have access to the service menu? I'm somewhat guessing that spyderTV's menu selection is just hand holding the customer. If you know what the sliders do and you know what sliders are available then you can calibrate it without spyderTV.
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post #5 of 322 Old 08-28-2006, 08:32 AM
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greetings

If you don't have access to the grayscale controls in the TV ... the program is not going to give them to you.

It assumes you know where the controls are to begin with ... service menu or otherwise.

Regards

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post #6 of 322 Old 08-28-2006, 08:37 AM
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The question is whether or not it has a manual "point and shoot" widget that reads out (x,y,Y) directly. Bonus points for having a "targeting" or relative (%) color balence widget. This (plus a set of appropriate "IRE" patterns) is all you really need to do as many a "pointed" calibration as you desire. It can be tedious, but it ain't quite rocket science.
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post #7 of 322 Old 09-01-2006, 08:59 PM
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I thought the PRO version is specially made for projectors. Am I wrong ???

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post #8 of 322 Old 09-02-2006, 04:47 AM
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I have heard that the sensors bundled with the "Spyder packages" are quite low quality.. Is this correct?
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post #9 of 322 Old 09-02-2006, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ac388 View Post

I thought the PRO version is specially made for projectors.

No ... but it (SpyderTV-Pro) does include the software specificly designed for computer monitor and projector "profiling" along with the Home-Theater/TV centric software.
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post #10 of 322 Old 09-10-2006, 02:47 PM
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Anyone use spydertv pro yet?
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post #11 of 322 Old 09-11-2006, 08:50 AM
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I have one on order. It should be here this week.

I'm presently using Spyder2Express and Calman and I'm very happy with my results but I want to compare the SpyderTVPro software alone versus the colorimeter and Calman to see how different the final settings will be between the two calibration methods.

Wayne
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post #12 of 322 Old 09-11-2006, 09:35 AM
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Wayne
Could you please post your thoughts on the two when you get the pro software.

muncey
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post #13 of 322 Old 09-11-2006, 08:52 PM
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Mine arrived today, but won't get the chance to play with it until the weekend.

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post #14 of 322 Old 09-12-2006, 08:19 AM
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muncey,

I'd be glad to.

I received an email from my vendor that he's shipping it out today from Toronto and I'll be receiving it most likely tomorrow.

Since I broke my foot on Labor Day, I should have lots of time over the next 5 weeks to play with this and compare it to Spyder2Express/Calman.

Gino,

I'm jealous.

I'll start using mine when I get it this week and will post my observations. Perhaps you could do the same when you get a chance.

Wayne
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post #15 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 09:06 AM
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SpyderTVPro Review

Okay, I did my first calibration with the the new software last night. It took me about 39 minutes according to the program data. I have the H78DC3 projector and a 106" Da-Lite High Power screen. My source was my HTPC using DVI and HDMI cables/adapters/switcher and extender.

Here's what you get in the box:

1 SpyderTV Colorimeter including filter and USB cable with a weighted disc
1 Suction cup/tripod attachment
1 plastic storage case
1 SpyderTVPro software CD
1 Spyder2Pro software CD
1 SpyderTV Test Patterns and Instructions NTSC DVD
1 SpyderTV Test Patterns and Instructions PAL/SECAM DVD
1 SpyderTV Quick Start Guide
1 'Which software should I use?' explanatory sheet
1 Spyder2Pro Installation Guide
1 Warranty Card
1 Envelope in which to store all of the discs and papers

I loaded the software onto both my HTPC (for when I calibrate my Oppo DVD player) and my wife's (thanks Honey!) laptop which I used last night to do the measurements from the HTPC. The colorimeter was placed about a foot in front of the screen and about a third of the way up from the bottom of the screen, facing upwards at about a 45 degree angle aimed at the center of the screen.

I used a USB cable extension so that I could sit on the couch and this was plugged into the laptop. I have a Gyration Ultra cordless mouse which I used from the couch to control the DVD test patterns disc which was in the HTPC.

The software doesn't have provisions for every adjustment that you might find on your display device. For instance, the different gamma settings that I can use on my projector aren't used by this software. So I knew from past experience and reading that my projector and indeed basically all of the H7x series units seem best set at Gamma TV Cinema 1. I used TV as opposed to either one of Film, or Video. I also had the choice of Cinema, Normal and Vivid. The software recommends that you initially set the display device to Normal or it's equivalent. This is what I did. I intend to re-do the calibration using Cinema at a future date.

The 1 corresponds to warm. 2 is medium and 3 is cool. SpyderTVPro does allow this measurement to be taken and adjusted.

The SpyderTVPro software appears to be SpyderTV software with some additions like a calibration timeline at the bottom whereby you can jump to different pages if you need to go back and check something. It also has RGB contrast and RGB brightness measurements which are labelled gains and cuts respectively. You can print out a document which outlines the calibration measurements with graphs.

The software guides you along the way. You start by selecting your display device and there are check boxes for everything from CRT to Front Projection. Then you record your current settings and you can de-select any boxes which don't apply to you. In my case I de-selected the Color and Tint boxes because I'm using DVI/HDMI and they aren't available on my Optoma projector when using these cables. You have to tell the software what your current settings are and also the minimum and maximum values. The Color Temperature Pre-Set Editor allows you to adjust the default names of Warm, Medium and Cool to another name which more closely matches your display device or to add, delete or change the order of these entries.

Now the software does a 'Before Analysis' measurement to determine the color and luminance values of black and white test patterns which it uses to characterize the initial state of your TV. Data obtained in this step is used during the calibration process and in final reporting.

Next, SpyderTVPro measures the actual color temperature of a white test pattern for each of the presets available on your TV. It then calculates which preset is the closest to the 6500K standard then displays this answer to you.

Then, SpyderTVPro determines the optimum brightness setting for your TV by measuring a black test pattern at multiple brightness slider settings. SpyderTVPro will take about 7 measurements after which it calculates the optimum brightness setting for your TV and displays the answer to you. You then set your brightness slider to the recommended setting.

Now SpyderTVPro determines the optimum Contrast setting for your TV by measuring a white test pattern at multiple contrast slider settings. The procedure is the same as when measuring the brightness, and the software will then take about 7 measurements after which it calculates the optimum contrast setting for your TV and displays the answer to you. Again, you just set your contrast slider to the recommended setting.

Next, the software determines how to adjust your display's Red, Green and Blue GAINS by measuring a GRAY test pattern and showing you the relative percentages that each color will need to be adjusted to reach the target. Once you have made the appropriate adjustments to your Red, Green and Blue gains, click "Next" to perform a new measurement. If your display is still outside the tolerance range, SpyderTV Pro will recalculate the adjustments you will need to make, and you will need to readjust your display.

If you have adjusted the settings correctly, and all three colors are within the tolerance, SpyderTV Pro will move on to adjusting the low end of the gray scale or, if your entire grayscale sequence is complete, will inform you that you are done. If both the high and low end of the gray scale are correct at the same time, with no adjustment of settings necessary, the Wizard will move on to the step after the gray scale adjustments, and you will be finished with this step.

Now SpyderTVPro determines how to adjust your displays Red, Green and Blue CUTS. The method is the same as with the GAINS procedure only this time measuring a DARK GRAY test pattern and showing you the relative percentages that each color will need to be adjusted to reach the target.

At this point, since I didn't have Color and Tint measurements to take, the program enters the final stages and SpyderTVPro measures BLACK and WHITE test patterns to characterize the state of your television AFTER calibration. Data obtained in this step is used for comparison versus the initial state of your TV and in final reporting.

Then we come to the SUMMARY screen which reports both your initial settings and optimized settings for each of the TV controls you adjusted in the calibration process. This screen also provides graphs for each of the controls you optimized. The SpyderTVPro report also recommends a date for your next calibration which is set to 6 months.

Now we come to the BEFORE and AFTER IMAGE ANALYSIS page. The purpose of this step is to view VISUAL IMAGES for BRIGHTNESS, CONTRAST, COLOR and TINT while you adjust the appropriate slider controls above and below the optimized settings that SpyderTVPro recommended. This will give you an idea of how far out you were prior to running the software and what those settings you previously used would look like now as compared to the properly calibrated ones. Using photos this allows you to see what shadow detail you've gained and what extraneous detail you've lost.

I have up until now been playing with a Spyder2Express colorimeter and the Calman software. Using that combination, through many hours of settings adjustments, I dialed in my parameters to be very close to the settings that SpyderTVPro recommended. Here are the values that I settled on with Spyder/Calman: RGB Contrast 12 -7 0, RGB Brightness -13 -1 -2. Contrast 9 Brightness -5 Warm (1) Color setting

Here are the settings that SpyderTVPro determined would give me the most accuracy. RGB Contrast 11 -3 -2, RGB Brightness -13 1 0. Contrast 11 Brightness -4 Warm (1) Color setting

As you can see, the changes weren't drastic. However this is on paper. In reality the differences were HUGE. I thought that I had by using the Spyder/Calman package, attained just about the best images possible with my projector and they were indeed NICE! A BIG improvement from just using AVIA or eyeballing. But I've learned that a simple click or two in one direction or the other with the Cuts and Gains can either improve or throw off the picture in a greater measure than the numbers would seem to indicate. Using the Spyder/Calman method, the graphs all looked very good and I was happy with the betterment of the overall images.

But I must say that I was overwhelmingly floored at what I saw on my screen post calibration using SpyderTVPro. I've never seen such natural and even skin tones on any display device ever. I sat there mesmerized. Faces that had previously been overly red or unevenly toned were basically perfect now. I had a hard time shutting the system down and going to bed. Slight tinges of green in gray beards and hair were totally eliminated.

Now I want to watch all of my movies over again! So let me say this about the Spyder/Calman way of doing things. If you have the time and interest, you will learn a whole lot about the way your display device responds to settings adjustments. It can be a challenge but a fun one to accomplish a proper calibration with Calman. All of the graphs contribute to showing you where you are and hinting at what you possibly should do to attain nirvana. The Primaries and Secondaries as well as ANSI Contrast measurement tools are quite interesting and there is definitely a place in the calibration world for this Tool. Not to mention that the cost of an inexpensive colorimeter such as the Express coupled with Calman won't set you back much coin and you will obtain results which in my experience so far, very closely resembles those garnered by utilizing the SpyderTVPro. Bill and Derek are planning on more upgrades and I look forward to those. I still plan on playing with Calman as well as SpyderTVPro because I like the more detailed information that the Calman product gives.

If you have the money and don't have a lot of time, patience or interest in calibrating your display, then this SpyderTVPro is the product for you. I love it. It's extremely easy to use. To my surprise, I didn't even have to re-adjust the contrast or brightness settings after the calibration. I was sure I'd have to tweak it a bit but I checked with AVIA and those measurements were dead on. I also have the Monster/ISF disc and find it invaluable when checking contrast.

One other thing; the SpyderTVPro software seemed to struggle just a little bit with my High Power Screen. Not a problem but I noticed that it found it a challenge to nail the contrast and brightness settings. It may have taken a tad longer to do this but it eventually calculated the proper settings.

I hope this helps those who may be thinking of purchasing either Calman, SpyderTVPro, or both as I've done.

I have relied on the help function of the SpyderTVPro software to assist me in writing this review.

Wayne
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post #16 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 09:46 AM
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Wayne,

Thanks for the detailed review. I also have an H78 and figured it couldn't get any better than CalMan, which uses 11 data points to get a greyscale. Your review gives me food for thought.

Is an upgrade path offered for Spyder2Pro owners? I really don't need another puck.

MIKE

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post #17 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 10:29 AM
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Hi Mike,

I'm only aware of an upgrade to Spyder2Pro from Express and Suite. You might want to contact Colorvision. Perhaps they've instituted a software upgrade to SpyderTVPro that isn't listed on their website yet.

I'm approaching 300 hours on my H78. So far so good. I've also installed two quiet 12v computer fans, one at each venting grille that I use to help move the hot air out. It's reduced the internal temperatures by about 20 degress fahrenheit.

Wayne
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post #18 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 11:10 AM
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I'm really interested in an upgrade from Spyder2Pro to SpyderTVPro, an upgrade not listed on their website. Since the hardware (puck) is the same, they could offer an upgrade if they wished. The question is whether they wish to do so.

MIKE

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post #19 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 12:39 PM
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Can someone briefly describe the primary differences between the SpyderTV and SpyderTV Pro?
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post #20 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 12:44 PM
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Wayne,

I'd be curious to see what the delta was between the calman settings you settled upon and SpyderTVPro. Is that possible? Essentially an RGB tracking chart for each setting...though there are many ways to get to D65 (i.e. you could have happened upon the exact same settings with CalMAN as SpyderTV did...). I'm more curious to see the accuracy of SpyderTV SW (in CalMAN) since you have both.

Although really I think to compare CalMAN to SpyderTV Pro is somewhat of an apples to oranges comparison. SpyderTV is almost fully automated and holds your hand through calibration process so the user doesn't necessesarily have to know much about the concepts behind the tuning where the CalMAN SW is geared more as an advanced SW tool needed to calibrate the monitor that provides loads of information in the process. It's user typically needs a more fundamental understanding of video and the tuning process which is very much an artform at times - though the inclusion of the latest calibration wizard changes that a bit...

One's not necessarily better than the other, but mainly comes down to user preference.

Mike
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post #21 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 01:38 PM
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I, too, would be curious to see your "after" and "after after" measurements in CalMAN, too (i.e., run an 11-pt grayscale post STV Pro). I'm curious what happened to your dE.

That being said, we are definitely different tools, and I'm glad to see the STV Pro getting some air time.

Color accuracy evangelist and CalMAN insider
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post #22 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 02:03 PM
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Hi Mike,

I've included a pdf of one of my better calibration runs with Calman recently. The images were very, very good with the settings that resulted in those results on the graphs.

I found my H78 to be an extremely difficult projector to calibrate. My H57, H31 and before that X1 never gave me this much trouble. The graphs may show room for improvement and it would seem that my SpyderTVPro results confirm that but I reached a wall and couldn't get any better results no matter what I tried so I 'settled' for that for the time being. Now of course I've changed the settings to reflect the SpyderTVPro's findings and I like what I'm seeing now more than before.

I'll also include the charts from SpyderTVPro for some comparison. I'm hobbling along on a broken foot so I don't think I'll be doing too much else by way of comparison just yet.

Hi Bill!,

I'll see if I can do what you asked but I'm going to need you to allow me to use my new colorimeter with the Calman software. It won't work right now because the license key only matches my old colorimeter's serial number. I've sent you an email about this.

Yup. Two different products. Both excellent for sure. And there can be a place for both in a home theater hobbyist's repertoire.

Wayne

 

CalMAN v2.02.xls36.pdf 128.2001953125k . file
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post #23 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 02:43 PM
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Here is the SpyderTVPro report that the software generated. Unfortunately I've had to produce it in black and white because the 3 page pdf color file is too large to attach here. My printer is out of colored ink so I printed each page separately in B & W and then scanned them into different pdfs. What a pain!

Sorry about the quality but I think you should get the idea.

Wayne

 

SpyderTVPro Results Page1 BW0001.PDF 131.6025390625k . file

 

SpyderTVPro Results Page2 BW0001.PDF 145.1044921875k . file

 

SpyderTVPro Results Page3 BW0001.PDF 129.7119140625k . file
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post #24 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 03:39 PM
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Didn't SpyderTVPro go back over the GAINS after you adjusted the CUTS? I know that the two interact. It would take more than one complete pass of CUTS and GAINS to truly dial the display in.
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post #25 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 04:32 PM
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Lee,

When the software is measuring anything, it will if necessary ask for a repeat measurement. This happened to me with several of the readings. During the Cuts/Gains portion, the colors were out but not by that much. The program did require repeat readings before the colors were found to be in tolerance. Even then, you can choose either to go on to the next step or act upon the advice given. For instance, I was told that it was okay to move on but the program also was saying to move blue contrast up as an example. So, at this point you can ignore that advice or try to get the colors closer to 100%. I decided to persevere and work on getting red, green, and blue more in line with one another. At times I went too far and made things worse and had to backtrack and then I'd be satisfied with the result and move on.

I like the fact that you can tweak Cuts/Gains a little beyond what the software's tolerance levels permit in order to attempt to get a little closer to perfection.

I did another calibration today. This time with my Oppo DVD player fed via DVI to the same projector. Instead of Normal, I used Cinema. It worked just as well as last night's attempt on the HTPC.

Wayne
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post #26 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 05:24 PM
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stixx,

If you go to the Colorvision website you'll find the answer to your question. Basically SpyderTVPro is more advanced software that measures RGB Cuts/Gains.

mraub,

Mike, I just found out that people with SpyderTV can upgrade to the Pro version for $369.00. For that you get a SpyderTVPro software CD, Spyder2Pro software CD, SpyderTVPro DVD (installation guide and test patterns), SpyderTVPro carrying case, and a SpyderTVPro vs. Spyder2Pro comparison sheet.

Wayne
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post #27 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mystery View Post

I found my H78 to be an extremely difficult projector to calibrate. My H57, H31 and before that X1 never gave me this much trouble. The graphs may show room for improvement and it would seem that my SpyderTVPro results confirm that but I reached a wall and couldn't get any better results no matter what I tried so I 'settled' for that for the time being. Now of course I've changed the settings to reflect the SpyderTVPro's findings and I like what I'm seeing now more than before.

This is why I'm curious to the CalMAN report with the projector setup with SpyderTV settings (pending broken foot and all ). Just because it looks better doesn't necessarily mean it's more accurate per se.

Your gamma is pretty high on the CalMAN pdf, which could hurt black level detail. What Degamma setting is the H78 set to? I'm not too familiar with the H78 but the HD72 has four options -> PC, Graphics, Video, Film. Trying a different one to get it down to 2.2-2.5 might help improve black levels - with either SW solution...

Mike
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post #28 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 07:15 PM
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Originally Posted by mystery View Post


Mike, I just found out that people with SpyderTV can upgrade to the Pro version for $369.00. For that you get a SpyderTVPro software CD, Spyder2Pro software CD, SpyderTVPro DVD (installation guide and test patterns), SpyderTVPro carrying case, and a SpyderTVPro vs. Spyder2Pro comparison sheet.

Where did you find this out? Because I contacted them today about any upgrades from SpyderTV to SpyderTV Pro, and this is what they told me at around 2pm this afternoon.

"Presently we are working on an upgrade/update path to the new SpyderTVPRO package. We will have some info soon."
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post #29 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 07:48 PM
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Mike,

The H78 has Film, Video, and TV image modes. Also, Cinema, Normal and Vivid pre-set picture modes and Gamma 1 - 5. Most professional reviews recommend using Cinema-TV-1. I don't seem to be missing any detail. Brightness has been confirmed through AVIA and no changes were warranted.

Right now, comparing my recent results with Calman isn't a top priority because I'm extremely happy with my projector for the first time since I bought it over two months ago, and I've been on my foot too much playing with these calibration toys when it should have been up in the air and I'm paying for it now.

All I know is, I've been very frustrated with this projector because my H57 displayed better images than I've had with the H78 and this just ought not to have been. Finally, I have some peace and can actually sit down and watch a movie without missing the dialogue because I'm fretting about someone's cheeks being too red. I might even stop tweaking for a while.

Johnla,

That information I posted is taken straight from a document that I found pertaining to the Pro version. I'm unable to attach it because it's too large a file. The section of the document pertaining to the upgrade reads exactly as I wrote it. The file is called 'The SpyderTVPro Reviewer's Guide Final'.

Wayne
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post #30 of 322 Old 09-14-2006, 08:07 PM
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Well considering I contacted Colorvision directly today about any possible upgrades from SpyderTV to SpyderTV Pro, and they reported back and told me that they do not have them finalized yet. I'd have to go by what Colorvision told me that such a thing is not available yet, and not by some review or file that you seen that says that it maybe is.
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