best buy offers hdtv calibration: how does it rate (details inside) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 454 Old 02-16-2008, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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just visited my local best buy and was told about their television calibration service:

1. $300
2. not an isf calibration, but same guys do it (or something like that)
3. they use a laptop connected to $7,000 of gear
4. all settings are recorded and you are given a printed graph showing before and after comparisons.

this is the one that make me go hmm...

5. all settings are done on the user menu NOT in the service menu.

now, please correct me if im wrong. but without going into the service menu, and using only the settings that are available to all of us, this sounds far more like a glorified avia/dvd essential calibration to me, doesnt it?

opinions?
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post #2 of 454 Old 02-16-2008, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvtvtv View Post

opinions?

I would never pay a Best Buy employee to be in my home. I think they would have to pay me.
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post #3 of 454 Old 02-16-2008, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by brentsg View Post

I would never pay a Best Buy employee to be in my home. I think they would have to pay me.

.....And they would have to pay ME even more to let them touch my TV

Patience has its rewards.
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post #4 of 454 Old 02-16-2008, 11:52 PM
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Originally Posted by HDPeeT View Post

.....And they would have to pay ME even more to let them touch my TV

I used to work in the electronics dept at Sears, which just happens to be right across the street from Best Buy where I'm from. People would come in all the time, comparing TV's of course, and they would start mentioning the stuff the Best Buy salesmen were telling them.

Among them were:

1. You NEED to have the TV calibrated.
2. You can't get 1080p, or the 120hz refresh in LCD's without Monster HDMI cables (LOL).
3. Monster Power Centers will clean up that signal realllllll nice
4. And finally, you NEED TO HAVE THE TV CALIBRATED.

I can understand the need to have the TV calibrated, as obviously it makes the picture a little better (or a lot in some cases) but the way that some people would come in, and tell me the horror stories that the Best Buy guys tell them made me sick. And now that the OP on this thread said that Best Buy doesn't even get into the service menu? That makes me even angrier.

The Best Buy salesmen would tell them that LCD is the way to go for best overall PQ (which it isnt, as anyone who has seen a Pioneer would know). They also push those Monster Cables like there is no tomorrow. There has to be something that the BBB can do to make Best Buy be a little more honest with what info they give customers; telling customers that the 120hz refresh on the Samsung LCD's wont work without those $200 Monster HDMI cables is a bunch of BS. The average person obviously wouldn't know that, so they are suckered into paying $200 for a cable that Best Buy paid $5 for.
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post #5 of 454 Old 02-17-2008, 12:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeelo58 View Post

I used to work in the electronics dept at Sears, which just happens to be right across the street from Best Buy where I'm from. People would come in all the time, comparing TV's of course, and they would start mentioning the stuff the Best Buy salesmen were telling them.

Among them were:

1. You NEED to have the TV calibrated.
2. You can't get 1080p, or the 120hz refresh in LCD's without Monster HDMI cables (LOL).
3. Monster Power Centers will clean up that signal realllllll nice
4. And finally, you NEED TO HAVE THE TV CALIBRATED.

I can understand the need to have the TV calibrated, as obviously it makes the picture a little better (or a lot in some cases) but the way that some people would come in, and tell me the horror stories that the Best Buy guys tell them made me sick. And now that the OP on this thread said that Best Buy doesn't even get into the service menu? That makes me even angrier.

The Best Buy salesmen would tell them that LCD is the way to go for best overall PQ (which it isnt, as anyone who has seen a Pioneer would know). They also push those Monster Cables like there is no tomorrow. There has to be something that the BBB can do to make Best Buy be a little more honest with what info they give customers; telling customers that the 120hz refresh on the Samsung LCD's wont work without those $200 Monster HDMI cables is a bunch of BS. The average person obviously wouldn't know that, so they are suckered into paying $200 for a cable that Best Buy paid $5 for.

I agree with everything you said. Remember their overhead is outrageous and although their cost is better than most companies they are paying management and their staff on an hourly, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis as well as benefits. Their margins aren't that great on their TV's considering that they have huge buying influence. The only resort is to sell higher priced accessories (which are now being driven down) because of the market. So all in all, it makes for one high pressure sales environment that can be very difficult for individuals that want to get the most non-persuasive information.

Chris
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post #6 of 454 Old 02-17-2008, 07:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brentsg View Post

I would never pay a Best Buy employee to be in my home. I think they would have to pay me.

Post of the century!
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post #7 of 454 Old 02-17-2008, 08:18 AM
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thanks guys for the post on the cable.
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post #8 of 454 Old 02-17-2008, 09:22 AM - Thread Starter
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wow, i did not intend this to become a "buy more" bashing

any one have any info regarding calibrating with and without using the service menu?

for example, is there something that can not be adjusted unless you go into the service menu? perhaps grey-scale or the like?
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post #9 of 454 Old 02-17-2008, 09:57 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skeelo58 View Post

I used to work in the electronics dept at Sears, which just happens to be right across the street from Best Buy where I'm from. People would come in all the time, comparing TV's of course, and they would start mentioning the stuff the Best Buy salesmen were telling them.

Among them were:

1. You NEED to have the TV calibrated.
2. You can't get 1080p, or the 120hz refresh in LCD's without Monster HDMI cables (LOL).
3. Monster Power Centers will clean up that signal realllllll nice
4. And finally, you NEED TO HAVE THE TV CALIBRATED.

I can understand the need to have the TV calibrated, as obviously it makes the picture a little better (or a lot in some cases) but the way that some people would come in, and tell me the horror stories that the Best Buy guys tell them made me sick. And now that the OP on this thread said that Best Buy doesn't even get into the service menu? That makes me even angrier.

The Best Buy salesmen would tell them that LCD is the way to go for best overall PQ (which it isnt, as anyone who has seen a Pioneer would know). They also push those Monster Cables like there is no tomorrow. There has to be something that the BBB can do to make Best Buy be a little more honest with what info they give customers; telling customers that the 120hz refresh on the Samsung LCD's wont work without those $200 Monster HDMI cables is a bunch of BS. The average person obviously wouldn't know that, so they are suckered into paying $200 for a cable that Best Buy paid $5 for.

Like the guy from Sears knows any more about PDPs than a kid @ BB.
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post #10 of 454 Old 02-17-2008, 11:48 AM
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Quote:


is there something that can not be adjusted unless you go into the service menu? perhaps grey-scale or the like?

Many TVs are now offering the necessary controls for calibration in the user menus. However, many also still limit such adjustments to a service-level menu. Reliability of information heard at Best Buy is probably slightly less than what can be encountered on public forums or in the media. Cross check everything to see if it's opinion, misinterpretation of the facts, or solidly founded upon imaging science and display industry standards and recommended practices.

Best Buy fills a legitimate need in the marketplace. The electronics consuming masses consider price first and foremost, then convenience a close second. They will suffer the abuse of third-rate advice and third-rate performance for the sake of saving a few bucks and/or getting it at the local big box store (ie. Visio). The pursuit of excellence is not valued by the general populace.

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." H. L. Mencken

Excellence and expertise at Best Buy is the exception rather than the rule, a notch better than WalMart or Costco. Some employees do try harder, particularly in the Magnolia departments. They still don't pay very well because of the harsh realities of internet pricing and their brick and mortar overhead.
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post #11 of 454 Old 02-17-2008, 03:59 PM
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Many of Bestbuy's sales staff don't really know what Bestbuy actually offers for services. The calibrators may or may not train the floor staff as to the benefits of video calibration and what is performed by the calibrator. Outside of the calibrator, there is no formal training for Bestbuy sales staff. I am assuming that the original poster spoke with a salesman and not one of Bestbuy's calibrators. The calibrators are trained by a Bestbuy employee who is an ISF certified instructor. Bestbuy's calibrators are trained to make adjustments in the service menu.
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post #12 of 454 Old 02-17-2008, 04:08 PM
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Scary thought a BB employee in the service menu of my brand new plasma. No thanks.
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post #13 of 454 Old 02-18-2008, 04:29 AM
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If Best Buy employees went into the service menu as a matter of policy, Best Buy would have a hard time explaining to its manufacturing partners why it should have warranty coverage when something breaks. Seriously, I would expect manufacturers to overlook a few of the smaller dealers doing this, but not someone at Best Buy's scale.

Let's hope that this helps push manufacturers to include greater levels of control in the user menu so that we don't have to resort to going into the service menu anymore.

Bill

Color accuracy evangelist and CalMAN insider
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post #14 of 454 Old 02-18-2008, 11:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear5k View Post

If Best Buy employees went into the service menu as a matter of policy, Best Buy would have a hard time explaining to its manufacturing partners why it should have warranty coverage when something breaks. Seriously, I would expect manufacturers to overlook a few of the smaller dealers doing this, but not someone at Best Buy's scale.

Of course the freakin' CE manufactures could easily avoid the whole problem by putting in a menu item called "Standard" and actually have it calibrated to the proper d65 greyscale, gamut, color matrix, et al. But nooooo!
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post #15 of 454 Old 02-19-2008, 07:43 AM
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Well I got the calibration from Best Buy for free. Guy came yesterday, was isf certified, knew what he was doing, definately used the service menu, took his time, and got the tv perfect. Not saying this is the norm but they only have 2 of these techs in the Maryland, Deleware, PA area and at least the one I met knew what he was doing. It helped that I did too so their is always that. Some customers may be treated differently.
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post #16 of 454 Old 02-20-2008, 10:16 PM
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The fact that Best Buy has even started to recommend calibration is a giant step in the right direction for them. As GeorgeAB said, the market for large CE Stores has evolved from where it was in the past.

Best Buy could not survive if they were only selling high-end Audio and Video services. Unfortunately, there's a certain level of service that you're going to get when the place you're buying your TV also sells microwaves, movies, and board games.

That being said, with boards like this one, the amount of research that the average consumer can do it phenomenal. The downside is, of course, those of us who read this board are not the average consumer. There is a reason why Samsung LCD's come out of the box so bright they'll blind your cat.

Would I let a Best Buy installer calibrate my set? Yes. At this point in time, the BBY Calibraters only calibrate systems. They don't do anything else. These are not the same people who hook up HDMI cables 40-hours per week.

You get the service for which you pay. There are some really great CC, Fry's, BBY employees out there, who really know there stuff. There are also college students who don't. If you don't like your salesperson, there is probably another person in the store who does know better. Simple.
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post #17 of 454 Old 02-21-2008, 08:21 AM
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Well, I just bought a new TV from Vanns, but a couple week ago, I did go to Circuit City and Best Buy to see if I can get a deals on it. Here is what I found out at Best Buy from a Sales person. He showed me a comparison on 2 same model tv, one calibrated and one without. Obviously, the calibrated one was a lot better. He told me that the way they do the calibration is going into the service menu and after that I can adjust the normal menu any way I like or unplug the TV or reset the power and the calibrated setting won't change. He told me that the calibration is a permanent changed in the TV.

Now the monster cables issue. I know the reason why they push that. My brother used to work at Best Buy a few years ago, and they push that cables because of the profit margin and ALSO because it was a guaranty way of telling the customers that they get the BEST cables FROM the store. This way, they cannot go back and blame it on the cables. The profit at Best Buy is not the larger electronic items, but their accessories AND services plans. That is why they are pushing those.
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post #18 of 454 Old 02-21-2008, 08:31 AM
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Greetings

Gregg and I were in SF last week teaching the THX class and during the pack up day, we headed to the local BB for fun.

Asked the sales guy about the calibration thing ...

"oh the ICF thing ... we get about one taker on every 7 to 8 tvs sold."

Us ... "Well if you keep calling it ICF, then no wonder people don't know what it really is about."

He did say he was a low level person and the best people to talk to were the guys in the Magnolia section.

Regards

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The Video Calibration Education Hub - www.TLVEXP.com

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post #19 of 454 Old 02-22-2008, 12:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bear5k View Post

If Best Buy employees went into the service menu as a matter of policy, Best Buy would have a hard time explaining to its manufacturing partners why it should have warranty coverage when something breaks. Seriously, I would expect manufacturers to overlook a few of the smaller dealers doing this, but not someone at Best Buy's scale.

Let's hope that this helps push manufacturers to include greater levels of control in the user menu so that we don't have to resort to going into the service menu anymore.

Bill

I don't think that they will bother unless they make problems. The manufacturers are pretty disconnected from what happens in the field.

Yes, calibration is important...every user should be calibrated.

Need electronics repair? A great place to start looking for a shop in your area: http://www.tvrepairpros.com/
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post #20 of 454 Old 02-23-2008, 05:34 AM
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I was in BB the other day playing around with the settings on a Samsung 5271 when the kid who worked there came up to me and grabbed the remote from me. He then proceded to tell me that this set had been calibrated and I should not change the settings. Actually the set looked like c$#p with the settings they had and looked much better after I adjusted it. I just kept my mouth shut.
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post #21 of 454 Old 02-23-2008, 09:41 AM
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I had heard of the BB calibration before but yesterday for the first time I went into my local BB and they had 2 Samsung LCD 71 series (small size, I think it was 37" or so) side by side in the Magnolia section promoting the calibration service. The TVs were playing Ice Age, one was calibrated and the other was not. Obviously the difference was huge, the non calibrated set had the colors all out of whack and the brightness set so high it looked foggy. Nonetheless, the calibrated one looked pretty good regardless of the comparison. I am sure that whoever did it, did a fine job. I am no tech expert but I believe the quality of the calibration depends on the ability of the technician and his experience with the particular set, so your mileage my vary.
If I was buying my TV at BB (which I am not) I would probably give them a shot for the calibration since they seem to offer a big discount on the service, I may be wrong but I think they offer it for free on some sets.
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post #22 of 454 Old 02-23-2008, 12:55 PM
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Quote:


Among them were:

1. You NEED to have the TV calibrated.
2. You can't get 1080p, or the 120hz refresh in LCD's without Monster HDMI cables (LOL).
3. Monster Power Centers will clean up that signal realllllll nice
4. And finally, you NEED TO HAVE THE TV CALIBRATED.

I'm not convinced the Monster Surge Protectors are as much of a fabrication as the other points. A salesman threw one of the $80 Monster units free back in '03 when I bought an XBR910 from him. Recently, I replaced it (moved it to use with another display) with your standard $20 Surger from Home Depot or Wal-Mart, and the exact same set up produces a ground loop buzz in the TV where as the Monster did not. Is there an explanation for this?
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post #23 of 454 Old 02-23-2008, 04:57 PM
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The unit is likely defective. You are correct, however, that the inexpensive monster surge suppressors are not necessarily a bad value. We sell a $50 unit that is a good alternative to the more expensive Panamax. Similar, but not as elaborate protection. You can often find cheaper units with similar protection, but at least as many of them are a joke. Hard to tell unless you take them apart to find out what they have in them.

Yes, calibration is important...every user should be calibrated.

Need electronics repair? A great place to start looking for a shop in your area: http://www.tvrepairpros.com/
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post #24 of 454 Old 02-25-2008, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvtvtv View Post

just visited my local best buy and was told about their television calibration service:

1. $300
2. not an isf calibration, but same guys do it (or something like that)
3. they use a laptop connected to $7,000 of gear
4. all settings are recorded and you are given a printed graph showing before and after comparisons.

this is the one that make me go hmm...

5. all settings are done on the user menu NOT in the service menu.

now, please correct me if im wrong. but without going into the service menu, and using only the settings that are available to all of us, this sounds far more like a glorified avia/dvd essential calibration to me, doesnt it?

opinions?

I work back in home theater at BB and we just started offering calibration a few months ago. The people who do the calibration are ISF certified, and they do go into the service menu to perform a full calibration, so the person you talked to must not have known what they were talking about. Pretty soon one of our own installers is going to be certified so we have someone local who can do it (right now someone from Kansas City comes down to calibrate).

Previous posters talking about the over priced HDMI cables are right: they're a big source of revenue, and, as far as I know, make no difference in the picture quality. Alot of people are trying to spread the whole idea of "you need this cable if you have a TV with a 120 hz refresh rate." I usually just reccomend the basic most basic ones that are hdmi certified, and ignore Monster's claims.
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post #25 of 454 Old 07-10-2008, 05:29 PM
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I also work for best buy and completly believe in the calibraiton we offer. I researched for as much information as I could on calibrations and put them towards my sales. I had sold many calibrations before I bought my Samsung LNT5271 with a calibration. And after it was done you can clearly see the difference. The calibration has many advantages to it. First of all what it does to your picture is incredible. It makes your tv reproduce the actual colors it is supposed to display unlike the toned up colors out of the box. You see alot more defiintion as well as depth. Whites can really tend to look unrealistic and too bright, where as this will fix that. Outside of picture, a calibration can really save you money in the long run. One because it makes your tv run at a lower temperature. I know it did on my Samsung. The ISF certified guy had a thermometer with him and before it ran at like 95 degrees and after it clocked in at 85. We actually have meters now that we have on our calibration display that calculate how much money it would cost you between the two. And depend on your tv it can save you over 100 bucks a year on power alone, as well as air conditioning costs with the heat the tv's give off. You can actually save money in the long run by getting your tv calibrated. I would highly recommend anyone wanted the best picture and performance to have this done. As long as someone who knows what their doing is performing the calibration, your going to be very happy with it.

And as far as the HDMI cables go, monster cables and surge protectors do make a difference. Connect two blu ray players side by side, one with a 50 dollar hdmi cable and the other with a 100 dollar monster 800 series and you will see a huge difference. Cheap cables are made with cheap materials with like 3 wires inside, where as monster cables have about 12 wires, some with gold connections, some silver, the shielding in the cables is what can make a big difference as well.

Guy saying you work in home theatre and don't realize there is a difference. COntact your monster rep cause thats pretty ridiculous.
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post #26 of 454 Old 07-10-2008, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shano0603 View Post

And as far as the HDMI cables go, monster cables and surge protectors do make a difference. Connect two blu ray players side by side, one with a 50 dollar hdmi cable and the other with a 100 dollar monster 800 series and you will see a huge difference. Cheap cables are made with cheap materials with like 3 wires inside, where as monster cables have about 12 wires, some with gold connections, some silver, the shielding in the cables is what can make a big difference as well.

Wow.... just wow...

The level of misinformation in that post was just staggering.
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post #27 of 454 Old 07-10-2008, 05:54 PM
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I am not a BB fan but here is what the say about their calibration--note the ISF certified claim.

We'll calibrate your HDTV for optimal video performance, using the latest tools and techniques to create the most true-to-life high-definition experience for you. In addition to stunning picture quality, you'll benefit from reduced eye strain, longer TV life and significant energy savings. We'll also check your home theater system for proper operation, and organize and dress the wiring for a clean, professional look.

Product Features
Our highly trained, ISF-Certified Elite Service Specialists will:
Calibrate your TV to ISF standards for top video performance and create dedicated settings for two differet inputs
(emphasis added).
Adjust the surround sound levels of the A/V receiver to ensure all the effect speakers are working optimally
Review and check the speaker system; verify that all speakers are properly positioned and working
Review and recommend any remote control features or capabilities that might be helpful to you now or in the future
Ensure that all wires and cables are neatly dressed, using wire ties as needed
Clean up work area and remove installation debris
Approximate time: 2 hrs.

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post #28 of 454 Old 07-10-2008, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shano0603 View Post

I also work for best buy...

And as far as the HDMI cables go, monster cables and surge protectors do make a difference. Connect two blu ray players side by side, one with a 50 dollar hdmi cable and the other with a 100 dollar monster 800 series and you will see a huge difference. Cheap cables are made with cheap materials with like 3 wires inside, where as monster cables have about 12 wires, some with gold connections, some silver, the shielding in the cables is what can make a big difference as well.

Guy saying you work in home theatre and don't realize there is a difference. COntact your monster rep cause thats pretty ridiculous.

Really you should take a look at the HDMI spec. No cable with just 3 wires will work at all. NO cable with about 12 wires will work either. There is no "about" in the standard--every HDMI cable has exactly the same number and type of wires.


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post #29 of 454 Old 07-10-2008, 06:11 PM
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Here's a good comparison for Monster vs Mono-Price.

http://gizmodo.com/gadgets/feature/t...lly-268788.php

For 6 ft runs, it does not make a lick of difference. Makes a difference on long run cables and if you look at the tests, Monster failed on the long run futureworld scenario (as did monoprice).

Stephen Cooper
THX Certified Video Calibrator
Digital Video Calibrations LLC
http://www.digitalvideocalibrations.com
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post #30 of 454 Old 07-10-2008, 07:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shano0603 View Post


And as far as the HDMI cables go, monster cables and surge protectors do make a difference. Connect two blu ray players side by side, one with a 50 dollar hdmi cable and the other with a 100 dollar monster 800 series and you will see a huge difference. Cheap cables are made with cheap materials with like 3 wires inside, where as monster cables have about 12 wires, some with gold connections, some silver, the shielding in the cables is what can make a big difference as well.

Guy saying you work in home theatre and don't realize there is a difference. COntact your monster rep cause thats pretty ridiculous.

Utter hogwash and flapdoodle!

Here is yet another telling expose':

http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/packing_the_deal/
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