Originally Posted by Garnoch
Thanks, Stefan. Putting all this stuff together helps paint the picture of what's going on. And Catt's link had info I had never seen before. I can only assume that website somehow got Samsung to go into detail as to what was going on. Some people probably don't click links, so I'll paste the pertinent info here....Micro Dimming, according to Samsung, is software using exceptionally fast processors that can instantaneously run algorithms on the information coming from your antennae, cable box, or dish and decide on whether or not to tweak the lights and darks of the picture by adjusting the cells in the liquid crystal display (LCD) itself instead of the actual LEDS. WHEW! That was a mouthful!
It does this by dividing the LCD screen into zones. The Micro Dimming Ultimate divides the screen into app. 600 zones. You may be thinking, that’s a lot of zones, but why should I pay more for micro dimming when local dimming is less expensive and does the same thing? The answer is, they have the same goal, but one should be exceptionally better at the job.
Instead of adjusting the brightness of the LEDS they devised a system that would work at the liquid crystal level. And if they could adjust / tweak with perfection the actual liquid crystal cells on the display it would effectively give you the ultimate picture. You see all light has to go through the liquid crystal cells in a LCD screen. Each liquid crystal cell already does a little twisting and turning to allow on a certain amount of light through in Local Dimming, but with Micro Dimming the software will go deeper into each pixel and adjust each pixel in a zone giving you a staggering better contrast of lights and darks. That’s the theory.
So what is Micro Dimming Ultimate?
The system software will divide the screen up into app. 600 zones and each zone will give each pixel in that zone the attention it deserves faster than you can see. Adjusting on three levels for contrast, sharpness, and overall image color.
So what is Micro Dimming Pro?
The Pro version has app. 300 zones which makes it not as attentive to detail as the 600 zone Ultimate, but also works on three levels. Contrast Enhancements, Color Enhancements and Sharpness
So what is Micro Dimming Standard?
This also has app. 300 zones, except it only deals with contrast enhancements (darks and lights) and does not have the color and sharpness enhancement features of pro and ultimate.
Is Micro Dimming worth the money over Local Dimming?
Most experts would say not yet. There’s still much more that could be done to improve the technology. As some Plasma and other less expensive Local Dimming LCD LED TVs still give off a better picture. Me personally, I couldn’t tell the difference between Ultimate and Pro, but could definitely see a difference on the standard.
That being said I would never buy a TV with Standard Micro Dimming as it’s not as effective as Local Dimming and doesn’t really give that great of contrast, in my opinion. So either go Pro, Ultimate or Local Dimming. At least for now as all three will give you approximately the same picture.
Of course this is why the brighter areas of Standard mode are brighter than Movie mode, requiring their backlights to be set differently for a similar light output. This technology is also making the blacks in Standard (and other modes) appear darker than Movie. Combine that with CE Dimming which is dimming the whole panel during dark scenes and you can see what the outcome will be. The problem for some of us is that CE Dimming is intrusive, which is what I'm liking about this new trick. Is this trick introducing some unwanted effects to a calibration? Quite possible. Is MD and CE introducing unwanted effects to a calibration too? Probably, which is probably why Samsung didn't put this stuff in Movie mode. For the first time though, I'm feeling the lesser of two evils is Standard with these tweaks. Man, has my picture looked sick the last two days. All it will take though is me finding one place where it really messes up my picture for me to go back to Movie mode though - which I was loving.
By the way, other than the discs, two of the main scenes I used for realizing I was losing too much detail and that this trick needed tweaking on my panel, was the following....
The scene where you first meet Muntz, standing in the shadows of the cave. (the cutaway shots of the house with colored balloons is a great scene to compare colors, shadows and detail between Standard and Movie too)
The Empire Strikes Back
The scene where you first see the Emperor in person walking off the shuttle craft. He's dressed all in black and his face in the shadows of his cloak and from the craft. This is intercut with shots of Vader, who is of course also dressed in black with nice folds in his costume against a brighter floor and back ground.
Very good post and thanks for sharing that information here. That goes a lot more into detail than anything else I've read on the subject. Now I actually understand what micro-dimming is trying to accomplish and how it does it. Why couldn't Samsung have that exact explanation in their manuals? Then again, look at their firmware notes...
I went through and tweaked standard mode today with the AVS disc, using the new CE-Dimming workaround of course. I also tweaked movie mode a bit more also. Both seem fine according to the AVS disc - black clipping, APL clipping, white clipping, color clipping, color steps, grayscale steps - they all seem fine with both standard and movie - with just some slight variances with the bars between the two picture modes. Yet there is most certainly a difference between the 2 modes, even though in both cases the bars are correct. The whites in standard are much brighter and whiter - making the whites in movie mode look rather dull - even though contrast is set at 94 for movie and 84 for standard. Based on what you posted above, I'm now certain that this is due to the micro-dimming which is active in standard. As far as detail in dark areas, I believe they are very very close - perhaps movie reveals a tiny bit more detail in the blacks but its extremely close - and I do have gamma on +1 in movie mode so that may be the reason right there.
Other things I've noticed since the workaround and additional tweaks:
- Many seem to be okay with contrast close to 100 even in standard. Using the AVS disc, that's just a bit too high for me - there's just a tiny bit of white clipping when close to 100 - not bad, just a tiny bit. It seems around 84 I can see all the bars without having to stare for minutes - perhaps a bit higher would work as well - I landed on 84 and kept it there.
- Dynamic contrast seems rather safe to use on low only; with the AVS tests, low does not alter the patterns enough to even need to make any changes whatsoever. Medium has a more drastic effect and does affect the bars - and high is out of the question - it just wrecks havoc with the blacks and whites. For me I think dynamic contrast is not necessary for standard but it may prove useful at times. In movie mode it seems to almost be required just to make up for the lack of micro-dimming.
- Standard can appear slightly harsh at times when things are very brightly lit - like many shows these days with floodlights just poured over peoples faces during reality shows, talk shows, etc. - in these cases movie seems to dial it back and keep things from looking flooded. In standard, faces can sometimes look just a bit brighter than I would like, even though everything else is fine. I believe that's due to the micro-dimming, which is enhancing the lighter areas.
- It's obvious how bad natural mode is when viewing AVS test patterns. The color is dreadful - color bars look almost pastel. And color clipping, black clipping and white clipping are all in full force. Ditto for Dynamic mode.
Overall I think with the new CE-Dimming workaround, I will be spending most of my time in standard mode. Movie mode just looks a bit too dull and lifeless to me in general, when comparing to movie. As far as color, I think I'm pretty happy at this point with the color in both modes. This set has a real issue with reds - the color clipping patterns just barely misses clipping the red, and that's with R-Gain down to 10 and R-Offset down to 3! But with the reds dialed back, the color actually looks quite good - with color tone set to standard. The warm 1 and warm2 modes both lean too much towards yellow for my tastes.