Originally Posted by jobble9
I see. I'll have to check out both settings across a different range of media and see what I like.
Sorry to keep asking questions, I hope you don't mind if I ask a couple more.
1. What are the numbers you reference when you talk about the HDMI Black Level setting? I.e:
2. I'm a little concerned about whether or not my TV is the exact same as yours, since mine is a local Australian variant with a 6 on the end (EH5006, as opposed to EH5000). This in itself isn't a problem, as I imagine it's just a naming quirk and the TVs look the same, but the reason I ask this is that your calibration settings list seems out of order compared to my TV. For example, you say that the TV's sizing options are located in the "Picture Options" menu, but on my TV that option isn't located in that menu and is instead located in its own menu outright. Furthermore, many of the settings mentioned on your list for the Advanced Menu are out of order (you mention Colour Space first, but that option is further down the list for me), and some aren't even mentioned at all. Is this just the way you've listed it, or is there something actually different about our sets?
3. This kind of ties into the above question, but I'm concerned about whether or not the settings I've used from you are accurate for my set. I booted up Killzone 3 and it asked me to adjust the in-game brightness slider until a specific logo was barely visible in the middle of the screen, but this logo would only appear (and I mean only JUST appear) on the very, very highest brightness settings. Anything below, in the mid-range, and in the low-range, was very black (and yes, I made sure my HDMI Black Levels were on Normal, however I did have an option called Full RBG in the PS3's menu turned ON). So my concern is this: If I need to adjust an in-game brightness slider to the maximum level in order to get the best and most accurate image that the developer intended for its game, am I really using the most optimum TV settings? On my previous TV, I'd only have to set the slider to the middle in order to barely see the logo, as required.
4. This ties into 3 slightly--what should I do with HDMI Black levels with the 360/PS3? Should I go with Expanded Ref Level/Normal HDMI Black Level on the 360? Or how about Standard Ref. Level/Low HDMI Black Level? Likewise for the PS3, should I be using Full RBG/Normal HDMI Black Level, or Limited RBG/Low HDMI Black Level?
As always, I very much appreciate and look forward to your help!
1) 8 bit RGB displays show 255 different values. So that's where the 0-255 comes from. 0 is pure black and 255 is pure white. This is what computers render at.
Videos, whether broadcast over cable or on a disc like blu ray compress that 0-255 range down to 16-235. They remap it so that 16 becomes pure black and 235 becomes pure white (instead of 0 and 255). If the TV isn't set to look for that "limited" range, it will keep looking for blacks and whites to spread across the entire 0-255 range. This is mismatched and the picture will quality will show it.
Here is another way to think about it:
It's like trying to fit something into a box that's either too small, too big, or just right.
If the "box" (aka the TV) is too small
(0-255 source signal going into a 16-235 TV) the corners get clipped off. The TV has set pure black to be at 16 even though the source is still outputting different shades all the way down to 0. The TV doesn't care though, and turns the 0-16 shades all into black. Same thing for the shades above 235 - the TV turns them all white even if there is information up there from the source. This is when you get crushed blacks and clipped whites.
If the "box" is too big
(16-235 source signal into a 0-255 TV) there's a lot of wasted space that doesn't get used. This is when the blacks become dark grey and the picture washes out. The source wants the pure black to be up at 16, but the TV wants it down at 0, and the TV wins. Just like the Honey Badger, the TV doesn't care. So 16 ends up displaying as dark grey on the TV, even though the source thinks 16 is actually pure black. Result = washed out picture.
If the box is just right and a perfect fit (a 16-235 source signal going into a 16-235 TV... OR, a 0-255 source going into a 0-255 TV) it then fills up all the space perfectly without clipping any corners or having extra wasted space not being used. The picture uses up all the available space without going over and clipping off the corners (blacks and whites) or going under and becoming washed out.
By the way, this ^ ("The picture uses up all the available space without going over and clipping off the corners (blacks and whites) or going under and becoming washed out.")
is the same premise behind basic calibration. You want to set the white point to be as as white as possible without going over and clipping highlight information and without going under and washing out. You do this by adjusting contrast
. You want to set the black point to be as black/dark as possible without going too low and crushing dark information or going too high and washing out (turning blacks dark grey). You do this by adjusting brightness
. You want the color range to be as colorful as possible without going too high and clipping information (highest color shades blend together instead of being distinct) or going too low and washing out the colors. You do this by adjusting color
. So on and so forth. You want to fill up all of the dynamic range that the TV has, as closely as possible, without going over or under.
This basic calibration stuff you can usually do by eye. You can look at patterns and see where it starts to clip information and set it just below that level. More advanced calibration involves adjusting the accuracy of the color, the greyscale color temperature, the gamma curve, etc. These things are harder to do by eye, which is why people use meters and software to help out.
Back to the limited vs full range topic: On the Samsungs, the "Black Level" adjustment controls this range, or "box size". "Normal" sets the TV to 0-255, and "low" sets the TV to 16-235. It is only adjustable with an RGB
signal, because RGB has the option of outputting at either limited range (16-235) or full range (0-255), while a YCbCr
signal is always
limited range. This is why the "Black Level" greys out when you have a YCbCr signal - the TV automatically sets itself to limited range as it knows YCbCr can only
be limited range.
The majority of sources hooked up to a TV use the YCbCr color space by default (cable boxes, blu ray players). This is why most people will have the black level adjustment greyed out on their TV.
RGB is more likely to be used by a computer. Game consoles can use it too, but you sometimes have to go out of your way to turn it on.
2) I'm pretty sure I listed my settings in order, so your TV is probably different. AFAIK
it's normal for TVs of different regions to have slightly different menus and settings.
3) You should be able to see leave the brightness slider at the default/middle and be able to see the "barely visible" logos. I can see them on mine with multiple games. If you've looked at the logos on multiple games and they are all not visible, something is probably set wrong.
4) For Xbox you have 3 options:
1. Set the xbox to "Color Space: RGB" + "Reference levels: Expanded" then set the TV black level to "Normal."
2. Set the xbox to "Color Space: RGB" + "Reference levels: Standard" then set the TV black level to "Low."
3. Set the xbox to "Color Space: YCbCr." The reference levels will no longer do anything, and the TV's black level will greyed out because both the xbox and TV lock in to limited range 16-235.
I personally use option 1 when playing games on the xbox. It should technically pass the 0-255 RGB range straight through to the TV with the least amount of conversion.
I have tested all three though, and when the TV and xbox are matched correctly (which they are in the above examples) they basically all look identical, which is as it should be. I can see all the brightness logos equally on all of them.
The xbox's game output is OK, but the "Video" output is kind of a buggy mess. So I would recommend watching your videos on the PS3 if possible.
I don't personally have a PS3, so I'm not too familiar with PS3 display settings, but for watching videos (blurays, etc) I think the recommend setting is YCbCr with Super White ON (without super white enabled, it clips information above 235). I'm not sure what is best for games. I would assume full RGB...Someone else more knowledgeable about PS3 would probably know.