How are Best Buy's Geek Squad ISI calibrations? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 75 Old 02-25-2013, 02:49 PM - Thread Starter
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I have never had anyone come in with equipment to calibrate a TV, I've always just done that with a disc and a knowledgeable friend . I now have a Samsung UN55ES7100 and I get a free calibration once a year with my Premier Silver Reward Zone membership. Is it worth it to call it in? Or should I go through someone else? Is it even necessary?
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post #2 of 75 Old 02-25-2013, 02:57 PM
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IMO free why not try it. I just purchased a Sony 950 and a Silver member. I doubt if I get mine calibrated though. Picture looks good as is. Reason I say that is I own a Sony VW90ES and had professionally calibrated for $600 and I did not notice a diffrence in the Sonys PQ.

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post #3 of 75 Old 02-25-2013, 03:36 PM
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With Best Buy, it seems to come down to the technician. Some people have said they were untrained and were not impressed, others have been more then satisfied. I also got the free calibration, and my experience was positive. He used all the equipment and seemed to know what he was doing. The picture is far better then I could have gotten it myself. It's a free service. Take it. If you are concerned, write down all your current settings and you can always change the settings back if you aren't happy.

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post #4 of 75 Old 02-25-2013, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMonMan View Post

With Best Buy, it seems to come down to the technician. Some people have said they were untrained and were not impressed, others have been more then satisfied. I also got the free calibration, and my experience was positive. He used all the equipment and seemed to know what he was doing. The picture is far better then I could have gotten it myself. It's a free service. Take it. If you are concerned, write down all your current settings and you can always change the settings back if you aren't happy.

Do they adjust all inputs? I have only tinkered with settings but they appear to be localized per HDMI input and I am currently using 2. What are some questions I should be asking? I just swapped this set today because the brightness of the picture and the menu itself would flicker depending on the picture itself and the source. Netflix streaming was the worst culprit. I was told by their Magnolia manager to just swap sets and I did and I still see the same problem. My parents 5000 series recently bought does the same. These are my first experiences with LED I have been running a plasma for the last 4 years or so and an RPTV for 5 years before that. I am not up to date with this new technology.

Also, I have only ever used a PS3 for a Blu-ray player, should I buy a standalone? Is it really worth it to buy high quality HDMI cables? If so, what type?

Sorry for the 20 questions but this is the first time I have really sank my teeth in to the high quality HD experience and I want to maximize it.
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post #5 of 75 Old 02-25-2013, 04:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinCa316 View Post

Do they adjust all inputs? I have only tinkered with settings but they appear to be localized per HDMI input and I am currently using 2. What are some questions I should be asking? I just swapped this set today because the brightness of the picture and the menu itself would flicker depending on the picture itself and the source. Netflix streaming was the worst culprit. I was told by their Magnolia manager to just swap sets and I did and I still see the same problem. My parents 5000 series recently bought does the same. These are my first experiences with LED I have been running a plasma for the last 4 years or so and an RPTV for 5 years before that. I am not up to date with this new technology.

Also, I have only ever used a PS3 for a Blu-ray player, should I buy a standalone? Is it really worth it to buy high quality HDMI cables? If so, what type?

Sorry for the 20 questions but this is the first time I have really sank my teeth in to the high quality HD experience and I want to maximize it.

To be clear, I am no expert- but I will answer to the best of my knowledge and am sure others will chime in.

The free calibration includes (at least for me a few months ago) 2 settings. He told me some sets have a night and day setting, so he would set them differently for each setting. Since my set did not have such a feature, he calibrated two separate inputs. In this regard, you should be fine.

On some sets, it is necessary to into a hidden menu for adjustments. On other sets, such as my Samsung, all adjustments can be made from the user-service menus.

As far as the flickering and issues with LED- I would return it and buy a plasma. Most people here agree that plasma offers the best picture and am sure others can elaborate. And you can get more set for less money. Magnolia salesmen are going to steer you towards the newest, highest profit sets they have-LED, but most videophiles still agree that plasma is the way to go.

PS3 is still a very good blu-ray player. There is very little you would gain by having a stand-alone other then quieter operation in my opinion.

Do not pay for expensive HDMI cables. Most here will recommend monoprice or blujeanscable for HDMI cables. I would make sure its 1.4 HDMI and you should be set. You shouldn't pay more then 10 dollars on cables and am sure others here will agree.

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post #6 of 75 Old 02-25-2013, 04:19 PM
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Here is my post from the D8000 thread a from 2 weeks ago......
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Originally Posted by JSteel View Post

Well,

I just had BB come over and calibrate my the TV since I am a premier silver customer and it was free! I must say that I am very impressed with the outcome! I was scared at first, but the guy was really cool and we talked about video games and stuff while he calibrated. I asked him about how long he was doing calibrations and he said he has done it over the last 6 years. I was telling him how interested I was in learning the skill and knew a lot by the forums I read. I told him it was an expensive hobby and he said yes it is. He then told me the equipment he was using and it was in a big case and he told me that there was $7,000 sitting there that he would have never been able to afford. So at that point, I knew he knew his trade. So he ended up programming a CAL-DAY and CAL-NIGHT on the TV and did some of the adjustments in the service menu. He moved around that menu so fast, I could tell he has done it a while. He was a professional in everything he did. I was lucky and told him that if he sounded like he did not care about his job on the phone, I was going to turn him away. He started laughing at that point. But he explained everything and even went through my Playstation 3 and my Sony Blu-ray S790 to make sure everything was good setting wise and he showed me what everyone did as far as my current settings and what the purpose was. It was no 12 hours like the guru's on here, but he did a good job for the 2 hours he was here. MKANET settings I was using before he came, and I must say, the calibrator did wonders to the pic. MKANET settings did not work anymore like they did before after I re-entered my settings, but the picture now is excellent and it is true to my eyes. Not yellowish or greenish. He will send me the before and after calibration reading in a pdf file in another day or so. Here are some pics of the tv after cal. I set my camera up to make sure that the picture you see is what I am seeing. That was hard as hell to do, but I did it!!

P1000512.JPG 4108k .JPG file
P1000541.JPG 4065k .JPG file
P1000487.JPG 4064k .JPG file
P1000500.JPG 3481k .JPG file
P1000532.JPG 4033k .JPG file
P1000508.JPG 4060k .JPG file
P1000535.JPG 3905k .JPG file
P1000524.JPG 4044k .JPG file
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post #7 of 75 Old 02-25-2013, 04:22 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMonMan View Post

To be clear, I am no expert- but I will answer to the best of my knowledge and am sure others will chime in.

The free calibration includes (at least for me a few months ago) 2 settings. He told me some sets have a night and day setting, so he would set them differently for each setting. Since my set did not have such a feature, he calibrated two separate inputs. In this regard, you should be fine.

On some sets, it is necessary to into a hidden menu for adjustments. On other sets, such as my Samsung, all adjustments can be made from the user-service menus.

As far as the flickering and issues with LED- I would return it and buy a plasma. Most people here agree that plasma offers the best picture and am sure others can elaborate. And you can get more set for less money. Magnolia salesmen are going to steer you towards the newest, highest profit sets they have-LED, but most videophiles still agree that plasma is the way to go.

PS3 is still a very good blu-ray player. There is very little you would gain by having a stand-alone other then quieter operation in my opinion.

Do not pay for expensive HDMI cables. Most here will recommend monoprice or blujeanscable for HDMI cables. I would make sure its 1.4 HDMI and you should be set. You shouldn't pay more then 10 dollars on cables and am sure others here will agree.

Thanks for your input it is appreciated. My PS3 gives a fantastic picture IMO but it is a launch system and it is very loud at times and I don't know the specs on the cable but it's a Wal-Mart special Phillips HDMI that cost about $20. I like the LED set because it gives the "soap opera fake" fluid motion. I noticed this on Samsung sets many years ago when Circuit City was going out of business and having a firesale. They had the first Transformers movie on display, which was new at the time, and I fell in love with the picture. I thought the set had a problem because the menu would flicker along with the picture and that just seemed odd to me, but apparently it's normal.
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post #8 of 75 Old 02-25-2013, 05:48 PM
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I just ordered and replaced all my HDMI cables with the new Redmere HDMI from Monoprice...very impressive. Very thin

"We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses". - Abraham Lincoln
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post #9 of 75 Old 02-26-2013, 05:24 AM
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Wow I am jealous. I had Geek Squad come yesterday to do a calibration on my 70" Sharp Aquos and he used no equipment at all. Just turned the backlight all the way up, changed the brightness and contrast. I know this TV doesn't have many adjustments but I figured he would at least use some equipment. He was done in under 10 minutes.
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post #10 of 75 Old 02-26-2013, 05:29 AM
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If its free go for it. If you dont like then reset and do yourself.
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post #11 of 75 Old 02-26-2013, 06:49 AM
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I might be able to answer a few questions if you have them smile.gif

The Agents who perform the calibration are all ISF certified. (I have been through the ISF training myself, although I don't perform calibrations in the field. I used to support the in-home Agents who do). These Agents specific job in Geek Squad is to do nothing but TV Calibrations all day, every day and they take their job very seriously. They'll provide documentation of the before and after state of your television settings and essentially ensure that the TV is creating the most perfectly accurate colors possible. As a Reward Zone Silver member, you get 1 free service from us every year and I can't recommend enough that this is the one you get.

I've had it done on my television, and I will have it done on any other TV's I purchase. Despite the fact I've been through the training I prefer to have the Agents who specialize in this perform it on my TV, as I've only done it 4 or 5 times, and they've done thousands.

So in short, you should definitely get this as your free service.
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post #12 of 75 Old 02-26-2013, 07:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rizoss16 View Post

Wow I am jealous. I had Geek Squad come yesterday to do a calibration on my 70" Sharp Aquos and he used no equipment at all. Just turned the backlight all the way up, changed the brightness and contrast. I know this TV doesn't have many adjustments but I figured he would at least use some equipment. He was done in under 10 minutes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekSquadHQ View Post

I might be able to answer a few questions if you have them smile.gif

Are you going to do anything concerning the above mentioned "calibrator" who did not do any calibrating?

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post #13 of 75 Old 02-26-2013, 08:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rizoss16 View Post

Wow I am jealous. I had Geek Squad come yesterday to do a calibration on my 70" Sharp Aquos and he used no equipment at all. Just turned the backlight all the way up, changed the brightness and contrast. I know this TV doesn't have many adjustments but I figured he would at least use some equipment. He was done in under 10 minutes.

Call them up and request that they send out another agent to "re-do" the calibration. Free or not, this is not acceptable.

Though I am an employee of Magnolia Home Theater, the views and opinions I express on this forum are those of my own and not my employer.
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post #14 of 75 Old 02-26-2013, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekSquadHQ View Post

I might be able to answer a few questions if you have them smile.gif

The Agents who perform the calibration are all ISF certified. (I have been through the ISF training myself, although I don't perform calibrations in the field. I used to support the in-home Agents who do). These Agents specific job in Geek Squad is to do nothing but TV Calibrations all day, every day and they take their job very seriously. They'll provide documentation of the before and after state of your television settings and essentially ensure that the TV is creating the most perfectly accurate colors possible. As a Reward Zone Silver member, you get 1 free service from us every year and I can't recommend enough that this is the one you get.

I've had it done on my television, and I will have it done on any other TV's I purchase. Despite the fact I've been through the training I prefer to have the Agents who specialize in this perform it on my TV, as I've only done it 4 or 5 times, and they've done thousands.

So in short, you should definitely get this as your free service.

Sounds well and good, but the guy that came to my place also did installs, troubleshooting, and other services- so not JUST calibrations
AND
I never received any documentation. All I have are the settings that I wrote down before and after- nothing from Best Buy.

Still happy with the service I received, but there certainly are differences from one best buy area to another.

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post #15 of 75 Old 02-26-2013, 09:06 AM
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A good, professional calibration should take about 3 hours, maybe longer if he does 3D as well. The calibrator should explain the process to you every step of the way and provide you with before and after calibration profiles to show you where you were before calibration and were you're at after calibration. His equipment should be calibrated as well and he should be able to show you their current cal certificates/labels if asked. Possessing and ISF Certified Calibration Certificate doesn't mean squat if he has little experience or doesn't really understand the science behind calibration. If all the individual does is calibrations, then maybe. Most current tv's have all of the calibration settings available in user accessible menus. There really shouldn't be a reason for the calibrator to go into the Service Menu because those options are set at the factory and unless you have the service manuals with you, a wrong setting can really screw up your tv, and the change can sometimes be permanent, which voids your warranty. You can make accurate picture adjustments yourself using any number of calibration disks but that's not really calibrating your tv because you need meters and specialized software for that. Sometimes adjusting is all you need. Just because a service is free, doesn't mean you should take advantage of it.
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post #16 of 75 Old 02-26-2013, 09:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post


Are you going to do anything concerning the above mentioned "calibrator" who did not do any calibrating?

Yep! I actually reached out to this individual privately this morning, and was able to determine what happened with his service call.

From what our ISF support teams here told me when I asked:
There are a few (very few, right now only a handful) TV models that for one reason or another we can't do a full ISF calibration on. Usually they are brand new models and it's due to limitations in the initial design by the manufacture. With his television, that is the exact case. The Service Menu on the TV he purchased does not save any changes made through it, nor does it allow for adjustment of the white balance at this time. Also, we don't have direct access to the firmware of the TV yet. We are working with the manufacture to resolve this, but sometimes it can take time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CMonMan View Post

Sounds well and good, but the guy that came to my place also did installs, troubleshooting, and other services- so not JUST calibrations
AND
I never received any documentation. All I have are the settings that I wrote down before and after- nothing from Best Buy.

Still happy with the service I received, but there certainly are differences from one best buy area to another.

There are differences in market areas, true. We highly encourage diversification and education for our Agents. In smaller markets, or markets where an ISF Calibrator isn't as busy, they sometimes learn additional skills. Alternatively, Agents who are in a market that is extremely busy with calibration service calls may request additional help, and have Agents who have other primary roles become ISF Certified as well. This is pretty rare, considering how expensive the certification is, but does happen in some markets.
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post #17 of 75 Old 02-26-2013, 11:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekSquadHQ View Post

Yep! I actually reached out to this individual privately this morning, and was able to determine what happened with his service call.

From what our ISF support teams here told me when I asked:
There are a few (very few, right now only a handful) TV models that for one reason or another we can't do a full ISF calibration on. Usually they are brand new models and it's due to limitations in the initial design by the manufacture. With his television, that is the exact case. The Service Menu on the TV he purchased does not save any changes made through it, nor does it allow for adjustment of the white balance at this time. Also, we don't have direct access to the firmware of the TV yet. We are working with the manufacture to resolve this, but sometimes it can take time.
There are differences in market areas, true. We highly encourage diversification and education for our Agents. In smaller markets, or markets where an ISF Calibrator isn't as busy, they sometimes learn additional skills. Alternatively, Agents who are in a market that is extremely busy with calibration service calls may request additional help, and have Agents who have other primary roles become ISF Certified as well. This is pretty rare, considering how expensive the certification is, but does happen in some markets.

The TV was a Sharp Aquos, right? LC-70C7450U? If so, everything you need is in the User Menu including 2 point grayscale and a full color management system. The controls don't work? No need to enter the Service Menu.

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post #18 of 75 Old 02-27-2013, 10:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post

The TV was a Sharp Aquos, right? LC-70C7450U? If so, everything you need is in the User Menu including 2 point grayscale and a full color management system. The controls don't work? No need to enter the Service Menu.

It's actually the Aquos LC-70LE600U. The Geek Squad representative above did contact me and let me know that I will be able to have it calibrated in the future when the firmware is released.
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post #19 of 75 Old 02-27-2013, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rizoss16 View Post

It's actually the Aquos LC-70LE600U. The Geek Squad representative above did contact me and let me know that I will be able to have it calibrated in the future when the firmware is released.

Got it, and I hope it happens for you.

Downside possibility:
1. October 2011 - I notified Mitsubishi that the A94 LaserVue 2 point grayscale controls did not work properly - fixed via firmware in two months
2. Spring 2012 - several of us notified Panasonic that the VT50 Color Management System luminance controls did not work - fixed via FW in two months
3. September, 2011 - Sharp notified that the color tracking on the Elite was next to useless - Sharp said it would be fixed within a month - still waiting

The Elite tracking issue, however, is totally different than controls not working so hopefully you'll be okay.

Keep us informed please.

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post #20 of 75 Old 02-27-2013, 11:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CMonMan View Post

To be clear, I am no expert- but I will answer to the best of my knowledge and am sure others will chime in.

The free calibration includes (at least for me a few months ago) 2 settings. He told me some sets have a night and day setting, so he would set them differently for each setting. Since my set did not have such a feature, he calibrated two separate inputs. In this regard, you should be fine.

On some sets, it is necessary to into a hidden menu for adjustments. On other sets, such as my Samsung, all adjustments can be made from the user-service menus.

As far as the flickering and issues with LED- I would return it and buy a plasma. Most people here agree that plasma offers the best picture and am sure others can elaborate. And you can get more set for less money. Magnolia salesmen are going to steer you towards the newest, highest profit sets they have-LED, but most videophiles still agree that plasma is the way to go.

PS3 is still a very good blu-ray player. There is very little you would gain by having a stand-alone other then quieter operation in my opinion.

Do not pay for expensive HDMI cables. Most here will recommend monoprice or blujeanscable for HDMI cables. I would make sure its 1.4 HDMI and you should be set. You shouldn't pay more then 10 dollars on cables and am sure others here will agree.

You sir are way off about the HDMI cables. I would love to see your 10 dollar cable stand up to a Audio Quest Chocolate or higher cable. I am not saying that these are insanely expensive but you can find good deals online way below retail. As an employee of Best Buy that gets pretty much any cable I want at its cost and has tried them all if you have a TV that is worth a damn you will notice a difference. Putting up my new Sony 65" XBR HX950 in about a week and cant wait to use my AUDIO QUEST CHOCOLATE cable with it.

If your TV is worth spending the money on go with an Audio Quest Chocolate or Carbon cable. Carbon is a bit too pricey regardless and if you get into the even higher grades it is not worth it video wise but worth it at that point MAYBE if you are an insane Audio Freak and want the best possible.
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post #21 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 03:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ryelinek View Post

You sir are way off about the HDMI cables. I would love to see your 10 dollar cable stand up to a Audio Quest Chocolate or higher cable. I am not saying that these are insanely expensive but you can find good deals online way below retail. As an employee of Best Buy that gets pretty much any cable I want at its cost and has tried them all if you have a TV that is worth a damn you will notice a difference. Putting up my new Sony 65" XBR HX950 in about a week and cant wait to use my AUDIO QUEST CHOCOLATE cable with it.

If your TV is worth spending the money on go with an Audio Quest Chocolate or Carbon cable. Carbon is a bit too pricey regardless and if you get into the even higher grades it is not worth it video wise but worth it at that point MAYBE if you are an insane Audio Freak and want the best possible.

Spoken like a faithful BBY employee.
The only thing that is "way off" is that there is no HDMI 1.4 cable. They are either "standard" or "high-speed" (with or without ethernet).

No one should get caught up in the "expensive = better quality" hype.
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post #22 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 04:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Spoken like a faithful BBY employee.
The only thing that is "way off" is that there is no HDMI 1.4 cable. They are either "standard" or "high-speed" (with or without ethernet).

No one should get caught up in the "expensive = better quality" hype.
I agree with you that expensive does not necessarily = better quality.
But you are wrong about there being no HDMI 1.4 cable. The difference between 1.3 and 1.4 is ARC and 3d capabilities. Neither of which 1.3 has.

http://www.mycablemart.com/store/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=3442

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post #23 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 06:57 AM
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Let's not make this a cable thread...

Though I am an employee of Magnolia Home Theater, the views and opinions I express on this forum are those of my own and not my employer.
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post #24 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 07:02 AM
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Only correcting a mistake so that more people are not misinformed.

No, Mr. Bond. I expect you to die!
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post #25 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 07:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Bond 007 View Post

Only correcting a mistake so that more people are not misinformed.

Your post was not really the basis for my reply.

Though I am an employee of Magnolia Home Theater, the views and opinions I express on this forum are those of my own and not my employer.
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post #26 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Speakerphile View Post

Your post was not really the basis for my reply.
You seem to be stuck at 666 posts. Might want to take the day off. smile.gif

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post #27 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bond 007 View Post

Only correcting a mistake so that more people are not misinformed.

Let me help you out with the misinformation. smile.gif

http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/hdmi_1_4_faq.aspx#35a
http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/arc.aspx

(Are you a Best Buy employee too? wink.gif )

EDIT:
HDMI 1.4 is a "connection" spec (source/destination devices), not a "cable" spec.
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post #28 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Ratman View Post

Let me help you out with the misinformation. smile.gif

http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/hdmi_1_4_faq.aspx#35a
http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/hdmi_1_4/arc.aspx

(Are you a Best Buy employee too? wink.gif )

EDIT:
HDMI 1.4 is a "connection" spec (source/destination devices), not a "cable" spec.
I see. So there are only HDMI 1.4 devices. Not HDMI 1.4 cables. Correct?
So now the question is: Will all HDMI cables work for ARC and 3d? I suspect the answer is all HIGH SPEED cables. Correct?
And no I dont work for BB. Didnt you read the part of my post that said I agree that expensive does not mean better quality? smile.gif
And my apologies to Speakerphile. I will pursue this no further.

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post #29 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 08:27 AM
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Yes.
Yes.
And as you said. I'm just trying to correct a mistake so more people aren't misinformed: biggrin.gif.

You're welcome. apology not necessary. tongue.gif
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post #30 of 75 Old 02-28-2013, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by buzzard767 View Post

Got it, and I hope it happens for you.

Downside possibility:
1. October 2011 - I notified Mitsubishi that the A94 LaserVue 2 point grayscale controls did not work properly - fixed via firmware in two months
2. Spring 2012 - several of us notified Panasonic that the VT50 Color Management System luminance controls did not work - fixed via FW in two months
3. September, 2011 - Sharp notified that the color tracking on the Elite was next to useless - Sharp said it would be fixed within a month - still waiting

The Elite tracking issue, however, is totally different than controls not working so hopefully you'll be okay.

Keep us informed please.

Is there anything I can do as a customer to press Sharp on this issue? I'm sure others searching Google will find themselves on this forum with the same problem. I guess the most we can do is write bad reviews and hope they respond.
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