Originally Posted by dode50
I have an LN-S3251D on order. Hopefully it will come in this weekend. My major concern has been lack of detail in dark areas. If game mode helps this, then my question is why not use game mode all of the time? Is there some reason not to do this? It seems like I've seen this question before but I don't remember the answer.
I have had my 3251D for about 3 weeks now and love it. NO REGRETS!
To answer your question concerning black level details. I used a calibration DVD to set up my TV. In another thread I indicated these settings but I made a mistake on the contrast part and will go back and correct that setting in the other thread. Here is what I set my 3251D to in order to get as close to the ISF standard as possible and render near perfect color, contrast and black levels:
Of note: The LN-S3251D is very easy to set up and is less subjective to changes when using calibration DVD's unlike a CRT based TV that fluctuates or changes when viewing different test patterns. It took me half the time to set up the 3251D compared to a similar sized CRT set.
SET MODE TO "MOVIE", this setting provides a black level boost and enhanced shadow detail right off the bat. Setting the mode to MOVIE does not simply change the contrast and brightness, there are other electronic processes going on internally within the set to achieve this "mode", however just setting it to MOVIE mode alone will still make the set too dark. You must also set the following parameters to complete the set up:
BRIGHTNESS: 69 (matched the black level setting perfectly)
COLOR: 51 (I used a blue filter to set this up correctly)
TINT: CAN NOT CHANGE (ANY GUESS WHY ON THIS ONE ANYONE?) DEFAULTS TO 50
SHARPNESS: 50 (there is hardly any change in sharpness from extreme off to totally on unlike a CRT TV, so I split the difference and went with 50, if you can see a difference, more power to you. I used a test pattern for this purpose and could not distinguish much of a change and I believe this is normal for LCD flat panels but I could be wrong).
The DVD calibration disk I used came with my extended service plan with Circuit City, it has pretty much the same test patterns used on my other calibration disk, Digital Video Essentials so either disk will work. I found the original Video Essentials disk to be not as accurate and you should use caution if you have this DVD as it is geared toward CRT based TV's and not the newer plasmas and LCD sets. I used this disk originally and my set was too washed out after the calibration was completed. Believe it or not the Circuit City disk is much more user friendly and easier to use. The only problem is the only way to get it is with a service plan on your TV. Digital Video Essentials is good too but can be a little too technical for some users and the DVD's menus are frustrating to navigate through. The test patterns are basically the same on both disks.
Final note on Game mode: Do not use game mode unless you are actually using a game console. Refresh rates are too high and black levels are too dark for regular TV and DVD movie viewing. Microsoft worked with Samsung to iron out this game mode feature to optimize their XBOX 360 but the mode will work with other consoles too, i.e. PS2, Gamecube. Leaving the feature on will eventually tax your TV's internal processor since it has to work harder to provide higher refresh rates for games. Best practice is to turn off Game mode when you are no longer gaming.