Ok, I've had my set for a few days now and think I have it fairly dialed in for my three primary sources (Cable/DVD/XBOX360). First off, many thanks to Therese and the countless other posters who have provided invaluable information on tweaking this set. Without yal, I'd have been fumbling thru the manual pulling out what little hair I have left. I'll include my settings below with whatever notes I can think of below each one, if applicable.
First off, I recommend you set the AV mode of each input you plan to calibrate to "User" first (the presets are chosen with a button under the flip-up panel located at the bottom of the remote). I wouldn't use the pre-defined modes, like "Movie", as they are great for reference purposes (i.e. Joe Blow says random DVD looks great on the "Movie" setting...you can then give it a try). Obviously, if you need multiple configs for one input for different sources because you have a switcher, or you just want to have different configs for different ambient light settings, then go ahead and reconfigure one of the other presets, but I would start with the "User" one first.
I used DVE to dial my set into a baseline config. I don't recommend using discs like these as set-in-stone tools. Use them to give you something to start with (as the out-of-box settings are almost always atrocious, regardless of manufacturer), and then go from there to tailor it to your needs.View Mode: Dot-by-dot for DVD/XBOX, Smart Stretch (4:3) and Stretch (HD) for Cable
I have a 1080 upconverting DVD player, so dot-by-dot made the most sense for me. As for cable, I use Smart Stretch for 4:3 content, and Stretch for HD content. I'm sure most use the dot-by-dot for HD content, but I couldn't get around the annoyance of the extra noise I would sometimes get on one side with 1080 content, and in some cases *both* sides, which makes it impossible to adjust out using the positional tool. I'm a set-it-and-forget-it viewer, so since I could discern no noticable visual difference between using dot-by-dot and using Stretch to expand it a few pixels, I left it on Stretch for HD content (I used a lot of HD source material I had on my DVR). As for Smart Stretch, it's everything people say it is. It makes 4:3 content almost look as if it's formatted for 16:9. Comparing it to Sony's "intelligent" stretching, I found their implementation to overly stretch the objects near the right/left edges of the screen. Sharp's implementation is noticably better in my opinion.
Note: This setting is changed using the button near the top/right of the remote.Digital Noise Reduction: Off (All Sources)
I list this setting now because with the exception of View Mode and AV mode, all the other settings you really need to get at are contained in the Picture settings menu. As with most TV's, the DNR degraded the picture in my opinion. Your milage may vary, but I turned it off and haven't looked back.
Note: This option is hidden in the far right drop-down when you click "Menu" on the remote.Advanced Settings:
I'm sure you're thinking, "Advanced Settings"? The reason I start there is because those settings can have an impact on the basic settings (brightness/contrast/etc), so quickly setting these options now can save you some extra calibration in the long run. Eventually you'll want to come back and double-check them against your roughly calibrated system, but odds are, most settings will remain where you set them the first time through. You can find the Advanced Settings listed as a sub-menu under the Picture Settings (found by pressing "Menu" on the remote).Color Temp.: Middle (All Sources)
I originally started off with "High" to help offset some of the red push I noticed. I did this to avoid having to overly gimp the color setting, however, extended staring at a white screen (which probably causes cancer) between the various temperatures showed me a noticable bluish tone in the pure white I wasn't happy with at that setting. As a result, I decided to set it to "Middle" and fix the red push elsewhere.Black Enhancer: On (All sources)
Generally, I'm against most processing "features" that TV manufacturers add in. Sony is notorious for giving useless features that are better served being off...I should know...I went through two 46" XBR2's before I finally gave up and decided on the Sharp 52". However, I think this is actually a benefit in my opinion as it adds contrast without crushing the whites in the process.Fine Motion: Off
Doesn't seem to help at all. Since I suspect it enhances response time at the expense of contrast and backlight, I chose to disable this. This setting may get some use on the XBOX as I play with it some more...although Need For Speed: Carbon looks FANTASTIC at my current settings with this disabled.Regular Picture Settings:OPC: Off (All Sources)
Set this to off...always. Don't give it a second thought. I wish I could take Sony's ambient light detector (found in it's XBR) and carry it over and put it in my Sharp because it worked *wonderfully*. Unfortunately, I have no praises to sing about Sharp's implementation. It's just...awful, at least in my viewing area (moderate to low ambient light, depending on time of day). You can define the OPC range in the advanced menu, but it always felt like it cranked my backlight down to it's lowest setting regardless of ambient light. This is great if you like great blacks, but bad if you want the shadow detail.Backlight: -8 for DVD, -6 for Cable/XBOX
Backlight is a toughie because you really want to get this pretty close to where you want it *first*, and then dial in the rest of the settings using calibration and your eye. I found the best way to do this was to run thru a quick calibration using DVE, put in Batman Begins (preferably with a small amount of ambient light in the room) and check out the dark scenes. Play with the backlight/brightness until the pure black areas have a tone you're happy with (if they look dark to light grey, keep dialing it down). Once you have a tone you're happy with, move on (for now). Personally, I liked my DVD player with a slightly lower backlight then my other sources. Perhaps this is because I'm much more conscious of it since there's usually some bars above/below the content on 2.35 material. I compensate for this with a slight increase to brightness below.Contrast: +30 (All Sources)
Ironically, even though people have been going on and on about red push, I found this setting the hardest to dial-in. My experience with this TV is that it has a very strong tendency to crush whites. It took me a lot of tweaking with different sources to get it to where the whites looked really good. The best test is to find scenes that have dark foreground and a white area in the background. If it looks like the whites are "puffy", or just too white relative to the other material, keep toning it down. A lot of other folks report +32 as the sweet spot, but I found it to be just slightly lower. Once again, ymmv Brightness: -4 for DVD, -6 for Cable/XBOX
This is another one of those settings that you will play with forever before you're totally content with where it's at. Striving for that perfect "black" without losing shadow detail is probably the most time-consuming part overall. Those settings represent my sweet spot for those sources. What I like to do is, after the backlight is set, calibrate the brightness using DVE as a starting point, and then load up some movies that have lots of shadow detail (once again, Batman Begins is great for this). Freeze the movie on an area that has shadows with detail as close to pure black as you can find. Then, get really close to your TV and adjust the brightness up a ton. If you see detail "popping" out of the black, then the brightness needs to come up a titch, if you don't and it just makes the areas brighter, then do this process in reverse (i.e. see if you can lower the brightness without losing detail). My opinion is that the DVE test pattern (assuming your backlight is dialed in) is very close to on-the-money. As mentioned above, I had to dial my brightness up a hair to compensate for the decreased backlight.Color: -4 (All Sources)
This is going to be your primary tool for getting rid of the notorious "red push" everyone is talking about. If someone posts a straight-forward way to accomplish that via the service menu, I *may* give it a try. The reason I say this is because I had to pull my color setting outside of calibrated to negate the red push. Not horribly outside, but it's not bang-on, that's for sure.Tint: 0 (All Sources)
By the time I got down to fine-tuning this setting, I was already so pleased with the color reproduction, I left it as-is. Since all of these settings affect each other in various ways, I chose not to tempt fate and risk throwing one of my other settings off (primarily color) just to have this bang-on with DVE.Sharpness: 0 (All Sources)
This is an important setting. There is a cutoff for this setting where it's effects take a drastic change. This point is at -4. Once you hit that, a primary function of the sharpness tool is disabled (or drasticly lowered) as there is a very noticable dropoff in sharpness. Whether you are above or below this setting will largely depend, in my eyes, on your viewing distance. I sit about 10ft away from my TV, and while going -4 or below softened up the SD picture a fair bit, it "fuzzied" my HD picture far too much for my liking. For this reason, I left it at it's default setting, which is what I found to be bang-on for my viewing. If you sit closer, you may want it at -4 or lower, especially if you watch any SD material.
Anyway, I think that covers everything. The most important thing to remember is that you'll do 90% of your calibration in the first hour, and the last 10% over the next 20 hours. Use tools like DVE to give you a starting point, and then dial it in with your eyes so it's the best picture to *you*. Find some source matieral and stick with it so you have a base of comparison when going between settings. Lastly, always remember that if you change a setting, go back and assess the other ones, even if you already dialed them in, because they all affect each other in subtle ways (and some in not-so subtle ways).
Overall, I'm very happy with the set and look forward to finally *watching* it instead of just calibrating it (as is my wife...heh). Good luck.
*Edited for typos and grammatical anomolies