Some DIY Techniques In Calibrating Plasma HDTV
Here are some of my do it yourself calibration techniques for my plasma tv, posted for your consideration. These are techniques I researched and used mostly from this forum. This is an attempt to encourage posting of techniques from and for others to consider and not to agree or disagree. This thread also assumes that the reader has some knowledge of DIY calibration.POST NO SETTINGSNote: Brightness recommendations updated November 13, 2013
Some of these techniques may be used, while some not. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference.
For some of these techniques, use of a colorimeter may or may not be required.
Newcomers: Read Greyscale & Colour Calibration For Dummies as a reference. (Website: http://www.curtpalme.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10457
2009 Samsung Plasma 720p
hdtv, Colormunki Display Colorimeter, HCFR Calibration Software (Free) - version 126.96.36.199, AVS Forum 709 Calibration Disk, DVE HD Basics Calibration Disk, and Gamut Calibration Disk (GCD). Meter is stored in plastic container (like a zip lock) with desiccant. Also, Bose 321, Samsung blu ray, and Wii.Note about multiple devices:
Having your hdtv simultaneously hooked up to multiple devices may impact picture quality, known as electromagnetic interference (EMI). I haven't done that much research on this subject, but I have experienced some problems with connecting multiple devices to the tv that went away when disconnecting some of the devices. To avoid this problem, some members suggest using ferrite cores, toroid coils, or audio/video receivers (AVRs).New: December 2013:
If you are using a drop amplifier
on a catv (cable) input, place a ferrite core
on the input signal cable @ the amplifier's input. This may eliminate interference on signal coming to the amplifier and avoid amplification of the interference on your system.
Brief note about service menu: enter it @ your own risk. I changed the internal model setting from the original "b450" to "b590", which may have affected picture quality. Changing the service menu back to the original model number and recalibrating the settings appear to have improved picture quality. - just a brief note.Initial Setup:New:
(This probably goes without saying) Make sure that you clean your TV's picture screen with appropriate hdtv or monitor cleaner - Do not use ordinary glass cleaner.
It is recommended that plasma tvs warm up (turned on) for a least 30 minutes. Set all TV's user menu settings for the picture to default settings and turn all "enhancements" off.
In playing a calibration disk, make sure your blu ray or dvd player’s enhancements in its menu (for example, sharpness, etc) are turned off. Display settings should be set for best or optimal viewing. My blu ray is set for 1080i output.Set Top Box:
Your cable box’s internal settings should be set to display the best or optimal picture. For example, picture type 16:9 and output 1080i (for instructions, check with your cable provider). It is recommended by some websites that your set top box be set to native output, if available. But see http://www.hometheater.com/content/1080p-vs-720p-displays for information regarding scaling effects from interactions between various devices and for what set top box input should be used.
Some of the most seasoned calibrators in this forum recommend the 10% Windows 22% APL found on the GCD and downloadable in this forum, to avoid the automatic brightness limiter (abl) effect on plasmas. (The abl is an automatic dimming if the picture becomes too bright - energy saving feature). I believe a 2.2 gamma level is assumed for these patterns. I have used smaller and other patterns which appear to produce some accurate and inaccurate results. Some forum members recommend the use of regular windows, while some use the small apl window patterns found on the AVS Forum 709 disk. \
For my particular tv, I use the small apl window patterns which appears to be the best one to use for my plasma tv. Calibrating with these smaller patterns will result in a higher gamma measurement. I obtain a average gamma level of 2.3, knowing that using regular windows would be 2.2. However, I now use 10% Windowed patterns for realistic viewing.
, a seasoned avs forum member recommended the use of 10% window patterns to calibrate plasmas. These windows are non-apl and is said to provide calibrated settings for "actual viewing." I have used these recently, but calibration is a little more difficult than using apl patterns because you have to deal with abl impacts.Modes:
Standard Mode, use color tone Cool setting for D93 calibration – see below.
(My hdtv clips Blue levels @ 8000K Color Temperature, so I target this color temperature)
Movie Mode, use color tone Warm 2 setting for D65 calibration.Cell Light:
The cell light setting for my tv is recommended by some calibrators to be 10. Cell light settings may impact gamma levels and may have to be adjusted to flatten out the gamma curve. When trying to flatten out the gamma curve, adjust cell light setting to see if it positively impacts gamma levels. This may require a few grayscale measurements.Contrast/Picture:
Recommended white peak, using 100% window, is 30 – 40 ftL, depending on your viewing environment. Some members recommend the highest setting, but tinting may occur. I use a white clipping pattern from the AVS Forum 709 disk and the DVE's ramp pattern
to see if a high contrast setting is introducing blue or red tinting. If so, lower the setting until the tinting disappears. This setting should be re-checked after adjusting the white balance settings.Note: Standard mode looks great @ 50 ftL, but may cause eye strain or fatigue in a dark viewing environment (dark room).Brightness:New: Nov 2013:
Calibrate brightness in normal viewing light environment(s). When I calibrated brightness in an all dark environment, it appears that the picture loses detail in lighter viewing environments. When room lighting conditions are adjusted for normal viewing conditions, the calibrated brightness settings are actually lighter than the settings in an all dark environment and the picture appears to have more detail. Therefore, for movie mode, I calibrate brightness in a slightly dim room (my normal viewing environment for movie mode), and for standard mode, I calibrate brightness in a normally lit room.REVAMPED JAN 2014:
Brief Discussion Regarding Brightness Settings & Three Methods:
There are some discussions about brightness settings that are similar and some that are different. What I have done recently is to review those discussions to see if I can ascertain some level of certainty.Method # 1:
AVS Forum HD 709 Disk, Black Clipping Pattern: This is the pattern that forum members recommend that brightness should be set to where level 16 is black, and levels 17 and above should be flashing. It is described as a low APL pattern. This appears to be where some members are adamant that the absolute correct setting for any and all brightness settings should be where level 17 is flashing, without exception. However, other members may disagree.
Method # 2:
AVS Forum HD 709 Disk, APL Clipping Pattern: This pattern is the 2nd pattern that comes after the Black Clipping Pattern, and is described as an APL for use in a "typical viewing environment." The member creating this disk recommends the use of this pattern over the Black Clipping Pattern if there are any differences. The member also recommends setting the brightness level to where level 19 is "barely flashing" in a typical viewing environment. This appears to be where you get the disagreements between the forum members on whether level 17 or 19 should be flashing.Method # 3:
DVE HD Pluge Pattern (720P): This pattern shows bars of 4% above black, 2% above black, and 4% below black, and is designed for brightness to be set only where 4% below black just disappears. Some members, like me, without knowing how this pattern was designed, would set brightness to where the 2% bar is barely visible, which apparently leads to crushed blacks and therefore incorrect (as I found out recently). Setting brightness with this pattern with 4% below black bar invisible results in level 18 and above flashing on the Black Clipping Pattern.
My preferred method is to use Method # 2 for typical viewing environment, and appears to add depth to the picture without the black crushing effect. New:
Forum members have recommended adjusting brightness to where the 20 bar and higher are flashing. This adds more depth to the picture while avoiding black crush, depending on the display's technology.Sharpness:
Use DVE 720p sharpness pattern if you have a 720p or 768p tv
. Use the 1080p pattern if you have a 1080p hdtv.
From your viewing distance (use normal viewing, do not squint), start the sharpness setting at 0 and keep raising it until you just start to see artifacts appearing on the outer part of the large ring. Some members suggest lowering the setting one notch, while some recommend keeping the setting when artifacts just start to appear. Many recommend a "0" setting on Samsungs, which actually looks good on my HDTV, but my sharpness settings for movie and standard modes are 4 and 3, respectively..
But see the recommended maximum sharpness technique below.Use of the DVE 1080p sharpness pattern has thinner lines and may result in a higher setting and sharper picture, depending on your tv. My most recent settings for my tv used the 1080p pattern for a sharper picture. New
: I found out that using a 1080p pattern for my 720p (768p) hdtv may not be appropriate. My service manual recommends using 720p patterns during calibrations. Also, the pixel phase pattern
(found on the DVE disk) shows that 720p patterns provide better resolution mapping than 1080p patterns.Recommended
One calibrator per youtube recommended setting the sharpness from viewing point and raise sharpness to its maximum setting to where you see no artifacts, and then raise this setting one notch - the none and one technique. As of July 27, 2013.
I use this technique.New Maximum Sharpness Technique:
I was reviewing sharpness calibration techniques and may have found a great way to calibrate sharpness. While the edge enhancement is turned on (using the DVE 720p sharpness pattern), from a viewing position without "squinting", I raised the sharpness setting from zero to a level where artifacts are clearly or obviously appearing and lower the setting one notch. This may appear to be same technique as previously described, but the difference is (1) calibrating while the edge enhancement is turned on, and (2) setting the sharpness from a viewing position to where the artifacts are clearly or obviously visible. Squinting, sitting too close to the hdtv, or trying to detect the smallest amount of artifacts may defeat the purpose of trying to obtain the proper balance of sharpness with the less amount of impact from artifacts. I used this technique on recent calibrations to where it raised the sharpness setting in the standard mode (hdmi) from 1 to 7, and movie mode (hdmi) from 2 to 8, and the picture looks great. Edit: these values were also confirmed for the standard and movie modes for the component input.
After setting sharpness, if the picture appears to be slightly fuzzy, you may want to consider using an hdmi cable with ferrite
(magnetic) cores and a ferrite
core on the power cord near the plug to prevent or reduce electrical interference from the hdtv to other
devices/wiring. I use ferrite
cores.Adjusting Sharpness without a pattern:
If you are viewing the tv through a set top box with a DVR, you can pause the picture that has a sharp object against a grey background. You will see the same artifacts by raising and lowering the sharpness setting as if you were using a sharpness pattern. Do not pause the picture too long to avoid potential image burn in.Edge Enhancement:
Many members recommend turning off all enhancements, including the edge enhancement setting. However, I would not discount this setting's benefit, which is suppose to remove artifacts to sharpen the picture's images - similar to sharpness setting. When I turn on the edge enhancement, my 768p tv looks exactly like the 1080p LED HDTV in a local sports restaurant. I would recommend its usage if it improves picture quality.Color and Tint:
I use a blue filter with AVS Forum Color/Tint pattern. There is a 21% red technique, but my tv’s colors are over saturated with an imperfect color gamut and I cannot use the 21% red technique.OBSERVATION:
The 21% red technique uses a measurement of 100% White Window and may be impacted by ABL. The ABL (automatic brightness limiter), however, may actually be "dimming" or lowering the measurement of the 100% White Window which would impact and actually lower the calculation of the 21% red measurement, resulting in a duller color. One method that may be useful, if you want to use this 21% technique, is to use smaller window patterns (apl and non-apl) including white and color patterns, where ABL does not impact the measurement of the 100% white window pattern.
- 2014: I recently used small 1% apl patterns (GCD) for the 21% red method and the technique gave great results similar to using the blue filter method. This shows me that abl may be impacting measurements of the 100% ire window to where the 21% red method may not work with regular windows for plasma displays.COLOR CALIBRATION TECHNIQUE:
Some members suggest using the blue filter if you have nothing else. Some suggest to use default settings for color and tint. I tried the default settings and they were too saturated and slightly off. If you use the blue filter, adjust settings in dark environment and sit close to tv when adjusting color and tint settings. I use the AVS Forum 709 disk, which I believe to be better than DVE for color calibrations.Other settings:Gamma Setting:
should be set to obtain a level 2.22 gamma level on the graph (for movie mode settings, for standard or day viewing modes - see recommendation below)
. For a technique for leveling out the gamma curve on the graph, see "ganging technique" below. Also note that the cell light setting may impact the gamma curve.New 2014:
I have discovered that a seasoned and well respected calibrator uses gamma 2.0 for standard mode (day time viewing). The gamma 2.0, per forum discussion, will allow better detail in black images and provide an overall lighter picture. Update
- I readjusted all four tvs in my house to gamma 2.0 for day viewing and family members noticed the improvements in picture quality on all of the tvs.Re: BT 1886 Gamma:
I believe that members that use this standard during calibrations is for tvs that do not have good brightness (black) levels where details are lost in the dark scenes. To increase detail for movie mode, they lower the red, blue and green cuts, bias or offsets for window calibrations @ 0% to 30%, for gamma @ 2.4. Another alternative if your tv does not have this option for separately decreasing the levels for these points, merely raise the contrast a notch or two. I do not use these techniques. Search the AVS Forum for better descriptions or guidance. Use of the AVS Forum 709 APL Clipping Pattern with Bar 20 and above flashing may provide a 1886 effect.Re: Gamma 2.4 with hdtvs without perfect black levels.
It is recommended for dark viewing environments for movie/cinema modes to be calibrated at gamma 2.4 between 30 ire and 100 ire, with gamma 2.2 @ 0 ire (adjusting brightness setting higher to decrease gamma @ 0 ire to 2.2). I recently tried this technique and the picture pops a little with increase in color saturations and more detail in dark scenes. This technique is recommended for controlled lighting/dark viewing environments.Color space
should be set to auto. Native settings, at least on my tv, over saturates colors. I use native color space for my standard mode and auto color space for my movie mode. Now, I have readjusted the standard mode with the auto color space, due to native color space over saturation of colors.White Balanc
Adjust gains first before offsets/cuts.
For D65 Movie Mode/Warm 2
calibration for color temperature 6500K, use coordinates x = 0.313, y = 0.329 @ 80% and 40% window measurements. Color Tone set at Warm2.
For D93 Standard Mode/Cool
calibration for color temperature 9300K, use coordinates x = 0.287 and y = 0.295 (updated)
@ 80% and 40% windows. Measurements are still in the white space of the gamut. Makes whites appear whiter. Color Tone set at Cool. New
: I had to lower the color temperature to 8000K for my tv due to some "internal" color clipping.
For color temperature 12000K - bonus setting
, standard mode cool color tone settings with coordinates at x = 0.27178 and y = 0.2825 @ 80% and 40% windows. I think that this is the upper limit of the white space in my tv's CIE color gamut. The picture should appear to be a little whiter than the D93 settings. December 2012 note: My tv clips blue above D93 settings. I do not use this setting.Recommended Ganging Method
: Equally increasing or decreasing rgb (including green) levels after calibrating @ the appropriate coordinates to level out gamma curve. Collectively raising rgb gain level will lower gamma curve between 50% and 100% grey, and lowering rgb gain level will raise gamma curve. Collectively raising and lowering cuts/offsets will have the same impact on gamma curve between 0% and 50% grey.If you are calibrating multiple inputs and modes, you may have to readjust the greyscale later (I usually do adjustments a day later) to make sure the rgb levels are set properly without the colorimeter being affected or impacted by the various color and greyscale patterns.TV Size/Resolution
: Screen Fit is recommended for 1:1 mapping with 1080i input. You may want to use 16:9 size because screen fit may turn off pixel shift orbiter.New
However, I found that the 16:9 picture size is better than the screen fit for my 50" hdtv, by using and viewing the pixel phase pattern
(found on the DVE disk). My tv's native resolution is 1366 x 768. TVs with smaller resolutions, such as 1024 x 768, may obtain a better pixel mapping with the screen fit picture size.HDMI Black Level
low or greyed out.
All other enhancements off.April 18, 2013 Update: The best picture quality for my samsung plasma appears to be using the "native color space" setting for the standard modes and the "auto color space" setting for the movie modes. Native color space may over saturate colors but looks great with the standard mode setting calibrated @ D93. It gives the tv picture a little 3D effect. However, Native color space appears to be too much color for the movie modes. - Please note that you may have to recalibrate (maybe some small changes) your tv's contrast, white balance, etc. after changing the color space settings.Over The Air - Antenna Viewing:
I use component settings for the TV input settings.[OTA Tip: If you use an amplified indoor antenna for OTA, you may want to put a 0-20 variable attenuator on its maximum setting on the tv's cable input to improve reception - see HDTV Technical Forum for further information or recommendations]A Note About The Double Conversion UPS Device:
The Double Conversion UPS is a device that converts your incoming AC signal from your outlet to a DC signal and then to a pure sine wave AC signal to your hdtv. I believe that this device is designed to get rid of all noise in your home or office electrical system and deliver "clean electricity" so that your home theater system can perform optimally. Some members disagree with this ups' use, while some others suggest that picture quality is improved. I have a double conversion ups but I do not have any recommendation for its use. March 26, 2013
: Use of this UPS will change your settings. For example, I had to readjust contrast setting to higher level to avoid or get rid of a slight red tinting that appeared on a ramp pattern. I also had to adjust the brightness settings. For more information, see this link: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1447257/how-to-make-or-buy-a-pure-sine-wave-ac-regenerator#post_23085409
However, on May 23, 2013
, My double conversion ups developed a bus fault, which is not a good thing. The ups cannot be used and must be replaced or repaired. However, the manufacturer has a two/three year warranty. I will keep you updated.June 15, 2013 Update:
I received my repaired double conversion ups back from the manufacturer and hooked it up to the tv and cable box. To attempt to avoid any future problems (such as a bus fault) I turned off the ups, but left it plugged into the outlet to charge the batteries for at least eight hours. Also, in the event of a thunder storm, I will turn off the ups and may even unplug it. This may defeat the purpose of having the ups as a power backup, but my purpose is for picture quality and not backup.New - August 7, 2013
Leaning towards recommending this device as it appears to improve picture quality but may be cost prohibitive.
The above are the techniques I use for my standard and movie modes. I think some of you may want to use some if not all of these techniques.
For your further consideration, here is a quote from another thread:
i dunno if anyone cares but this was posted for another samsung tv by (Vincentfam) and i tried it for the pn51d450 and it was the best standard picture i have seen so far....i didn't know if anyone wanted to try and work off these settings to get them perfect for our tv
Settings are in IMHO
VincentfamTricks of the Trade Calibration