I calibrated the brightness/contrast/color/sharpness on my Samsung D7000 using the Disney WOW disc. The settings that I acquired during the calibration were near identical to the default movie mode in my TV. For instance, I think I changed the brightness setting by like 2 points. It wasn't noticeable. I almost feel like I wasted my time.
I just picked up a new E7000, and I'm wondering if calibrating by eye using a disc is even worth it. Are we at the point where the movie mode on new TVs is so accurate that the average user can't improve it by eye alone?
I understand that a full ISF calibration could make a difference, but I refuse to spend the $400 for one reason: When you have a problem with your TV that requires a major replacement, that money goes out the window.
Example: Five years ago, I bought a Sony SXRD. Within the first year, the entire light engine needed to be replaced under warranty due to a known issue where certain sections of the screen displayed a green circle. I'm glad I didn't pay to ISF it when I got it. Then I bought my D7000 and within a year, it was a peeler. The panel was changed under warranty...again, I'm glad I didn't ISF it. The high end TVs these days seem to be like luxury cars...they look great, but they seem to require more major repair than a tried and true run of the mill item.
Now I'm on an E7000 because my D7000 broke due to accident. (Not the TV's fault.) I've got nothing bad to say about ISFing a TV or the people that do it. I'm sure the results are great, but my past TVs just haven't committed to me as much as I've tried to commit to them.
Outside of and ISF calibration, is there anything that I can do that would really matter, or are the new TVs coming out of the box set up to be as accurate as a non-pro could calibrate by eye? My main goal is to maximize black level, as that is the most obvious display quality that I notice.