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post #1 of 127 Old 12-02-2013, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
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This post is probably not going to sit well with a lot of people on here. I know that going in and I want to say upfront it is definitely not meant personally to anyone. I know these issues can get pretty heated sometimes, so I just want to present my thoughts in a balanced way and tell what I've done to try and address them.

First, as a baseline, my 55VT60, 2 months old is the first plasma I've owned and I love it for all the same reasons people love their plasmas. Second, I've never had a calibration done so I am categorically not speaking from personal experience. Further I've never run slides or used anyone else's settings and never will. I am however open to calibration.

With all that said, here goes:

1. Break In: Running slides, DVDs and so forth for so many hours with certain settings made on a plasma seems like a bit of smoke and mirrors to me. I am absolutely NOT debating the need for the plasma phosphors to settle in or settle down or mellow out or age or drink a few beers or any one of a million other terms, but my contention is that phosphor "calming" (like traffic calming) can happen just as well by simply watching TV. Which is why we buy these things after all. Why not just watch TV?

2. Calibration: This is another emotionally charged topic on here, which I have learned recently. The bottom line seems to be: Do you want your TV to be "accurate" and reflect how its content was produced (you know, how the producers and directors supposedly want you to view their product) or do you want to tweak it yourself until you like what you see. To me, this means that whether or not to calibrate is a personal and SUBJECTIVE call on your part. Therefore, to try and make something SUBJECTIVE OBJECTIVE just seems a bit fishy to me. I mean, look at the people who are proponents of it: the people who make money and the people who have spent money on it.

Finally, and I could be totally wrong about this, I have yet to see:
a. Someone say they have two identical TVs, one they've broken in with slides, settings, etc and one they haven't and report results.
b. Someone say they have two identical TVs, one they've calibrated and one they haven't and report results.
What I have seen is people do the above with one TV (usually one they haven't watched for very long) and say the results are "stunning" or "awesome." Which of course prompts me to think, "Compared to what???"

I promised at the outset I'd state what I've done to try and address my thoughts. I've had some things posted in Sound and Vision magazine and I've written them to see if their Video guy (Tom Norton) will prepare something on these subjects. If they do, I'll post a link here...

Again, there is absolutely disrespect or anything personal implied by the above.
I welcome all responses.

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post #2 of 127 Old 12-02-2013, 08:32 AM
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I am a believer in pro or diy calibration but ultimately it is personal choice, if you wish to discredit something you have absolutely no knowledge of or any personal experience with that is your prerogative I suppose.
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post #3 of 127 Old 12-02-2013, 10:50 AM
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You may want to look into what calibration actually means. No need to focus on display calibration specifically; the general definition should be fine for making you realize that your paragraph on the topic is one giant fallacy.

(I have no opinion on your opinion on the matter. Whether you prioritize fidelity or not is entirely up to you. Many people don't even like the look of an accurate image.)
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Adjusting settings according to personal preference is not calibration.
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post #4 of 127 Old 12-02-2013, 10:58 AM
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Watching TV - as long as it is full-screen (not letterbox)—is just as effective as break-in slides. Avoid cable news channels and anything else with a static element. Also avoid letterboxed movies. There's nothing special about break-in-slides, aside from being relatively fool-proof.

Calibration is definitely worthwhile. You can debate what makes for an optimum contrast and brightness setting, but accurate color and grayscale is not a matter of opinion. That said, better televisions that include some sort of calibrated THX mode are so close to accurate right out of the box that a pro calibration is usually not necessary. YMMV, as always.

Regarding your third point, it's easy enough to switch a TVs setting between calibrated and uncalibrated and see the difference. There's nothing subjective about accurate color, and human vision is very sensitive to certain errors like inaccurate skin tones.
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post #5 of 127 Old 12-02-2013, 11:03 AM
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Interesting. Many on this forum would agree that watching TV on your panel is just as good as running colored slides during the first couple hundred hours. I personally ran my panel 2 weeks straight out of the box by watching TV and using color slides when not watching TV. I did this 1) to put the panel through its paces while I was within Amazon’s return window and 2) I was having my panel professionally calibrated. For me, calibration was worth it. I was using D-Nice’s settings until the calibrator arrived. My panel’s RGB balance was out of whack and calibration corrected this. Now my panel displays color accurately, which is important to me.

I will always recommend some level of calibration whether DIY or professional.
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post #6 of 127 Old 12-02-2013, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Cuda1169 View Post

Interesting. Many on this forum would agree that watching TV on your panel is just as good as running colored slides during the first couple hundred hours. I personally ran my panel 2 weeks straight out of the box by watching TV and using color slides when not watching TV. I did this 1) to put the panel through its paces while I was within Amazon’s return window and 2) I was having my panel professionally calibrated. For me, calibration was worth it. I was using D-Nice’s settings until the calibrator arrived. My panel’s RGB balance was out of whack and calibration corrected this. Now my panel displays color accurately, which is important to me.

I will always recommend some level of calibration whether DIY or professional.

Slides get it done faster, that's about it. Using slides for break-in does not result in a TV that performs better, or calibrates better. If you want to get to the point where the phosphors are stable in the minimum amount of time —at the expense of being able to use the TV—then slides will do it. Your approach seems reasonable.

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post #7 of 127 Old 12-02-2013, 11:43 AM
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Mark I appreciate your expertise but what you say about THX modes is not always true and even then a set can always be improved via calibration. I have seen many THX modes measured over the years and almost all of them have DE's over 3 which are visible when viewing content. As far as the break in I am mostly in agreement with the OP.

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post #8 of 127 Old 12-02-2013, 12:37 PM
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Mark I appreciate your expertise but what you say about THX modes is not always true and even then a set can always be improved via calibration. I have seen many THX modes measured over the years and almost all of them have DE's over 3 which are visible when viewing content. As far as the break in I am mostly in agreement with the OP.

In this case I'm relaying comments and observations from my visits to both CNET and Consumer Reports testing facilities. Their consensus is in agreement with your comment that over the years THX calibrated modes have not been all that accurate, but that the last couple of years have seen televisions that really do measure well right out of the box. Of course there is variation from set to set, and it's certainly true that professional calibration can always improve on that starting point— even if it's a very good one.
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post #9 of 127 Old 12-02-2013, 12:51 PM
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Mark agreed the ootb settings have improved the last few years but are still not quite there yet in terms of accuracy.

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post #10 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 05:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Scott Oakley View Post

This post is probably not going to sit well with a lot of people on here. I know that going in and I want to say upfront it is definitely not meant personally to anyone. I know these issues can get pretty heated sometimes, so I just want to present my thoughts in a balanced way and tell what I've done to try and address them.

First, as a baseline, my 55VT60, 2 months old is the first plasma I've owned and I love it for all the same reasons people love their plasmas. Second, I've never had a calibration done so I am categorically not speaking from personal experience. Further I've never run slides or used anyone else's settings and never will. I am however open to calibration.

With all that said, here goes:

1. Break In: Running slides, DVDs and so forth for so many hours with certain settings made on a plasma seems like a bit of smoke and mirrors to me. I am absolutely NOT debating the need for the plasma phosphors to settle in or settle down or mellow out or age or drink a few beers or any one of a million other terms, but my contention is that phosphor "calming" (like traffic calming) can happen just as well by simply watching TV. Which is why we buy these things after all. Why not just watch TV?

2. Calibration: This is another emotionally charged topic on here, which I have learned recently. The bottom line seems to be: Do you want your TV to be "accurate" and reflect how its content was produced (you know, how the producers and directors supposedly want you to view their product) or do you want to tweak it yourself until you like what you see. To me, this means that whether or not to calibrate is a personal and SUBJECTIVE call on your part. Therefore, to try and make something SUBJECTIVE OBJECTIVE just seems a bit fishy to me. I mean, look at the people who are proponents of it: the people who make money and the people who have spent money on it.

Finally, and I could be totally wrong about this, I have yet to see:
a. Someone say they have two identical TVs, one they've broken in with slides, settings, etc and one they haven't and report results.
b. Someone say they have two identical TVs, one they've calibrated and one they haven't and report results.
What I have seen is people do the above with one TV (usually one they haven't watched for very long) and say the results are "stunning" or "awesome." Which of course prompts me to think, "Compared to what???"

I promised at the outset I'd state what I've done to try and address my thoughts. I've had some things posted in Sound and Vision magazine and I've written them to see if their Video guy (Tom Norton) will prepare something on these subjects. If they do, I'll post a link here...

Again, there is absolutely disrespect or anything personal implied by the above.
I welcome all responses.

Scott

Thank you to those who responded to my post. I read each carefully and here's what I conclude:
1. One person stated that I didn't know anything about either topic and had no experience with them. The former is patently not true, the latter is true for calibration, as I said. But he was kind enough to let it be a personal preference of mine.
2. Another said I benefit by learning more about calibration means in general and not what it means for displays. Huh?
3. A more useful comment was that plain old watching TV (without letterbox or static content) was as effective as slides (thank you! somebody finally said it); he also offered that it was possible to switch between calibrated and non-calibrated on a TV and see the difference-thank you again-I didn't know this and I've not seen it written on this forum or anyone describe doing it.
4. Another person said that slides simply let you get your break-in done faster, not better. Thank you-I don't think anyone's said that before either. I would only question why? Why not (again) start using the thing you just payed so much for?
5. Then there was a discussion regarding THX mode which was interesting but I didn't think relevant to my original post.

I enjoy and encourage anyone who wants to make a constructive comment to my post above. I feel like those comments would be helpful to other readers and certainly to myself.
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post #11 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 06:01 AM
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You can just watch the TV to break it in but like someone else said here the slides are great to run in the times you are not watching it. They are fail safe in the sense that they will fill the entire screen with various colors. No worrying about black bars or static logos.

I am not a believer in having to run the slides for 100 hours before watching anything. I think that is OCD at its finest and people are scared to break away from that.

We already know that running slides for hundreds of hours first will not help with IR issues so you might as well watch the TV when you can.

If you think running the slides for so many hours to use someone else's calibration will be the same, guess what, it won't be. Once you start watching content each TV will fluctuate differently making the calibration you wanted to match off anyway.

As far as calibrations, they aren't going for opinions of what looks good they are setting colors to be as accurate as possible. That is not ones opinion they use it is done with electronic tools and software.
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post #12 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 06:06 AM
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The reason for your struggle is your lack of understanding the science, and as was suggested, doesn't require much. Just fiddle with your tv and be happy, after all that's what you want to do. Why bother looking for support of your own opinions/practices that you don't really want to change? If you don't care about calibrating... have no intention of calibrating your set, then don't bother with "break in," unless by that you mean avoiding long non-stop hours of gaming, or watching the same channel with banners and bugs all day, every day. Totally avoiding banners, bugs, letterbox, etc during the first 100 hours or whatever really isn't necessary, shouldn't be necessary, and doesn't prevent anything now or in the future. Slides don't prevent anything, now or in the future either. They do however get you through shifts that occur during that period, but there will be more shifts later. Shifts are the reason some people say that slides/break-in makes their set look better- some people.

So, if you're only looking for support of your current position, you may find it here, but those people will only be people like yourself.
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post #13 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 06:38 AM
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The reason for your struggle is your lack of understanding the science, and as was suggested, doesn't require much. Just fiddle with your tv and be happy, after all that's what you want to do. Why bother looking for support of your own opinions/practices that you don't really want to change? If you don't care about calibrating... have no intention of calibrating your set, then don't bother with "break in," unless by that you mean avoiding long non-stop hours of gaming, or watching the same channel with banners and bugs all day, every day. Totally avoiding banners, bugs, letterbox, etc during the first 100 hours or whatever really isn't necessary, shouldn't be necessary, and doesn't prevent anything now or in the future. Slides don't prevent anything, now or in the future either. They do however get you through shifts that occur during that period, but there will be more shifts later. Shifts are the reason some people say that slides/break-in makes their set look better- some people.

So, if you're only looking for support of your current position, you may find it here, but those people will only be people like yourself.
I don't really think anyone here besides the OP would say that a calibration does not do anything and is just a matter of opinion. lol
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post #14 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by eric3316 View Post

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Originally Posted by sheshechic View Post

The reason for your struggle is your lack of understanding the science, and as was suggested, doesn't require much. Just fiddle with your tv and be happy, after all that's what you want to do. Why bother looking for support of your own opinions/practices that you don't really want to change? If you don't care about calibrating... have no intention of calibrating your set, then don't bother with "break in," unless by that you mean avoiding long non-stop hours of gaming, or watching the same channel with banners and bugs all day, every day. Totally avoiding banners, bugs, letterbox, etc during the first 100 hours or whatever really isn't necessary, shouldn't be necessary, and doesn't prevent anything now or in the future. Slides don't prevent anything, now or in the future either. They do however get you through shifts that occur during that period, but there will be more shifts later. Shifts are the reason some people say that slides/break-in makes their set look better- some people.

So, if you're only looking for support of your current position, you may find it here, but those people will only be people like yourself.
I don't really think anyone here besides the OP would say that a calibration does not do anything and is just a matter of opinion. lol

Right. I wouldn't either. Choosing who will do the job is a much more important decision. wink.gif

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post #15 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 07:21 AM
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You can just watch the TV to break it in but like someone else said here the slides are great to run in the times you are not watching it. They are fail safe in the sense that they will fill the entire screen with various colors. No worrying about black bars or static logos.

I am not a believer in having to run the slides for 100 hours before watching anything. I think that is OCD at its finest and people are scared to break away from that.

We already know that running slides for hundreds of hours first will not help with IR issues so you might as well watch the TV when you can.

If you think running the slides for so many hours to use someone else's calibration will be the same, guess what, it won't be. Once you start watching content each TV will fluctuate differently making the calibration you wanted to match off anyway.

As far as calibrations, they aren't going for opinions of what looks good they are setting colors to be as accurate as possible. That is not ones opinion they use it is done with electronic tools and software.

Well Said.
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post #16 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 07:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Well Said.

Agreed. Thank you.

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post #17 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 07:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by sheshechic View Post

The reason for your struggle is your lack of understanding the science, and as was suggested, doesn't require much. Just fiddle with your tv and be happy, after all that's what you want to do. Why bother looking for support of your own opinions/practices that you don't really want to change? If you don't care about calibrating... have no intention of calibrating your set, then don't bother with "break in," unless by that you mean avoiding long non-stop hours of gaming, or watching the same channel with banners and bugs all day, every day. Totally avoiding banners, bugs, letterbox, etc during the first 100 hours or whatever really isn't necessary, shouldn't be necessary, and doesn't prevent anything now or in the future. Slides don't prevent anything, now or in the future either. They do however get you through shifts that occur during that period, but there will be more shifts later. Shifts are the reason some people say that slides/break-in makes their set look better- some people.

So, if you're only looking for support of your current position, you may find it here, but those people will only be people like yourself.

Here she goes again. Whoever you are, I asked for constructive input based on two issues (break-in and calibration). Others on here did provide constructive and thoughtful input, why can't you?

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post #18 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 07:32 AM
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2. Calibration: This is another emotionally charged topic on here, which I have learned recently. The bottom line seems to be: Do you want your TV to be "accurate" and reflect how its content was produced (you know, how the producers and directors supposedly want you to view their product) or do you want to tweak it yourself until you like what you see. To me, this means that whether or not to calibrate is a personal and SUBJECTIVE call on your part. Therefore, to try and make something SUBJECTIVE OBJECTIVE just seems a bit fishy to me. I mean, look at the people who are proponents of it: the people who make money and the people who have spent money on it.
 

 

Do you mean objective in that "a calibrated display is objectively better than a non-calibrated display"?

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post #19 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by sheshechic View Post

The reason for your struggle is your lack of understanding the science, and as was suggested, doesn't require much. Just fiddle with your tv and be happy, after all that's what you want to do. Why bother looking for support of your own opinions/practices that you don't really want to change? If you don't care about calibrating... have no intention of calibrating your set, then don't bother with "break in," unless by that you mean avoiding long non-stop hours of gaming, or watching the same channel with banners and bugs all day, every day. Totally avoiding banners, bugs, letterbox, etc during the first 100 hours or whatever really isn't necessary, shouldn't be necessary, and doesn't prevent anything now or in the future. Slides don't prevent anything, now or in the future either. They do however get you through shifts that occur during that period, but there will be more shifts later. Shifts are the reason some people say that slides/break-in makes their set look better- some people.

So, if you're only looking for support of your current position, you may find it here, but those people will only be people like yourself.

Here she goes again. Whoever you are, I asked for constructive input based on two issues (break-in and calibration). Others on here did provide constructive and thoughtful input, why can't you?

Again, you refuse to see the information provided because it doesn't suit you. rolleyes.gif
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post #20 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Do you mean objective in that "a calibrated display is objectively better than a non-calibrated display"?

Yes. To me, based on what I've read, calibration will usually cause your set to be objectively (technically) better adjusted but it won't always guarantee a better visual experience. I guess that was what I was trying to say.

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post #21 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 08:02 AM
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Yes. To me, based on what I've read, calibration will usually cause your set to be objectively (technically) better adjusted but it won't always guarantee a better visual experience. I guess that was what I was trying to say.

What you think looks better will always be a personal preference. I know people who like their TV in vivid mode!

If red on the TV is actually equal to reverence red is not an opinion but fact.
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Yes. To me, based on what I've read, calibration will usually cause your set to be objectively (technically) better adjusted but it won't always guarantee a better visual experience. I guess that was what I was trying to say.

 

Gotcha. Then I think you've already got it figured out. I'd say that an A/V enthusiast (like the typical person posting on this forum) will generally want accurate reproduction of the source content. That means that the most common opinion here will be that calibration is the way to go which is where the "objectively better" sense you're feeling is coming from.

 

But if I like to add salt to my food, or turn the bass up on my stereo, or go for a bluer tint on my TV, why shouldn't I? If I'm happier, I'm happier, regardless of what the enthusiast, chef, musician or director thinks.

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post #23 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 08:18 AM
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Originally Posted by emanymton123 View Post

Do you mean objective in that "a calibrated display is objectively better than a non-calibrated display"?

Yes. To me, based on what I've read, calibration will usually cause your set to be objectively (technically) better adjusted but it won't always guarantee a better visual experience. I guess that was what I was trying to say.

There are settings that are subjective—sharpness, contrast, brightness, saturation. Color balance is not one of them. Once a TV is calibrated for color accuracy, users can use that as a starting point for tweaking a TV's picture to their own preferences.

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post #24 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 08:22 AM
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FWIW, I enjoyed reading this thread. I think that I am like the OP wondering if spending $$$ will enhance my viewing experience. If it was $100 I would not think twice about it but anything between $400-800 (including repeat calibration) makes me scratch my head.

Please note, OP was very respectful but I also think ALL responses were very respectful.
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post #25 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by emanymton123 View Post

Gotcha. Then I think you've already got it figured out. I'd say that an A/V enthusiast (like the typical person posting on this forum) will generally want accurate reproduction of the source content. That means that the most common opinion here will be that calibration is the way to go which is where the "objectively better" sense you're feeling is coming from.

But if I like to add salt to my food, or turn the bass up on my stereo, or go for a bluer tint on my TV, why shouldn't I? If I'm happier, I'm happier, regardless of what the enthusiast, chef, musician or director thinks.

To anyone following this thread, this is a great answer - thank you.
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post #26 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 08:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by oceanjumper View Post

FWIW, I enjoyed reading this thread. I think that I am like the OP wondering if spending $$$ will enhance my viewing experience. If it was $100 I would not think twice about it but anything between $400-800 (including repeat calibration) makes me scratch my head.

Please note, OP was very respectful but I also think ALL responses were very respectful.

Exactly! You summed up one reason why this thread was started. Thanks for getting it.

(for the record, I never mentioned dis-respectful; I said, unconstructive.)

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post #27 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 08:27 AM
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Originally Posted by emanymton123 View Post

Gotcha. Then I think you've already got it figured out. I'd say that an A/V enthusiast (like the typical person posting on this forum) will generally want accurate reproduction of the source content. That means that the most common opinion here will be that calibration is the way to go which is where the "objectively better" sense you're feeling is coming from.

But if I like to add salt to my food, or turn the bass up on my stereo, or go for a bluer tint on my TV, why shouldn't I? If I'm happier, I'm happier, regardless of what the enthusiast, chef, musician or director thinks.

I don't think anyone is disputing personal preferance obviously its your set do what you like with it. I think the point of contention is the value of calibration that is subjective in the end. But an "accurate" display is not subjective it is either accurate or it is not. My only problem with what the OP said is when he called calibration "fishy", implying somehow that calibration supporters are being dishonest in order to justify their investment.
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post #28 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Scott Oakley View Post

Yes. To me, based on what I've read, calibration will usually cause your set to be objectively (technically) better adjusted but it won't always guarantee a better visual experience. I guess that was what I was trying to say.
“better visual experience” is highly subjective. To be honest most of my peers don’t care much about panel pq. In fact some prefer to watch in Vivid Mode with the SOE turned all the way up. It’s only after they see my panel that they notice a huge difference and ask why my panel looks so much better and true to life than theirs.

In my view, if you don’t see value in calibration then there is no need for you to calibrate your panel. I used a DVD purchased from Amazon to calibrate my LCD and had my Plasma professionally calibrated. For me, it has been well worth the investment and has improved my viewing experience on both panels. I always recommend calibration, whether diy or professional.
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post #29 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by chunon View Post

I don't think anyone is disputing personal preferance obviously its your set do what you like with it. I think the point of contention is the value of calibration that is subjective in the end. But an "accurate" display is not subjective it is either accurate or it is not. My only problem with what the OP said is when he called calibration "fishy", implying somehow that calibration supporters are being dishonest in order to justify their investment.

Point taken and thanks for bringing it up... (I just figured out who OP was. Ya learn something new here every day!)
Remember though-I was very careful to point out that none of this was personal. I can see how someone would take that statement that way though. I just don't know how to express that thought without it being taken personally. But its certainly not meant in a negative way.

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post #30 of 127 Old 12-03-2013, 09:41 AM
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The fact you acknowledge that goes a long way around here at least imo. I don't profess to have all the answers but I do have some pretty good knowledge about the calibration process and what it entails. I have had several pro calibrations and have dabbled at diy. I can certainly understand your perspective tho and if you've never owned a calibrated set you really have no baseline to know what you are missing. Once you do experience it there is not going back and nothing short of a perfectly calibrated set will do. So I consider calibration in my tv purchase budget.

You have one of the best plasmas ever made and if it were me I would want to get every last bit of performance out of my set, but again that is my own personal priority. I do think that if you are willing to invest some time and learn about things like greyscale, gamma, contrast ratio, cms etc you could make a much more informed decision on how you view calibration. I would also add that I don't think either the pros that frequent this forum or the calibration supporters have any kind of hidden agenda. I just try to pass on my own experience with calibration and leave the final decision up to the set owner.
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