Break-In and Calibration - Part II - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-13-2014, 05:55 AM - Thread Starter
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My intent for Break-In and Calibration - Part I was to clear away opinions and mis-information and intuitively supply objective information on two topics that seem filled with snake-oil and emotion. I am proud of Part I because I think there are some people who've generally learned from it; but it has started to get dragged down in the typical pettiness and arguments that detract from information sharing. So I am starting Part II. I will be very careful to indicate when something is simply my opinion.
First a quick re-cap of our topics and then some new realizations.

I am now in the third month of ownership of a 55VT60 and couldn't be happier. The set has 289 hours on it. The way to find out how many hours you have on your VT60: MENU, Help, Version, Status4: C0***-00000, where *** is number of hours.

RECAP
Break-In: Breaking in a new plasma is nothing more than using it for a given amount of hours (the consensus is 300, but this is approximate and subjective). The purpose of this period is "age" the plasma phosphors with varied video content, avoiding static logos, scoreboards, etc. Apparently "younger" phosphors can get "stuck" if asked to display a certain frequency for too long a time. This is scientific fact (although very simply expressed here); for more, simply Google the topic. This break-in time can simply be watching TV, BluRay, slides or any other video content. There is nothing magic about slides; they are a convenience factor, allowing you to start them and go to work comfortable that no static content will be displayed while you are gone. I do not think they have anything to do with pro-level calibration other than aging the set appropriately prior to the calibration.

Calibration: Calibration refers to the adjustment of settings by an ISF or THX certified individual using special purpose hardware and software. Its purpose is to bring the set into alignment with agreed-upon parameters established by ISF, THX and I think other studio agencies (I am not sure about this last part, but you get the idea). Prices for this service can range from about $250 for BestBuy service to about $500 for an certified individual. Whether or not calibration is a good thing is a highly individualized decision.

NEW REALIZATIONS
Calibration: Two powerful epiphanies I have had in the last three months have to do with calibration:
* One can look at calibration the same way you might look at a new car. If you want to make sure your car is performing up to its potential, you would take it back after a certain length of time and have it tuned. Or, if you had a significant investment in audio equipment, you might send your integrated amp back to the factory for tune up and other measurements to ensure it was performing at its designed optimized level. Calibration, then, takes this one step further by adjusting video settings so that the image meets certain agreed up standards.
* And this leads me to my second epiphany (does anyone know how to spell that???): Film and television studios will produce their first runs of material to meet video industry standards but then they will colorize of customize according to their own artistic preferences. This is real obvious once you are aware of it. So, they may "push" (emphasize) reds or purposely dim certain scenes. And this is where pro calibration might make sense for you: your pro-calibration will be to standards and so you will see exactly what was intended (those "pushed" reds, for example). BUT if you use someone else's settings that for example push reds (because that person thought it looked good at the time), what will happen? Right-your reds are going to REDDER. Or yellower. Or whatever was emphasized in that person's (or your) settings. This, I think, is an advantage of having your set calibrated professionally.

In closing, I would like to say that these two revelations are directly attributable to two guys on here, not to any brilliant deductions on my part, and I thank those individuals.

I promise to continue to share things that I run across like these because they make so much sense, how could I not? Plus you'd have to read thousands of pages and a lot of bs to find them

Scott
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-13-2014, 11:11 AM
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Scott, I appreciate you starting this thread (and Part 1). I have learned a few things myself.

I had always thought about certain content having certain color tendencies but hadn't really given it a lot of detailed thought. I've been giving my VT60 fault for being dim on a basketball game the other night, only to find out that when I played the same game on my other TV, it was also very dim. This is exactly what you are talking about.....the content playing more of a roll than you think it does. I also found the same thing with a couple of the latter ESPN bowl games in January....The Rose Bowl was very dim for one on my VT60. I then realized that that's because the broadcast was dim and my VT60 is just displaying what it is being given. The problem is that my VT60 doesn't have any brightness left to display so i can't really kick it up level to counteract the broadcast signal dimness.

I didn't get a chance to post this in the other thread...but I will here. I had my RPTV calibrated when I first bought it in 2003. I was the first to have an HDTV, etc and wanted it to be perfect. I paid for the reflective screen to be taken off, guns refocused and cleaned, Duvetyne lining to placed inside to improve the blacks, as well as color calibrating. The calibrator from the northeast came to my house and did all of that for about $500 I think. What it gave me was perfect colors and perfect focus....the best the TV could be. I was happy but very reluctant when it came to actually forking over the $$. I guess this was because its a huge amount of money to have a better TV experience...when the previous experience was very good. I'm a tech person and an engineer, I just wanted my TV to be awesome for me and when others came by to watch it...since i was the first one to have one.

However, there is a consequence to having a calibration and I want others to know this....you will then know EXACTLY what a TV should look like in regards to colors. You will most likely learn to appreciate it to the point where your friends and family's TVs will drive you nuts. You will see neon green football fields that are natural grass and all of the people will all have awful sunburns. You will have to hold back in telling them to adjust their sets or if you do tell them, you'll probably be met with resistance or a bit of anger. As far as your own TVs in the house, you won't be able to go back and tolerate an uncalibrated set.....or probably won't buy a set that can't be calibrated with all of the various controls that our VTs have. Its a cycle that will probably continue throughout your lifetime and will probably cost you a large amount of money in the process. I kind of envy the people that don't know any better because they don't spend extra thousands of dollars like I do...they just go buy a VIZIO or a huge DLP and are as happy as a clam! I have just about pulled my hair out now about my VT60 not being perfect and its all because of that first calibration. Luckily DNice saved me on my other two VT25s in between with his settings Anyway, what you don't know can save you a lot of money in the long run.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-13-2014, 11:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Codeman00 View Post

Scott, I appreciate you starting this thread (and Part 1). I have learned a few things myself.

I had always thought about certain content having certain color tendencies but hadn't really given it a lot of detailed thought. I've been giving my VT60 fault for being dim on a basketball game the other night, only to find out that when I played the same game on my other TV, it was also very dim. This is exactly what you are talking about.....the content playing more of a roll than you think it does. I also found the same thing with a couple of the latter ESPN bowl games in January....The Rose Bowl was very dim for one on my VT60. I then realized that that's because the broadcast was dim and my VT60 is just displaying what it is being given. The problem is that my VT60 doesn't have any brightness left to display so i can't really kick it up level to counteract the broadcast signal dimness.

I didn't get a chance to post this in the other thread...but I will here. I had my RPTV calibrated when I first bought it in 2003. I was the first to have an HDTV, etc and wanted it to be perfect. I paid for the reflective screen to be taken off, guns refocused and cleaned, Duvetyne lining to placed inside to improve the blacks, as well as color calibrating. The calibrator from the northeast came to my house and did all of that for about $500 I think. What it gave me was perfect colors and perfect focus....the best the TV could be. I was happy but very reluctant when it came to actually forking over the $$. I guess this was because its a huge amount of money to have a better TV experience...when the previous experience was very good. I'm a tech person and an engineer, I just wanted my TV to be awesome for me and when others came by to watch it...since i was the first one to have one.

However, there is a consequence to having a calibration and I want others to know this....you will then know EXACTLY what a TV should look like in regards to colors. You will most likely learn to appreciate it to the point where your friends and family's TVs will drive you nuts. You will see neon green football fields that are natural grass and all of the people will all have awful sunburns. You will have to hold back in telling them to adjust their sets or if you do tell them, you'll probably be met with resistance or a bit of anger. As far as your own TVs in the house, you won't be able to go back and tolerate an uncalibrated set.....or probably won't buy a set that can't be calibrated with all of the various controls that our VTs have. Its a cycle that will probably continue throughout your lifetime and will probably cost you a large amount of money in the process. I kind of envy the people that don't know any better because they don't spend extra thousands of dollars like I do...they just go buy a VIZIO or a huge DLP and are as happy as a clam! I have just about pulled my hair out now about my VT60 not being perfect and its all because of that first calibration. Luckily DNice saved me on my other two VT25s in between with his settings Anyway, what you don't know can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Great contribution. Thank you.
So, where do you stand today on the subject of calibration? IE, will you have your VT60 professionally calibrated? Scott

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post #4 of 6 Old 01-13-2014, 01:49 PM
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For my small cheaper TVs that I really don't watch a lot or intently (wife's office, my office, kitchen, bathroom, etc), I absolutely will not get them calibrated. All except one are so cheap that a calibration would cost more than the TV.

For my Panasonic VTs or any other expensive TVs that I buy, I first try to find some online settings that work well for me. I'll do about whatever it takes not to pay the $500 calibration fee again if I can help it. For my (2) VT25's, DNIces settings worked perfectly and without issue. In fact, I've never even worried about adjusting for 3 years....just left them on his Day settings. To my eye, they are perfect.

With the VT60, its a different animal. I feel that the CNET settings are absolutely perfect colorwise, except the overall picture is too dim. My decision now is send the TV back without any other TVs out there that I like, or get a calibration. But this is a special circumstance....the calibration won't be for the colors, it will be to squeeze a bit more brightness out of the TV with near the proper colors....basically a better day setting. If I didn't have this dim panel issue, I wouldn't need a calibration at all thanks to posted settings.
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post #5 of 6 Old 01-13-2014, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Oakley View Post

Great contribution. Thank you.
So, where do you stand today on the subject of calibration? IE, will you have your VT60 professionally calibrated? Scott

Codeman00 makes great points. I am believer in professional calibration and will be factoring that cost into any future major HDTV purchase.
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post #6 of 6 Old 01-14-2014, 05:40 AM - Thread Starter
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For a glossary of plasma related terms and acronyms go here:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1287543/common-plasma-terms-and-acronyms

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