Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
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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.
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.
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
Panasonic 2013 55VT60
Marantz SR-5005 AVR
B&W 805 Speakers
Velodyne 15" Sub
TiVO Roamo OTA