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Old 07-12-2014, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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HTPC Picture Calibration

So how do you guys calibrate the picture on your HTPC's? I have a couple of blu-ray calibration disks (WOW etc.) and have tried to rip and used WOW like a movie but have issues with the menus etc. I could put a blu-ray drive in the HTPC if needed but currently all my files are MKV rips. If I play a physical disk via my client, which is Media Browser (Classic mostly) will that be the best option?


Thanks!
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Old 07-12-2014, 06:40 PM
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So how do you guys calibrate the picture on your HTPC's?
Download and have fun...

AVS HD 709 - Blu-ray & MP4 Calibration

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Old 07-12-2014, 08:23 PM - Thread Starter
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I've seen posts about this download before but it was always burn to disk and use it, so is that how you do it with a HTPC and not using a file like the movie is... do you need to burn it or mount it as an ISO. I have calibration disks and have set up the PQ for my Oppo, just want to do the same for my HTPC as the current settings are not anywhere near as good as my Oppo.


Oh, I read some more and see the mp4 version for running on a HD player, I'll give that a go.... thanks for the help!
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Old 07-12-2014, 10:17 PM
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I wouldn't really call that calibration (sorry to be nitpicky) since the WoW disc and some of the AVS709 is done by eye. Only the white & black clipping, sharpness, geometry, and overscan patterns are good to do by eye IMO. If you want to take it to the next level you need a meter like an i1Display Pro (ID3 on the forums) and along with ArgyllCMS+dispcalGUI can create a 3DLUT color correction file for madVR which can be used with MPC-HC, MPC-BE, Potplayer, Mediabrowser3, MeediOS, and JRiver.

MadVR - ArgyllCMS

My Home Theater/Video Gaming/HTPC/2 Channel rig (Mitsubishi, MartinLogan, Marantz, DIYMA, and others)


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Old 07-12-2014, 11:02 PM
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Oh, I read some more and see the mp4 version for running on a HD player, I'll give that a go.... thanks for the help!
Yeah - I only keep five chapters on my NAS.

  • 10 Step Grayscale
  • 75% Color
  • Basic Settings
  • Convergence
  • Resolution

You can check out a display pretty quick by using them.
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Old 07-13-2014, 06:16 AM
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I wouldn't really call that calibration (sorry to be nitpicky) since the WoW disc and some of the AVS709 is done by eye.
Here's the thing. We all view the display with our eyes and not a meter. If you can calibrate the display using the aforementioned tools just using your eyes to the point where it is pleasing to you, then a meter is not really necessary, IMHO. Unless you need to get a display to be extremely accurate for editing or mastering purposes, the eyeball method will work for the vast majority of people. The minute difference in picture accuracy you achieve with a meter probably won't even be noticed by a lot of us.
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:54 PM
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Here's the thing. We all view the display with our eyes and not a meter. If you can calibrate the display using the aforementioned tools just using your eyes to the point where it is pleasing to you, then a meter is not really necessary, IMHO. Unless you need to get a display to be extremely accurate for editing or mastering purposes, the eyeball method will work for the vast majority of people. The minute difference in picture accuracy you achieve with a meter probably won't even be noticed by a lot of us.
Here's the thing...

Calibration is a comparison between measurements – one of known magnitude or correctness made or set with one device and another measurement made in as similar a way as possible with a second device. The device with the known or assigned correctness is called the standard.

Our eyes aren't quantitative measurement devices. The OP asked how we calibrate the picture on our HTPCs. I responded on how I do it and how using a WoW disc or any of the other discs without a meter is NOT calibration since you have to eye ball everything.

Oh an yeah you'd notice a difference between a calibrated picture and not, at least once you get used to the calibrated picture. Once I calibrated my TV I saw a bit more detail especially in the dark regions. The thing is if the extra cost is worth it to you or not. For me $250 for a meter isn't that big of a deal and since madVR can more or less replace a $700 eeColor LUT box for free is pretty darn nice. My meter and my CinemaQuest bias light have been the best and relatively cheap upgrades to the picture quality of my system.

My Home Theater/Video Gaming/HTPC/2 Channel rig (Mitsubishi, MartinLogan, Marantz, DIYMA, and others)


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Old 07-13-2014, 05:44 PM
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Here's the thing...

Calibration is a comparison between measurements – one of known magnitude or correctness made or set with one device and another measurement made in as similar a way as possible with a second device. The device with the known or assigned correctness is called the standard.

Our eyes aren't quantitative measurement devices. The OP asked how we calibrate the picture on our HTPCs. I responded on how I do it and how using a WoW disc or any of the other discs without a meter is NOT calibration since you have to eye ball everything.

Oh an yeah you'd notice a difference between a calibrated picture and not, at least once you get used to the calibrated picture. Once I calibrated my TV I saw a bit more detail especially in the dark regions. The thing is if the extra cost is worth it to you or not. For me $250 for a meter isn't that big of a deal and since madVR can more or less replace a $700 eeColor LUT box for free is pretty darn nice. My meter and my CinemaQuest bias light have been the best and relatively cheap upgrades to the picture quality of my system.
I fully understand the concept of calibration and I have no doubt what you're saying is true. Whether the viewer can actually see the difference depends entirely on the viewer and the quality of their eyesight as well as their perception. My eyes aren't what they used to be (I'm 63) so the value of a properly calibrated set in my situation is questionable at best, at least when it comes to absolute fine tuning with the proper test equipment.

I've been using a CinemaQuest 6700K backlight for about seven years and I finally had to get a replacement bulb for it. In all that time I can honestly say I haven't noticed any difference in picture quality using the CinemaQuest light or ambient lighting turned down low to the point of almost absolute darkness. Then again, I can't vouch that my HDTV has been properly calibrated over that time, but it's definitely better than the stock settings. I did purchase a WoW calibration disc a while back but haven't had a chance to use it with my current setup and I'm sure it needs a recalibration. I think the last one I used was the one developed by Joe Kane. I was a charter subscriber to The Perfect Vision (and also The Absolute Sound) when it was in print so I picked up a lot of good info on A/V setups.
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Old 07-13-2014, 06:02 PM
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Our eyes aren't quantitative measurement devices.
Nor are many of the inexpensive meters and even the process many follow. Often the percent of error is huge. From experience if you are wanting color, gamma and other more advanced calibrations done call a profession. Other wise in most cases you are fooling yourself. I know I did on several occasions... been there done that.
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:54 AM
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I fully understand the concept of calibration and I have no doubt what you're saying is true. Whether the viewer can actually see the difference depends entirely on the viewer and the quality of their eyesight as well as their perception. My eyes aren't what they used to be (I'm 63) so the value of a properly calibrated set in my situation is questionable at best, at least when it comes to absolute fine tuning with the proper test equipment.
I can understand that. I was mostly being picky about the OP's use of "calibration".

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I've been using a CinemaQuest 6700K backlight for about seven years and I finally had to get a replacement bulb for it. In all that time I can honestly say I haven't noticed any difference in picture quality using the CinemaQuest light or ambient lighting turned down low to the point of almost absolute darkness. Then again, I can't vouch that my HDTV has been properly calibrated over that time, but it's definitely better than the stock settings. I did purchase a WoW calibration disc a while back but haven't had a chance to use it with my current setup and I'm sure it needs a recalibration. I think the last one I used was the one developed by Joe Kane. I was a charter subscriber to The Perfect Vision (and also The Absolute Sound) when it was in print so I picked up a lot of good info on A/V setups.
I just got my CinemaQuest last week. I had my TV calibrated before that. I was using some TCP Connected wireless LED lights dimmed at the lowest setting when watching TV however they're behind the TV but not like a bias light. There's a big difference in the viewing between the two. To be fair though it's obvious with the color temp since the TCP's are 2700K but they're also in my direct field of view and it does seem to diminish the PQ a tad, at least the dark scenes were warmish or tinted kinda. Also since all the lights are behind the TV it reduced glare dramatically, which I also can control even further by having black out curtains. The TCP lights would highlight things and sometimes would be reflected on the screen just a tad washing it out, the CinemaQuest bias light doesn't do that. Though that sort of thing bothers me, other people may not notice or care.

I haven't seen WoW in a long time, it was before I started getting into color calibration deeply. You probably used DVE (Digital Video Essentials). I haven't looked at DVE in a while, mostly just checked out the reference video scenes.

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Nor are many of the inexpensive meters and even the process many follow. Often the percent of error is huge. From experience if you are wanting color, gamma and other more advanced calibrations done call a profession. Other wise in most cases you are fooling yourself. I know I did on several occasions... been there done that.
That is a good point. I know the Spyder's are known not to be that accurate. I have a i1Display Pro (ID3) and I've seen how they compare to a reference meter and the ID3 is really close to reference. It's not reference but for the DIYer it's good enough. My TV can't be fixed by the older methods of calibration with CMS control, it requires a 3DLUT device or software since it's non linear so I have to trust the software, hardware, and measurements to a degree. Seems to work well IMO.

My Home Theater/Video Gaming/HTPC/2 Channel rig (Mitsubishi, MartinLogan, Marantz, DIYMA, and others)


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Old 07-16-2014, 06:49 AM
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I did use DVE for my original calibrations, but it was probably the original version on DVD. I got a copy of WoW on Blu-Ray the Christmas before last and never got around to trying it. I had looked into the Spyder meter a few years back but decided against it after reading a few reviews.

I shouldn't read threads like this because it always ends up costing me money. I just bit the bullet and purchased a used X-Rite i1 Display Pro meter on ebay. I figure these things don't get a lot of use after the initial calibration so it should be like new. I'm looking at the thread you referenced for generating 3DLUT corrections using ArgyllCMS. I don't currently have MadVR installed, but I did upgrade my graphics card a while back with the intention of using it. I'm a great procrastinator so I tend to acquire lots of things for projects that never materialize. Perhaps now I'll have the motivation to see it through.

Aside from the thread you referenced, is there anything else I should be looking at for calibrating my TV monitor? It's an older Sony LCoS RPTV. Do I need to go through any other setup for MadVR or will the procedure you referenced be sufficient?
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Old 07-16-2014, 07:42 AM
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AVSforum has made me spend a bit of money over the last 3 years! LOL Awesome about the i1Display Pro!

Look into buying or borrowing a tripod if you don't have one.

Buy an active USB extender like:
http://www.monoprice.com/Product?c_i...seq=1&format=2

Those two things will make using the colorimeter much more convenient. A laptop helps greatly too.

Don't use the stock X-rite software to calibrate anything, it's crappy even for desktop use. I do install it at least to make sure the driver gets installed but supposedly ColorHCFR and ArgyllCMS already include drivers.

Download ColorHCFR:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/hcfr/

Read this guide to ColorHCFR and try to tune your TV and learn it before you get into madVR:
http://www.curtpalme.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=10457

You'll learn how to read the graphs. It looks daunting but it's not too bad after playing around and practicing for a bit. The guide doesn't go into it but you can measure 0%, 25%, 50%, and 75% saturation levels on RGB + Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow for a more comprehensive report.
Tip: If you have an iPad and a laptop put the guide up on the iPad and do the measurements on the laptop. It helps make practicing convenient.

Once you learn how to read the graphs and get a basic tune up you can just run though the tutorial of madVR and probably get excellent results.
Tip: ArgyllCMS can't expand your gamut only your TV can. When you're ready for madVR and if your TV doesn't have a good set of CMS controls over the primaries or secondaries use the color controls on your tv to expand the triangle to slightly outside the optimal range for Rec709 and madVR will trim it back down. Anything that isn't video rendered with madVR will be oversaturated a little bit but all video rendered with madVR will be correct.

My Home Theater/Video Gaming/HTPC/2 Channel rig (Mitsubishi, MartinLogan, Marantz, DIYMA, and others)


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Old 07-16-2014, 11:24 AM
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Thanks for the info. I've already got a good sturdy tripod. I'm not sure why I'd need the USB extension, though. My HTPC sits next to the TV and it shouldn't be a problem if I have to move it closer to the tripod.

Looks like I've got some reading to do.

BTW, which MadVR tutorial should I be looking at? The only one I'm familiar with is the one for setting up MPC-HC and I want to be sure I'm looking at the right one.

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Old 07-16-2014, 05:13 PM
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The USB cord on the meter isn't very long, maybe 4ft. I have a 73" TV and even with my HTPC right next to it the cord isn't long enough to reach the middle of the TV. Also when taking measurements I'd have to stand up with my laptop in one hand and a remote in the other making it a absolute pain. Just little things I've found over the last year that make doing that sort of thing more convenient. If you do decide to get an extender make sure it's active, the passive ones give false readings.

For just color correction in madVR use, the 1st post covers it:
MadVR - ArgyllCMS

There's other ones in regards to the fancy upscaling features of madVR but I only use a tiny bit of those. renethx is the man to ask about those features.

My Home Theater/Video Gaming/HTPC/2 Channel rig (Mitsubishi, MartinLogan, Marantz, DIYMA, and others)

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Old 07-16-2014, 05:48 PM
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The guide you referenced talks about Chromapure calibration software, which is a commercial product. Am I to assume that the ColorHCFR software is basically a freeware version of Chromapure with similar features? I'm trying to get a handle on how the ColorHCFR software ties in with the guide for Chromapure.

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Old 07-16-2014, 05:57 PM
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Yeah, with the passive extender the meter read that the brightness on my TV was ~15ftL and I almost bought another lamp for my DLP until I tested it with the active extender and without an extender and both read ~30ftL.

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Old 07-21-2014, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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I wouldn't really call that calibration (sorry to be nitpicky) since the WoW disc and some of the AVS709 is done by eye. Only the white & black clipping, sharpness, geometry, and overscan patterns are good to do by eye IMO. If you want to take it to the next level you need a meter like an i1Display Pro (ID3 on the forums) and along with ArgyllCMS+dispcalGUI can create a 3DLUT color correction file for madVR which can be used with MPC-HC, MPC-BE, Potplayer, Mediabrowser3, MeediOS, and JRiver.

MadVR - ArgyllCMS
Yeah, sorry, calibration used for lack of a better term :-) I just wanted to improve the basics like the black levels etc. and I think the 'by-eye' method is ok for me right now.... tbh there seems to be so many moving parts in the PQ chain that if I started down the rabbit hole of getting a meter etc. I would never resurface


Thanks for the help and advice!
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Old 07-21-2014, 09:55 AM
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I've been using Spyder Pro 2 for years and love the results.
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Old 07-21-2014, 10:45 AM
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Calibration is trickier than most realize. If you are using a colorimeter like i1 Display you need to have either an offset table for the exact display type you are using (DLP UHP Front Projector, DLP UHP Rear Projector, DLP LED, LED LCD, CCFL LED, Plasma, CRT). Better is a meter profile done with a spectrometer and then the colorimeter is corrected to match the spectro. Colorimeters like the i1 Display are very good at low light readings but the filters age in them so even if the meter you buy has a nice set of tables that covers your particular display over time it will get less accurate. I use and i1 Pro spectro as my reference meter every time I calibrate and use the initial readings from it to correct the i1 Display Pro to do the calibration itself. This is essentially calibrating the colorimeter from spectro readings straight of your display. This gives a high degree confidence in the subsequent measurements made with the colorimeter. This type of approach is commonly used by pros. That is a spectrometer is used as reference level meter and the colorimeter due to its speed and low light capability is the actual working tool.


Further it is important to understand that most displays are not particularly linear and you must be able to adjust color at multiple intensities and saturation points for each color to get good results. If you do not have a color management system internal to the display that can adjust each color at 25,50, and 100 percent saturations, most displays can't, then you likely need something before the display that employs 3D LUT (look up table) technology to adjust color before it gets to the display. Argyll is one such solution. Lumagen Radiance video processors are an other. Assuming you don't have or don't want to use those, it may be advisable to compare the calibrations at 100 and 75 percent saturations. ChromaPure and Spectracal facilitate that. It often works out that a 6 color calibration at 75% saturation will give much better results than a 6 color point calibration at 100 % saturation.


So while true calibration with a meter can produce amazingly accurate results you need to understand that depending on the display you maybe deluded into thinking you have a TV that is properly calibrate but in fact have one that seems to measure well but is in fact only accurate at 6 color points and off pretty much everywhere else. And if you are using the wrong display type table for your colorimeter correction or your colorimeter is not brand new you may not even be accurate at the 6 color point despite the low error level reported in HFCR, ChromaPure or SpectraCal.


I use a Lumagen Radiance and ChromaPure with my colorimeter corrected to a spectrometer and color is adjusted for 125 color points and greyscale/gamma. This is all automatic which makes is tremendously easy.


My display is a 92" DLP rear projector and honestly without 3D LUT technology provided by the Lumagen and correction of my colorimeter from a spectrometer measurement on my particular display the results are piss poor.

Just another blank signature.

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Old 07-21-2014, 12:04 PM
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Unfortunately, that is one rabbit hole I cannot afford to go down. The cost of a Lumagen Radiance processor is strictly prohibitive to my budget.
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