AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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mark, I just picked up a new LCD monitor for myself, and am discovering the problem of most LCD PC monitors having no options for video levels.
For example, my NEC 20 WMGX2 (the best LCD monitor I've ever seen, BTW) has brightness and contrast adjustments - but they don't behave quite the way I expected. Adjusting brightness appears to affect backlight strength along with black level, and same for contrast, except it favors the white level end. However, no combination of these settings can make level 16 with level 0 (true black).
For HTPC use, I have found a good workaround - if you use VMR you can adjust the player brightness controls (for example, in Zoomplayer or TheaterTek, which both support ProcAmp controls). Adjusting brightness in the negative range will do a linear level shift in that direction. For example, a brightness setting of -4 will reduce ALL levels in the image by 4, clipping levels of 4 and less to 0, IF contrast is kept at 0. If you increase contrast as well, then a level expansion is performed (and can cause clipped highlights - but if you don't go too far shouldn't be noticeable).
You'll have to experiment - on my LCD monitor I'm using a VMR9 brightness of -4 and kept VMR9 contrast at 0 to prevent level expansion and prevent contouring. Unfortunately, this does mean bright scenes are not as bright as they could be - which is why I did not try a brightness of -16 to clamp level 16 to 0 - the whole picture would be too dim unless I upped the contrast.