Sencore VS. Progressive Labs VS. Milori - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 65 Old 07-02-2002, 05:16 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been debating this issue with myself for quite some time. There are, of course, diverse opinions also among the members here at AVSForum. I'm trying to get a sense of exactly which one of these colorimeters the forum in general feels strongly about. The purchase of a spectroradiometer is out of the question, at least for now. I have to admit that I'm on the verge of purchasing the Progessive Labs CA-1.

I've experienced the Sencore CP-288. My opinion is that it is too limited in scope to be a viable tool for calibrating a wide customer base.

The Progressive Labs CA-1 seems to have a solid following here, and has been reviewed highly by home theater magazines. Cliff also has been very customer service oriented in regard to my inquiries. I find the flexibility, price and good customer service favors the purchase of this analyzer.

Milori Colorfacts I know little or nothing about. I did go to their website and it seems like a good product. Proponents of that product seem to be in the minority, however. There measuring sensors are eight in number and that seems to be better, but things aren't always what they seem. I have to say that the website didn't have that big company feel and may not be as logically laid out as Sencore's. It seems both Colorfacts and the CA-1 require calibration files.

So, I thought I'd ask for some input from people who use and/or are familiar with these tools and let the masses help me in my determination. I have to say that the Progressive Labs is a heavy favorite.

There's nothing like a good old fashioned shoot-out!
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post #2 of 65 Old 07-02-2002, 05:21 PM
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I'm afraid I don't know the answer. But if you go over to the AVS Special Guest forum both Progressive Labs and Milori have been Special Guests, so you might want to read those Guest threads.

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post #3 of 65 Old 07-03-2002, 05:20 PM - Thread Starter
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If folks could leave a little text in support of their vote, that would be appreciated as well.
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post #4 of 65 Old 07-08-2002, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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More input/voting please.
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post #5 of 65 Old 07-08-2002, 07:13 PM
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Hi Crescent,

A customer just pointed this thread out to me. I just had to cast my vote while I was here. Sorry to bump the counter like that, but I've had all of the sensors you are asking about, so I guess I should be able to vote. :D

As my opinion is certainly going to be biased, I won't tell you what to buy, but I can let you know the big points that you will want to consider and research when comparing the products.

First off, the Sencore CP-288 will only work with CRT based displays. It is also the most expensive of the three, at close to $3,000 retail. I guess they have to pay for that fancy web site (little dig at your web site comment :D).

The Progressive Labs CA-1 is the same hardware as the CP-288, but uses a 3x3 matrix transform of the color data to make the information appear more accurate on specific displays. This technique works, and actually works pretty well. However, you are going to be restricted to calibrating the devices that Progressive Labs has actually profiled, and you won't be able to do any hardware tweaks with the display device, like adding a color filter or blanking the clear section of the color wheel with digital projectors, or messing with the CRT guns on a CRT projector.

Anything that changes the color or luminance of the three primaries will completely invalidate the profile. Please call us toll-free at 1-877-445-5241 if anyone claims anything different and I would be happy to explain.

The CA-1 comes with an older software package that isn't...well, I said that I would try not to say anything bad about anyone's products, so I will just let you see the screen shots for yourself. You can also see some ColorFacts screen shots, for comparison. You can even download the entire ColorFacts product and try it out, if you wish.

We worked with Progressive Labs for a while early on, and ColorFacts supports the CA-1 sensor and nine other instruments, so you will also never "outgrow" it. Ultimately, we decided to drop the CA-1 hardware because of inaccuracy problems without those device profiles that Progressive Labs creates. Of course, we had to drop the Sencore CP-288 for the same reason, as it's the same hardware. We have some web pages for our customers that you might want to visit about the CA-1 hardware and about the other hardware that ColorFacts supports.

Anyway, I just wanted to stop in and respond. I hope that I gave you some interesting leads to follow, and some good questions to ask. I might have been a little biased, but I hope it wasn't too bad.

In my opinion (and here is the slightly more biased part), the profile idea was a very good one, and it has worked quite well, but with the "mods" that people are doing with their equipment and with the sheer proliferation of new display devices, an accurate system that doesn't need profiles is probably going to be better as a long-term investment. Plus, our customers find that our software is far easier to work with and use than anything else out there (call us and ask me for some referrals).

Feel free to e-mail or call us if you have any questions.

Thanks!

Mark

PS - Disappointing to see how little activity there is on this thread. Less than 100 views, and much fewer posts.

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post #6 of 65 Old 07-08-2002, 10:39 PM
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The Progressive Labs CA-1 is presently used by hundreds of satisfied customers including several major video magazine reviewers, video manufacturers, and ISF calibrators to assess a wide variety of video displays. We have supplied our customers with a constantly growing library of calibration files which cover virtually every Plasma display model produced in the past two years. We have also amassed a fairly comprehensive library of single-chip DLP and LCD projector files for most popular Home Theater models.

A Tristimulus color analyzers accuracy when utilized with sources other than it was originally designed for (CRT based phosphors) will never be correct without a corrective matrix. To achieve a high degree of accuracy without the use of a filter set that has accuracy of better than 1% for both x,y chromaticity relative to C.I.E. observer curves) is not found in analyzers in this price range . Filter sets that provide this degree of accuracy are extremely expensive which is why every Tristimulus analyzer has corrective matrices utilized even for its base calibration.

This being said, an analyzer that employs no corrective matrix for alternative display types (DILA, DLP, LCD, LCOS, Plasma,) can be accurate for only a very limited number of display devices. Since digital display devices employ a wide variety of variables which contribute to the spectral characteristics (lamps, dichroic filters, color wheels, LCD panels, LCOS panels, Plasma phospors), no two manufacturers products will exhibit the same response to a specific calibration. For this very reason we build custom files for each display to provide the highest degree of accuracy possible to our customers.

Progressive Labs offers its customers free files for any display they wish to calibrate with the CA-1 analyzer. If we do not have the file in our library we will produce the file free of charge if the customer sends us the projector. The file is designed and returned with the projector generally within 72 hours.

The CA-1 analyzer will work perfectly well on projectors being calibrated utilizing filters. The spectral characteristics of the projector do not change with the filter installed just the intensity or illuminance of the particular color being filtered. The CA-1 has been tested for accuracy utilizing filters in conjunction with our "Cal Files".

Blanking the clear section of a color wheel is typically not required as many single chip DLP projectors utilizing clear sections which are used to enhance brightness can be either turned off with software settings or by simply adjusting the Contrast control properly so as to not engage the electronics activating the clear section. This is typically a feature of older DLP projectors such as the NEC LT-100 (can be turned off by Contrast adjustment) or for the LT-150 series projector which can be turned-off via the software. Altering the color wheel is simply one approach to achieving enhanced performance (eliminates the crushed White symptom).

Supporting other manufacturers sensors provides no additional performance incentives to the owners of these devices. Without creating corrective matices for each of these sensors they will be no more accurate than they were previously. They will still be unable to accurately assess non-CRT based displays with the single benfit of additional graphics "metrics" to dress up the flawed data with.
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post #7 of 65 Old 07-08-2002, 11:17 PM
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I can agree with everything that you said, Cliff, and I agree that the combination of a three or four photodetector tristimulus colorimeter and a profile combined with the display device that it was created for (with no modifications) will work well. I just think that it's a lot to ask of a customer.

I didn't want to get into specifics, since we both are clearly going to have a biased opinion on this, but I have to toss in my $0.02 now.

In my opinion, obtaining the correct profile (or having it created) and refraining from any modifications to the hardware or the very popular use of color filters is a lot to ask of a customer. The path that ColorFacts is taking is to skip the mathematical tricks and obtain accurate data from the hardware to begin with. This means that 3 and 4 detector colorimeters are not supported at all (although a back-door will let us turn that feature on if necessary), and only spectroradiographic instruments and reference instruments for specific industries are supported. As I'm sure you know, spectroradiographic instruments don't need profiles, and they are accurate with all devices no matter what the device is, or how it has been modified. The cost is no longer a factor, either.

I believe that the solution that survives long-term will need to work with current and future display devices, no matter what the technology classification or how it has been modified.

Does the CA-1 ship with different profiles for a UHP bulb at 100 hours than one with 600 hours? What happens when the user doesn't change the hardware, but it changes itself?

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Datacolor, Inc.
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post #8 of 65 Old 07-10-2002, 02:44 PM
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I don't want this thread turning into a raging, continuing debate between two vendors of similar products. I don't think that in the long run, that sort of exchange will benefit this forum or the vendors.

Both of these vendors have previously been Special Guests over at the AVS Special Guests forum. Folks can read their Guest threads to get product info and compare to determine what product is appropriate for them to use or purchase.

I ask that if you have any further questions about any of these products, please go ahead and ask them here, and each vendor can give answers specific to their product. I ask that vendors refrain from giving opinions that their product is better than another one - instead, our members can compare features and performance and price and decide for themselves.

Thanks for understanding.

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http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1158431
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post #9 of 65 Old 07-11-2002, 12:51 PM
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Mark,

I've heard that a new version of Colorfacts is in the works. (version 2?). Can you comment on new features and when to expect it to be available?

Thanks,
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post #10 of 65 Old 07-11-2002, 08:40 PM
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Hi Tom,

That is correct. ColorFacts 2.0 actually releases on Monday, although some customers received their shipment today.

I'm not sure if this is the best thread to discuss the new features of this major version upgrade, though. In all honesty, it would be quite hard for me to enumerate the feature list of this big release without it sounding promotional.

I would be happy to share what is in the 2.0 release with you by e-mail, or in another forum thread, though. If you start up a thread, just let me know where it is and I would be happy to discuss it there.

Just trying to keep the peace and follow the rules.

Steve - Would it be OK to link from here to a new thread with Tom's answer?

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post #11 of 65 Old 07-11-2002, 11:44 PM
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Mark, I have no problem with you responding to questions by forum members and answering them. I just don't want manufacturers of competing products to actively compare them to each other as that I think gets "overly commercial" in violation of how I as moderator interpret forum rules. So Mark, please feel free to answer all questions re your products which come up, within the guideline I've suggested. Thanks.

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post #12 of 65 Old 07-12-2002, 05:51 AM
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I'll be patient and wait for the colorfacts web site to be updated to get some info. Thanks.
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post #13 of 65 Old 07-13-2002, 10:32 PM
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Hi Tom,

Here is a list of the new features in ColorFacts 2.0. I will just state the factual information (a bit more technically oriented than marketing oriented), but can tell you about the parts that are really exciting personally:

* Spectral Scan Instrument added
* Hue Meter instrument retired
* The ColorFacts API documentation is now a searchable Help file, which is distributed along with the product.
* VBA-Like macro creation ability added, with intellisense-style drop-down lists of the available calibration data. This can be used to build semi-automated calibration systems using just the ColorFacts macro screen and the Help file.
* Support for the Minolta CS-100A and a "mystery" meter added (still unannounced).
* Help file recreated, with more context-sensitive links and detailed information about every feature
* Resizing of Instruments is now possible in full-color
* Tooltips redesigned with detailed helpful information
* The ColorFacts API "Engine" overhauled
* Changed the communications to all hardware devices to be binary instead of binary with some devices and ASCII with others
* Simulated Meter rewritten to provide more realistic data
* Meter icon added status bar. Using this icon, one can:
- Connect to the meter
- Disconnect from the meter
- View details on the connected meter
* LCH color space added
* HSL color space retired (removed from raw data screen)
* User interface recreated, with graphics drawn in memory and blitted to the screen
* Many parts redesigned for better performance
* Internet based error notification system added
* Windows XP fully supported (I believe that we may be the only product in this space that currently runs under XP!)
* Many other smaller additions and improvements

Sorry for the technical-side answer to your question, but I thought it best to stick with that in this thread.

This list of new features might seem a bit overwhelming, but the design vision for the product calls for hiding all of the complexity of color science and the mathematics of calibration and make it extremely intuitive to perform video calibrations. This vision carries over to ColorFacts 2.0.

I can tell you anything else you wish to know via e-mail or phone. If you wish, you can try it out by downloading ColorFacts and running it to see what's available.

The download is the actual, complete software side of the product (minus the hardware) for your review and evaluation.

Note: Due to the intense mathematical processing going on, it helps to have a decent computer to perform the calibrations.

Mark Hunter
Technical Director, Home Theater Products
Datacolor, Inc.
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post #14 of 65 Old 07-14-2002, 06:37 PM
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Thanks for the information. I'll download the software and check it out.
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post #15 of 65 Old 07-15-2002, 11:10 PM
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When analyzing a front projection sysyem, I see that most manufacturers recommend pointing the colorimeter directly at the projector. In a day where there are myriad screen options, how is this taken into effect as eash one has its own effect on color accuracy and gain? It seems that a reading taken this way would be inaccurate. Is the minolta cs 100 or a comparator the only answer?

Best,

Easton Altree

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post #16 of 65 Old 07-16-2002, 05:10 AM
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Colorfacts supports two different meters that are more than sensitive
enough to read directly off the screen. One of them is brutally expensive.
We are also looking at one other meter that is also more than sensitive
enough to read directly from the screen.

In the past only devices with photomultiplier tubes were sensitive enough
to measure directly from the screen. Deep well ccd devices are changing
that.
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post #17 of 65 Old 07-19-2002, 05:44 AM - Thread Starter
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More input please.
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post #18 of 65 Old 07-19-2002, 09:08 AM
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With the improved quality one can achieve with the use of filters, to correct color temp, color drift through bulb aging I found colorfacts was the best way to go. Also when you buy a new projector you do not have to wait for a new profile.

I do kind of like the profile idea but have no idea how that is done. I have seen vast differences between two projectors of the same model, so I'm curious about the one profile fits all.

I have just started using colorfacts and have to say it is very easy to use
and has an exellent on screen display

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post #19 of 65 Old 07-19-2002, 10:00 AM
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I own and use ColorFacts and at the time of purchase I looked at the CA-1 alternative, but what ultimately made up my mind in favour of ColorFacts was the intuitive interface. It gives you a clear concise graphical representation of all the aspects you need to achieve the object of the exercise, namely to calibrate a display to a colour temperature of your choosing. It really is easy to use from the onset. It has a nice modern look about it that simply says ..... CLASS.

Support and upgrades are also important and with Marks great involvement and presence within AVS I feel I have made the best choice.

Cheers!

Russ

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post #20 of 65 Old 07-19-2002, 07:25 PM
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Mark ,

Maybe this is a good spot and a good time to explain what has happened with ColorFacts , ColorFacts Lite , Immersive , the Immersive Forum and Milori .

I'm assuming that some of the product responsibilities have shifted and some things have disappeared as well as the rumour of better things to come .

Can you clarify or elaborate on any of these here ?

I've been saving my pennies for a ColorFacts Lite !

Scott............... :confused:

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post #21 of 65 Old 07-20-2002, 12:15 AM
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Hi Scott,

ColorFacts Lite was a "single profile" distribution of the software. It had one profile compiled right into it for owners of that specific device.

However, ColorFacts Lite was discontinued when we helped to develop a technique to allow ColorFacts to work without profiles at all. We really killed the Lite product with that new engineering, but it was for the benefit of all. (Just as a side note, we took good care of the existing ColorFacts Lite customers...we would never leave any of our customers out in the cold!).

Although Immersive began life primarily as a product distribution company, the company's new focus is now in manufacturing and bringing new products to market. Based on the change, Milori has taken the Dilard and ColorFacts product distribution tasks in house and hired some new help.

Despite appearances, Milori and Immersive still work closely together behind the scenes in new product development, and we speak on a daily basis.

Feel free to give us a call or drop us an e-mail and I can tell you more about the product visions and the plan for the future personally.

Thanks!

Mark

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post #22 of 65 Old 07-20-2002, 01:25 PM
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Thanks Mark ,

I guess some of the confusion is your handle..."milori" and the Milori site and the Immersive site which is also displayed here as an AVS sponser but does not show all the products it once did .

I'm hoping that a comparable product in pricing to ColorFacts Lite will appear as this was the target I was aiming for .

Feel free to PM me with hints and hopes of things to come .

Scott.........................:confused:

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post #23 of 65 Old 07-22-2002, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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I was hoping to get 100 votes. Is that not realistic?
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post #24 of 65 Old 07-22-2002, 06:20 PM
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Crescent,

I suspect this may not have been the optimal forum to post it in. The Home Theater Computers has a wider viewing audience and anyone using these products is likely to be looking in the latter more regularly. I only recently started looking in this forum and I don't do it regularly. Perhaps a post in the HTC linking to here may bare more fruit.

Cheers :)

Russ

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post #25 of 65 Old 07-23-2002, 11:34 PM
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I've had Colorfacts for quite some time. At about the same time I received
the original version, I sold my last digital projector and decided from then forward to use only CRT fp's. Since the original version required display profiles and none were available for CRT, my Colorfacts has been in standby since I received it.

Recently I was advised to return my Colorfacts sensor to have it modified for use with the new system which no longer requires profiles. I received it this morning and downloaded Colorfacts 2.0
I've been playing with it now for two or three hours.
Folks, this is an awesome tool!!!

Bob Wood
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post #26 of 65 Old 07-24-2002, 02:01 AM
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Hi Bob,

wonderful news. My sensor is currently with Mark having the same mods done and I am eagerly awaiting its return. I downloaded the new version of the software but without the sensor could only run it in demo mode. The new spectral scan instrument certainly looks interesting. I take it the new approach allows mastery of CRTs now then ?

Cheers :)

Russ

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post #27 of 65 Old 07-24-2002, 06:44 AM
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Hi Russ,

Last night was my first time using it so I'm still wet behind the ears.
But I can already report this to you. I calibrated my AmPro 3600 with a CA-1 recently. I have those settings in one pj memory. Last night I ran
the Colorfacts Grayscale Wizard 3 or 4 times making changes to my color
adjustments each time. And I have those settings in a 2nd pj memory.
This allows me to switch back and forth and compare the picture each system has produced with just the click of my remote.
With only my cursory use of Colorfacts so far I already prefer it's result.
I'm getting more natural and accurate color with it after just this one session.
I'm a novice at calibrating. I need to get a better feel for how to use my six pj color adjustments to flatten the curve. But I'm now convinced that the sensor is capable of making accurate measurements. After reading the comments of some who had challenged that prospect, frankly I didn't know what to expect. But now I've seen the sensor measure color accurately and the system report that accurately. I'm a believer.

As for the interface... If you showed me the Colorfacts interface and I didn't know better I would think it must have been produced by Microsoft and not a little software outfit in North Carolina. I think a fitting analogy in making a comparison between the Progressive Labs interface (Klein software) and the Colorfacts interface would be this. Klein is like Win 3.0 and Colorfacts like Win 98.

When you get your sensor back, Russ, and start using your Colorfacts system I will be very eager to learn what I can from you and others.
Since there is no Immersive forum for Colorfacts anymore we need to choose one of the AVS forums and start a Colorfacts thread. That way we can all benefit from each other's input and have all that information concentrated in one place. Do you agree?

Bob
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post #28 of 65 Old 07-24-2002, 07:38 AM
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G'day Bob,

It's reassuring that the new version is working out well ( did I ever have any doubts :D ). CF was invaluable when I was tweaking my LT150 and has given me an understanding of whats happening with my CRT projector also. This profileless version seems like the icing on the cake.

There is a Owners Area over at www.milori.com that I suspect we can use and may be more appropriate than AVS. I have just shot off an email to see how we gain access.

Cheers :)

Russ

It's converged! Now if only I could remember what I did ......
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post #29 of 65 Old 07-24-2002, 07:47 AM
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Russ,

I just emailed too and have received a reply. Looks like the "Owner's Area"
is about a month away from being activated.

Bob
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post #30 of 65 Old 07-24-2002, 03:30 PM
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I own ColorFacts and it produces excellent results and the interface is great.

I just received my re-calibrated sensor back today which works works with the profile-less 2.0 software. CRT support was the one thing missing for me. I will be testing it with my 1209 and the Sony HDM 24p monitors in my edit suite and will report back.


-c
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