In 2009, Spears & Munsil High Definition Benchmark, Blu-ray Edition
was released for calibrating home theaters. Professionals, and DYI'ers joined major publications and websites heralding this as the "go to" disc for calibration.
Starting April 30th, that benchmark disc will get an update with the release of Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark: 2nd Edition
. But how do you improve on such a well respected product? Like any good sequel, add more patterns and make it in 3D. The second edition will become the first calibration disc to include stereoscopic patterns for testing 3D televisions.
For users with a 3D Blu-ray Disc player and 3D display. In addition to patterns for testing the 3D features of the display, the disc contains a full set of 2D calibration patterns that are encoded in 3D mode so the user can do a calibration of the 3D modes on the display.
But folks not loving the extra dimension should not fear, there will be many more regular, 2D patterns including some you will only find on a Spears & Munsil disc. According to Stacey Spears, new and old patterns were all re-evaluated for usefulness, including that old favorite: color bars.
"The problem with the classic color bars pattern is that it was designed for broadcast engineers and is confusing for the new user. We re-thought the entire pattern from scratch and made something anyone can use, with step-by-step instructions right on the pattern. We did the same re-thinking for essentially every pattern we made, though the classic patterns are on there as well for the purist."
Spears & Munsil listen to those who thought the disc was too hard to use, and created a more guides to help the first-time user. Professional calibrators will still find all the patterns needed for their testing equipment as well.
And all this available for a suggested retail price of $29.97. So first timers, is this something you will buy? Owners of the First Edition, is there enough new stuff to warrant spending money on the newest edition? Let us hear from you.