THE SONY SERVICE CODES - Articles, Comments, Discoveries - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 2973 Old 04-18-2005, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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[NOTE: A regularly-updated Table of Contents follows this Introductory article]

01 - INTRODUCTION

Following is a continuing series of short articles about the Sony service codes and what they do. (Comments, additions, corrections, and discussion welcome!) No one has yet come up with an official source for the detailed code descriptions, although the charts that are available from the service manuals are a big help, especially in understanding the relationships among some of the codes. Where there is speculation involved, I'll try to be fairly open about my thought processes so some sort of informal peer review can take place in this forum. I am an engineer and scientist by trade and with decades of experience, and I feel quite fearless to try anything that makes sense. I hope I can contribute some insight - or at least the results of some my reckless experimentation!

I own a fairly new Sony 36XS955, plus a decent Toshiba SD3950 DVD player, really good SHVS decks from JVC and Mitsubishi, and clear reception of HDTV in the Portland, OR, area from an attic antenna (UHF, $25 from Radio Shack). I am using the latest Digital Video Essentials (DVE) DVD, the single disk for DVD-NTSC. I have a good eye for color from lots of experience setting up to graphic artists' computer monitors, working in digital photo-editing, and enjoying color photography as a once-semi-business, now hobby. I enjoy a bit of an obsessive-compulsive streak that has served me well in most things.

I have made such substantial improvements to my TV that I can't imagine others not wanting to do the same. Some of these settings were brain-damaged out of the box (black level!), and others evidenced little insight or care in their initial settings (color temp, corner color purity, centering). The picture modes other than Pro can be hijacked for your own purposes for different setting-groups or suites that suit *you.* I have no need for Vivid, for example, so it's open for repurposing. The Picture Modes are just groups of settings and can be made all identical, if you wish, then altered to suit different purposes. If you write down the original settings or have a decent chart for your set, then the original settings - should you ever wish to return - won't be lost. Clear thinking and an aptitude for fussy detail are required, however, and the undisciplined or impulsive (you know who you are!) may wish to avoid any of this.

The purpose is to share what I *think* I have deduced or know first-hand about the codes and to stimulate others to contribute to these threads with additions, questions, and clarifications. While experimenting, it is possible to gain sudden insight into how these settings relate to one another, test it out, then comment publicly, to everyone's benefit.

Others have contributed generously to this discussion already. Let's keep this discussion lighthearted, clearheaded, and free from fearmongering. The risks of tinkering are not nearly so great as some would have you believe.

Mild rant: It's my strong opinion that the following CAUTIONS are mandatory:

HAVE AVAILABLE at least one copy of the service-data chart for a TV similar or identical to yours. These charts, derived from Sony's own data, are indispensable for seeing the relationships among the settings that interact and their relationships to the various operational modes. Some settings, for example, simply point to columns elsewhere in the code tables, and it wouldn't be obvious without the charts.

An aside: The signal- and deflection-processor chips are identical for all of these late-model sets in the HS, XS, and XBR lines of CRT TVs. Its called a CXA2170, and the code groups are named for the processor: 2170P for picture parameters, and 2170D for deflection parameters. Even if the exact factory defualts dont match what your sets exact chart might show, in many cases they are close or are actually identical but thats NOT really why you have the chart. It is to allow you to map those codes to rational concepts. Get a chart; its your road map! If it matches your set, all the better for those default settings. Youre going to pencil-in your initial settings anyway, right? (Same generally goes for the other chips, too.)

ALSO HAVE AVAILABLE the widely-circulating Excel spreadsheet or its PDF equivalent, which lists the service codes and some good commentary and description on what they do. It's not the last word, as it is a work in progress; but it helps a lot by complementing the data charts.

KEEP RECORDS of what you are doing, especially the factory settings before you change them. A notebook with generous penciled notes is a great idea. Or pencil-in numbers directly onto the charts and lists. Whatever works to keep you from burning bridges.

[The attached files are Sony's very useful charts of service data for these TVs.]

*******************************************************
A TABLE OF CONTENTS FOR THIS FORUM
[Currently ends at message #1940, 16 Aug 2006]

Assume that any link below may be just the beginning of a subject, and that the discussion/responses may continue for many posts to follow. Please PM me with corrections and suggestions. Links are underlined. Attached-file links are indented.

Forum Pages 1-10 (30 messages per page), Posts #1-300

01 - INTRODUCTION
- - hs420 service data chart.pdf
- - XS955:XBR960 Service Data.pdf
Excel Service-Codes Listing
- - servicecodelisting.zip
02 - NAVIGATING SERVICE MODE
- - servmodehelp.zip
03 - COLOR CALIBRATION AND BLACK LEVEL
04 - ADJUSTING GAMMA
05 - CUSTOMIZING PICTURE MODES
06 - AUTO BRIGHTNESS LIMITING
07 - DYNAMIC FOCUS
- - servicecodeslist (34XBR910).pdf
- - convergencepage.pdf (HS420)
- - geometrypages.pdf (HS420)
RE: Dead on Startup + Fix
08 - SOME USEFUL TEST PATTERNS
- - converg_geom_test.zip
FOCUS TEST PATTERNS
- - focus16by9.zip
- - focus4by3.zip
"SPOKES" TEST PATTERN
- - spokes.zip
ADJACENT-COLOR TEST PATTERN
- - adjacentcolors.zip
CURRENT-GAMMA TEST PATTERN
- - curr_gamma_test.zip
09 - GETTING GOOD GRAYSCALE
10 - "PRESETS" AND RELATED SERVICE CODES
- - xs955|xbr960 geometry.pdf
- - xs955 service data.pdf
- - 34XBR960 service data.pdf
11 - IMPROVING THE AUDIO
12 - OPTIMIZING IMAGE DECODING, "SHAPING," AND ENHANCEMENT
- - Image_Processing_rev1_1.pdf
- - image_optimizing-pats.zip
4:3 and 16:9 Focus Test Patterns
- - focusmatrix_4x3sparse.zip
- - focusmatrix_16x9sparse.zip
Convergence-geometry manual pages, XBR960+XS955:
- - xbr960_conv_geom_p1-6.pdf
- - xbr960_conv_geom_p7-10.pdf
Comments on convergence, LANDING settings
Comments on colorimetry and the 6500K standard begin
- - XS955|XBR960 Block Diagram.pdf
Ref. to Poynton etc. regarding Gamma and here
13.1 - PRECISION FOCUSING: ACCESSING THE INTERNAL FOCUS CONTROL
- - Part1_Figures.zip
13.2 - PRECISION FOCUSING: A RECOMMENDED PROCEDURE
- - FocusMatrix_4x3_1080.zip
- - FocusMatrix_16x9_1080.zip
- - Part2_Figs_Patterns.zip
Comment on balancing SBRT, Brightness, and the UBOF settings
14 - A SERVICE-MODE BUG; THE DVE PLASTIC VIEWING FILTERS
15 - THE COLOR OF BLACK: OTHER POSSIBLE COLOR ADJUSTMENTS
The set Color to Min controversy & setting grayscale & offsets begins here
Color balance vs color push
Judging color tints & pitfalls

Forum Pages 11-20 #301-600

White screen and color blobs
White clipping or brightness limiting as it applies to these TVs
The industry standards diatribe
More on intensity vs the CRTs capabilities
Dynamic Picture, Gamma, and the non-Pro modes
- - The Excel Spreadsheet, ADR version
Reference to online copy of 34XBR2 service manual
- - The geometry pages from the above manual (PDF file)
Intro to internal test patterns and also here
Wrong method for adjusting overscan! See this caution.
Setting black level for different inputs again (long)
Geometry-adjustment & magnets, real-world experience
Bad advice again on height & width adjustments in MID processor (DSperber). See this caution.

Forum Pages 21-30, #601-900

DSperber again on geometry
KenTech: Refining the image; eliminating ringing & edge enhancement
- - The referenced chart, latest version (IPChart06Tall.pdf)
Comments on focusing the tube
The service-codes charts, again
- - 34XBR910 Service Menu vADR.zip
- - XS955:XBR960 Service Data.pdf
Warning about warmup changes
Discussion of MTRX (SD vs HD color matrices)
Nitewatchman starts his breathless posts
Nitewatchman on MS color and MTRX unpredictability
KenTech on MTRX & service-data charts
Coring and Limiting in the image processing discussed here and here
Using the QM test patterns for color calibration
Argument for DIY adjustment
Centering the raster and the video frame
Warning for fast-fingers on remote while in service mode
HELPFUL NEW CHARTS
- - GS&ColorCharts04.pdf

Forum Pages 31-40, #901-1200

Using a DVD frame for show-and-tell
- - Sample frame from Monsters, Inc.
Cautions on color correction in CXA2171 processor
A suggestion on using the Picture Modes for experimentation
Observation on the characteristics of the SYSM settings in 2170P-3
Observation on the configuring of VM
More image-processing parameters discussed (ADU)
here (ADU) and also More on image-processing as a frequency-response matter (several messages)
More on sharpness and how SM-settings affect it (Napoleon D)
The HDPT (high-def pass-thru) parameter Is it dangerous?
Recommendations for small Warm and Cool color offsets and here
Article: The Neglected CXA-2103 Image Filters and Their Significant Effects on Image Quality and this revision note
New experiments with the 2103-1 parameters, SSMD and PPHA
New Image-Processing Codes Chart: IPChart06tall.pdf
ADU: More on image-detail parameters
A method of setting LANDING parameters
Definitive Statement Regarding Phosphor "Lag" (Persistence)
Article: Tuning the 2103 Processor for the Cleanest, Sharpest Picture
Article: A New Approach to SYSM=3 Image Processing
More on what MIDE is all about
Minor Changes to SYSM=3 Recommendations and "Tuning" the 2103 Chip
Some clarification about VM (scan-velocity modulation)
SERVICE-MODE DOCUMENTS & CHARTS REPOST
- - XS955|XBR960 conv_geom_p1-6.pdf
- - XS955|XBR960 conv_geom_p7-10.pdf
- - XS955|XBR960 Service Data.pdf

Forum Pages 41-50, #1201-1500

More on color and its decoding matrix
BY REQUEST, A FEW CURRENT SETTINGS (KenTech)
A summary of the internal test patterns
A source of convergence-correction magnets? (DSperber)
Service-mode AUDIO settings (and see subsequent posts) and also here
- - Also see conflicting data tables here

Forum Pages 51-60, #1501-1800

Is the high voltage going to kill you?
Green or pink blobs that come and go
HDTV bit depth & standards (Nitewatchman)
Discussion of how Sony TVs scale the various video inputs (different forum)
Discussion of what the MID1-MID3 groups do
RWetmores discovery about setting RDRV~BCUT very high & discussion
Yet another discussion of white balance and the need for 6500K
Restatement of Sonys official centering-adjustment method and here
KenTechs firm position on the 6500K controversy
- - Useful test pattern for photographing grayscale on-screen: Pluge + ExtremeGray.pdf
Comment on eyeballing grayscale adjustment and associated rationales
Test pattern: TRIED-AND-TRUE SELF-REFERENCING GRAYSCALE CALIBRATION
- - GSLinearityTest2.zip
Nitewatchman: Long commentary on his grayscale experiments
Article: MEASURING SCREEN BRIGHTNESS WITH A PHOTO LIGHT METER
- - Referenced graph for above article in ZIP and PDF formats
Discussion of whether the _CUT settings really affect black level begins
(OT) KenTech rant about the (measured) low screen brightness in theaters
Article: EQUIVALENCE OF VARIOUS BLACK-LEVEL ADJUSTMENTS, OFFSETS, AND COLOR CUTOFFS
Caution about adjusting height in the MID1-3 groups
Color-cutoff discussion, a question and its resolution
KenTechs experiments with RWetmores high _CUT settings and here
RWetmores satisfaction with his grayscale settings
Using RGBS for isolating the red, green, and blue CRT guns
The difference between the _DRV and _CUT settings and RYR~GYB

Forum Pages 61-70, #1801-2100

An input-calibration method (Nitewatchman)
A question: What does 2170P-1/DCOL do (dynamic color)? and a proposed answer.
Discussion of sidebar size, blanking, overscan
Different experiences with color calibration, especially non-DVD
A problem with vertical linearity and SD vs HD
More on dangerous service-mode button combinations
DVI, HDMI, black level, and bit depth
Definitions of horizontal and vertical color convergence
Using a Memory Stick for test patterns
Success with color-decoder adjustment (bast525)
What is VON and AKBO? They shut down my TV! and a good comment from another forum here)

 

hs420 service data chart.pdf 141.68359375k . file

 

XS955:XBR960 Service Data.pdf 405.4189453125k . file
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File Type: pdf hs420 service data chart.pdf (141.7 KB, 207 views)

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post #2 of 2973 Old 04-18-2005, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is a copy of the widely circulating Excel spreadsheet for a Sony 34XBR910. I've reformatted it as a PDF file so you don't need Excel, but the Excel version is also included.

 

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02 - NAVIGATING SERVICE MODE

First download the attached Zipped file that should explain all: a page describing how to enter Service Mode, and two pictures of how it looks on my 36XS955 (gray background):

THEN: Download the official chart of codes from a previous message, otherwise the relationships among them is hopelessly confusing. Don't worry that it may not match your exact set model. (But it may be way off for earlier-model sets.) This chart seems to be fine for XS and HS-series, for example. Earlier XBRs are not represented.

SUMMARY: First power-off the TV, or start cold. Then press on the remote these four buttons within one second of each other: Display - 5 - Volume Up - Power. You should see a screen similar to "ServModeFirstView.jpg."

The code group-name (e.g. 2170P-4, MID5, etc.) is in the upper-left corner. Below that is the name of the actual code-name within that group. The code-name's number (in the group) is also shown to the right of the group-name. In the "TypDisplay" example attached, 2170P-3 is the group, and we're at item #7, SHF0.

To the right of the 7 is the code's *value.* This one is set to 0 (zero).

The other designations are for information only: "FULL" screen mode, "Video5" is the active input, and "480i" is the video-scan mode. I have never figured out what "WSL: " means; its value changes while you fiddle with Service Mode, so it's readout of some sort, maybe the TV's "mood" at the moment, who knows.

The number-key pair 2-5 are up-down for stepping thru the groups to the first code in each group.

The pair 1-4 are up-down for the codes (spanning groups if you go past the group's end).

The pair 3-6 are up-down for setting the code's value. **Write down the initial value before changing anything.**

You can check out what different code-values do by tinkering -- no harm done. If you decide to back out after screwing things up, you have two choices: (1) press - Enter on the remote, which will re-enter the previous settings from memory; or (2) recycle Power to leave Service Mode, or press Power - Display - 5 - Volume Up - Power to start over in Service Mode. This is safe tinkering, but it's really best to log what you are doing.

If you make a change you want to "stick," press the Mute button (the word "WRITE" appears), then Enter within a few seconds. (WRITE changes to red, then back to SERVICE.) The changes have been written to internal memory. If you hit Mute by accident, it will revert shortly, so don't worry.

There are some aspects of this that can be confusing. If you change some settings, then change inputs or Picture Modes, you'll likely lose the changes -- but sometimes not, so don't assume anything. Some settings are always temporary, such as POP in the MID5 group. You can see the effect of different MID5 settings by changing POP, which then points to a different column in the MID5 table, maybe even change a few items. But if you step past the start or end of the MID5 codes, you lose the POP setting (it goes back to same as 2170P-3, MIDE) and the changes.

Recommended: If you've been tinkering for a while and you've determined a change you want to make in, say, a *few* nearby and related codes, first reset Service Mode with - Enter (as above). Now note the old values, make the changes, and Write them each separately. (By resetting to old values first, you avoid accidental changes while you were previously tinkering.)

CAUTION: AVOID keys 7 and 9, as they are part of a key-sequence that can reset all of the deflection or image-decoding settings back to a "factory-newborn" state. If you think youve hit any key by accident, STOP. In a few seconds it will revert back to SERVICE mode, as youll see at the right side of the screen. All dangerous key-sequences are combinations of *three* keys, by the way.

I have made *very substantial* improvements to the display of my XS955-series set, as have many others with theirs, and I take some delight in experimenting with these codes, trying to deduce what they do. I am posting what I discover as I can, and I hope other folks will, too, as several generous folks already have (thanks!).

[Revised 9-8-05.]

 

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03 - COLOR CALIBRATION AND BLACK LEVEL

Here are some basics of global color-calibration settings, independent of any inputs or modes. This sets background black and the drive and cutoff values for the CRT's 3-color guns. It is basic for color-temperature calibration. My 36XS955 set was *very* far off!

First, clearing any confusion about the relationship among the three Color-Temp settings, Cool, Normal, and Warm: Normal is designed as the fundamental setting in the service mode, and Cool and Warm are settings that are *offset* from Normal, i.e. Cool and Warm are difference, not absolute, settings.

What makes sense to me: Set a correct color temperature of 6500K or White Cloud (my preference) or anything else for Normal. If it is truly neutral and without any green or pink off-color, then Warm and Cool offsets can be set very closely by adding or subtracting about equal amounts of red and yellow from the Normal setting. (Yellow is minus-blue.)

These are all in group 2170P-1. SBRT = black level, and RDRV, GDRV, and BDRV are red, green, and blue drive (gain) settings. RCUT, GCUT, and BCUT are the equivalent cutoff (black) settings. The six Warm and Cool offsets are set with RDOF thru BCOF, with WBSW as a big warm switch (leave at 0) and SBOF as a brightness offset (leave at 7). Use Pro mode to start, as other modes have some dynamic contrast effects going on.

***************
Here is how I proceeded with great results.

NORMAL COLOR. I don't have a color-temp measuring device; I can't justify its expense. But Nature provides a nearly-perfect source for comparison: mid-day white clouds illuminated from the front by sunlight (about 6100K), seen thru an open window or screen, NOT glass. You can twiddle more precisely later, but this is free from green or magenta contamination. Beware of foggy overcast (too cool-blue) or rainy-moist overcast (yellowish). Just the right overcast may do the trick, but you won't really know how cold/warm it is.

Do this in black-and-white: Set the Color slider all the way down to minimum with your remote. You are going for a *perfect* B/W picture. Set Color Temp to Normal. Make your room fairly dim - no artificial light! No green light reflecting into the windows from trees. Make sure you're in Pro mode and stay there.

In each case, **write down the original settings** just for safe-keeping. Log what you're doing!

Set your Brightness and Picture sliders with the remote to 31 (mid-scale). Use Digital Video Essentials or Avia DVD, and use a video-PLUGE pattern or video black on the disk as a decent black standard. Change the code 2170P-1 #5-SBRT to set video-black as the barest screen glow. For PLUGE, follow the DVD's instructions. Black levels for off-air/cable broadcasts are generally complete anarchy, but your local HDTV station or two may broadcast good black. This is only a starting point, but it's okay for now. Write the settings.

Go to code-group 2170P-1. Leave red settings alone. Look out the window at those clouds. Look back at the TV, and set #7-GDRV (green) and #8-BDRV (blue) until the whites are *white* to your eyes. Go between the outdoor view and the TV (big brightness difference, unfortunately) until you get it right. Cycle among your TV channels for different material to verify you're getting it right. Unless you have a color-perception problem, your eyes don't lie: if it looks white, it is white. The clouds calibrate your eyes for a short time.

Now sit in front of the TV, and adjust #10-GCUT (green) and #11-BCUT (blue) until the darkest areas *match* the color of those whites. There is some interaction here, so twiddle until you think you've got it: a really good B/W picture with very few off-color areas. Note that too-bright white areas may develop pinkish or greenish casts from heating of the CRTs aperture-grille wires - a drawback to the big tubes. Lower the Picture setting if that's the case. You should be able to get a B/W display that maintains consistent color from shadows thru highlights.

Make some further refinements while those clouds are still there! The GCUT and BCUT adjustments may have modified the accurate white. Go back and forth a couple of times. Write the settings.

THE OTHER COLOR SETTINGS are determined by the codes #12-WBSW through #19-BCOF. WBSW=1 adds a huge, unknown warm bias to the color, so I don't use it. Leave WBSW set to 0. The offsets are zero (no effect) when the codes are set to 31. Leave SBOF at its original setting.

Change the Color Temp menu-setting with the remote to Warm. Set RDOF to 33, GDOF to 31, and BDOF to 29. Set RCOF to 33, GDOF to 31, and BCOF to 29. Write the settings.

Now change Color Temp to Cool. Set RDOF to 29, GDOF to 31, and BDOF to 33. Change RCOF to 29, GCOF to 31, and BCOF to 33. Write the settings.

These offsets approximate a mild change in color temperature for Warm and Cool, not the useless super-warm and bluish settings my set came with. Sheesh! But use larger offsets if you wish. You can re-do all of this another day, as your wisdom increases, but this should be a huge improvement on the factory settings.

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04 - ADJUSTING GAMMA

Having adjusted color temp and brightness, another service-code adjustment you can make on these late-model HS/XS/XBR TVs is the image gamma. Even if you don't want to change the gamma presets, it's good to know where they are.

Given a specific black-point and a specific white point, the gamma setting determines how bright the mid-tones are. Without getting into the math, the graph that relates the instantaneous red, green, and blue signals that control the brightness of the spot on the screen is not a straight line, but one with a deep, sunken curve. Gamma is the degree of this curvature: the higher the gamma, the more deeply the line is curved and the darker the mid-tones are.

Consequence of higher gamma = film-like look, brilliant highlights, natural 3-D appearance of contrast-lighted subjects (say, a 3-light setup on a news anchor), less shadow detail, more realism in general, sparkly things (specular highlights) that really sparkle.

Consequence of lower gamma = better shadow detail, but . . . pasty-faced people, lack of sparkle, feeling of flatness in the picture. In other words, the TV look. Outdoor scenes can be really flat. Valuable for lifting subject matter out of murky darkness in troublesome video, however.

Calibrated studio monitors use a gamma = 2.2, but program material varies all over the place. Traditionally TVs have been adjusted at the factory for bright mid-tones and clipped whites - great for store demo and vivid color - but viewers are now seeking more realism with their sophisticated program material. The Pro mode provides that with its maximum gamma.

The Pro picture-mode setting has the highest gamma out of the box, and for most good material I much prefer this to the lower values available in the other picture modes. But sometimes you may want something available for a whacked-out broadcast. I'll deal with customizing the picture modes in a separate article, but here is where the gamma settings are located.

2170P-4 #17 or 11, GAMM is the master setting, with a range of 0-3 for its four possible values. But it's a 2-level system, and GAMM simply points to a column in a table of presets where the *real* gamma values are set. This table is 4 rows and 4 columns. The rows are 2170P-4 #18-21 (or 12-15) GAMS, GAMR, GAMG, and GAMB. So, to be clear, GAMM = 1, for example, means only what the values of GAMS thru GAMS in the 1 column define it to mean. You get to define what each value of GAMM means.

A specific value of GAMM is saved for each of the four picture modes and, for each of those, different input/scan-mode combinations, such as RF, S-video, Compressed 480i (and others), DVI 480i (and others), memory stick, etc. Only the service-data chart will make this clear. Use it as a roadmap. Bottom line: over 50 values of GAMM can be saved for those many combinations (although only a few will likely apply to any one user).

GAMR, -G, and -B are settings for each of the primary colors (CRT guns) for red, green, and blue. Unless you are correcting a grayscale defect, one generally sets these all to the same value. 0 is the highest gamma, and the values of 1-15 increasingly lower it. Or you can think of the higher values as raising the mid-tone level. (More on grayscale corrections in another article.) If you want to tinker, write down the original values.

GAMS is still a bit of a mystery to me. I suspect it means slope for the gamma curve, and that setting GAMS above 0 tilts the curve up at the bright end, raising highlight values along with midtones. It is hard to deduce from the Digital-Video Essentials DVD (DVE) test patterns, as some of those trigger the brightness limiter in these TVs and fool your eye. I have tried looking at grayscale strip- and chip-patterns, and I'm not confident I understand it. For now I think it's an added slope to the curve, and I am leaving it at 0 for most purposes. I'd love to hear from others on this.

From the factory, GAMM = 0 points to the following: GAMS thru GAMB *all* set to zero, and it is assigned to the Pro setting for *all* inputs. It's the most conservative settings and yields what most folks will likely prefer for good video material.

LATE UPDATE: I have found a test pattern that allows one to estimate the effective gamma of a display device, such as a computer monitor or television. It indicates that the native gamma of Pro mode (GAMM = 0) is about 2.4. If you reconfigure one of the GAMM columns to values of 3 for each or GAMR, GAMG, and GAMB, you will have a gamma of close to 2.2, the industry standard for television monitors. So I have set Movie mode to be *exactly * the same as Pro mode, except I have set GAMM to 1, GAMS to 0, and the three colors to 3 each. I'll post how to use this test pattern later.

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05 - CUSTOMIZING PICTURE MODES

The various picture-mode settings in late-model HS/XS/XBR Sony sets are not set in stone. They are simply pointers to a large group of presets that can be completely reconfigured in service mode. For example, I have no use for the factory's settings for Vivid and Standard - they're way too garish and have too many enhancements for my taste. So I have Left Pro pretty much alone, as a reference. Then I have commandeered Vivid for experimentation, and set up Standard and Movie to be equivalent to Pro, but with higher gamma, to resurrect murky video.

I proceeded by first making a particular picture mode identical to Pro, a intimidating process as you realize all of the input and scan modes that affect the values that are stored. But you can do it piecemeal as you need the settings for a given use. I first did it for SD broadcast, HD broadcast (1080i and 720p), and then my DVD player. That's only 4 for now. I'll do the S-video for the VCR another time.

To do this, you have to know where the settings are that are selected by a change in picture mode. Here is a definitive list I have checked and rechecked against the (official) charts I have. They are listed by group. Write down the original values before making any changes!

3D-COMB, 4 items. I haven't yet done any experimentation here, and I don't know what these do. I believe the comb-filter system extracts color information from SD broadcast and composite video.
- 14 VAPG, 15 VAPI. Defaults are 0 for Pro.
- 17 YPFT, 18 YPFG. Also per RF (tuner), CV/YC video input, and TwinView.

2170P-3, 17 items. Of *primary importance* to picture appearance. Also per input and video-scan mode.
- 0 thru 16, SYSM thru MIDE. #1 VMLV is not saved and is for temporary testing, of what I don't know yet.

2170P-3, 4 items. The velocity-modulation settings. Mine are now all at zero. Yecch!
- 17 thru 20, VM thru VML.

2170P-4, 6 items. [On some sets, but not XS955, for example. Now in permanent read-only memory as QM #14-19, not alterable. HS sets still list these.] Default settings for the user-menu sliders. Not very important, except as a convenience for those who can adjust them. Can be ignored, actually.
- #7 thru 12, UPIC thru UTMP.

2170P-4, 2 items. Important settings for gamma (+ preset table) and auto-black-level control (+ preset table). The Sony Dynamic Picture Control settings are here, in the presets for BKL.
- #17 or 11, GAMM. Pro = 0.
- #22 or 16, BLK. Pro = 0

3DNR, 15 items. This seems to be the video noise-reduction system, and there are 64 tweakable parameters, but I haven't gotten anywhere near tweaking these. I'm willing to trust the factory settings for now, as nothing seems to be wrong! But someday . . . On my 36XS955, only #34, 45, and 61 had different settings for the different picture modes.
- #34 YLV
- #39 YCR
- #41 YMG
- #43 YEL
- #44 YLM
- #45 CLV
- #48 GMG
- #49 CCR
- #50 CLM
- #57 thru 62, YNG thru YCO

I have gone thru and written down the values for all of these for Pro mode, for the several input/scan modes that matter to me. Then I have been transferring them to Vivid, Standard, and Movie mode as I can find the time.

Typical example #1: I use Vivid for testing. If I think I may want to change something that will affect the picture, I make the change to Vivid for that input/scan mode. Then, while watching real program material, I can easily flick between Pro and Vivid to see what the benefit or downside is. No harm done to Pro mode! Keeps me (relatively) sane. Don't forget that the user-menu settings are also saved with each picture mode, and for testing I had to make those the same for Vivid and Pro.

Typical example #2: I have set Movie mode to be exactly like Pro, except I have set GAMM = 1, and then GAMS = 0 and GAMR thru GAMB to 3. Nice for making murky program material much more enjoyable. Try different values for GAMR thru GAMB. Lost on ABC-HD is horribly dark, and Movie's raised gamma works perfectly to make it more enjoyable. Works with dark-exposed home video, too. (And I lately have discovered that GAM(R,G,B) settings of 3 may set the gamma to very near the television standard of 2.2.)

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post #7 of 2973 Old 04-18-2005, 01:09 PM - Thread Starter
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06 - AUTO BRIGHTNESS LIMITING

Unlike many small and older large analog TVs, the image on these late-model Sony CRT-type TVs is not completely under control of the video signal. There is significant "brightness" limiting, some optional. (And the Dynamic Picture Control - brightness and contrast control - promoted by Sony is another story entirely! Another article.)

Imagine the following: You are watching a car commercial full-screen on SD in Pro mode. The car is nicely situated in a medium-bright outdoor scene beside a river. Brilliant highlights sparkle from the water, and there is a 100%-white sun-glint from the windshield. Gorgeous! Then, cut to a solid-white screen with the text 2.9% financing in the middle. You will note that, no matter the picture mode, the white screen will be nowhere nearly as bright as that sun-glint, even though it may also be 100%-white video. And it's not your eyes adjusting. It is especially apparent during kiddie cartoons, with their large areas of bright colors and white.

This is Picture or "contrast" limiting. I was first appalled by it, having come from a 27 older TV with no limiting of any kind. But I have come to believe is a bit kinder to the eyes, especially if you like to watch bright video in evening living-room lighting. Those 100%-white screens would be blinding. Note that this is not white-clipping; the relationships among all of the tonal values are preserved. It is a global setting, unaffected by any user controls.

As an engineer, I understand it may serve several purposes:

(1) It limits the CRT's beam-current. My 36XS955 can be made incredibly bright, and that is a large beam-current for the poor electron-emitting cathodes and the 31.5 kV high-voltage supply to support. So it likely protects the tube and maybe other electronics.

(2) All that energy flung all at once at the aperture-grille causes it to heat up and warp or sag, and you start to get pink or green patches in the white areas. You can probably see this occasionally; I certainly do. This is probably the outer bounds of this CRT technology, and limiting this effect keeps folks from calling Sony to complain. Another CRT-protection feature, too.

(3) For aesthetics. The response of the limiter is very prompt, and I got used to it very quickly, even though I'm very picky. I don't like being blinded, hate green/pink patches, and love the brilliant whites when they are small in area. I can live with it.

The setting for this instantaneous contrast-limiting is 2170P-4 #22 or 28/ABLT. The range is 0-15. You cannot turn it off (good thing!), and at its minumum of 0 the limiting is still significant but tolerable, and that's where I have left it. (As you increase the value above zero, the amount of contrast-limiting increases, making the picture even less bright.)

2170P-2 #4/YLMT is a hard white clip or limit, meaning that the picture appears normal except that no area is permitted to rise above a specified white level. The effect is minimized at YLMT = 3, and white limiting only becomes apparent as the value is reduced toward 0. My TV was alreadyset to 3.

[Revised 9-8-05.]

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07 - DYNAMIC FOCUS

Any CRT-TV's electron beam is focused with something like an electrostatic or electromagnetic lens to a tiny spot in the center of the display area. If the spot is moved to another location on the screen, however, the distance between the beam emitter and the screen changes, and therefore so must the focus. On flat-screen TVs, the effect is at its worst: the corner is *much* farther away than the center.

What keeps the beam focused is the dynamic-focusing signal, which is derived from the TV's vertical and horizontal scanning currents. No need to know the details - just that you have control over the basic parameters, and you can adjust them to improve the overall focus of your screen, if need be.

On the late-model tube-type XS/HS/XBR TVs, the service codes governing this are found in group 2170D-4: #0 thru 8, excluding #6: QPAM thru QPDP, DF, and DQP. We have to assume that the internal focus adjustment on the high-voltage transformer is set okay. If the following procedures won't work, perhaps it is not correctly set. I won't recommend that anyone who doesn't have considerable savvy about CRT television or monitor electronics even try the internal adjustment. (But it is an easy screwdriver adjustment.)

WRITE DOWN the original settings in case you get screwed up and want to turn back the clock. These aren't risky adjustments and aren't very sensitive. Some seem to have hardly any effect at first. I used a test pattern from Digital Video Essentials to set mine, Title 13, Chapter 2: SMPTE RP 133. I set the DVD player to progressive to force a full-screen display on my 4:3 36XS955. Brightness, picture, etc. were set to middle values; sharpness fairly low (~20). PRO mode. The finer-detailed the test pattern is, the easier these settings are to adjust.

Later, I created a much finer test pattern in Photoshop and copied it to a memory stick, and it made the focusing much easier. But some of these TVs don't have the memory-stick feature, and one has to record it to a CD as a JPEG image and display that. I found my memory-stick native resolution (4:3 for 36XS955) is exactly 1440 X 1080 dpi. I believe it would be 1920 X 1080 dpi for the 16:9 TVs. I haven't yet determined the precise native resolution of jpeg-on-CD.

***********
OVERALL FOCUS is #3 QPDC. Adjust for best CENTER focus for vertical *and* horizontal detail. You can sometimes find one setting for best horizontal scan lines and another for vertical lines, but pick a compromise. A couple blocks right in the center of the DVE test pattern are perfect for this.

NOTE 1: Some folks may have read that you can improve everything by cranking QPDC up to a high value. Don't believe it! Works only for the extreme left & right edges at the expense of center focus. You really have to follow a hierarchical procedure, starting with basic focus, and moving outward.

NOTE 2: These adjustments not only affect the spot size but its shape. Usually you have to compromise to get best-looking focus. Don't be fooled by looking at just horizontal or vertical detail.

LEFT-RIGHT BALANCE is #8 DQP. Adjust until the test pattern's left and right text samples (or some left and right detail at equal distances from center) are equally focused, even if not perfect. Equally out-of-focus can be the correct setting.

VERTICAL COMPENSATION is #4 QPDV. Adjust for best top-center and bottom-center focus. Mine is cranked all the way up to 63 and just makes it. (#5 QPDP is related; may balance top to bottom. Doesn't seem to have much effect, and I have left it at the default of 6.)

HORIZONTAL COMPENSATION is #0 QPAM. Adjust for best focus at the far left and right middle-edges. You can readjust #8 DQP for best balance left-right, if needed.

VERTICAL+HORIZONTAL COMBINED COMPENSATION is #1 QPAV. Adjust for best focus in the corners in conjunction with #7 DF, which affects just the extreme corners. (#2 QPAP may be another balance setting; it seems to have little effect, and I have left it at the default of 6.)

*********
WRITE these changes to the memory with Mute-Enter. Write them into your log for future reference.

Now go to an HD source of any kind or force a 1080i 16:9 scan mode with 2170P-4 #20 or 26 IDSW. Re-enter the same six settings you made above (and wrote down) to the same codes, and WRITE. Now you've done HD mode, too. Return IDSW to 0.

Sony says you can mass-copy these settings from your initial settings (not HD) to HD mode by going to #6 CPY1, setting it from 0 to 1, and performing a WRITE. I did it manually, since there are only six values, and I'm not sure I understand this CPY feature.

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post #9 of 2973 Old 04-18-2005, 01:25 PM
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Quote:


Originally posted by KenTech
Here is a copy of the widely circulating Excel spreadsheet for a Sony 34XBR910. I've reformatted it as a PDF file so you don't need Excel, but the Excel version is also included.

Many thanks for this consolidated highly worthwhile compendium of posts.

But I think this zip file attachment does not contain the PDF version of the Excel spreadsheet which is included, but rather contains the same PDF from your previous post (i.e. the HS420 Service Data Chart.pdf). I assume you were meaning to include your PDF version of the XLS file.
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I respectfully disagree with you on the QPDC being out of focus in the middle of the screen.If anything it increases the focus on the middle screen and surrounding area a bit when cranked to max.

Using a 16:9 grid on DVE it was clearly noticeable improvement of picture focus when turned all the way to 63.
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Quote:
Originally posted by DSperber
Many thanks for this consolidated highly worthwhile compendium of posts.

But I think this zip file attachment does not contain the PDF version of the Excel spreadsheet which is included, but rather contains the same PDF from your previous post (i.e. the HS420 Service Data Chart.pdf). I assume you were meaning to include your PDF version of the XLS file.
Woops! So sorry! Here is what I meant to post, and I fixed the original.

 

service codes list (34xbr910).pdf 113.1181640625k . file
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Quote:
Originally posted by CrocHunter
I respectfully disagree with you on the QPDC being out of focus in the middle of the screen.If anything it increases the focus on the middle screen and surrounding area a bit when cranked to max.

Using a 16:9 grid on DVE it was clearly noticeable improvement of picture focus when turned all the way to 63.
This is possible if the screen was out of focus overall or maybe that your internal focus adjustment is out, and cranking up QPDC works to fix it. QPDC affects the entire screen, but no other settings appear to affect the center. So you start with the center and work outwards. Maybe that would still result in your QPDC going up to 63, who knows. Your set may require it. I'm advocating a sensible method, not specific settings. Ideally you would start with the back off the set, and do the control on the HV transformer *first.* I wouldn't try this! What you did worked.

It would be interesting to see what happens if you start with QPDC first and then optimize the other settings after it.

Attached is the initial-settings chart from the HS420 service manual. You'll note that for the different tubes the settings vary widely.

 

qp data-hs420.pdf 5.482421875k . file
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The attached file is what the HS420 service manual has to say on dynamic-convergence twiddling. A big help for pointing to the right codes.

I do NOT recommend anyone get inside the set.

 

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Attached are pages from the HS420 service manual for adjusting for certain picture distortions. Doesn't explain every relevant service code, but sure can help with most of it.

 

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I have a new Sony XBR960.

I am not happy with the black level and a relatively small (but noticible) overscan issue.

So I decided to dive into the Service Menu. I have paged through many posts and printed out many charts. My objective for last night was pretty simple -
1) get into the service menu
2) page through all the settings
3) get out.

I completed 1) and 2) with no problem. I thought the easiest way to do 3) would be to simply power off - so I did.

Then I tried to power back on. To my horror - I just ended up with a black screen after powering back on. I retried powering up and down - same thing - the little red power light would flash red for 10 seconds - but I would end up with a black screen (with no sound). All the other buttons on the the remote didn't do anything (e.g. channel, voulume, video)

Here is what fixed it - unplugging the TV and plugging it back in. After I did that the TV started normally.

Can someone help me understand what made this happen. I would like to tweak the service menu - but last night was a pretty big scare. I feel like I need to understand this issue before I try it again.
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post #16 of 2973 Old 04-19-2005, 08:52 AM
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I am working with a Sony XBR 960. Here are (what I suspect) are very basic questions.

1) My service menu looks different than the menu enumerated in the Excel spreadsheet that is an attachment earlier in this thread. My service menu looks like it does not have as many items. Also - many of the defaults are different. Is this to be expected?

2) In general - I can follow/match the pattern of categories and items laid out in the Excel spreadsheet. But I can't figure out how the different picture modes (e.g. Pro, Vivid, etc) are reflected. For example - I understand that RYR (in 2170P-4) has a different value for each picture mode - but I don't really see how that is reflected in the menu - I only see one value. I am clearly missing something.

3) I am particularly interested in the SBRT setting. I have had a really issue with the black level - shadows are way to deep. Can someone please help me understand - intuitively - what this setting does. How is it different than simply jacking up the brightness setting in the standard menu.

4) Am I risking my warranty by messing with the SM?

Thanks in advance for any help here. This is a great thread.
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post #17 of 2973 Old 04-19-2005, 11:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


Originally posted by rholt

Then I tried to power back on. To my horror - I just ended up with a black screen after powering back on. I retried powering up and down - same thing - the little red power light would flash red for 10 seconds - but I would end up with a black screen (with no sound). All the other buttons on the the remote didn't do anything (e.g. channel, voulume, video)

Here is what fixed it - unplugging the TV and plugging it back in. After I did that the TV started normally.

Yep. You and a few other folks, including myself. It seems to be a bug (rare). It happened to me after an afternoon of looking at old vacation tapes and no service-mode activity at all. I panicked -- and then unplugged and replugged the set, and all was well.

I'm not sure how common it is, but others have posted about it. Don't let it scare you away from service-mode work.

That said, I have to say I don't completely understand the relationship between settings written and not written, and the unplugging of the set. In my case, I have made all changes a very few at a time, and written them with Mute-Enter. No intentional, written setting has ever disappeared by unplugging the set. So I guess if you WRITE the change, it survives all.

Then I got involved with the AUDIO section of the codes, and found that there was one code that, if changed from 3 to anything lower, got "stuck" below 3, giving me an undesirable result. (It was TRCV, BACV, or MDCV.) Took a while to figure out that this, too, was cured by unplugging the set. But it's the first example I had seen of a (non-written) setting-change that survived the power-off button. There may be others. I guess the lesson is that, if you have been tinkering with various setting changes and want to guarantee that nothing unwritten has "stuck," unplug the set for a few seconds after power-off.

If you make changes to code settings that are mode-dependent, they will likely revert to previous settings when you change modes, especially true of picture modes. And if you are in the MID5 codes and have used the temporary POP setting to point ot a column in the table so you can experiment, and then you step past the beginning or end of the MID5 category, the settings will revert to previous. Basic rule: If you want to make a permanent change, make it only to one or a few related settings, then WRITE it. Otherwise, with a little remote slight-of-hand, you may lose it. And unplugging the set for a few seconds completely eliminates any "residue" from previous experimentation.

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post #18 of 2973 Old 04-19-2005, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


Originally posted by rholt
I am working with a Sony XBR 960. Here are (what I suspect) are very basic questions.

1) I can't comment. My 36XS955 is missing a few items in the HS420 chart (the menu-slider defaults, no biggie) and some of the audio settings have different code-names. But I have no personal knowledge of the correspondence of that XBR910 list to the newer 960. I'll bet the HS420 chart will be of more value.

2) Download the HS420 chart, by all means! This will make it clear because the chart has *columns* for the different modes in many places. Don't fret that it isn't for your set exactly -- these sets have most all of these codes in common. (E.g. you have picture-in-picture or twinview, and I don't; so the codes that affect the so-called "sub-puctures" don't apply to me.) I have a memory stick slot, so that mode works for me. But the relevant codes won't apply to a set without that feature.

3) SBRT is the *critical* brightness setup. Think of it as the fundamental brightness pedestal upon which all of the other settings are built. And SBRT + Brightness slider + (a few other minor brightness tweaks) = visible black level. Further, the above pedestal is the base for the R, G, and B thresholds. So RCUT, GCUT, and BCUT are then set relative to the above pedestal.

I would (1) write down the original SBRT setting, and (2) set mode to Pro and Brightness slider to 31 (midpoint). Then, using a PLUGE or blackscale pattern on a test DVD or really good program material from a digital broadcast (fade to black works okay for now), (3) adjust SBRT until you have a satisfactory black level. Write the settings. This will get you in the ballpark until you can really tweak the color.

NOTE: Color/black settings in 2170P-1 are *global,* so SBRT is set once for all modes. But the Brightness slider setting is saved with each mode change. If you do it in Pro mode, you won't encounter any of the "dynamic" contrast or variable-black-level effects visible in the other modes.

4) Unless you have broken an explicit seal or caused damage for which you are now claiming warranty repair, the law doesn't allow manufacturers to deny warranty for any old reason! The laws were changed some years ago because of this abuse by manufacturers. But if you reset the service mode to factory-newborn settings, you would have some explaining to do! Simply entering service mode incurs no risk, and small adjustments that don't cause repair-worthy harm can't be significant. If your high-voltage transformer blows out, Sony can't deny warranty because they think you changed SBRT in service mode or modified picture modes to suit yourself. They have to show a connection. I refuse to be paranoid, but I am very disciplined and cautious about how I proceed!

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post #19 of 2973 Old 04-19-2005, 12:34 PM
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KenTech -

First - thanks for these very helpful responses.

Second - I am still fuzzy on one issue.

How does one make picture mode specific Service Menu adjustments for SM settings that are picture mode specific. I am thinking about those color settings in the 2170P-4 series.

Is it the case that it depends on which picture mode you are in when you enter the SM. Is you are in the Vivid picture model when you enter the SM - then the modifications to RYR and RYB (for example) will only hold for the Vivid picture mode.

What happens if you change picture model while in the SM?

Thanks
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Quote:


Originally posted by rholt
How does one make picture mode specific Service Menu adjustments for SM settings that are picture mode specific. I am thinking about those color settings in the 2170P-4 series.

Is it the case that it depends on which picture mode you are in when you enter the SM. Is you are in the Vivid picture model when you enter the SM - then the modifications to RYR and RYB (for example) will only hold for the Vivid picture mode.

What happens if you change picture model while in the SM?

You are free to change picture modes, scan modes, etc. *while* you are in service mode. The changes you *write* while in a given mode are what apply to that mode only, if they are mode-specific. And you can deduce that from the service-data chart (not the list). So, as you can see, almost all of 2170P-3 codes are picture *and* scan-mode specific. That's about four dozen separate settings that can be saved for each of codes 0-16 (excluding 1), for example.

If you make mode-specific changes without writing, then change modes, you will almost certainly lose the changes. This applies to HD reception, for example: you are in one picture mode and are watching PBS (1080i) and make a code change in 2170P-3. Then you change channels to ABC (720p). Your settings will be gone, since you are now in a different column in the chart -- a different scan mode! You've got to save those changes before you change any modes.

The color settings 2170P-1 #5-19 are global, and I have found no exceptions.

The color-matrix parameters RYR thru GYB in 2170P-4 are global. So for all the color-matrix parameters (the ones you are interested in), one setting works for all analog video inputs. (I earlier had thought that the Memory Stick settings were separate, but I think I was mistaken.)

BTW, I've confirmed to my satisfaction that the Video Essentials disk has an accurate color-bar chart, 75% of each of the six pure colors surrounded by 75% gray. Their method for setting RYR thru GYB is perfect! Use 2170P-2 to select which color guns are firing on the CRT instead of the filters. My set, of course, came with a huge red push. Now those four codes (in order) that were 8-9-9-6 are now 13-15-6-4 on my second go-around. The first try I got 13-15-5-4, and others have reported those settings, too. Big improvement! You could do a lot worse than simply trying those settings.

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post #21 of 2973 Old 04-20-2005, 07:04 AM
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Ken,
Have you made any changes to your sections (01 -07) since you posted on Agoraquest? I haven't tweaked my 34XS955 yet, still waiting for some burn in time, but I had saved those earlier posts for reference notes. Big thanks for sharing your findings to you and others. - CP

Can I help you? No thanks, I am just lurking. : )
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post #22 of 2973 Old 04-20-2005, 10:56 AM
 
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I agree setting GYR and GYB lower and RYR and RYB high rssults in a much better color accuracy on the DVE test chart.
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post #23 of 2973 Old 04-21-2005, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:


Originally posted by CPetty
Ken,
Have you made any changes to your sections (01 -07) since you posted on Agoraquest?

I re-read those articles and made minor wording changes in my copy before posting here; I don't think there was anything really substantive. And a thorough spellcheck turned up a few embarrassments!

You're welcome!

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post #24 of 2973 Old 04-23-2005, 12:13 PM - Thread Starter
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08 - SOME USEFUL TEST PATTERNS

Following are sets of test images that are extremely useful in adjusting the displays of both 4:3 and 16:9 sets. They are designed for MEMORY STICK use only, or for display from a computer. (Untested. I could use some feedback on this. Is this resolution okay for computer-to-TV display?)

Why memory stick? Because it is one good way to take nearly complete control over the pixels on-screen, important for test images. The native resolution for memory-stick images is 1080px high by 1440px wide for 4:3 sets, 1920px wide for 16:9 sets. The pixels are square. A same-resolution image is displayed *exactly.*

So if you should create a dynamite custom test image on your computer at exactly 1080h X 1440w or 1920w, you can save it at highest quality as a jpeg image, and put it into the DCIM folder on your memory stick. You can then view it on the TV without any resampling by the TV, in a mode called HD FULL. Perfect!

Unzip the files attached to the following messages, yielding the separate jpeg images. Using an appropriate card reader/writer, copy them from your computer to the DCIM folder on the memory stick. (Create this folder at root level if it's not yet there.) You may also use subfolders inside DCIM to categorize your images. Then write Sony a nasty note after you discover how needlessly convoluted it is to navigate subfolders in the MS-display mode. Sheesh!

Some of these are useful images even if resampled from jpeg-on-CD on a DVD player (inherently 480i). See individual descriptive messages. I wonder how many other ways there are to get custom test images to display accurately. A slideshow on DVD maybe? Suggestions?

**************
Convergence & Geometry Test Patterns. Attached to this message are some convergence and geometry test images that should help in assessing what's going on with your particular TV's display. Remember that the crosshatch patterns will look a lot worse than actual program material! The white-on-90% black are best for convergence. Black crosshatch on light background will help with geometry and focus. All patterns are based on 2-pixel line widths and 2 X 2-pixel dots.

 

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post #25 of 2973 Old 04-23-2005, 12:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Attached and following are really good focus test patterns using 1-pixel scribbles against light and dark backgrounds. The values are approx 20% and 80% brightness, not black and white, so you can easily see edge-enhancement aberrations and ringing. The two images are posted separately because of the file-size limitations here.

 

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post #26 of 2973 Old 04-23-2005, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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(See previous message.)

 

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post #27 of 2973 Old 04-23-2005, 12:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Attached is an image that was a bear to make, but it is valuable in assessing how your TV handles horizontal and vertical detail. How the pattern darkens around the center white circle varies with amount of sharpening, and the MID5 & 2170P-3 settings. I'll also try to make a similar image with true light and dark sectors, not constant-width spokes. That will be tougher! The corner patterns are not very important, as this really isn't a focus test image but more of an sharpness-enhancement display. I didn't do a 16:9 version.

 

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post #28 of 2973 Old 04-23-2005, 12:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Attached is an image that shows the effect of adjusting the color-sharpness parameters in the 2170P-3 codes and in the MID5 table. Hardly visible in normal program material, color-sharpening and boundary effects are clearly visible in the color boundaries in this chart between the most-opposite colors, such as green-magenta. My settings have been tuned for clear boundaries with minimum bright-line aberrations and ringing. (I'll try to write something about the color parameters another time.)

 

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post #29 of 2973 Old 04-23-2005, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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This excellent chart was lifted from a Photoshop document I found online about ten years ago. It will show you your effective display gamma at a glance. It MUST be displayed at 1080px vertical in Pro mode, since it relies on alternating groups of exact scan lines for its accuracy and NO vertical sharpness enhancement. It can be adapted for different vertical resolution by *trimming* the image to another dimension, NOT by rescaling it. Memory stick works fine.

The principle is this: A pattern of alternating black and white equal scan-line groups has an average brightness of exactly 50% of full-white, inherently, no matter the gamma. The lines are horizontal so phosphor-grid and image-processing factors are eliminated. At a gamma of 1.00, a 50% solid-gray block appears to be the same brightness. (Blurring your eyes helps.) But at a gamma of, say, 2.20, that gray block would appear much darker than 50%.

But one can create a gray block that is lighter by the exact degree that will match the 50% surroundings. Its adjusted brightness can be calculated as raised to the 1/ power, or 0.50 to the 1 / 2.2 power, which is 0.73. So a gray block of 73% brightness embedded within a background of alternating black and white horizontal lines will appear to disappear if you blur your eyes while examining it *only* at a gamma of 2.2. In digital imaging, where black is 0 and white is 255, that square should have a value of 186.

So this chart is made up of a bunch of gray blocks of different brightness set against a black/white-line background, and corresponding gamma figures are indicated below. As you view the chart (not too close), one block will appear as the one that most blends into the background, and the corresponding gamma can be read from the red numbers below.

By this chart, my 36XS955 has a maximum gamma (all settings at zero) of 2.4+ - quite high. Makes a lot of insipid TV look much better. But the standard is 2.2, and I designated the GAMM = 1 column in the table for that. Each of GAMR thru GAMB are set to 3, and that seems to give a perfect display gamma of 2.2. Your outcome may differ, of course.

 

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post #30 of 2973 Old 04-25-2005, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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09 - GETTING GOOD GRAYSCALE

[9-9-05 Note: I no longer use the following "trick" for fudgling grayscale, i.e. setting one of the gamma settings higher than the others. I have reconsidered the whole matter, and I have gotten nearly-perfect grayscale on my 36XS955 by using excellent gray-step patterns from both the AVIA and DVE DVDs. Comparing with the same pattern displayed on a small computer monitor that has been calibrated to 6500K was a big help but probably not necessary. This is best read as documentation of my learning process. See additional notes in brackets.]

[I believe the following is still true.] I believe that the only way to great TV color is by first adjusting for great grayscale. Why? Because if your midtones are, say, cyanish compared to white and dark gray, that tint will attenuate reds everywhere in the midtone areas. Blue skies will have a touch of green. Skin tones will be yellowish not attractive! Color information is added on top of luminance (grayscale) information, and so grayscale reproduction has to be *right* as a fundamental base for building the color image. Setting the Color user-menu slider all the way to the left removes all color, so it's easy to see where you stand. You can just tune random broadcast material and check it out. Your eyes are a very good judge of this. Using a test DVD helps but isn't really necessary for judging this. Aesthetically speaking, errors of the yellowish-greenish type seem most offensive to me; blue or magenta less so.

When I calibrated my 36XS955 for perfect whites (color temp) and neutral dark grays, I found that my midtones were yellowish! White was already correct (the right combo of RDRV, GDRV, and BDRV), and so I thought I could fudge the cutoff settings (RCUT, GCUT, and BCUT) to get neutral midtones. Nope! When I did that, *some* midtones were okay, but now the dark grays were much too blue. [Not any more. Used a different method to get superb results.]

I had been through this before with computer monitors. The problem is that the inherent gamma or electrical response-curve of the CRT is slightly different for the blue electron gun compared to red and green. If the midtones are yellowish, the blue signal channel needs its gamma adjusted downward, pushing the midpoint of the curve upward. [Theoretically true, but may not actually be a determining factor on my TV.]

[The "trick" follows, no longer used.] Well, we can do this in service mode. The adjustment is a bit coarse, but it worked for me. Originally I had set GAMM = 0 and then GAMR, -G, and -B each to 0 for maximum gamma. I had done the same for GAMM = 1 and had set the individual colors to 3. But I now needed to correct the blue. So I tried raising GAMB to 1 where it had been 0, and to 4 where it had been 3, and wrote all data.

Now the grayscale was near perfect! A little twiddling of BCUT, and it now appeared dead-on for normal program material. I looked carefully at the darkest grays and nearly-blacks. Maybe there was a trace of coloration there, but it was totally insignificant compared to the previous yellow-contamination of the midtones. Problem solved.

So, to summarize, I adjusted all settings for the GAMM = 0 thru 3 presets to show GAMB = 1 notch higher than the other colors. This corrected my annoying yellowish midtones in grayscale program material.

[Major reconsideration. Added notes 9-9-05.]

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