Originally Posted by jb007
Have you had your XBR8 ISF calibrated by a professional? If so, then your opinion that the TV does not need pro calibration is well founded. However, if that is not the case, then I think we have to wait for someone (me?) to have their XBR8 professionally calibrated and then offer their opinion on whether the picture is (substantially) better than the with the default settings.
I'll be interested in hearing your results, if you do have a professional calibration done. I have to partially agree with the other poster about whether a professional calibration is necessary, if you are pretty savvy about display calibration yourself. I am learning this as I go. The Cinema setting out of the box is pretty decent, and when I switch between my custom settings and the default Cinema settings while watching movies, I am hard pressed to discern a difference.
Here's what we're faced with. The set does not clip whites at the high end, so setting contrast by eye is not very accurate. At most backlight settings, if you lower the contrast to achieve a luminance with a full white window that is appropriate for a dark or dim room, you have to lower the contrast what I feel is excessively...much lower than any published settings I have seen. Lower than 70 even. The only way around this is to lower the backlight setting to minimum, which I feel crushes blacks too much to be visually satisfactory (gamma 2.3 at 10%IRE, average gamma 2.25, which is not too bad). With the backlight setting this low, you would have to increase the brightness to a point that makes below blacks plainly visible in pluge patterns, if you set the 10%IRE luminance to an appropriate target. If you increase the backlight setting to 2 (I find the letterboxes and flashlighting to be distracting at a setting of 3) and leave the brightness and contrast essentially unchanged, the gamma stays pretty close to the same, but you get better detail in the dark parts of the picture, and black levels still stay very nice. You do have a subtle, but indeed noticeable, lightening of the letterboxes in wide format movies. For those who spend more time critiquing their electronics than enjoying them, it may be intolerable. But let me get back to the problem with this. With a backlight of 2, and contrast at 85, the luminance is around 61fL at 100% white. This is much too high for a completely dark room and even too high for a room with display backlighting, such as mine, where 30-40fL would be better. I have watched it with both settings (backlight min and backlight 2) and I subjectively prefer the higher backlight. Gamma, color temperature, RGB tracking aren't sacrificed either way.
The other poster is also correct in stating that RGBbias and RGBgain need some tweaking, if you have the appropriate equipment, and you can't simply use posted settings. Mine are much different from some posted settings. Using the 30% and 80%IRE windows to adjust, I achieve a deltaE of less than 3 across the grayscale. I could possibly do better with more time or choosing different points, but less than 3 is good enough. Using the 20%IRE window feels very cumbersome with my meter.
I have considered getting professional calibration done just to satisfy my curiosity, but I am not sure if a few hundred dollars is worth the nominal improvements that a calibrator may or may not be able to achieve. Please at least post results of you calibration. I am most interested in improving my picture at the black end of the grayscale, as we all are.
Overall, in agreement with the other poster, there are a lot of discerning movie and television watchers who should be completely satisfied with the Cinema setting out of the box.