Originally Posted by Tandrin
Without starting a BB calibration bashing thread, I am interested in what I should expect from BB when they come out to calibrate my 52a850. I know he is supposed to do 2 inputs and temp but what about gamma and overscan?
Is it better to be in the user menu if he can so that if a new firmware comes out I can readjust?
What should I hold him accountable for??
Thanks in advance!
Not wanting to start a BB cal bashing thread either... but, if you haven't already searched AVS for comments about BB calibrations, you should.
Your Samsung has gamma controls and Color Management controls along with white balance controls. The Samsung Color Management controls are capable of making the primary and complimentary colors extremely accurate (at least for the 1 spot they are measured/adjusted which is usually done using the 75% window patterns). The equipment BB purchases to perform calibrations is not particularly suited for color calibration and I've never heard of a BB calibrator performing color calibration.
The light measurement meters they use are called "pucks" because they look something like a small hockey puck and they stick to the panel with an array of small suction cups. From what I've heard, seen (following a BB calibrator), and read, they don't bother cleaning your screen after sticking the puck to it to do their measurements (if they even use a meter - I've seen comments like the earlier one in this post where it sounded like a meter and laptop were never part of the calibration process - which means no calibration was performed because you cannot calibrate without a meter and calibration software - all you can do is set the basic controls).
In most cases, the calibrator won't measure your grayscale at several gamma settings and tell you what gamma you will be using with each adjustment step -- I do that for TVs with gamma controla, but it's probable that not all independent (non-BB) calibrators do the same.
It would be worth asking BB how long their calibration takes. Most people seem to say it takes 1 to 1.5 hours for a BB calibration. At that point, I'm just getting into the real "meat" of the calibration. I will usually spend 2.5-3 hours doing the basic controls and grayscale and discussing the calibration with the owner. With the Samsungs, measuring several gamma settings and doing the Color Management calibration just about doubles the calibration time to 5-6 hours unless a particluar TV is VERY cooperative. If they tell you their calibration will take 2 hours or less, don't expect much from it.
Something else to ask them is what mode they set the Samsung panels to for calibration. "Movie" is the only mode worth calibrating on Samsungs... if they tell you anything else or if they don't understand the question... that wouldn't bode well for the experience you are about to have.
When you call and talk to a BB calibrator, ask if they use the Service Menu when they calibrate Samsung panels and if they do, ask them if they document all the "before" settings AND "after" settings in case something happens and you either need to reset to the "before" settings or need to re-apply the "after" settings. You can document user menu settings yourself, of course (and you should - though I provide this for my customers in the calibration report I send them after the calibration is complete - I don't hear anything about BB providing a record of before and after settings). Using the service menu for Samsung calibrations is not necessary, but if it is used, the setting changes should be documented.
You should also expect the calibrator to try to sell you cables for your system... HDMI cables or audio cables or whatever. They have a "quota" for selling add-ons. (confirmed via manufacturer reps who service BB). I've never seen ANY HDMI cable make any difference at all in video image quailty... from "free" cables to cables costing multiple 100s of dollars, they all provide the same images. A $6 Monoprice.com cable is as good as any cable BB sells.
Finally, you can expect to pay anywhere between $0 and $299 for their calibration. Though the $0 thing only seems to kick in while you are in the store teetering on the brink of not purchasing a TV. Otherwise, people have paid $100, $150, $200 and the full $299. It all depends on what's going on in your area when you inquire. I charge $400 for a "complete" Samsung calibration because of all the extra time it takes to do the gamma (not a lot) and the Color Management adjustments (as much or more than the time it takes to make the grayscale accurate). If somebody wanted just the grayscale adjustment that you may (or not) get from BB, I'd do that for $275 - though it's kind of a waste not to take advantage of the other controls the Samsungs have.
I have no axe to grind with BB cals, I get more calibrations since they started offering it than I did before they offered it so I'm perfectly happy cleaning up after them - it just seems a shame that people are getting bad results and may not realize it or may not know how to go about getting their problems un-done.