This TV is by no means perfect, but for the money (I paid $699 at Costco), it's very good value for 1080p. I was a bit paranoid about the TV being 60Hz vs 120Hz, but have found no issues. I have the TV about 4 weeks and have watched football, ice hockey, track and field and a few blue ray movies on a PS3 and saw no problems. The film mode in the advanced menu also seems to handle the 3:2 pull down of cable 1080i HD movies very well, so this option should be switched on (see below). 480i also looks pretty good after calibration.
On to calibration.
Out of the box, the settings are not optimal (are they ever). For calibration, I followed this outstanding guide, henceforth known as Kal's Guide:
This guide helps you to adjust grayscale and color to get a professional grade calibration (which usually costs ($300-$400). To use Kal's Guide, you need:
1. The ColorHCFR software (free).
2. An external color meter, $60-$200+, depending on which
meter you get. I used Eye-One Display 2 (I'm a serious
amateur photographer and already owned it for computer
3. Calibration DVD, Digital Video Essentials-HD Basics,
(I used the Blue Ray version), $16 on Amazon.
4. AVS HD 709 calibration disk (free download). This software
is burned on a regular DVD but you need a Blue Ray player to play it.
For me, this calibration method was a no-brainer, since all I needed to purchase was the DVE calibration DVD for $16. Note, you can actually use the AVS HD 709 disk for the whole calibration, but you need to identify the correct greyscale patterns yourself.
Note that this TV has no RGB adjustments for brightness or contrast (called RGBLowEnd and RGBHighEnd in Kal's Guide, sometimes known as RGB bias and RGB gain), so this portion of the grayscale calibration had to be skipped. However, the CMS system allows individual adjustment of RGB for value (brightness), hue and saturation, which is much better than a simple color and hue adjustment.
First off, I ran through both grayscale and primary/secondary color calibrations with the factory settings to see where I was at. I used the default User picture settings as the starting point. If you're not interested in the technical details, skip this section and scroll down to the section RECOMMENDED CALIBRATION SETTINGS FOR LC-C4067UN. Here is a summary of the results with the out-of the box User settings.
The deltaE values for 0 IRE to 100 IRE were as follows:
0 IRE: 123.8%, 10 IRE: 27.4%, 20 IRE: 28.4%, 30 IRE: 28.6%, 40 IRE: 30.6%, 50 IRE: 30.1%, 60 IRE: 29.8%, 70 IRE: 30.2%, 80 IRE: 29.7%, 90 IRE: 26.9%, 100 IRE: 22.7%.
According to Kal's Guide, a value of <10% is recommended across the entire greyscale range with a value of 3% considered as good as it gets. At around 30% across the board, we are a long way off.
The average luminance curve looks OK, but individual colors are off (blue too high, red too low).
Average is 2.25 (target is 2.2). However the average range from 0 IRE to 100 IRE is 2.1 to 2.39. Red is way off with a range of 2.12 to 2.84.
Green is OK, but blue is 30% too high and red is 20% too low across the entire grayscale range. Good news is all curves are relatively flat, except in the 0 IRE - 10 IRE range. This is almost black, so you won't notice any variations here.
Color Temperature: Kal's Guide recommends not to pay too much attention to this, but for the record, it stays pretty flat across the range 0 IRE (black) to 100 IRE (white) at around 9000K (well above the 6500K target).
I didn't record the individual deltaE values for the primary and secondary colors, but according to Kal's Guide, a value of <10% is recommended across the board with a value of 3% considered as good as it gets. All values were in the high teens and 20s.
The white level was adjusted using contrast in the picture menu. This sets the peak luminance. The overall screen brightness and all color adjustments are derived from this value, so it's important to set this for your specific viewing conditions. Kal's Guide recommends a target luminance of 30-40 ftL, which is geared towards viewing in a color-controlled environment i.e. a darkened room. I started here (at 35ftL) and found this setting worked as it should for a dark room at night, but was much too low for daylight viewing (no shadow detail). If you want to use these settings, they are in parenthesis below.
I decided to recalibrate and used a value of around 54ftL instead. I found this works well for daylight viewing and am also happy with it for nighttime viewing in dim light. Note: Backlight was toned down to -6 before contrast adjustment.
The black level was set according to Kal's Guide and was adjusted using brightness. As mentioned, this TV doesn't have RGB grayscale adjustment in the user menu, so that's it for grayscale adjustment (unless you figure out how to further adjust in the service menus - I didn't go there). Following the above adjustments, the following results were achieved.
The deltaE values for 0 IRE to 100 IRE grayscale were as follows:
0 IRE: 150%, 10 IRE: 7.9%, 20 IRE: 5.7%, 30 IRE: 9.4%, 40 IRE: 9.8%, 50 IRE: 9.5%, 60 IRE: 9.8%, 70 IRE: 10.7%, 80 IRE: 10.5%, 90 IRE: 10.2%, 100 IRE: 9.9%. Except for pure black, this is getting close to being < 10% across the range. I wasn't able to get it any better than this.
Now blue and green are right on target but red showed only a slight improvement from before (too low).
Gamma: Average is a little higher at around 2.27. The average range from 0 IRE to 100 IRE was tightened. Red is improved but still shows the most variation.
RGB Levels: Red and blue are now around 5-10% below target across the range and green right on as before.
Color Temperature: Sits on 6500K line but tails off a little to 6200K at 100 IRE.
This is a vast improvement over the default.
Primary and secondary colors were adjusted using the CMS Hue, Saturation and Value settings in the advanced menu to get values as close as possible to the recommended settings in Kal's Guide for the HDTV REC 709 standard. Following the tweaks, the deltaE values for the primary and secondary colors were as follows; R: 14.8%, G: 8.8%, B: 5.3%, Y: 4.4%, C: 9.7%, M: 7.3%. My goal was to get everything less than 10% per Kal's Guide. I tried numerous iterations and wasn't able to get red much better than
RECOMMENDED CALIBTATION SETTINGS FOR LC-C4067UN
(Dark room viewing settings shown in parenthesis). Use these only if you always watch TV in the dark.
Backlight: -6 (-11)
Contrast: 32 (18)
Brightness: -5 (-5)
Color: 0 (0)
Tint: 0 (0)
Sharpness: 0 (0)
R: +4 (+4)
Y: +1 (+2)
G: 0 (0)
C: +10 (+7)
B: 0 (0)
M: 0 (+2)
R: +5 (+4)
Y: +1 (+1)
G: 0 (0)
C: -30 (+12)
B: 0 (0)
M: 0 (-2)
R: -6 (-9)
Y: 0 (0)
G: -10 (-10)
C: +10 (+5)
B: +10 (+5)
M: 0 (0)
Color Temperature: LOW
Active Contrast: OFF
Film Mode: ON
Digital Noise Reduction: OFF
OPC Range: N/A
If any pros out there have any suggestions on how to improve the red setting while maintaining good values for everything else, please let me know.
Skin tones don't seen to be affected, but in a "red-looking scene", e.g. low color temperature setting such as low tungsten light or sunsets, the "red" effect looks a touch saturated for my taste.