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How to calibrate for a smart TV's built in video streaming?

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
My Panasonic plasma is a smartTV with built in services for streaming such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu+, and so forth.

The problem is, there is no INPUT to calibrate for this source since the input is built into the television.

I could always copy the settings from my calibrated HDMI inputs, but I have no way of knowing (or measuring) what kind of results that would produce.

Wouldn't it be nice if Netflix would let me stream digital video essentials?

Do you guys have any suggestions on how I might calibrate for this content?
post #2 of 36
Are there even controls in the user menu for that?
If so, you could upload the mp4s from the avs disk to a private account on youtube and then stream it to your set and do the calibrations.. not sure if that would work but could be an interesting experiment.
post #3 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by airscapes View Post

Are there even controls in the user menu for that?
If so, you could upload the mp4s from the avs disk to a private account on youtube and then stream it to your set and do the calibrations.. not sure if that would work but could be an interesting experiment.

An interesting experiment for sure , but wouldn't there be more inconsistent video quality issues with streaming than there would be with a DVD/BD or even OTA/cable? It just seems that there would be more factors in streaming that could affect the signal quality than other sources so "calibrating" a streaming service might be an exercise in futility.
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 
I don't think I'd call it futile, provided the streaming was from a source that could provide high bandwidth (such as Netflix)... I'm not so sure about YOUTUBE. I'd have to check into that....

Yes, there are user controls on the TV for calibrating it.

It's just driving me nuts to think that I might have to buy a ROKU or something similar just so I can have an HDMI input to calibrate.... ......
post #5 of 36
for basic user settings rent one of the calibrations dvds from netflix..
post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by gremmy View Post


It's just driving me nuts to think that I might have to buy a ROKU or something similar just so I can have an HDMI input to calibrate.... ......

Hmm, my tv doesn't have internet capability (didn't want it) so I use my BD player and/or AppleTV2 for my streaming needs. The tv has been calibrated thru the BD player and I use those settings for streaming which works very well. The same settings work well for OTA tv as well. I calibrated the panel, not the input.
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

Hmm, my tv doesn't have internet capability (didn't want it) so I use my BD player and/or AppleTV2 for my streaming needs. The tv has been calibrated thru the BD player and I use those settings for streaming which works very well. The same settings work well for OTA tv as well. I calibrated the panel, not the input.

I agree, and do the same thing, however, each device can be different.. on a Sony I did for a family member I copied all the settings to the other inputs he used, then later went back with a standard DVD that would play in the Xbox to recheck. Gamma was different, only one click but it was different on the component input that the digital.. Would I worry about streaming.. probably not but what the heck, if the OP can rent a dvd for setting the user level setting from the stream he is half way there...
post #8 of 36
Thread Starter 
Guys, on my set up, streaming is the second highest quality source, second only to Blu Ray.

I just upgraded my internet connection and with a consistent 17 Mbps connection, I get the highest bandwidth connections that Netflix and Amazon Prime can provide, which produces a picture that is vastly superior to Dish Network, standard DVD, or, like I said, anything but Blu Ray.

So yes, it's definitely worth calibrating.

I'll see which calibration disks Netflix has and report back.
post #9 of 36
Calibration disc? How is that going to do anything useful for internet content? Presumably, if you are doing Blu-ray you already HAVE a test/setup disc anyway and the settings you picked for Blu-ray will be the same settings you use for streamed content. Those discs are hardly "calibration" discs as all they do is help you find the best settings for Brightness/black level and sharpness. Everything else they (claim to) do is subject to such large errors that you can't call it "calibration" by any stretch. And you can't even trust the results you get for setting color and tint because the instructions always say that if the results don't look right, tune color and tint by eye until they look right.

Then someone else said "all devices are different" - that used to be true for analog video. In digital video, each device in the chain is passing 1s and 0s. No device in the chain should change the 1s and 0s unless there is a control you set that intentionally alters them. If you view Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray or via internet streaming, both will have originated from the same digital master (presumably). The difference will be that even at the highest streaming speeds, the video has to be compressed more than it is on Blu-ray. Compression won't alter color or grayscale. Transmitting the compressed video over the internet won't alter color of grayscale. Your only worry is that something in the path from the master to the compressed video DOES mangle the original video in some way... if it does, it's really crap equipment. All consumer HD video has the SAME standard... Rec. 709. So whatever the right settings are for Blu-ray should be the right settings for a cable/satellite box or internet streaming. Some product along the way that randomly alters 1s and 0s will cause complete loss of image. If the product "intelligently" alters the 1s and 0s it might change color or luminance or some other parameter, but mostly, the only alteration of 1s and 0s will be to compress the image and that won't alter color or grayscale unless it is extraordinarily crappy compression. Once the compression is done, the decompression for display will retain the original color and grayscale but you'll find more compression artifacts in the image.

Streamed internet content is a lot like 300 channels of cable or satellite TV. They all "know" the "target" is the Rec.709 HDTV color standard. If you think of all those channels and streamed movies as pellets in a shotgun shell and you shoot that shell at a big archery target, many of the pellets will hit the bullseye, but some are going to "spray" other areas of the target without hitting the bullseye. Since the majority of programs "hit the target" with some relative accuracy, any changes you make that move the video display away from the Rec. 709 HDTV video standard is going to make things LESS accurate on average. So all you can do to "calibrate" for internet content or for cable/satellite content is to REALLY calibrate the video display to get as close to the Rec. 709 HDTV video standard as it can be. That requires a colorimeter, calibration software, a test pattern source (could be a disc in a disc player), and knowledge about calibration... that can be a DIY thing or you can hire a professional calibrator.

If some source/provider doesn't adhere to the Rec. 709 HDTV specification, there's not much you can do about it. But understand... once the video is compressed, it is VERY difficult to change the images... EXTREMELY difficult in fact. Because any "accidental" changes to the bitstream would likely result in complete loss of the image... you just can't randomly diddle with a compressed digital video stream and affect color or grayscale because the bits are in a very controlled pattern that is decoded before being displayed... if the bitstream is compromised along the way, it can't be decoded and displayed. So you receive a viewable image or you don't. Decompression does not allow for changing color or grayscale either... you are performing math to restore complete frames from compressed data that describes the frame. There's no room for altering color or grayscale in the decompression process. If the product alters color or grayscale AFTER decompression... that would just be WRONG and it would have to be intentional... not some accidental thing in the product. Or you would have to change a control in the device... like a Blu-ray disc player that has internal color, contrast, brightness, sharpness, etc. settings. If you leave all those on "0" the disc player won't do anything to the decompressed video. But if you move the red control to +10, the disc player will alter the data to make red much stronger. If those controls don't exist in the device, then there's not likely to be any mechanism in the device that would alter color or grayscale.
post #10 of 36
Thread Starter 
What I meant was that I would see what calibration discs were available FOR STREAMING via Netflix. I realize now that the use of the term disc was confusing. Yes, I already have a disc (the DVE BRD), but it is of no use to me here.

I was looking for something like DVE with the 0 to 100 IRE Windows that I could use with my colorimeter for Grayscale calibration, with the intent being that I would STREAM such content and use it for calibrating.

By the way, I couldn't find any, so nevermind.

Also by the way, nevermind if every source is different; another problem is that on some of these televisions, each INPUT can be different, even if you're using the same source! I have not verified whether my current television is different in this regard or not as I have only calibrated one input. Hopefully such differences can be traced back to a specific service menu item, but this is not always straightforward. This is why I am wanting to calibrate each INPUT separately (even using the same source -- my BRD player), but for streaming, there is NO INPUT, despite the fact that there are very clearly items in the display menu that effect streaming applications and treat them in effect as a separate input. I suppose I could copy down each and every menu item from the service menu and copy them over for the streaming stuff, but to be honest, I was trying to avoid that... It may be my only option.
post #11 of 36
Interesting thread ... it got me thinking about how I might calibrate my setup. I have a Samsung UN60D8000 and it has a built in SmartHub. I also have Samsungs D6700 Bluray player with a SmartHub. The SmartHub can stream Netflix and many other sources; including sources over my internal LAN. Here are some approaches that I am considering:

1. Use the Samsung D6700 Bluray player as the streaming source because it is already on a calibrated HDMI input. These new Bluray players are an easy way to get access to the latest streaming features for cheap.

2. To calibrate the SmartHub in the HDTV, I think that I could use its AllNet LAN streaming capability to stream my test patterns from a computer in my network.

Here are the files that I would be using: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=948496

Anyway, thanks for the interesting thread.
post #12 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by gremmy View Post

I don't think I'd call it futile, provided the streaming was from a source that could provide high bandwidth (such as Netflix)... I'm not so sure about YOUTUBE. I'd have to check into that....

Yes, there are user controls on the TV for calibrating it.

It's just driving me nuts to think that I might have to buy a ROKU or something similar just so I can have an HDMI input to calibrate.... ......

This is one of two reason why I won't by another TV with streaming capability. An external HDMI input has a ful compliment of video adjusts, while NetCast such as on my LG only has limited presets for picture quality settings. The other reason is , after a TV is a year or so old updates for streaming options and services usually dry up. So then you are done. What, buy a new TV with the "latest" streaming services? Much cheaper to buy a BD player, streaming box, or connect up and existing computer to get the latest streaming services.
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phase700B View Post

This is one of two reason why I won't by another TV with streaming capability. An external HDMI input has a ful compliment of video adjusts, while NetCast such as on my LG only has limited presets for picture quality settings. The other reason is , after a TV is a year or so old updates for streaming options and services usually dry up. So then you are done. What, buy a new TV with the "latest" streaming services? Much cheaper to buy a BD player, streaming box, or connect up and existing computer to get the latest streaming services.

I agree and have said that myself many times. There just seems to be too many issues with smart tv's for that feature to be useful to me. I'm sure there are lots of folks who have no issues at all and are quite happy with their smart tv and that's cool. But for me, it's just one more thing to possibly go wrong on an already complex tv with future scalability limited at best.
post #14 of 36
Thread Starter 
Well, I found some IRE windows to stream via YOUTUBE. After copying my grayscale settings from the HDMI inputs over to the streaming input and playing those IRE windows via YOUTUBE, I was very surprised at the large amount of difference between HDMI and STREAMING.

So, at this point, it's hard for me to tell if the grayscale differences are due to the content coming from YOUTUBE or to the television's treatment of streaming INPUT in general.

I went ahead and calibrated the grayscale using the IRE windows streamed via Youtube. So, I guess we'll see how it goes.

I might go ahead and upload my own calibration files to YOUTUBE as was suggested earlier in this thread. It's too bad YOUTUBE seems to compress the heck out of this stuff. It's also too bad there's not some way to do this via NETFLIX or AMAZON Prime.
post #15 of 36
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, in case anyone is still checking in on this thread:

I have attempted to upload the MP4 videos to youtube, but when viewed through youtube, they have horizontal banding and lots of distortion. Does anyone know any tricks for getting these files to display correctly via youtube?
post #16 of 36
I'm in the same boat and was wondering if anyone found a solution to this problem?
On my LG Smart TV, the Netflix app its own color settings that are independent of the TV's color options. Without the ability to stream calibration tools, we're left with a "Best guess" Netflix calibration. Because of this limitation I regret buying the SMART TV. WDTV Live video player has a Netflix app, but it does not have its own color calibration options (which is a good thing!).
post #17 of 36
I guess I don't get it. The source is going to be different every time and the point is to calibrate the display device, not the source. The display device is supposed to deliver as close as possible the rec.709 standards, not the input or source. My set was calibrated via the BD player thru one HDMI input. I transferred the settings to my other inputs (OTA and HDMI2, made some minor adjustments to taste (which is counter to calibrating but oh well) and pq for streaming is just fine, knowing that the pq is going to be more variable than OTA or BD/DVD given the source.
post #18 of 36
Thread Starter 
the problem is that the tv may have different internal behavior for different inputs.
post #19 of 36
Quote:


guess I don't get it. The source is going to be different every time and the point is to calibrate the display device, not the source.

Example of the issue:

Say the LGTV is calibrated properly and has a backlight brightness set at 0, Color at 42, contrast at 90, and color balance "WARM".

When you launch Netflix, it will apply its own "STANDARD" color settings by default. So the brightness will change to 30, contrast to 50, color to 50, and color balance to NEUTRAL.

The result is a drastically different picture than what you originally. The only solution now is to set Netflix's calibration "by eye", which is difficult to do, especially without any specialized tools.

On the WDTV, this isn't necessary as Netflix simply uses the devices color settings and doesn't attempt to apply its own.
post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by lou99 View Post

Example of the issue:

Say the LGTV is calibrated properly and has a backlight brightness set at 0, Color at 42, contrast at 90, and color balance "WARM".

When you launch Netflix, it will apply its own "STANDARD" color settings by default. So the brightness will change to 30, contrast to 50, color to 50, and color balance to NEUTRAL.

can't you just copy the calibrated settings manually to the picture menu while using Netflix?
post #21 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by lou99 View Post


When you launch Netflix, it will apply its own "STANDARD" color settings by default. So the brightness will change to 30, contrast to 50, color to 50, and color balance to NEUTRAL.

Really? I've never noticed that at all on my LG. I use the same calibrated setting for all of my inputs and the pq is just fine. Of course my tv is not smart so I either use the AppleTV2 for NetFlix or the NetFlix app on the BD player if I'm too lazy to switch devices. And to answer the other question about various internal behavior for the different HDMI inputs, my input for the BD/ATV2 are set to HDMI, not PC or any other device, which does alter some of the settings and control features. TV is OTA only and the calibrated settings look really nice as well. Of course that is source dependent (quality of the network broadcast) but overall the pq is excellent, especially for live sports.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

I guess I don't get it. The source is going to be different every time and the point is to calibrate the display device, not the source. The display device is supposed to deliver as close as possible the rec.709 standards, not the input or source. My set was calibrated via the BD player thru one HDMI input. I transferred the settings to my other inputs (OTA and HDMI2, made some minor adjustments to taste (which is counter to calibrating but oh well) and pq for streaming is just fine, knowing that the pq is going to be more variable than OTA or BD/DVD given the source.

I make things even simpler for myself by routing all my HDMI sources (PS3, Xbox 360, and HD Cable Box) through a simple, cheap auto switching device to HDMI1. I can have a day and night calibration but I find myself using the Night mode almost always since 30-40 fL is ideal for dark rooms and dim rooms (I leave the lights off and curtains shut whenever watching TV).
post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post

can't you just copy the calibrated settings manually to the picture menu while using Netflix?

No because the Netflix APP has very limited picture settings that dont correlate 1:1 with the TV's picture settings.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasmaPZ80U View Post

I make things even simpler for myself by routing all my HDMI sources (PS3, Xbox 360, and HD Cable Box) through a simple, cheap auto switching device to HDMI1. I can have a day and night calibration but I find myself using the Night mode almost always since 30-40 fL is ideal for dark rooms and dim rooms (I leave the lights off and curtains shut whenever watching TV).

Yep, that would work as well. My setup is very simple because I don't have cable or sat which seems to cause all kinds of connection/viewing problems for various reasons. The only time our tv room gets direct sunlight (it faces due East) is in the morning when we are less apt to be watching tv so indirect light is the norm and at night we use a bias light so one setting works for us. A single HDMI from the AVR to the tv for peripherals and a coax to the OTA/Cable input is all we need.
post #25 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by lou99 View Post

No because the Netflix APP has very limited picture settings that dont correlate 1:1 with the TV's picture settings.

Sounds like another reason not to get a "smart tv". I have the LG set to 1:1 and that's what we get.
post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

Yep, that would work as well. My setup is very simple because I don't have cable or sat which seems to cause all kinds of connection/viewing problems for various reasons. The only time our tv room gets direct sunlight (it faces due East) is in the morning when we are less apt to be watching tv so indirect light is the norm and at night we use a bias light so one setting works for us. A single HDMI from the AVR to the tv for peripherals and a coax to the OTA/Cable input is all we need.

"Mileage may vary" as they say, but having 4 different Blu-ray players plus an HD DVD player has shown me that using one HDMI input for all devices does not always work with the same calibrated video settings. I have connected up all these devices after calibration to the same HDMI input one at a time and gray scale shows slight, but visible errors between all of them. Plus, one of them has quite a difference in low IRE levels. This is with all disc players video settings at " neutral" positions or off.

Also, on my LG 42LD550, the same calibrated settings are not acceptable for OTA built in tuner use. Close, but no cigar as they say. Not only is gray scale off, but primary colors are not good at all and over saturated in some. I tried using the same settings obtained for Blu-ray use several times and while they look better than store torch modes, they are not acceptable to me.

Plus, using different inputs also seems to vary with the same settings.
post #27 of 36
Thread Starter 
The issue isn't so bad on my panasonic smart TV -- I do have a full set of calibration controls. The problem is, I have no way to even begin to measure what sort of PQ behavior I get without some sort of standardized test pattern to apply to it. Like I mentioned previously, I really don't want to break into the service menu and start tinkering with settings just because the value doesn't match something from one of the other inputs.

I would much rather measure what's actually going on on the streaming "input" and adjust whatever I know is needed to correct it.

I've given up on that though. No real input means no real way to measure.
post #28 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phase700B View Post

"Mileage may vary" as they say, but having 4 different Blu-ray players plus an HD DVD player has shown me that using one HDMI input for all devices does not always work with the same calibrated video settings.

You may be right (and quite probably are), and you know how I calibrated my set, but for me it looks just fine. I guess the brain adjusts over time which is fine otherwise I'd go crazy twiddling with my settings all of the time trying to get them to industry standards when all I want to do is watch tv or just throw in a movie and enjoy it.
post #29 of 36
I put up some patterns on youtube if you want to give them a try.
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post

You may be right (and quite probably are), and you know how I calibrated my set, but for me it looks just fine. I guess the brain adjusts over time which is fine otherwise I'd go crazy twiddling with my settings all of the time trying to get them to industry standards when all I want to do is watch tv or just throw in a movie and enjoy it.

Oh. . . by all mean, I agree, and your set is the 47LD520 , plus I am pretty sure I have an early issue LD550 with possibly different main board. After 18 months of ownership and use and reading comments form others in the LD and LK line of LG TVs, I'm thinking mine is almost a "different breed having the Global-Plat2 platform. I think mine is a bit more quirky than the average.

Plus, it's not that the calibrated settings are THAT much off from device to device, but it is measurable and different. Picture quality wise, most friends and family saw no difference. . . until I showed the slight difference in gray scale ramps. The biggest differences were with my Toshiba HD XA2 player which has quite extensive video settings and really great internal decoding of both Blu-ray and DVD discs.
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