No problem Bill!
I figure that you can't have too many calibration toys.
I highly recommend the SpyderTVPRO as well. Your frustration levels will drop to zero because the program does hold your hand.
For anyone who is interested, yesterday I decided to play with one of the software programs that comes along with the SpyderTVPro. I hadn't used Spyder2PRO before and since the documentation in the envelope suggested that HTPC users would benefit from using both programs, I thought I'd give it a try.
First off, I used Spyder2PRO to calibrate my computer monitor as a preliminary test to give me a feel for the wizard and an impression of the software's capabilities. I had already calibrated the monitor a couple of months ago using Spyder2Express. There does appear to be an improvement but I'm not concerned with accurate colors on my PC monitor because I basically use it to read only.
However, critical viewing is done through this same computer which doubles as my HTPC feeding video out via HDMI and DVI cables to my H78. This is my primary means to view DVDs although I do also use my Oppo DVD player as a secondary source.
The information sheet explains that it's best to calibrate the entire chain from source to display device when using an HTPC in order to get the best results. I had ignored this advice when I first got SpyderTVPRO because I had found the explanatory information a little ambiguous and wasn't really sure whether this step was necessary. Thus, I only originally calibrated with SpyderTVPRO and I've posted my musings on that earlier in this thread.
In doing research pertaining to Spyder2PRO, I discovered that it's important to establish a good relationship between your HTPC's video card and the display device that's interacting with it. Your video card may be set up correctly to display accurate colors to your PC monitor but that doesn't necessarily mean that the same holds true when a projector for instance is the display device used in conjunction with a PC.
So, since the documentation suggests a SpyderTVPro calibration followed by a run with the Spyder2PRO, and then finally another one with SpyderTVPRO, I thought I'd give it a go.
Using Spyder2PRO to calibrate a projector (which is really a misnomer as what you're really calibrating is the ability of the PC's video card to accurately send colors to the projector based on the test readings that the software receives off of the projection screen) is very interesting and a somewhat different experience than using SpyderTVPRO. It actually reminded me of the readings that I'm familiar with through Calman.
After youve mounted the Spyder on a tripod, you load and launch the included software package that plays back a suite of colors. As these colors are displaying, the Spyder instrument is taking readings and sending them back to your computer via USB. Keep in mind that the way the Spyder2PRO works is its calibration software plays back a series of carefully selected colors via your computer into the projector, and then assesses the difference between the ideal colors and those that your projector is displaying. It then adjusts parameters in your graphics card and makes it so the colors that are being sent to your projector are the ones that will result in the perfect colors as theyre projected.
Playing back the calibration routine, it appears as a sequence of colors, starting from the darkest red up to a very bright version of red, and then does the same for green and blue. At the end of the test, it sends a sequence of grayscale images. Each one of the shades of color is on screen for about five seconds, and it then cycles on to the next color in the sequence.
The software then creates a display profile that will be stored on the computer and will be used by the graphics card as a reference when it boots. Another nice feature is the fact that it also gives you the option to create other profiles for times when your projector will be used with different ambient light levels. My video card is BFG's Nvidia 6600 GT and it allows me to add as many of these color profiles as I wish. You can access the profiles by either going into your display file or even easier, utilize the Profile Chooser application that comes built into the software.
Since Spyder2PRO's job is to referee that delicate interplay between computer and graphics card, you cant use the Spyder2PRO to calibrate your DVD player as it plays through the projector, for instance, or your cable TV box or PVR. Thats because the Spyder2PRO works by adjusting that interplay between a computers graphics card and its display by reading those parameters that are a result of a precise calibration routine. As you calibrate it the first time, the software creates a file that is later read by your graphics card as your computer boots, and as a result your graphics card has learned to deliver perfectly-calibrated colors every time. So, the Spyder2PRO has limited use in the home theater. But if youre playing back movies in your home theater using a projector and your computer as a source, youre in luckthose colors can be perfectly calibrated by Spyder2PRO. This system should be particularly advantageous for those who do presentations, and want to make sure their colors are true.
One interesting thing I noticed is that the Spyder2Pro software guides you to the EXACT spot to place the colorimeter. There's a crosshatch page in the wizard and all you do is ensure that the shadow of the sensor is centered directly over where the horizontal and vertical lines meet in the middle. I found this odd since I've always situated the device in the bottom third of the screen and had it facing up toward the middle in order to avoid the shadow influencing the measurement. Apparently, Datacolor insists that this is the proper method to use the instrument and I thought that I had nothing to lose by trying it this way so that's what I did. As I thought about it, I realized that the crosshairs of the image coming from the lens were hitting my tripod just behind the Spyder sensor like a bullseye and it occurred to me that it did actually seem logical to place the sensor in this manner.
So this calibration was the second of a three part function. I had already as mentioned earlier used SpyderTVPRO. So the idea is that now Spyder2PRO is better able to decipher how to adjust the video card in the computer so as to best interact with the projector.
I then did the final step and re-calibrated the projector with SpyderTVPRO and this time I left the colorimeter exactly where I had placed it during the Spyder2PRO tests.
The color profile created by the software is only useful specifically for my projector. I tried to view the PC monitor using this profile and it was very inaccurate. No matter, it's very easy to revert to an earlier profile created just for the monitor. But the good news is, the results after doing all of this work indicated that it was worth it!
Using SpyderTVPRO on a projector linked to an HPTC will provide excellent results as I'd learned in the past couple of weeks. However, going this route and also implementing Spyder2PRO in the process is a highly recommendable procedure in my estimation. I have improved upon what was already a satisfying image. I've been able to qualify this by going to some scenes in movies that have always bothered me although to a much less extent after the original SpyderTVPRO calibration.
So anyone using an HTPC in their home theater should use Spyder2PRO as well as SpyderTVPRO in order to calibrate the entire chain or pipeline of video from source to display device.
I want to thank Charlie White at Presentation Masters as I relied on his review to assist me.
Here are my results which are every bit as fabulous on screen as they are on paper.
SpyderTV Pro Report HTPC H78 Post Spyder2PRO Calibration Page 1.pdf 40.5556640625k . file
SpyderTV Pro Report HTPC H78 Post Spyder2PRO Calibration Page 2.pdf 22.59765625k . file
SpyderTV Pro Report HTPC H78 Post Spyder2PRO Calibration Page 3.pdf 20.564453125k . file