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post #1 of 16 Old 07-05-2018, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Question How to test accurate RGB output of limited vs Full

Hi All,

I've been driving myself crazy for the last couple of days trying to wrap my head around RBG Full vs Limited discussion and unfortunately the information out there can be awfully confusing.

I've come to the conclusion after reading articles like the following: https://referencehometheater.com/201...ull-vs-limited that I'm better off using limited RGB range on my console devices and possibly even my HTPC, for the benefit of a single calibration on my display that ideally will suit all content delivered to it.

There's a test image online for confirming if your display is properly showing RGB Full range: http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/img/blacktest.png which is easy enough to verify, you set your source to Full, your display to Full (black level: normal etc) and confirm if you can see the first row of black squares.

What I don't understand is, can this same image be used to confirm if you're display is properly showing RBG limited? The reason I ask is because I'm using a home theatre PC for the majority of my content and I simply don't trust that the combination of Windows 10, NVidia drivers, AV receiver and display are all doing what they are supposed to without some form of testing to validate the output.

When the source is set to limited (on a PC for example via NVidia drivers, or in the PS3/4 video settings) and the display is set to limited, should I see the squares 1-15 in the above test image? I would have thought no, these should be the same dark black as the background due to the TV treating them as BTB content, is this right? This does not appear to be my experience with limited/limited settings and I suspect that 0-255 (full) from the PC is being compressed to 16-235 (limited).

With a properly configured display and with no interference from source, AVR & display settings, how should the blacktest image appear when using limited/limited? should 0-16 be invisible, regardless of brightness? or do they get compressed to 16-235 and therefore become visible, with the only content being outside this range as movies with BTB & WTW content?

P.S. I wish I never went down this rabbit hole

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post #2 of 16 Old 07-05-2018, 09:14 PM
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This really isn't very complicated. Once you understand it you wont have a problem. You should always see that image regardless if you're on limited or full. The key is to have your display and your source synced at the same rgb level. If both are at limited you'll be fine, if both are at full you'll be fine.

RGB works by sending 3 values, one for red, one for green, one for blue. R-G-B. The values are 0 (black) through 255 (white). When in limited mode, pure black is 16 and pure white is 235. Internally your pc and your display are really full RGB. So when using limited, there is translation going on. The easiest is to just take pure black, rgb value (0,0,0). If your PC is set to limited, your PC will send this as (16,16,16) not (0,0,0). Now your display if set to limited will accept this at (16,16,16) and translate it to (0,0,0) to display it. So black looks black.

If your display is set to limited and your pc is set to full, you send (0,0,0) and the display will accept this and display (16,16,16). But if your pc also sends (16,16,16) as a sort of greyish, because the display is limited, it will display (16,16,16) as pure black (0,0,0). So when PC is full and display is limited, your blacks will be crushed because all colors from 0,0,0 to 16,16,16 will be displayed as true black.

If your display is set to full and your pc is set to limited, the opposite happens. When the PC wants to send pure black (0,0,0) it will translate it to limited black at (16,16,16). Your display expecting pure black at (0,0,0) receives (16,16,16) and displays all blacks as a dark grey. Result is you get washed out colors.

So, the solution is to simply pick one and make sure all your devices are using it. I always use FULL myself (I play a lot of games and use desktop a lot on my projector). Then in the display you also set it to FULL (or enhanced). All modern game consoles and roku type devices support both limited and full so it's not a problem. If you want all to use limited, that's fine too but there will be translation happening so in theory the full should look a little better. (This gets more complicated based on what the video is encoded in though, as they may not even be encoded in RGB). Note: picking limited instead of full is fine to just make sure all devices are set to that. Video/movie content is supposedly only mastered in limited range.

So the short message is just pick either full or limited and make sure the source and display are matching and you should be fine.

Using your test image, you will always see boxes 1-15 differently shaded as long as your displays are either both limited or both full. When there's a mismatch then those boxes may look the same because one of the two will be translating values below 16 to 0 and above 0 to 16 etc.

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post #3 of 16 Old 07-05-2018, 11:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Cheers for the response mate, I had it in my head that the test of full RGB to display certain boxes meant that the reverse would be true for confirming your limited signal was correct, this makes more sense now.

The only thing currently giving me grief is that my AVR (Cambridge Audio CRX120) seems to be messing with this output range somewhat, when I connect my PC to the TV directly I get the results you describe, when I connect via the AVR it goes a bit screwy, I'll do more investigation this weekend but your response should help me to better understand what could be happening.
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post #4 of 16 Old 07-05-2018, 11:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Wampy1234 View Post
Cheers for the response mate, I had it in my head that the test of full RGB to display certain boxes meant that the reverse would be true for confirming your limited signal was correct, this makes more sense now.

The only thing currently giving me grief is that my AVR (Cambridge Audio CRX120) seems to be messing with this output range somewhat, when I connect my PC to the TV directly I get the results you describe, when I connect via the AVR it goes a bit screwy, I'll do more investigation this weekend but your response should help me to better understand what could be happening.
This info may help: https://www.lightillusion.com/data_tv_levels.html

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post #5 of 16 Old 07-06-2018, 12:18 AM - Thread Starter
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The examples and explanation provided here is extremely helpful, thanks alot!
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post #6 of 16 Old 07-06-2018, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Wampy1234 View Post
Hi All,

I've been driving myself crazy for the last couple of days trying to wrap my head around RBG Full vs Limited discussion and unfortunately the information out there can be awfully confusing.

I've come to the conclusion after reading articles like the following: https://referencehometheater.com/201...ull-vs-limited that I'm better off using limited RGB range on my console devices and possibly even my HTPC, for the benefit of a single calibration on my display that ideally will suit all content delivered to it.

There's a test image online for confirming if your display is properly showing RGB Full range: http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/img/blacktest.png which is easy enough to verify, you set your source to Full, your display to Full (black level: normal etc) and confirm if you can see the first row of black squares.

What I don't understand is, can this same image be used to confirm if you're display is properly showing RBG limited? The reason I ask is because I'm using a home theatre PC for the majority of my content and I simply don't trust that the combination of Windows 10, NVidia drivers, AV receiver and display are all doing what they are supposed to without some form of testing to validate the output.

When the source is set to limited (on a PC for example via NVidia drivers, or in the PS3/4 video settings) and the display is set to limited, should I see the squares 1-15 in the above test image? I would have thought no, these should be the same dark black as the background due to the TV treating them as BTB content, is this right? This does not appear to be my experience with limited/limited settings and I suspect that 0-255 (full) from the PC is being compressed to 16-235 (limited).

With a properly configured display and with no interference from source, AVR & display settings, how should the blacktest image appear when using limited/limited? should 0-16 be invisible, regardless of brightness? or do they get compressed to 16-235 and therefore become visible, with the only content being outside this range as movies with BTB & WTW content?
Hi, when you have a HTPC and you need to have the most accurate output settings, you need to create 2 presets to your display/projector, to do one calibration for video levels and one for PC levels.

Always you need to have your output set to RGB-Full (PC levels) for each configuration, because any other settings will not be good, RGB Video will compress your levels and its unknown if the YCbCr output is correct since there no way to know what encoding matrix your VGA is using when its converting RGB to YCbCr. Basically YCbCr is always only video levels, and for difference colorspace (REC.709 for exampe) you need specific matrix for the conversion (for RGB-Video to YCbCr REC.709). To avoid any issue you will use RGB-Full to be sure that nothing will be altered by your video card. Also to be sure that any ICC or active VCGT will not alter your output you have to reset your output (see instructions @ 4) there) and disable any ICC.

For Movie playback you will need video levels calibration since the content mastered for video levels, so you have to set your VGA output as RGB-Full, your software movie player to RGB-Video and your display to receive RGB-Video.

This is the most accurate way, since you will not expand any content levels and you will left headroom for all levels above 235, do if you display a contrast pattern (for video levels) it will not clip, and it will show you all levels above 235. (when you will set correctly your contrast setting of your display)

See there why you need headroom: LG 2017 OLED Calibration Thread and Settings

If you expand to 0-255 the movie (RGB 0-255 / video playback application 0-255 / Display set to full range), you don't leave any headroom, you clip everything above 235, but colorspace conversion can have values outside video legal range, so it's a better idea to leave headroom, to prevent issues.

For patterns you will use only video encoded patterns from inside your software player you will use for movie playback (not still images), patterns which are encoded for video levels. (aka a calibration disk).

While above setting will be good for your movie from inside your software movie player, it will not be good for web/stuff, games which require PC Levels calibration, for that reason you will calibrate (without changing any of your PC settings) a different picture mode to your display, for PC level calibration.

For that calibration you can use still images for PC levels, set your display/projector to expect PC levels to its input.

So when you will want to watch a movie you will select from your display the movie preset and when you want desktop stuff you will select the PC desktop preset.
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post #7 of 16 Old 07-06-2018, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ConnecTEDDD View Post
Hi, when you have a HTPC and you need to have the most accurate output settings, you need to create 2 presets to your display/projector, to do one calibration for video levels and one for PC levels.

Always you need to have your output set to RGB-Full (PC levels) for each configuration, because any other settings will not be good, RGB Video will compress your levels and its unknown if the YCbCr output is correct since there no way to know what encoding matrix your VGA is using when its converting RGB to YCbCr. Basically YCbCr is always only video levels, and for difference colorspace (REC.709 for exampe) you need specific matrix for the conversion (for RGB-Video to YCbCr REC.709). To avoid any issue you will use RGB-Full to be sure that nothing will be altered by your video card. Also to be sure that any ICC or active VCGT will not alter your output you have to reset your output (see instructions @ 4) there) and disable any ICC.

For Movie playback you will need video levels calibration since the content mastered for video levels, so you have to set your VGA output as RGB-Full, your software movie player to RGB-Video and your display to receive RGB-Video.

This is the most accurate way, since you will not expand any content levels and you will left headroom for all levels above 235, do if you display a contrast pattern (for video levels) it will not clip, and it will show you all levels above 235. (when you will set correctly your contrast setting of your display)

See there why you need headroom: LG 2017 OLED Calibration Thread and Settings

If you expand to 0-255 the movie (RGB 0-255 / video playback application 0-255 / Display set to full range), you don't leave any headroom, you clip everything above 235, but colorspace conversion can have values outside video legal range, so it's a better idea to leave headroom, to prevent issues.

For patterns you will use only video encoded patterns from inside your software player you will use for movie playback (not still images), patterns which are encoded for video levels. (aka a calibration disk).

While above setting will be good for your movie from inside your software movie player, it will not be good for web/stuff, games which require PC Levels calibration, for that reason you will calibrate (without changing any of your PC settings) a different picture mode to your display, for PC level calibration.

For that calibration you can use still images for PC levels, set your display/projector to expect PC levels to its input.

So when you will want to watch a movie you will select from your display the movie preset and when you want desktop stuff you will select the PC desktop preset.

Interesting as when using madVR the recommendation even from Madshi himself is to use RGB 0-255 throughout the chain provided your display accepts RGB 0-255.
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post #8 of 16 Old 07-06-2018, 08:10 AM
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Interesting as when using madVR the recommendation even from Madshi himself is to use RGB 0-255 throughout the chain provided your display accepts RGB 0-255.
If you are not interested about the headroom, is that solution, and to have one preset for both movies and desktop.

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/139-d...l#post55436104

and then see the last post, where it has histogram which showing levels below 16 and above 235, when you convert YCbCr 4:2:0 to RGB: https://www.avsforum.com/forum/139-d...l#post55529046

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Originally Posted by ConnecTEDDD View Post
Hi, when you have a HTPC and you need to have the most accurate output settings, you need to create 2 presets to your display/projector, to do one calibration for video levels and one for PC levels.

Always you need to have your output set to RGB-Full (PC levels) for each configuration, because any other settings will not be good, RGB Video will compress your levels and its unknown if the YCbCr output is correct since there no way to know what encoding matrix your VGA is using when its converting RGB to YCbCr. Basically YCbCr is always only video levels, and for difference colorspace (REC.709 for exampe) you need specific matrix for the conversion (for RGB-Video to YCbCr REC.709). To avoid any issue you will use RGB-Full to be sure that nothing will be altered by your video card. Also to be sure that any ICC or active VCGT will not alter your output you have to reset your output (see instructions @ 4) there) and disable any ICC.

For Movie playback you will need video levels calibration since the content mastered for video levels, so you have to set your VGA output as RGB-Full, your software movie player to RGB-Video and your display to receive RGB-Video.

This is the most accurate way, since you will not expand any content levels and you will left headroom for all levels above 235, do if you display a contrast pattern (for video levels) it will not clip, and it will show you all levels above 235. (when you will set correctly your contrast setting of your display)

See there why you need headroom: LG 2017 OLED Calibration Thread and Settings

If you expand to 0-255 the movie (RGB 0-255 / video playback application 0-255 / Display set to full range), you don't leave any headroom, you clip everything above 235, but colorspace conversion can have values outside video legal range, so it's a better idea to leave headroom, to prevent issues.

For patterns you will use only video encoded patterns from inside your software player you will use for movie playback (not still images), patterns which are encoded for video levels. (aka a calibration disk).

While above setting will be good for your movie from inside your software movie player, it will not be good for web/stuff, games which require PC Levels calibration, for that reason you will calibrate (without changing any of your PC settings) a different picture mode to your display, for PC level calibration.

For that calibration you can use still images for PC levels, set your display/projector to expect PC levels to its input.

So when you will want to watch a movie you will select from your display the movie preset and when you want desktop stuff you will select the PC desktop preset.
I just cant agree with all of this. You *never* want to mismatch the PC and display. Setting the PC to full, the player to limited and the display to limited is fine for movie playback. But when you exit to desktop you now have a mismatch and that's not acceptable. Everything in the chain should be one or the other.

I agree with this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by ConnecTEDDD View Post
For Movie playback you will need video levels calibration since the content mastered for video levels, so you have to set your VGA output as RGB-Full, your software movie player to RGB-Video and your display to receive RGB-Video.
So if you're worried about rounding errors in conversion in video playback, perhaps its best to just leave everything limited and be done. Games and desktop work fine in that mode as well.

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post #10 of 16 Old 07-07-2018, 01:11 AM
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I just cant agree with all of this. You *never* want to mismatch the PC and display. Setting the PC to full, the player to limited and the display to limited is fine for movie playback. But when you exit to desktop you now have a mismatch and that's not acceptable. Everything in the chain should be one or the other.
Yes, for that reason I recommended to have 2 presets to the display, one calibrated for video levels and one for PC levels. Note that desktop/games peak output levels are based to 'what user like' levels, one can have its peak output to 200 nits, other to 300 nits, other to 150 etc.... there no standards, it has to do with room light condition and prevent eye fatigue.

When you are watching movies, there standards about what peak luminance you need to have, BD movies mastered for 100 nits. To view content as mastered you need to follow that peak output.

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So if you're worried about rounding errors in conversion in video playback, perhaps its best to just leave everything limited and be done. Games and desktop work fine in that mode as well.
That solution it will not ideal, when you have everything to limited, you are clipping WTW and BTB in movies signal (so ignore headroom....SW movie player will expand levels and VGA output will compress level to output RGB-Video) and to your desktop/game you are compressing the 256 levels (Data) to 220 (Video), banding will introduced.

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Yes, for that reason I recommended to have 2 presets to the display, one calibrated for video levels and one for PC levels. Note that desktop/games peak output levels are based to 'what user like' levels, one can have its peak output to 200 nits, other to 300 nits, other to 150 etc.... there no standards, it has to do with room light condition and prevent eye fatigue.

When you are watching movies, there standards about what peak luminance you need to have, BD movies mastered for 100 nits. To view content as mastered you need to follow that peak output.



That solution it will not ideal, when you have everything to limited, you are clipping WTW and BTB in movies signal (so ignore headroom....SW movie player will expand levels and VGA output will compress level to output RGB-Video) and to your desktop/game you are compressing the 256 levels (Data) to 220 (Video), banding will introduced.
Cheers for your detailed response in the posts above, it does make sense even though it counters what is suggested in that article I read (initial post) about always using limited for a TV display.

This is where i was coming from about "driving myself crazy", no matter how much you read about the best implementation of these settings there's another "well actually..." to follow it up which has you going back to the drawing board

I should point out, one of the things that led to my initial frustration with these settings was that my AVR (Cambridge Audio CRX120) was actually boosting the brightness, this is not something that happened with Azur 641R that it replaced, nor something that happens when directly connecting sources to my TV. I wasn't initially aware this had happened and had previously raised the contrast to reduce the washed out effect of the increased brightness, this is what was scrubbing detail in the 0-15 ranges when switching between RGB full/limited (matched on source and TV). After correcting this I was able to get things looking correct on either setting.

I've opened a ticket with CA support for their advise on why the AVR has an effect on the brightness, but I was able to work around this by reducing the brightness setting on my TV by 16 (-40/+40 range).

I've decided on limited > limited for now and I'm satisfied with how all my content looks with a single calibration setting. I use Kodi for TV/movies, Netflix and Youtube in a browser and gaming from the Nintendo Switch; all is looking great

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post #12 of 16 Old 07-10-2018, 01:17 PM
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Cheers for your detailed response in the posts above, it does make sense even though it counters what is suggested in that article I read (initial post) about always using limited for a TV display.

This is where i was coming from about "driving myself crazy", no matter how much you read about the best implementation of these settings there's another "well actually..." to follow it up which has you going back to the drawing board

I should point out, one of the things that led to my initial frustration with these settings was that my AVR (Cambridge Audio CRX120) was actually boosting the brightness, this is not something that happened with Azur 641R that it replaced, nor something that happens when directly connecting sources to my TV. I wasn't initially aware this had happened and had previously raised the contrast to reduce the washed out effect of the increased brightness, this is what was scrubbing detail in the 0-15 ranges when switching between RGB full/limited (matched on source and TV). After correcting this I was able to get things looking correct on either setting.

I've opened a ticket with CA support for their advise on why the AVR has an effect on the brightness, but I was able to work around this by reducing the brightness setting on my TV by 16 (-40/+40 range).

I've decided on limited > limited for now and I'm satisfied with how all my content looks with a single calibration setting. I use Kodi for TV/movies, Netflix and Youtube in a browser and gaming from the Nintendo Switch; all is looking great
Hi, this issue is related with CTA-861-F signaling, incorrect CE Video Format timings, you can have level mismatch with some devices because somewhere its ignored your level selection.

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post #13 of 16 Old 07-10-2018, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi, this issue is related with CTA-861-F signaling, incorrect CE Video Format timings, you can have level mismatch with some devices because somewhere its ignored your level selection.
Cheers for the continued response, are you saying that the AVR may not be respecting the 'limited' output range selected on the source device and outputing 'full' regardless? or is something else going on.

What does it mean that the raised brightness can be replicated with various sources e.g. Switch, PS3 & PC.

I would have thought that an AVR such as the CRX120 which has minimal video processing features would simply pass-through the HDMI signal.
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Cheers for the continued response, are you saying that the AVR may not be respecting the 'limited' output range selected on the source device and outputing 'full' regardless? or is something else going on.

What does it mean that the raised brightness can be replicated with various sources e.g. Switch, PS3 & PC.

I would have thought that an AVR such as the CRX120 which has minimal video processing features would simply pass-through the HDMI signal.
Since by connecting directly each source to your display don't have that problem with levels and only appear when you connect your sources thru your AVR, then looks like that your AVR is responsible.

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post #15 of 16 Old 05-23-2019, 03:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ConnecTEDDD View Post
Hi, when you have a HTPC and you need to have the most accurate output settings, you need to create 2 presets to your display/projector, to do one calibration for video levels and one for PC levels.

Always you need to have your output set to RGB-Full (PC levels) for each configuration, because any other settings will not be good, RGB Video will compress your levels and its unknown if the YCbCr output is correct since there no way to know what encoding matrix your VGA is using when its converting RGB to YCbCr. Basically YCbCr is always only video levels, and for difference colorspace (REC.709 for exampe) you need specific matrix for the conversion (for RGB-Video to YCbCr REC.709). To avoid any issue you will use RGB-Full to be sure that nothing will be altered by your video card. Also to be sure that any ICC or active VCGT will not alter your output you have to reset your output and disable any ICC.

For Movie playback you will need video levels calibration since the content mastered for video levels, so you have to set your VGA output as RGB-Full, your software movie player to RGB-Video and your display to receive RGB-Video.

This is the most accurate way, since you will not expand any content levels and you will left headroom for all levels above 235, do if you display a contrast pattern (for video levels) it will not clip, and it will show you all levels above 235. (when you will set correctly your contrast setting of your display)

If you expand to 0-255 the movie (RGB 0-255 / video playback application 0-255 / Display set to full range), you don't leave any headroom, you clip everything above 235, but colorspace conversion can have values outside video legal range, so it's a better idea to leave headroom, to prevent issues.

For patterns you will use only video encoded patterns from inside your software player you will use for movie playback (not still images), patterns which are encoded for video levels. (aka a calibration disk).

While above setting will be good for your movie from inside your software movie player, it will not be good for web/stuff, games which require PC Levels calibration, for that reason you will calibrate (without changing any of your PC settings) a different picture mode to your display, for PC level calibration.

For that calibration you can use still images for PC levels, set your display/projector to expect PC levels to its input.

So when you will want to watch a movie you will select from your display the movie preset and when you want desktop stuff you will select the PC desktop preset.

man thank you so much, for a few months now I have been learning to calibrate my TV via my connected desktop PC using HCFR, & it had been driving me insane as to why video & gaming content looked so washed out after the calibration


I had originally tried Nvidia control panel set to AUTO & HCFR set to Full & then both set to Limited after reading a lot about how PC should always be set to limited on a TV, then tried both on full after reading that's what PC gaming content uses

but after reading your post I tried a new calibration with Nvidia control panel set to Full RGB & HCFR set to limited & Nvidia video playback set to limited, black level test reduced my brightness level to 34 (previously was 50) & I thought this isn't going to work but went ahead with the calibration anyway, i tested my first movie last night & almost cried, the picture is simply amazing, deep blacks but not crushed & the colours are just fantastic, my TV is an old Sony EX500 55" (bravia engine 3) & im just blown away at how great the picture is now, cant thank you enough

i still haven't had a chance to setup a profile for my PC desktop/gaming use but was curious as to how i should have Nvidia control panel & HCFR setup with RGB Limited/Full, my TV is an old Sony EX500 55" (bravia engine 3) so it doesn't have a color space option in the menu (that i can find) so im assuming it only displays in limited


i also have another question because while setting up the black & white clipping test patterns i noticed after setting Nvidia Control panel to RGB Full & video playback to Limited it allowed me to see 0-255 on the black & white clipping test patterns, whereas any other type of configuration makes them clip below 16 & above 235, to me this just doesn't make any sense, this is also why i had to set my brightness to down to 34 (to make everything below 16 clip) & why i assumed the whole thing wouldn't work

but for it to show 0-255 & look significantly washed out on the 0-16 before brightness adjustment goes completely against 99% of what i have read elsewhere

eitherway im majorly happy with the results for movies, hopefully ill be able to get a profile calibrated for PC gaming that looks just as good
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post #16 of 16 Old 05-23-2019, 03:55 AM
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i typed that in a rush

what i meant to say for my second question is

how is it that by setting my GPU to Full RGB with video playback set to Limited RGB & being connected to a TV that only supports Limited i am able to see 0-255 in the black & white clipping test patterns, yet any other combination of GPU & video playback settings will clip blacks 0-16 & whites 235-253, that seems to go against everything i thought i had learnt so far
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