Do I Need to Have my TV Calibrated? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 88 Old 04-05-2020, 07:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Do I Need to Have my TV Calibrated?

Professional calibration... it's a process that is often discussed but infrequently implemented, except by the most fastidious videophiles. Is it necessary?

Click here to read more
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post #2 of 88 Old 04-05-2020, 11:55 AM
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When I started reading this article I had to stop and put my glassed on to make sure I was reading it correctly.

Overall it has a lot of factual information and opinions but I can't agree with all of it. Specifically, it's very true that TV's, especially the premium ones OOTB are significantly better today than in previous years but often because of panel and component variations, the SDR gamma is not optimal resulting in crushed or glowing blacks and near blacks and this gets worse if you change the brightness on a default PM for example. This is just one common complaint i hear from many owners. There many other aspects of PQ that can be corrected and or optimized with calibration but that's a large discussion. From my experience working on many of the same types and brands of premium TVs, i usually recommend if you like what you see OOTB after you change the PM from Standard to an expert PM like ISF or Filmmaker on the LG or Expert1 or 2 on the Sony, then there is nothing to do but enjoy your TV. If you have the time and money you can learn to calibrate yourself with free or low cost calibration software and an inexpensive meter like an x-rite i1D3 to bring your TV to the next level of accuracy. If you want the most out of your TV, trying to get it as close to reference as possible then a professional calibration is in order. In addition, you would be surprised at the number of higher end home theater installations have calibrated TVs. Another way to look at it is if you are spending the money on a premium TV, for a little more you can make it more accurate by calibrating it yourself or bring it to near reference with a professional calibration. I would agree though on less expensive TVs, changing the picture mode with some user adjustments probably makes sense.
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post #3 of 88 Old 04-05-2020, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrref View Post
When I started reading this article I had to stop and put my glassed on to make sure I was reading it correctly.

Overall it has a lot of factual information and opinions but I can't agree with all of it. Specifically, it's very true that TV's, especially the premium ones OOTB are significantly better today than in previous years but often because of panel and component variations, the SDR gamma is not optimal resulting in crushed or glowing blacks and near blacks and this gets worse if you change the brightness on a default PM for example. This is just one common complaint i hear from many owners. There many other aspects of PQ that can be corrected and or optimized with calibration but that's a large discussion. From my experience working on many of the same types and brands of premium TVs, i usually recommend if you like what you see OOTB after you change the PM from Standard to an expert PM like ISF or Filmmaker on the LG or Expert1 or 2 on the Sony, then there is nothing to do but enjoy your TV. If you have the time and money you can learn to calibrate yourself with free or low cost calibration software and an inexpensive meter like an x-rite i1D3 to bring your TV to the next level of accuracy. If you want the most out of your TV, trying to get it as close to reference as possible then a professional calibration is in order. In addition, you would be surprised at the number of higher end home theater installations have calibrated TVs. Another way to look at it is if you are spending the money on a premium TV, for a little more you can make it more accurate by calibrating it yourself or bring it to near reference with a professional calibration. I would agree though on less expensive TVs, changing the picture mode with some user adjustments probably makes sense.
If the context is home theater then one should always get their display calibrated, whether it's a projector or a flat panel. Since the space is light-controlled and the priority is movies, it will allow for a "textbook" calibration that—especially for HD Blu-ray—is spot-on accurate because modern displays cover rec.709 and hit "dark room" SDR peak brightness levels with relative ease.

I added this to the post "The best TV for you might not be a model that offers high accuracy out of the box. If this is the case, a calibration should be considered, especially if you have a high priced, high-performance TV intended for home theater applications."

And of course for that application it's still key... one should make sure the TV is large enough to not look silly!

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post #4 of 88 Old 04-05-2020, 12:15 PM
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My LG B6 OLED was the first TV that I've had professionally calibrated. While I was waiting for my TV to break in, I just used the ISF settings and adjusted what I could using test patterns. The difference after I had it professionally calibrated was significant. Colors looked a lot better and everything just had a lot more depth to it.

I'd never buy another TV and not have it calibrated. Another side benefit is that I've never had any type of burn-in despite having 8000+ hours on the TV and 1/3 of that on HDR video gaming.
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post #5 of 88 Old 04-05-2020, 01:28 PM
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Depends who is watching it !

Me - PQ freak.
Wife - it has color and makes noise. It's good. Leave it alone.
6 TVs in the house. 5 for the wife, 1 for me.
The 1 gets constant attention.
The rest, whenever I'm in the mood, and wife not home. (Unfortunately, now she's home all the time, so just mine. Few more years, she'll be on pension, and home all the time.)

Manufacturers will probably do some kind of calibration - same settings for all, or an actual kind of calibration ?
Due to jostling during shipping, and handling at the wholesaler and retailer, settings may get knocked out of adjustment
Calibrated right out of the box ? Most prefer after 100 to 1000 hours of use. (Or both)
Weather affects, electronic changes as parts heat up and cool, room conditions, humidity, and other factors can affect the final results.
Why I took up DIYing. Software and meters have improved over the years, and I like what I like to watch. Seems off - bring back to spec. (This is habit like an addiction!)
You're always learning something new when DIYing. ie I use to calibrate all my HDMI Inputs using software, meter and pattern generator. Recently, I calibrated using AVCHD patterns burned on a Blu-ray for my BD player. Result, a different set of settings. Pattern Generator settings were different than the pattern on Blu-ray settings. I'm going to assume, for my BD player, the Blu-ray patterns are the better way to go because I'm now calibrating the player output versus the pattern generator.

PS. Re room changes: recently purchased a new TV for the wife, and moved her old TV into the guest bedroom. The old TV had to be completely re-calibrated due to the room being a different color, and lighting was also a factor. So manufacturer calibrates where and when, and you're going to setup where?
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post #6 of 88 Old 04-05-2020, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by p5browne View Post
Me - PQ freak.
Wife - it has color and makes noise. It's good. Leave it alone.
6 TVs in the house. 5 for the wife, 1 for me.
The 1 gets constant attention.
The rest, whenever I'm in the mood, and wife not home. (Unfortunately, now she's home all the time, so just mine. Few more years, she'll be on pension, and home all the time.)

Manufacturers will probably do some kind of calibration - same settings for all, or an actual kind of calibration ?
Due to jostling during shipping, and handling at the wholesaler and retailer, settings may get knocked out of adjustment
Calibrated right out of the box ? Most prefer after 100 to 1000 hours of use. (Or both)
Weather affects, electronic changes as parts heat up and cool, room conditions, humidity, and other factors can affect the final results.
Why I took up DIYing. Software and meters have improved over the years, and I like what I like to watch. Seems off - bring back to spec. (This is habit like an addiction!)

You're always learning something new when DIYing. ie I use to calibrate all my HDMI Inputs using software, meter and pattern generator. Recently, I calibrated using AVCHD patterns burned on a Blu-ray for my BD player. Result, a different set of settings. Pattern Generator settings were different than the pattern on Blu-ray settings. I'm going to assume, for my BD player, the Blu-ray patterns are the better way to go because I'm now calibrating the player output versus the pattern generator.

PS. Re room changes: recently purchased a new TV for the wife, and moved her old TV into the guest bedroom. The old TV had to be completely re-calibrated due to the room being a different color, and lighting was also a factor. So manufacturer calibrates where and when, and you're going to setup where?
- That's not good. Pattern generators are supposed to be a reference you can trust. It's more likely the Blu-ray player is changing something in the signal path, or else the patterns themselves are not the same.

- There's a lot of setup/adjustment you can do to adapt to room lighting conditions that do not require a meter, just patterns and your eyes.

- I'm not sure what the color of the room itself would have to do with the calibration a TV (lighting conditions, yes... room color?) - I can see how it would impact a reflective screen projection system but a transmissive or emissive screen TV? How does that change what would constitute an accurate calibration?
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post #7 of 88 Old 04-05-2020, 02:15 PM
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Why spend the money on a good tv if you are not going to take full advantage of it, I feel like this is baiting question. if somebody spend thousands of dollars on a tv don't they want to get the best possible out it? The only way I know to do that is have it professional calibrated. If calibrating a tv had no benefit than movie studios would not do it and people would not do it to make a living.
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post #8 of 88 Old 04-05-2020, 02:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave-T View Post
If calibrating a tv had no benefit than movie studios would not do it and people would not do it to make a living.

Plenty of people make a living at worthless activities. ;-)


You know like selling $1000 power cables to audiophiles.


I'm not saying calibrating TVs falls into this category.
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post #9 of 88 Old 04-05-2020, 02:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave-T View Post
Why spend the money on a good tv if you are not going to take full advantage of it, I feel like this is baiting question. if somebody spend thousands of dollars on a tv don't they want to get the best possible out it? The only way I know to do that is have it professional calibrated. If calibrating a tv had no benefit than movie studios would not do it and people would not do it to make a living.
Show me where I say calibration "has no benefit"

In that article, I concluded with "Of course, there will always be a place for a professional calibration, be it for the mastering displays, for projection-based systems, and yes… fastidious TV owners who want to experience the absolute highest quality they can squeeze out of their system."

One of the things I tried to get across was that things have changed recently. Go back just a few years and you'd be hard pressed to find any TV that's even close to accurate out of the box. That a TV can even be "acceptable" out of the box is a relatively new thing.

Another thing I tried to convey is that while a pro calibration is how you get the "best" out of a TV, there's often quite a bit that can be done in the realm of setup/optimization to improve upon the default settings as well.

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post #10 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 12:31 AM
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I read this so often that you only should use pattern generators, because they are more accurate..

But you dont use that pattern generation for anything else. So how accurate is then your cable tv box, your Playstation, your Blu Ray Player..

And how "inaccurate" are they.. When they for example show a 20% stimulus window.. How much difference is there.. Has anybody measured that? Why should they be inaccurate.. They are digital and only tell the tv what to display.. Like that certain red, that certain brightness.. These are basic color codes sent to the tv.. Where is the inaccuracy happening?

I use a i1 Display Pro, HCFR and a Notebook.. Total cost 200$.. I have calibrated lots of tvs, especially Plasma TVs that all need calibration. White Balance was never even close.. Modern LCDs are much better..

BUT..

Even with a simple calibration set up, you can tweak the remaining 10% and THAT is what makes the difference..

It is a great DIY hobby..

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Quote:
Originally Posted by AVS Forum News & Reviews View Post
Professional calibration... it's a process that is often discussed but infrequently implemented, except by the most fastidious videophiles. Is it necessary?

Click here to read more
fastidious:
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fastidious
I love the word.

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post #12 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Bruce2019 View Post
I read this so often that you only should use pattern generators, because they are more accurate..

But you dont use that pattern generation for anything else. So how accurate is then your cable tv box, your Playstation, your Blu Ray Player..

And how "inaccurate" are they.. When they for example show a 20% stimulus window.. How much difference is there.. Has anybody measured that? Why should they be inaccurate.. They are digital and only tell the tv what to display.. Like that certain red, that certain brightness.. These are basic color codes sent to the tv.. Where is the inaccuracy happening?

I use a i1 Display Pro, HCFR and a Notebook.. Total cost 200$.. I have calibrated lots of tvs, especially Plasma TVs that all need calibration. White Balance was never even close.. Modern LCDs are much better..

BUT..

Even with a simple calibration set up, you can tweak the remaining 10% and THAT is what makes the difference..

It is a great DIY hobby..
The inaccuracy would be the result of some sort of picture processing inside the source.

It's not that you should ONLY use a pattern generator. If you are sure your other source is putting out a clean, unprocessed, accurate signal for your patterns, then you can use it no problem. It's just that the other sources should match the pattern generator, when showing the same pattern.

The point is pattern generators do not have video processing built in, and it's that video processing that's going to cause another device to display something different.

Yes, if you go back a few years basically all TVs needed calibration. Plasmas definitely needed periodic "maintenance" mine would drift.
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post #13 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 04:38 AM
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Do I Need to Have my TV Calibrated?
Need to? No. Could a calibration be worthwhile? Definitely maybe.
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post #14 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 05:29 AM
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I enjoyed the read actually and definitely agree with the premise of the article. Lower -end purchases often do not justify prof. calibration but they always justify fiddling with the settings to see how far you can push and pull the display into somewhat standard profile. That said, we enthusiasts all want to get the absolute most out of our displays I'm sure. To that effect, I'm taking suggestions as to attempting a somewhat professional calibration using inexpensive tools and methods like those mentioned above but also wouldn't mind renting the pro meters and dedicated software setup to go through the process myself. Does anyone know if that's even an option?
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post #15 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 08:24 AM
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I believe with the new TV's today, selecting the various pre-factory settings, you will be able to have a superb picture....to your liking.
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Change channels and...

I had my TV calibrated once and the minute I changed channels and sources (every Blu-ray is different), calibration made some networks worse and some movies seemed almost black and white.

Seems to me calibration would be absolutely critical and 100% necessary if every network and UHD/ Blu-Ray disc shared the same color spectrum. I just know that CBS is different from ESPN, FOX, and others. NBC loves red. When will they all get on the same page?
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I had my TV calibrated once and the minute I changed channels and sources (every Blu-ray is different), calibration made some networks worse and some movies seemed almost black and white.

Seems to me calibration would be absolutely critical and 100% necessary if every network and UHD/ Blu-Ray disc shared the same color spectrum. I just know that CBS is different from ESPN, FOX, and others. NBC loves red. When will they all get on the same page?
Sounds to me like the person doing the calibrating did not know what they were doing.

HDTV is indeed broadcast a single color standard, rec.709 (BT.709), which is the same standard that's used by HD Blu-ray. As for movies and shows having different tints, yes that's a thing. Live sports, the color temp often visibly varies from camera to camera. A calibrated TV will simply show those differences more accurately.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Sounds to me like the person doing the calibrating did not know what they were doing.

HDTV is indeed broadcast a single color standard, rec.709 (BT.709), which is the same standard that's used by HD Blu-ray. As for movies and shows having different tints, yes that's a thing. Live sports, the color temp often visibly varies from camera to camera. A calibrated TV will simply show those differences more accurately.
Was wondering the same thing. Thanks for reply.
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
- That's not good. Pattern generators are supposed to be a reference you can trust. It's more likely the Blu-ray player is changing something in the signal path, or else the patterns themselves are not the same.

My comment here was, the Pattern Generator does put out a clean signal and does give a set of settings.
BUT, if the BD Player is some how affecting the output signal to the TV, then the Pattern Generator settings maybe accurate, but are the settings correct for the BD Player playback? Hence, the Pattern Blu-ray to calibrate for the BD Player signal to now make it accurate.

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post #20 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 11:05 AM
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Originally Posted by p5browne View Post
My comment here was, the Pattern Generator does put out a clean signal and does give a set of settings.
BUT, if the BD Player is some how affecting the output signal to the TV, then the Pattern Generator settings maybe accurate, but are the settings correct for the BD Player playback? Hence, the Pattern Blu-ray to calibrate for the BD Player signal to now make it accurate.
Ideally, you would find the setting in the Blu-ray player that is causing the difference and disable it. Or get a different Blu-ray player that doesn't alter the signal.
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I don't recall anyone ever comparing a Pattern Generator Output to a BD Player Output to see if there is any signal change. Are there actually any BD Players with HDMI Inputs? As you mentioned the Pattern Generator Patterns versus the Blu-ray Patterns themselves may have differences. Since not many BD Players have HDMI Inputs, it would be kind of hard to do a comparison.

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post #22 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by p5browne View Post
I don't recall anyone ever comparing a Pattern Generator Output to a BD Player Output to see if there is any signal change. Are there actually any BD Players with HDMI Inputs? As you mentioned the Pattern Generator Patterns versus the Blu-ray Patterns themselves may have differences. Since not many BD Players have HDMI Inputs, it would be kind of hard to do a comparison.
Oppo, Xbox One.

But, that should not be necessary. you should be able to find patterns that are technically the same (same window size, luminance and color) and then measure each through the same input to see if there's any difference.

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post #23 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 11:42 AM
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I would want a cal ideally, if the cost is not prohibitive, which is unfortunately not the case where i live. when im looking at like 50- 60% of the price i paid for a 65" oled tv, then it is hard to justify the expenditure, i could afford it but it's more that i cannot justify that much. i know in the US you could get an isf certified cal for around 500-600 usd. For me it's significantly more, i mean i could save the money, add just a bit more and would have enough for a JL audio E-sub. Though it makes better sense to go for a more accurately factory calibrated tv if you know you wont be getting it calibrated. pana and sony tv's are good in this regard, samsung is probably the worst offender.

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post #24 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 12:22 PM
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Just one example..

One of my PC Monitors.. It is a (rather budget) NEC 24inch Monitor.. Nothing fancy, but not a cheap model either..

Out of the Box SRGB (which is also the 6500 D65) color temp picture mode..

Trust me.. You see that green tint.. And this is what you get out of the box..

The adjustment options of these monitors are extremely basic, but you can transform this green tint performance monitor into something that is really good..

And the calibration results are consistent.. So you can color grade all your displays.. Attached you see my HD Ready Plasma and that monitor.. (same camera settings)

So even with different display techs, you can color match them spot on.. Once you see that.. you never go back..

So beware.. It is a hobby, but it also can be a rabbit hole
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2013 Panasonic TX-P42X60E PDP
2013 Panasonic TX-P42STW60 PDP
ST60 Settings: Custom Mode, Contrast 60 = 100nits peak brightness aka Filmmaker Mode, Panel Brightness Medium
Gamma 2.2 or 2.4, Gamma settings: 10% -30, 20% -15, 30% -5, 80% +3
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post #25 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 12:28 PM
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So what I actually tried to say is that the budget models benefit from calibration the most.. But it makes only sense if you do it yourself..

The premium models should be much better calibrated.. but again.. Only tweaking will give you the best possible performance

2013 Panasonic TX-P42X60E PDP
2013 Panasonic TX-P42STW60 PDP
ST60 Settings: Custom Mode, Contrast 60 = 100nits peak brightness aka Filmmaker Mode, Panel Brightness Medium
Gamma 2.2 or 2.4, Gamma settings: 10% -30, 20% -15, 30% -5, 80% +3
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post #26 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 01:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruce2019 View Post
Just one example..

One of my PC Monitors.. It is a (rather budget) NEC 24inch Monitor.. Nothing fancy, but not a cheap model either..

Out of the Box SRGB (which is also the 6500 D65) color temp picture mode..

Trust me.. You see that green tint.. And this is what you get out of the box..

The adjustment options of these monitors are extremely basic, but you can transform this green tint performance monitor into something that is really good..

And the calibration results are consistent.. So you can color grade all your displays.. Attached you see my HD Ready Plasma and that monitor.. (same camera settings)

So even with different display techs, you can color match them spot on.. Once you see that.. you never go back..

So beware.. It is a hobby, but it also can be a rabbit hole
For PCs in general, and especially any sort of graphics workflow, monitor calibration is a must. Fortunately on PC it's easy and affordable to get a SpyderX kit or a i1Display Pro kit and the included software makes profiling and calibrating a cinch. I have a total of 5 PC screens calibrated, been doing it a long time for my photo and video work.
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post #27 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 03:53 PM
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It's idiotic not to calibrate. Whether you need a professional calibration or not is a whole different discussion. I've had good results using the calibrations posted here and adjusting them a bit by eyeballing it- not the most scientific method, but it noticeably improved the performance from when the TV came out of the box.
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post #28 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by BiggAW View Post
It's idiotic not to calibrate. Whether you need a professional calibration or not is a whole different discussion. I've had good results using the calibrations posted here and adjusting them a bit by eyeballing it- not the most scientific method, but it noticeably improved the performance from when the TV came out of the box.
Technically that's optimization/setup not calibration you are describing, with the defining difference being the absence of a meter of any sort.

And yeah it's worth it to do that tweaking, as I go over in the post. But regardless of whether a pro or an amateur does it, to actually calibrate a TV requires a (profiled i.e. accurate) meter and specialized software.

But the point remains valid, you can do a lot with optimization. It's "crazy" not to at least make some adjustments.

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post #29 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by imagic View Post
Show me where I say calibration "has no benefit"

In that article, I concluded with "Of course, there will always be a place for a professional calibration, be it for the mastering displays, for projection-based systems, and yes… fastidious TV owners who want to experience the absolute highest quality they can squeeze out of their system."

One of the things I tried to get across was that things have changed recently. Go back just a few years and you'd be hard pressed to find any TV that's even close to accurate out of the box. That a TV can even be "acceptable" out of the box is a relatively new thing.

Another thing I tried to convey is that while a pro calibration is how you get the "best" out of a TV, there's often quite a bit that can be done in the realm of setup/optimization to improve upon the default settings as well.
Your comment regarding out-of-the-box accuracy is very true, Mark. My Sony KD-34XS955 Wega CRT needed lots of changes in the servicemenu and even my Panasonic ST60 and Samsung F8500 plasmas needed plenty of grasycale adjustment and other tweaks to be accurate (calibrated those myself). Only my Pioneer Kuro Elite plasma monitor (PRO-101FD) was mostly accurate, though it still benefited from a full calibration by D-Nice (his gear and knowledge far surpassed mine). My friend's LG 65" C9 OLED was quite accurate and needed minimal grasycale adjustments out of the box - I was impressed. The next challenge is calibrating for both SDR and HDR - with HDR10+, HLG and DV (maybe others too?) I'm not sure how that works anymore.
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post #30 of 88 Old 04-06-2020, 06:22 PM
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I had my OLED calibrated by a local big box technician who was ISF certified. He spent an hour on the TV and went on his way and I was not pleased with the result. Was the picture “reference?” I guess it was. But was it pleasing? No.

The blacks were way too dark which crushed shadow detail. Sure some HDR material got some color pop but as soon as I watched broadcast or played a game or watched anything in SDR, the picture just didn’t look right. So I changed the settings back to something that might not be “reference” but is pleasing to me.

Lastly, I think there is some placebo effect/justify my purchase thing going on here. People who buy $100,000 speaker cables don’t want to hear that they got played, or people who spent $500+ on a calibration don’t want to hear that calibration is purely optional and subjective, just like the guy down the street with the white indoor sunglasses, popped collar and too much hair product doesn’t want to hear that there are cheaper cars that can outrun his M4.
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