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Basic Question About ISF Calibrated LCD TV

931 Views 4 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Letuch
First of all: I really like to watch movies with the picture as the film maker intended it to look. That means no unnatural vivid/bright look and so on...


When I use the expert calibration settings from lcdtvbuyingguide or even the calibration from a local ISF expert, the picture looks always kind of dull compared the the pre-defined THX setting from my LG LCD TV.

lcdtvbuyingguide made a nice comparison:


When I look at the sample screenshots then my THX pre-defined setting almost looks the same as there. However, my Expert 1 ISF calibration to D6500K doesn't look like the their sample at all ('Expert 1 our ISF calibration to D6500K with backlight at 90'). Theirs is fine. Mine looks dull and not even close to theirs. And I tried a lot: The ISF values from a local expert (paid a lot for that), the one from lcdtvbuyingguide (which are almost the same regarding the values ... could have saved the money).

Is something wrong with me? Or is my TV just crap (2,5 year old LG 47LW650... I heard the panel from 2013 LG TVs are still the same.

This is really giving me headaches. I mean, I would describe myself as a cineaste and really really want the picture as it is supposed to be... But when the 'real picture' looks that dull...

Thanks for any advice!
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Unfortunately that article isn't very well researched ... they could have just asked someone.

The THX mode in the LG set is really just another memory location no different than the Expert 1 & 2 on the set in terms of settings. When done right Expert modes would pretty much look the same as the THX mode on the set.

There is a good possibility that the calibrator messed up ... and you can get a good idea of that based on how much time he spent in house with you while he was doing it. Was it 20 min ...? 30 min ... 60 min? 3 hours? 4 hours?


No one that sits through an education session during a calibration comes out saying things look dull. It is like proclaiming that 2+2=4 produces a rather small number. Well if you understand the 2+2 part of the equation, you would never talk about the "4" being too small ... (and look the fool as a result)

My $5000 LG top line LCD from 2010 has a THX mode that looks the same as the expert settings. Every other THX LG I have worked on can be made to do the same.


And of course this link leads to an article about what your real options are after you figure your image looks poor ...

Summary ...

1. Get a test disc and follow instructions ($0 to $40)

2. In addition to test disc, get hardware and software and learn how to do calibrations yourself. You will get to a solution in 6 months to a year ... maybe. ($300-$400)

3. Hire a good professional that educates clients to come in and calibrate the TV. ($300-$500)

4. Get your own hardware and software and speed up the learning curve by getting professional level training. ($150-$2000 for training)

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I loved the "2+2=4 and 98 being a better number" part
I think good and precise analogies are invaluable tools of a good teacher.

As a guy who's been playing around with calibration for slightly more than 7 nights, I do feel my head spinning and overloaded with information already. It was easy to grasp basic ideas and get first results. I was Googling like crazy for bits of useful information and other people's experiences that would reveal something to me. First few attempts and I was scratching my head. All graphs aligned pretty good. As good as novice can get with colorimeter in his first days according to guides and other sources. Picture however did not follow the same trend. It was...different at best. It wasn't stunning. It wasn't jumping out of the screen as it was supposed to. Even on best of Blu-Ray movies proclaimed reference material by my favorite Blu-Ray Digest. If it was something else, I'd be growing really impatient and aggravated by inability to squeeze out what I wanted. After all I'm really proud to be visual fidelity geek. But apparently calibration is some sort of sickness. It gets extremely exciting when bit by bit you get closer to the goal. Especially when you're complete noob trying to achieve something that others spent years on. That's where I've interpreted one of your articles on TLV website to something like "Get what satisfies you. Don't chase the numbers just because. It won't get you anywhere". So I've switched to getting the picture to my liking with the knowledge and hardware I have. I took a step back and tried to revisit what I know. It took me two nights to realize couple of very simple things:

- I like strong contrast and true colors.

- I was trying to achieve good contrast with 26fL output on plasma Panny VT60.

I've tweaked the contrast to get 33fL, adjusted the brightness, re-calibrated. Got my first wow factor and a bit of happyness. Mid and upper range were stunning. Lower end was still a bit greyish (Marine Trench black comparing to my previous Samsung plasma). I've made this conclusion because black bars above and below the movie area were much darker. Then I've stumbled upon Chris Heinonen's VT 60 review where he said for nighttime viewing gamma 2.4 looks much better on this set. Without calibration I've switched to 2.4 and picture became incredibly alive, popping out of the screen, no eye fatigue, etc., but crushed blacks were apparent. Next day I've re-calibrated with 2.4 and...that was the revelation. To my eyes pretty much spot reference picture. After changing one BD movie to another I've finally achieved the first step promised land.

I know there's a ton more to learn. But point of this story. All the tech materials I've been reading, guides to calibration process, etc. - all of this was great and extremely helpful. But. I would still be restless if it wasn't for your articles that told me "One step at a time, kid. You can't get it all in one week". So for now I'm happy. Comes time and I'll move further. That's the part I wanted to thank you for
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Thank you for the kind words.

Biggest problem/hurdle that new enthusiasts face is not grasping the weighting system that is also applied to the calibration check list. If there are 10 things to do in the calibration process, each step is simply not equally important to the next step and so on. Some simple things are actually way more important than things involving instruments. People sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that instruments somehow mean it is more important.

Being realistic about what can and cannot be achieved is also very important to understand. As I say to so many people ... if an imperfect instrument tells you that you are perfect, are you really perfect? I point to my $11K spectro all the time when I mention this.

And of course the fun statement of "What part of beyond human perception did you not understand?"

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Letting go of a dream of something becoming absolutely perfect (TV in this case) is very hard. Especially when one believes that ultra-expensive tools will just click twice and make it happen. That's not the same as giving up somewhere in the middle though. Now I'm more educated in terms of practicality. If I've known that I'll end up with what I've ended up with currently, before I started serious reading and talking to good people of AVS - most probably I wouldn't even bother. Because result requires at least some actual understanding of what the final goal is. Very simple and yet difficult to accept. But that's just thinking aloud

Then again I'm also happen to be a gadget geek. Who isn't these days? Meaning mid-range spectro, pattern generators to speed things up, image processors, etc. is in area of my interest. And to some extent, unfortunately I can afford them with certain conditions. In turn meaning I'll have battles staying cool headed and sane about things. And I just hope I won't meet some convincing certification center sales guy at that time.

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