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I am new to the calibration arena and decided before I have my TVs (Sony KDL-46XBR3, Sony KDL-40S2010 and a Panasonic TC-32LX60) ISF calibrated I would experiment a little with a couple of calibration disks so I could learn more about what I would be having a professional do but not limited to by any means.


A little background about myself, I build my own computers and troubleshoot for friends and family. I am an Electrical Engineer for a large company and deal with electronics and instrumentation on a regular basis. I can read and clearly understand technical manuals and deal with technical issues almost daily. When I plan jobs or projects I have to write directions that make sense both to the average person as well as the technical geeks (please don't anyone take that the wrong way because the love of my life is an average person and I am a technical geek).



Which brings me to my first opinion of Digital Video Essentials. Why would anyone make a DVD so hard to find their way around. I don't need all of the narration and explanations and would prefer to be able to pop in a DVD go to the section I want for a test pattern and do a few basic calibrations. Don't get me wrong, DVE has some good information, good test patterns and I got it cheap from Overstock.com but C'mon! Not everybody wants to set through the whole DVD just to do some basic calibrations. I let my wife (i.e. average person) try to find her way around DVE and she gave up out of frustration. I was able to use DVE and find my way around but I can see now why I've read so many comments about DVE's menu structure. I also think it has a lot to do with the DVD player itself and how the remote is labeled with respect to the instructions in DVE. All together I probably spent two (2) hours doing what I think is a "basic calibration" (brightness, contrast, color, tint and sharpness) on a single TV.


My second evaluation was of GetGray from a link I found on this site. What a pleasant surprise! I downloaded the program from Scott's site and burned the disk in a few minutes. I then called my wife into the room and asked her to see what she thought. I could tell from the moan as she walked in that she fully expected to be humiliated once more before having to proclaim me to be the "Supreme Geek" for which she should be eternally grateful for being able to function in todays's world.
She already knew what the "Blue Filter" was for and how to use it from the brief training she endured during DVE introduction. I handed her the remote and the filter along with a brief explanation of GetGray and let her go. After she hit "play/enter" on the startup screen she noticed right away the choices for "Brightness" and "Contrast". I had already printed out the "Guide" for GetGray and showed her what to look for. She had no problems adjusting either to the proper settings. Next she went to the "next chapter" and easily found "Color" and "Tint". She actually smiled as she looked through the "Blue Filter" and made adjustments to both the color and tint on our TV and commented on how "cool" that was and seemed genuinely interested in the rest of what the disk would allow the user to adjust. Total time spent, about 30 minutes start to finish.


There are a lot of other test patterns that I think would benefit more if you had some basic equipment and the knowledge to use them but for the "basics" (brightness, contrast, color, tint and sharpness) this disk is extremely easy to use. Keep in mind you will need to have a "blue filter" as it is not provided with the "standard donation" but can be purchased from THX in the form of glasses for very little money or you may already have a pair from a DVD movie you may have purchased (i.e. Cars or The Incredibles to name a couple).


Later...
 

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I'm glad you (and your wife) liked the GetGray Caldisc. My background is very similar to yours - I'm a retired Electrical Design Engineer, Communications Spacecraft. I to had to write manuals for the non-initiated as well as make presentations to customers. I'm left-handed, too. I have one DVD player that won't even navigate the DVE disc.


I wrote the GetGray "Guide", with lots of editing details from Scott and inputs from other contributors. My intent was to make it as straight forward and understandable as possible, without going into gross details and extraneous stuff, and not be a hand-holding document.


I voluntered to do the "Guide" after trying the early beta version and found out how easy, and accurate, it was to get a good calibration on a variety of displays (including one that I could not get right with either AVIA or DVE) with only my eyeballs and a blue filter (I bought 3 pairs of the THX "glasses",
).


It sounds like I did my "Job" (almost half as well as Scott did his). Thanks.
 

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I own both Avia and DVE, but I really like what I see and read about the GetGray DVD. Unfortuanetly, I don't have a DVD burner, so I can't check it out myself yet. I hate to buy and install a new drive just for this, but it's [email protected]^n tempting.


-Steve
 

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Scott Horton, techht.com
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OhioLefty: Thanks for the informative post describing your experience. It was this experience (i.e. your first part) that was the primary impetus for me to make the GetGray DVD. I, too was sick of the difficulty in navigation and the lack of particular patterns on DVE, and for the lack of BTB and WTW information on Avia. It was my goal to combine the best of both worlds, improve on them and give color-correct, pro-quality patterns in the process. And of course make it very simple to navigate. Claus's work on the "manual" made it that much better. I (we) appreciate the positive comments. I need to bookmark your description to point all those "can I use it?" questions to
.


Cheers, Scott
 

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OhioLefty, I absolutely agree with you comment on DVE. Too much unneeded stuff (why would I care for 3D demos?), the menu structure is too complex, who cares about Title/Menu differences? Gray patterns for grayscale are incomplete, and I don't care for CRT-related stuff. Also, many patterns are presented but not explained at all, so I stare at them like an idiot not knowing what to do with them.


I haven't downloaded GetGray yet, but I have printed out the Guide. Very nicely written. Some places are not explained fully, like for example why color/tint adjustment works. Guy Kuo tried explaining it, but his language was not easy to me, and he assumed that a reader has a better understanding of things, when he explained that gray contains the same amount of blue as blue, but because it is gray -- despite that it is combined from three primaries -- its tint does not change when I change color/tint... this sort of things. I would like to have this explained, but in a way that I could undestand it
GetGray guide does not explain how color/tint works at all.


In any case, the guide gives practical advice how to use the patterns, this is good enough for most users.


One thing: my plasma TV is very susceptible to burn-in, so after an adjustment I turn my DVD player off, then I turn it back on to load another pattern. My player does not remember current position, so I have to scroll from the beginning. Is it possible to remove the startup screen where I have to agree with usage rules?


Thanks!
 

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Scott Horton, techht.com
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No, no way to skip it really. But, a suggestion, and a hint, instead of turning off the DVD player, why not choose the "maximum black" pattern if you want the display to "rest". I would assume that would be just as good as turning it off. Blacker than Black (which is what that pattern is) should be as easy as it gets on the display. But I'm no plasma expert. Not to even give a hint of any realtion to DVE navigation
, but, if you chose that pattern a lot, you could use your numeric keypad to select the menu item number, and enter to get there quickly. I don't know the sequence, but something like 3,enter,4,enter.
 
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