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Hello guys,

I've been reading quite a lot about color calibration for htpc (gaming/tv/video) for some month now and I still haven't found a definitive solution.

So, currently, I have an HTPC running a Sandy Bridge i5 2500k. The GPU being used is the onboard intel (may be changing to an old Radeon 7970 soon). The system is running as a 24/7 set top box for movies, tv shows, etc, using Kodi (xbmc).

My question is simple, do you guys know the best settings for the Graphics Card Driver, Kodi and TV? I mean, which color ranges should I be using on each one of them? I want the best video quality possible but occasionally use the browser and windows stuff, so, if I could have a calibration and setting or both things would be great. This setup also runs some games (using steam) from time to time and getting the best color would be awesome.

I will be using the HD709 disc found on the forums for the calibration itself, I am just unsure on what is the best color ranges for my setup, as there are at least 3 places where I have to set it up.

Hopefully, some of the expert guys here on the forums will give me a much needed hand (it's driving me nuts this whole "get it right" htpc stuff :p).

Thanks in advance! :)
 

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My strategy is to keep it as simple as possible with limited changes to the color space. Since most material, at least on disc and OTA, arrives in the limited color range that is what I use all the way through (Kodi/GPU/TV). It's not a big deal to use the full range if there is a reason, like your GPU keeps forgetting the setting. Than do all the fine tuning with the TV (brightness, contrast, saturation, color balance etc..)
 

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My process has been to set my video card to use full range RGB 4:4:4. That gives me a full depth of colors when I'm doing something computer related

On top of that, I set ffdshow to render video at 16-235 RGB. I used the AVS 709 disc to help set my levels.

I have no idea how good or bad of an idea that is, but I'm really happy with the results.
 

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My strategy is to keep it as simple as possible with limited changes to the color space. Since most material, at least on disc and OTA, arrives in the limited color range that is what I use all the way through (Kodi/GPU/TV). It's not a big deal to use the full range if there is a reason, like your GPU keeps forgetting the setting. Than do all the fine tuning with the TV (brightness, contrast, saturation, color balance etc..)
I agree, but I think it's potentially confusing to say the GPU should output "limited color range". Unless the TV doesn't support it, the GPU should output RGB 0-255, the PC default. As I understand it, the only alternative is for it to compress everything to 16-235, either as RGB or YCbCr. For this to work for video, video must first be expanded to RGB 0-255, causing the dreaded levels round trip of 16-235 to 0-255 to 16-235. I'm going to assume below the card is outputting RGB 0-255, which means it can pass through whatever is presented to it.

As for the video player and TV, the main consideration is, do you want consistency between desktop and video? If so, the video player should expand Video Levels to PC Levels, i.e. 16-235 to 0-255, and the TV should be set to PC Levels ("Non-standard" for my ST60). For video, this discards BTB and WTW and scales all the values in between into 0-255, which is necessary for Black = 0 and White = 255 to work for video as well as the desktop. If you don't care about this, then your video player can leave the video untouched and output Video Levels, and your TV should be set accordingly ("Standard" for my ST60). This is the WMC default and Kodi's "Use limited range" option. This is passthrough for video and preserves BTB and WTW, but the TV will crush black and probably at least some white on the desktop, as it should be calibrated for Black = 16 and White = 235 (overshoots allowed). This is not a problem unless you use the PC for gaming, critical picture viewing, and whatnot. It won't interfere in the least with using WMC or Kodi, nor will it interfere with maintaining the PC and even writing letters and such. This choice provides consistency with video devices like streamers, BD players, etc, some of which may not have RGB 0-255 output options, e.g. my Sony S5100 BD player only has RGB 16-235 (however, unlike a PC, it doesn't appear to do a levels round trip). This consistency would let you hook everything up to an AVR and use a single AVR HDMI output.

Agree completely with using the TV for all calibration. I use the second of the two approaches just above, and my PC and BD player measure the same under the same calibration, which is all done with the TV. This was not the case when I had the video player output PC Levels; then, I had to make some tweaks to Brightness in the Nvidia Control Panel to get Bar 17 to show up in AVS HD 709 Black Clipping.
 

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I agree, but I think it's potentially confusing to say the GPU should output "limited color range". Unless the TV doesn't support it, the GPU should output RGB 0-255, the PC default. As I understand it, the only alternative is for it to compress everything to 16-235, either as RGB or YCbCr. For this to work for video, video must first be expanded to RGB 0-255, causing the dreaded levels round trip of 16-235 to 0-255 to 16-235. I'm going to assume below the card is outputting RGB 0-255, which means it can pass through whatever is presented to it.

As for the video player and TV, the main consideration is, do you want consistency between desktop and video? If so, the video player should expand Video Levels to PC Levels, i.e. 16-235 to 0-255, and the TV should be set to PC Levels ("Non-standard" for my ST60). For video, this discards BTB and WTW and scales all the values in between into 0-255, which is necessary for Black = 0 and White = 255 to work for video as well as the desktop. If you don't care about this, then your video player can leave the video untouched and output Video Levels, and your TV should be set accordingly ("Standard" for my ST60). This is the WMC default and Kodi's "Use limited range" option. This is passthrough for video and preserves BTB and WTW, but the TV will crush black and probably at least some white on the desktop, as it should be calibrated for Black = 16 and White = 235 (overshoots allowed). This is not a problem unless you use the PC for gaming, critical picture viewing, and whatnot. It won't interfere in the least with using WMC or Kodi, nor will it interfere with maintaining the PC and even writing letters and such. This choice provides consistency with video devices like streamers, BD players, etc, some of which may not have RGB 0-255 output options, e.g. my Sony S5100 BD player only has RGB 16-235 (however, unlike a PC, it doesn't appear to do a levels round trip). This consistency would let you hook everything up to an AVR and use a single AVR HDMI output.

Agree completely with using the TV for all calibration. I use the second of the two approaches just above, and my PC and BD player measure the same under the same calibration, which is all done with the TV. This was not the case when I had the video player output PC Levels; then, I had to make some tweaks to Brightness in the Nvidia Control Panel to get Bar 17 to show up in AVS HD 709 Black Clipping.
Great job on the guide. I did the following steps, just wondering if I did it right, I have got benq w1070 that I use with my pc:

1. Set RGB Full in Nvidia Control Panel for the W1070
2. Set PC mode in projector to enable full range on W1070
3. Go into Madvr and set RGB output levels to PC levels (0-255)
3. Now play the Black clipping video making sure there is nothing under 16 visible (which wont be visible no matter how much you turn the brightness up/down since we are outputting in 0-255 levels, I do see all the lines if I I set rgb output to TV in Madvr)
4. Do the same with other files
5. Calibration done

Now my question is should the calibration done when outputting the clipping video in PC levels or should it be done when outputting in TV level (16-255) using madvr with mpc-hc? I have done the calibration when madvr output levels were set to PC (0-255).

Thanks in advance.
 

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My process has been to set my video card to use full range RGB 4:4:4. That gives me a full depth of colors when I'm doing something computer related

On top of that, I set ffdshow to render video at 16-235 RGB. I used the AVS 709 disc to help set my levels.
If you did that, and calibrated your TV with AVS709, then you're clipping/crushing black and white for PC content. Video content should be fine. If you don't do anything "important" on the PC, this is probably the best way to go.
 
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