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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I got my Samsung HLR6168 calibrated today by Seth Schnaible ([email protected], SethS on AVS Forum). According to Seth, he wrote the official calibration procedure for Samsung's consumer DLP line, and is a consultant and/or official calibration trainer for many video equipment manufacturers (e.g. Runco). He charged $400 for the calibration, which took about an hour and a half. He was very friendly and professional.


Overall, I saw a significant improvement in color quality after the calibration. Before calibration, I was generally pleased with the overall PQ of the 6168, but I did feel like faces sometimes didn't look natural, and that some scenes were a bit duller than I would have expected. Since the calibration, I've reviewed some DVD and cable HD material that seemed problematic to me before. In most cases the issues I saw before have been eliminated or much improved.


Even material that looked good before looks even better now--more vibrant, with a greater sense of depth. Faces in particular look excellent now, with very natural coloration. Black areas show more detail without getting that shiny "greenish" look that they had out of the box.


The one problem that doesn't seem to be totally eliminated is a bit of black crush--dark areas sometimes seem darker than they should be when compared to surrounding areas, and seem to be missing some detail. This is largely due to my DVD player (see below), but I do see it occasionally in very dark scenes in cable HD material as well, so this may be a limitation of the TV.


I realized today, though, that because the TV looks so good, I've been unconsciously comparing it to watching a film at a theater, not to other TVs, and it very nearly measures up to that standard. I'm very happy with it, especially after the calibration. $400 is a lot, but given the investment I've made in the TV and the noticeably improved quality, I think it was worth it for me.


Here are some specific notes I took on the calibration (and on Seth, who had plenty of interesting things to say :))
  • Seth uses the ColorFacts calibration system (he actually helped develop it).
  • Seth doesn't use Digital Video Essentials--he made his own test pattern disc. He said DVE is too much of a pain to navigate around for a professional calibrator, and that it doesn't have all the test patterns he wants. He doesn't sell his disc yet, but he says that it may actually become the ISF's standard test pattern disc soon, and he left me a copy in case I wanted to tweak stuff on my own in the future.
  • He left the gamma control at 0, which is where I had set it myself (it's set to 2 out of the box, which produces weird splotchiness in dark areas). However, after the calibration, I could see more detail in black areas that had been lost when I set it to 0, presumably because of other adjustments he made.
  • He said it looked like the 6168s were set up so that out of the box, Standard / Warm 2 was the closest parameter set to true colors (whereas in previous generations, Warm 1 was the closest). Since Warm 1 is what the settings default to, he set up Warm 1 with the accurate color settings, so I could just leave it there in the standard TV menu.
  • One of the service menus has an entry called "actuator gain". This is kind of like convergence for the wobulator. Before he tweaked it, on a test pattern with very thin white lines, I could see that the edges were slightly "sawtoothed" in the diamond-pixel pattern of the wobulated chip. As he tweaked it, the diamonds converged, and the edges of the lines became completely straight.
  • Before the calibration, I had noticed using DVE that even if I turned sharpness down to 0 in the standard TV menu, there was still haloing around thin lines. It turns out there are settings in the service menu for horizontal and vertical sharpening (which presumably are in effect even if you turn the user sharpness setting to 0). Turning these from the default of 4 all the way down to 0 nearly eliminated the haloing. He actually left the horizontal sharpness at 1, which was a good tradeoff between haloing and sharpness.
  • Of my color primaries, only red was in roughly the right position at the beginning. Cyan was way off, magenta and blue were pretty far off, and green and yellow were slightly off. Overall color temperature was about 8500 before calibration; afterwards, it was right around 6500.
  • He said the newer Samsung sets have a nice feature where after calibrating one input, he can just copy the color settings to all the other inputs, instead of having to do them all one-by-one. I didn't see him actually do it, so I'm not sure how he did it, but I assume it's an entry in the service menu somewhere.
  • Trivia: DNIe is actually the name of an entire processing board in the Samsung, responsible for doing all the image processing, so it doesn't really make sense to speak of "turning off DNIe"--the set wouldn't work if you did that. What was previously referred to as "turning off DNIe" was just turning off edge enhancement.
  • It turned out that my DVD player (a Toshiba RD-XS52 recorder) doesn't pass blacker than black, and is also losing some bits of color information elsewhere too, so he wasn't able to fully eliminate black crush from that source. However, he was able to reduce it from about 5% to about 2-3%. I'm probably not going to bother buying a new DVD player right now, since I'll probably want to buy an HD-DVD or Blu-Ray player eventually anyway.
  • After he finished calibration and we looked at various material, he was positively giddy about the quality of the picture and color accuracy. He said that of all the many different kinds of video devices he's worked on and manufacturers he consults for, the Samsung DLPs were the ones that could get closest to perfect color reproduction when calibrated, and that the 1080p units were yet another cut above. He said he couldn't wait until they sent him his sample (he gets samples of new models from the manufacturers he consults for--lucky guy :))
  • If you do get him to calibrate your set, ask him to tell you a couple of funny stories about DVE and Joe Kane (who's a friend of his) :)


I wish I had been able to a little more attention to exactly what he was doing (I was half working and half taking care of my toddler at the same time, so I didn't get to see how he dealt with brightness and contrast in the SM). It would be cool if other people who have calibrations done (by Seth or others) also take some specific notes about parameters the calibrator tweaks in the SM.
 

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Coyote Waits
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Thanks for a great report. My wife thought SethS was great. That's the first positive thing she has said about having that big screen in the living room. She does watch almost all the movies that have been showing since we got it. :rolleyes:


Enjoy.
 

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Thanks for the post Rictus!


I know you just spent $400 so your response may be partially biased but

honestly, what overall level of improvement have noticed. Do you really

have to look for it and only notice on some scenes, etc. Or has your TV

come alive with the PQ completely transformed?


My take is these sets look damn good out of the box ( especially

in 'movie mode' for night viewing of film based DVDs ) when fed a clean

HD signal so I am just trying guage how much of an improvement an

ISF Calibration will provide on these sets. If it is a noticable but subtle

improvement I won't bother...


Thanks in advance for any light you can shed on this.
 

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Very interesting ... thanks.
 

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Rictus,


The black crush issue may derive from different areas, some which you have mentioned. If the DVD Player does not pass the below black information than the dynamic range below black is never there for the display to re-create. As for your HD sources… try raising the brightness by one. On digital displays there is a hard clip and often many calibrators will set black level at the clip; however, this then clips the below black information. By raising the brightness one you will be able to achieve dynamic range around black.


“Digital Video Essentials†can be a little difficult if you do not know how to navigate it; however, I find it very easy once you know how to access title/chapter information on your DVD Player. The Professional Version of “Digital Video Essentials†is even easier to navigate and has more than enough test patterns to properly setup these displays, though it does cost $295 ;).


Best,
 

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Question


Before I have something like this done. What should i have in place? What i mean is I dont want a calibration done then go out and buy a new reciever and dvd player , right?


What area do you live in? Is Seth calibrating my new 6178 even a possibility?


Thanks

Tom
 

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Coyote Waits
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfleming
Before I have something like this done. What should i have in place? What i mean is I dont want a calibration done then go out and buy a new reciever and dvd player , right?
If you mean A/V Receiver then that would make no difference. A DVD player can make a difference. The calibration itself is done with a signal generator. You need to talk to an ISF calibrator to find out exactly what differences the equipment will make.

Quote:
What area do you live in? Is Seth calibrating my new 6178 even a possibility?
Seth (SethS) lives in Santa Cruz California, and frequently does trips to Southern California to do calibrations. He came to my house in Palo Alto which is probably an hour each way for him. I think he covers a lot of the San Francisco Bay Area.


Eliab seems to work East of the Mississippi, but you can ask him directly in this forum. His partner, David Abrams, is based in Los Angeles.


These are some of the ISF calibrators who are known to be experts calibrating DLP sets -- especially Samsung.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by tfleming
Before I have something like this done. What should i have in place? What i mean is I dont want a calibration done then go out and buy a new reciever and dvd player , right?
As htwaits said, you should have the DVD player you expect to use. In my case, Seth used my own DVD player to run the test patterns. However, he said that in general switching DVD players wouldn't affect color accuracy, just brightness/contrast, which you can generally tweak yourself with a standard pluge test pattern if you get a new player.


Seth is based in Santa Cruz; I live in Oakland, and I don't think he charged me extra to come out. He did say that he was going to be away this week doing training for other calibrators (I got the last slot before he left), so he may not be available for awhile.
 

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Coyote Waits
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tfleming
Im in Huntsville Alabama.


Ill keep an eye out for someone in my area.


Tom
Contact Eliab. He does tours and may very well be coming to your area. He might also be able to recommend someone closer to you.


Here is the signature information from his posts.


Eliab

__________________

Photo Research PR650

TVSPro Optical Comparator

Sencore VP-403

Accupel HDG-3000

DVE & Avia PRO

I2C & C3 Equipped
[email protected]
www.Avical.com
 

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Rictus, what did he set your actuator gain at, and what was it out of the box?


Also, did he mess with your index delay setting as well?


Thanks in advance!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clorox
Rictus, what did he set your actuator gain at, and what was it out of the box?
I didn't record the setting, and don't want to go back into the SM at the moment :), but my guess is that the exact value isn't going to be useful to you anyway, because it may vary from set to set. The best thing to do (if you want to tweak it) is to just select the actuator gain item in the menu. Four cross patterns (R, G, B, and white) will come up; just look at the rightmost (white) cross and see if you can see any sawtoothing in the vertical line. If you do, then just play with the value until the sawtoothing disappears and the line becomes smooth.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Clorox
Also, did he mess with your index delay setting as well?
He brought it up, but after checking it out with his calibration device he didn't change it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clorox
Rictus, what did he set your actuator gain at, and what was it out of the box?


Also, did he mess with your index delay setting as well?
He made small adjustments to both on our HLP set. I agree with Rictus that there is no value in knowing the before and after settings because they relate to the individual set.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by htwaits
He made small adjustments to both on our HLP set. I agree with Rictus that there is no value in knowing the before and after settings because they relate to the individual set.
That absolutely makes sense. I'm just trying to guage what sort of differences these numbers have out of the box. It seems to me that there is substantial differentiation to these settings for each set out of the box, and I'm wondering why that would be the case.


I find it peculiar that Samsung is sending sets out with sometimes drastically different settings in these areas. However It's also my belief that these settings (actuator gain, index delay, as well as Horiz position and Vert position) must be the most variable from set to set, since these are the settings that are specifically under the "Service" sub menu in the Service Menu system. Perhaps Samsung has the least control of these being the same from set to set during the manufacturing process.


I also found another thread on the forum that for color wheel replacements, each color wheel has a specific Index Delay setting. The number is written on the color wheel casing and is specific to each color wheel.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Clorox
TIt seems to me that there is substantial differentiation to these settings for each set out of the box, and I'm wondering why that would be the case.
In our case Index Delay went from 40 to 38. Actuator gain went from 114 to 112.


Didn't someone post that they had information to the effect that each set was "

calibrated" by eye on the assembly line? As the Raiders Al Davis likes to say, "Just make it blue boys ... just make it blue." ;)
 

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This thread is great.


I am trying to make slight adjustments but do it in a safe manner that may improve my 6168 PQ. I would rather have a professional calibration done by a qualified individual, but I am located in Peoria, IL--so my options are limited. Therefore, for now, I will attempt to get by with some of the good information I am learning from AVS.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pmaroun
I am trying to make slight adjustments but do it in a safe manner that may improve my 6168 PQ.
The first step is to record all settings and then keep a record of every change. I would also avoid changing things just to see what they do. Stick to those variables where there is some indication somewhere in the forum about their effect.


Good luck.
 
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