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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm using the THX Optimizer software on the Monsters Inc DvD in conjunction with the THX Blue filter cardboard glasses obtained from the THX website.


The problem I am having is two tests result in very different TINT settings.


If I use the 'blue glasses' on the Optimizer page with the words COLOR and TINT on the screen and set the color setting on the Sony tube so the letters in the word COLOR are all the same intensity, and then adjust the tint/hue so the letters in TINT are all the same brightness, and then go to the next test (the one with the color bars and for sharpness setting), then...


The tint is all wrong. The box that should be CYAN is clearly a good bit green. The MAGENTA is a bit too pinkish I think - but the green look to the cyan block stands out. The setting of tint resulted in the slider being at the 1/3 setting from left to right.


If I slide the slider back toward the center (50%) setting, the CYAN color looks right again - but then going back to the test with the words TINT and COLOR where you use the glasses, the letters in TINT are NOT the same intensity.



The two tests are giving drastically different settings for tint - whats up with that?


I'm suspecting the THX Optimizer is useless for calibrating my video as none of the video settings provide any sort of functional benefit (the I have no idea where in the sharpness settings to stop, in the contrast setting, I can see all 8 white blocks at all settings - they never wash out (crank contrast all the way to the top even) and the brightness needs to be way way down to have the darkest black box be visible in its test).



Is THX Optimizer a relaible test or is it even possible to set these things from the user controls?


It bugs me most that the two tint tests are at odds with each other.
 

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I feel your pain, GermanMan :)


Unfortunately alot of Sonys seem to be factory calibrated to push red and blue. So they may not have such accurate color balance out of the box. It's possible to correct this via the service menu, but that opens up a whole other can of worms that you may not want to contend with.


My advice is set aside the glasses and just use the color bars for now. Start with Hue and Color at their defaults and see if minute adjustments make any improvement. If your TV works like other Sonys I've run across, 50% will work about as well as anything for Hue, and you might end up dialing Color back slightly to perhaps 40-45%.


In terms of contrast, my suggestion would be to adjust the white level (Picture) until the white squares are nice and bright but still very distinct from one another, and not so intense that they sear your eyes in the typical light conditions and viewing distance you normally use. There's no real correct setting for this control. It just depends on how much contrast you need to see the picture well in a particular lighting arrangement, how much "blooming" you can tolerate, and how concerned you are about phosphor wear. Another test you can use is how well-defined the edges of white lines and boxes look on any of the test screens. If the edges of the white boxes in the black level test look too soft (blooming), for example, then you might want to dial the Picture level back a bit more.


After you've adjusted the Picture control, then adjust the black level (Brightness) as directed. If you can see the drop shadow behind the THX logo, adjust Brightness down until that drop shadow just disappears into the background, and/or you can only see 7 grey squares running along the top and bottom of the screen. The darkest of the 7 grey squares should be barely visible and close to blending into the black background.


You must perform the black level (Brightness) adjustment after the Picture setting though. On the Sonys, those two controls seem to interact with one another. So if you want to change the contrast via the Picture setting, you'll most likely need to redo the Brightness adjustment again afterward.


Do sharpness last after these other things. Start with it at 0, and then raise it until the lines in the middle to middle-right of test pattern look as well-defined but not excessively edgy to your eyes. The lines on the left side of the pattern should look softer, and the lines on the right side should probably blend into a kind of smooth light grey.


Hopefully some of this will help a little.


If THX doesn't get you where you want to go, there are more sophisticated calibration disks available like Video Essentials and AVIA.


Knowing the black level (0 IRE or 7.5 IRE) of your DVD player and other video sources would also be helpful. If the DVD player outputs a signal with a different black level than your other sources, then you may need to make some other adjustments to compensate. If you can see the drop-shadow behind the THX logo on the test screen, then your player should be outputting something approximating a 7.5 IRE black level, which is typical for analog video sources.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks ADU.


It bugged me that the user adjustments resulted in contradictory settings. I'm sure I can dig into the service menu and set some things better (is there a good faq on this for Sony boxes that give a guideline?), but as the THX system is geared toward the joe-six-pack home user, the settings should work from just the user adjustable settings area.


Indeed, I set the actual color bars to make sure cyan was cyan and magenta was magenta. In fact, settings accross the board seem pretty correct near the middle of the ranges.


I'm waiting to get a proper large set until we move in the next 10 months, so I'm hesitating fiddling with the service menu on this set but may just have to bite the bullet and fix the red-push issue so common in the factory settings. It doesn't help that the various channels on cable have drastically different signals in terms of brightness and color - some channels look great, others like crud - at least on some program material being -played back.



On my DVD player, there is no drop shadow visible at all behind the THX logo - I have to go with the boxes at the top and bottom. The other issue is, I also have to calibrate the set for use with the room lights on - as its our only TV and demanding the room be dark or dimly light has zero WAF. ;-)


Given no THX drop-shadow, what does that mean as far as my DVD player outputing blacks? Does this mean it doesn't do 0 ire or 7.5 ire or what?



With the sharpness setting, my problem is that the verticle lines in the center area generate a sort of moire effect on my eyes as I adjust the sharpness - I'll try and get the 'defined' lines in the middle and a more smooth-grey 'area' on the right edge and see how it looks.
 

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If the color decoding and grey scale in the TV is calibrated for correct balance from the start, then the THX Color/Tint test patterns should work fairly well. If the TV's color balance is off though, then those patterns will not work reliably. Post #2 in the Computer Input link in my signature describes a bit more on how color balance ought to work. The Color and Hue adjustments are only one phase of the process. If you're planning to get a new TV soon though, then I wouldn't really bother with adjustments in the service menu for now. I'd stick with just the color bar approach mentioned above for the time being. With AVIA or VE you can do more fine-tuning in the service menu on the new TV if you want.


If there's no drop shadow on the THX black level test, that means your DVD player is most likely outputting a 0 IRE black level. If you use it to adjust Brightness on the TV as outlined so far, then DVDs should look good, but analog 7.5 IRE sources, such as analog cable or a VHS tape player, may look washed out, and not acheive true blacks, due to their brighter 7.5 IRE black levels.


If you find this to be the case, then see if there's a way to switch DVD player to 7.5 IRE, so you can keep it consistent with other sources. There may be a setting for this in player's setup menus, or possibly a switch on the back. Some players will also output different black levels depending on whether you are using the component, SVHS, or composite video output, or whether you have it in interlaced or progressive mode. My player for example outputs 7.5 IRE from it's composite output. But on the Component output it will do 0 IRE in progressive mode, and 7.5 IRE in interlaced mode.


If you find a way to get the DVD player to output 7.5 IRE so the drop shadow on the THX logo is visible, then use that mode/output and simply readjust the Brightness with the THX black level test pattern for that. Then Brightness should be more or less correct for all your 7.5 IRE analog sources.


If you can't get the player to to output a 7.5 IRE black level (which is a distinct possibilty), then you'll need to use two different Brightness settings on the TV: one for your DVD player, and one for 7.5 IRE analog sources. Even if your player can only output 0 IRE, I think you may be able to use the THX black level pattern on it to roughly determine a good setting for the 7.5 IRE sources too. Try lowering the brightness until the THX logo itself completely disappears, and you can only make out 4 grey squares along the top or bottom. Again the darkest of the 4 squares should be only very faintly visible. This ought to get you roughly into the ballpark for 7.5 IRE sources. Use this Brightness setting for your analog 7.5 IRE sources, and use the 7-grey-square Brightness setting for DVDs.


On the sharpness, try to follow the approach above. If you still see the moire patterns, trying lowering it a bit more to reduce them.
 
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