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Video Processors, Technology & Calibration Discuss the best way to get the most from your video system.

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Old 09-11-2008   #7
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Default Re: The Nightmare continues

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Originally Posted by rex View Post
That would be great if Kevin knew someone. But I live in the middle of the boondocks, so my options are limited. There were two ISF calibrators in this area listed on the ISF website. So next, I called the second one. He comes over and starts hooking up his equipment to the component inputs. I tell him that I don't use component, just HDMI, (one for BD and one for Dish). He says that if he does the calibration using components, the TV will be calibrated on all inputs; but I don't believe him. So, he calls the same trainer, Jamie, at Sencore who confirms that all he has to do is calibrate on component and all other inputs will be calibrated. I don't believe this, so I decide to pass. Now I am down to my last resort: the dreaded Geek Squad. Stay tuned for further details of the ongoing drama!

(If I am wrong about the inputs, will someone more knowledgeable, like Kevin or Kal, please chime in. My understanding is that each input has to be calibrated separately. Thanks.)
So Rex, have you had anybody over yet??
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Old 09-11-2008   #8
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Default Geek Squad calibration

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Originally Posted by deacongreg View Post
So Rex, have you had anybody over yet??
Well, since you ask, I will go ahead and explain what happened with the Geek Squad calibration service. The Geek arrives wearing a uniform with an ISF patch on the shoulder. First, using an HDMI signal generator, he adjusts the grayscale from the WB submenu to achieve 6500K for a couple of different brightness points. Then he exits the service menu and adjusts the user settings. He does not know anything about blue mode, and insists on doing this by looking thru a filter. He then switches over to the other two HDMI inputs and copies all of the same settings over, and says he is done. The whole thing takes about half an hour, 45 minutes, tops.

One problem is that changing the user settings (color, tint, brightness, etc.) will affect the grayscale. This is why a proper calibration should involve several iterations of readjusting the grayscale until no further improvement is possible. He also did not calibrate the color accuracy from the CCA submenu. (It is possible to have the colors off while the the grays are accurate.) Nor did he adjust the gamma. (Gamma is a correction used to compensate for the nonlinearity of the luminance curve.) When I asked him about this, he just said this is the way the ISF trained them to do it. When I asked if white would still be 6500K, after changing the user settings, he said it would; but he declined to test it, since he was behind schedule and had to get to his next appointment.

In conclusion, I don't think my picture is any worse than it was before; but it also clearly is not as good as it could be. A proper full-blown calibration involving multiple iterations of grayscale, color, and user setting adjustments would take many hours to complete, especially if it were to all be done over again with each separate input, and more than one ambient lighting condition (i.e. daytime and nighttime viewing). Since BB schedules many calibrations per day, with travel time he can spend no more than an hour, or so, at each visit. I don't really blame the tech. I believe that, as he says, he is just doing what he was trained to do. Unfortunately most consumers will never suspect that their displays are capable of much more.

Last edited by rex; 09-11-2008 at 06:52 PM..
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Old 10-13-2008   #9
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Default Re: Calibration Nightmare

Rex, has anyone asked you yet, "Why are you using HDMI?"

You can get a better video image from high quality component video cables than HDMI. All HDMI does is HDCP and make the movie producers happy. Granted, if you've got a blu-ray player, then you're kinda stuck using an HDMI cable for that, but a cable or dish output will look much better across component video cables. I've done the side-by-side test time and time again with my clients and have heard them say "YUCK, what's that signal?" to which I respond...."That's your cable TV signal going across the HDMI cable that you insisted I use !"

As for your calibration issues....no one warned you about BB (Best Buy). They're all about being efficient and quick in-and-out.
Sounds like HDMI, eh? one cable makes it easy for both sound and video...but "easy" doesn't always mean "best". Doing something faster and slicker and something is going to be left out of the equation: quality.

Have you been to ISF training? Instead of criticizing the folks you've been exposed to, it's probably worth your time (and expense) to go experience the training yourself. You'll learn alot more about color science and have a better respect for what's involved.

Did BB leave you a calibration report that shows the before and after differences? Are you close to the D65 standard?

ISF'ers don't adjust blue....it's considered a no-no. Tweaking Red and Green will 99 times out of 100 get you where you need to be. Same with gamma....unless the calibrator can't get your TV dialed in with the gamma setting of 2.2 or 2.0, they won't be changing it from the default. Sort of like changing the spark plug gap on your car's plugs.....sure you can adjust the gap if you really know what you're doing, but you might sacrifice efficiency or even worse end up damaging someting along the way. If you want to modify your blue settings, go right ahead. Good Luck.

Compare your calibrated image to that of 90% of your friends and family who also have HDTVs. Can you tell a difference? I beat it's favorable, too.
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Old 10-14-2008   #10
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Default Re: Calibration Nightmare

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Originally Posted by clinthicum View Post
Rex, has anyone asked you yet, "Why are you using HDMI?"

You can get a better video image from high quality component video cables than HDMI. All HDMI does is HDCP and make the movie producers happy. Granted, if you've got a blu-ray player, then you're kinda stuck using an HDMI cable for that, but a cable or dish output will look much better across component video cables. I've done the side-by-side test time and time again with my clients and have heard them say "YUCK, what's that signal?" to which I respond...."That's your cable TV signal going across the HDMI cable that you insisted I use !"
Hmmm. . . That does not sound right. I've yet to see component video cabling set-ups beat HDMI video.
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Old 10-14-2008   #11
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Default Re: Calibration Nightmare

"Did BB leave you a calibration report that shows the before and after differences? Are you close to the D65 standard?"

NO. He did not leave a report.

"ISF'ers don't adjust blue....it's considered a no-no. Tweaking Red and Green will 99 times out of 100 get you where you need to be. Same with gamma....unless the calibrator can't get your TV dialed in with the gamma setting of 2.2 or 2.0, they won't be changing it from the default. Sort of like changing the spark plug gap on your car's plugs.....sure you can adjust the gap if you really know what you're doing, but you might sacrifice efficiency or even worse end up damaging someting along the way. If you want to modify your blue settings, go right ahead. Good Luck."

"Blue mode" or "Blue Only mode" is not for adjusting blue, but for adjusting the user settings. It is used in place of the a blue filter which does not yield reliable results. The blue mode turns off all other colors except blue for greater accuracy, while the filter tries to filter out the effects of the other colors.

Since my earlier post, I have learned that adjusting other settings does not usually affect the grayscale. The three things I want from a professional calibration are: grayscale adjustment, adjustment of individual primary and secondary colors for accuracy, and adjustment of the gamma correction value, if needed. The BB calibrator only did the grayscale. Individual colors were not adjusted for color accuracy. I do not know what the gamma was, or if it needs to be ajusted to achieve the ideal 2.2 to 2.4. The gamma was not mentioned. All of the other settings in the user menu, I can adjust myself.
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Old 10-17-2008   #12
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Default Re: Calibration Nightmare

If he didn't leave you a report...you should go back and ask for it. It's a before and after report showing how well your TV fell within specs before he touched it....then the after report (obviously) shows how effective his work was (ie: was your money well spent). Depending on the condition of the TV, manufacturer, etc.....some units are not calibrateable, while others are alsmot finely tuned and within specs right out of the box (if the correct picture mode setting is selected.

For instance...pic modes like "Vivid", "Dynamic", etc. (what we ISF'ers call Torch Mode) are typically far out of spec...while some vendors have their "Cinema" or "Movie" picture mode not too far out of whack.
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