|Datacolor SpyderTV Display Calibration Kit|
|Home Theater Video Processors & Switchers Video Calibration|
|Written by Mike Levy|
|Monday, 01 January 2007|
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The first thing I did when I got this system was to calibrate my computer monitor using the Spyder2Pro disc. This part was the easiest, since the computer did almost everything. I loaded the program into my computer (the disc works on both PC and Mac, but I did not try it on a Mac). The program walked me through the steps as I chose the monitor type, color temperature and gamma, and indicated the reference colors or phosphors. I was then directed where and how to place the probe for that monitor. The probe is a neatly designed optical sensor that has suction cups and an adaptor that allow it to stick to a glass face or to be placed on a tripod in front of a monitor or projector. My only complaint is that I wish it had a longer wire so that placement would be easier.
I had to get reacquainted with my monitor’s controls, but in the end, the Spyder2 Prp disc worked easily and quickly reset my computer monitor to the reference 6500K.
SpyderTV Pro requires a DVD player attached to your TV, and a computer close enough to use that has Windows 2000 or Windows XP. It uses a USB port and requires at least an 800 MHz Pentium II processor with 256MB RAM and 100MB free disc space. For anyone interested in such a calibration tool, these requirements should be no problem.
When I tried to load it into my laptop, which more than meets the requirements, the program would not work. After several phone calls to the company, I still had no solution. The problem seemed to solve itself after my computer automatically downloaded a new Windows update. With the program now working, I first tried it on my venerable Toshiba CRT in the bedroom, and then on my NEC 1100A projector in the media room. While I found the step by step process a little tedious as it walked me through inputting the controls on my set and their numerical settings and limits, after a couple of tries, I got it to work. The program prompts you through displaying the proper test pattern with the sensor properly placed and the room properly lit.
So, how well did it work? First it set black and white levels by prompting me through the user-available brightness and contrast controls. The settings it achieved were accurate. It then walked me through setting the color temperature through the gray scale by adjusting the low level (or cuts) and high level (or gains) in red, blue and green while prompting me to display the appropriate test patterns. The result was correct for 6500K, while the color temperature control on the set was in the warm or low setting, but then it proceeded to direct me to change that setting to the medium position where my meter read approximately 8500K. That is the same incorrect setting that most sets have when they come from the factory. True, I could just leave the setting at low, but most users would not know that. There were also problems in how it set the color and tint controls. Once again, it prompted me through adjusting first the color and then the tint while displaying either of two test patterns. One test pattern had a blue field in front of the sensor, and the other had a white field. This was the equivalent of a calibrator adjusting the color and tint using the blue filter and a color burst pattern. On both sets, when compared to the ISF method of setting the color and tint, the SpyderTV program had set the color too high and the tint too red.