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HDR looks weird/bad, SDR looks at least equally good

minthrow

Member
I'm currently doubting my OLED purchase, because either I'm not able to get it working properly or the difference between SDR and HDR ist just not there.

The TV I bought is a Grundig GOB 9990 which, accoring to the internet, has a 2017 LG panel. Not the latest but the OLED tvs from two years ago are still great devices, right? Obviously the smart functionality is worse and the processing algorithms are worse than the ones from LG or Sony, but in the end its still an LG oled panel which should do decent when I feed it with an external player, at least I thought...

Currently I'm using my Windows desktop to feed video though the AVR into the TV. HDR in windows is weird, but playing a file in VLC (or Plex) looks the same as playing the file from an usbstick straight on the TV. The TV is reporting hdr signal in both cases, so I think its working.

The point is I have my notebook here with me in front of the tv, and the picture is literally the same. For example right now I'm playing guardian of the galaxy 2 on both screens, on my Notebook (Dell xps from 2015, it has a good IPS display I suppose, but cmon...) 1080p sdr blu-ray and the 4k hdr blu-ray on the tv).
  • Colors are pretty much the same. I would go as far and say that the colors on the TV are not as vivid (e.g. red jacket from starlord looks more like an old jacket, which lost some of its color).
  • Contrast is worse on the oled, dark areas appear greyish (max brightness btw...). THIS is really bothering me, I had high hopes with the OLED contrast and now it just looks like the low quality stream of the battle of winterfell...
  • Literally the only points I can give the oled is the deep black, while the notebook black is glowing (lcd, duh)
When I play the hdr file on my notebook, its obviously bad, washed and stuff, exactly what you expect when playing an hdr file on an sdr screen.
I tried different videos. For livid, bright scenes the tv looks close (good I guess? just not better) to my notebook display, but for dark scenes it just looks bad (eg the witcher first episode, when Ciri is wandering through the low lid castle corridors; first I though its somehow playing the hdr content as a sdr signal, but then I played the same clip directly on the tv (again reporting hdr on both signals), just as bad...

What am I doing wrong here? First i thought its the Windows HDR output, but then again its the same playing directly on the tv. Will another external player (nvidia shield or any of the china android boxes) change anything?

Is the TV just really bad calibrated/setup? I checked every settings multiple times, turned off all these algorithms (motion smooting, dymanic contrast and so on), although I tested all the settings if they make a difference. I adjusted the brightness and contrast with test screens. The colors could be slightly off, sure, but that should just be a minor difference.... Unfortunately I couldnt really find any recommended settings in the internet, the TV isn't that popular.

Or am I just expecting too much from the TV? That would be a pitty, because the general census I got about OLED is "you will never go back". Right now I dont see an advantage on watching on my 55inch OLED from 2m compared to on my 13inch notebook from 50cm...

To be fair I'm kinda impressed by some test footage, for example the Sony-Bravia-OLED and LG-Cymatic-Jazz clips. But those are just the usual showroom show off clips, I expected more from the movies you actually watch. And GotG or the latest Avengers movies are content people recommend for decent HDR footage.

I tried to take some photos, but they are just meh, old phone + different distances and angles arent helping it (nootbook is not as geen as it appears on the picture): The greyish taint on the last picture is just...
I watched the sdr 1080p version on the OLED for comparison and it literally looks better than the hdr version (nothing grey, not washed...)
 

sebna

Member
Either you are doing something wrong or your TV is broken or it is sh*te... by reading your post it seems that you cannot be doing it wrong as you have tried multiple things so it must be either of the latter two ;)

You do not mention what kind of files you are playing? If those are not full BD rips then compressions might be your answer. OLEDs do not go well with compression. Especially with random compression applied by some random bloke from the internet.

And yes, once you see quality OLED you will never be able to go back. So there is also the 3rd option I gave you ;)

You are saying you have put brightness to max? In most OLEDs brightness is gamma control and you do not want to touch it other then adjusting in max 5 point range from default. I assumed you know that and that you meant OLED light setting (which should be maxed out for HDR content).

Your pictures as much as can be told by looking at them actually look you are are adjusting the wrong thing. Try brightness at 50 or what ever it was as default and do not adjust it more then 3-4 points either up or down. Keep in mind that OLED needs time (up to 300h) for the blacks to settle but usually it is the opposite way. They crush at the beginning and slowly normalize with time. So unless your Grundig is set to low gamma at default or high brigantines (which equals to low gamma) to compensate for black crush out of the box you should see black crush which is normal and will pass with time. Not washed out picture. So as above go back to 50 - 51 brightness and make some more photos :)

-- I am pretty sure this is the problem -- Or as said before it might be a file. Not even compression but encoding in general. TVs are not meant to be jack of all trades and they are not PCs and do quite often poorly with decoding HDR files directly from USB stick. By poorly I mean they do not do it at all and HDR part is missing and all that is left is washed out picture. I have seen it happening more then often on both my LG OLEDs (I have C6 and C9), but it does not bother me as I do not watch from files containers anyway other ten some demo material I would download from YT as my connection is pants and some of them keep buffering.

I think the last reason, the files being incorrectly read by your TV is the problem here (because you say direct from YT is fine).

Try this beauty in 4k HDR 60fps setting (direct from your TV not as download or not from Windows machine). If it looks amazing then you are grant. Your set is fine. Just get BD player and get some BDs. Or watch Netflix. Windows laptop and files on stick are not the best idea. I am sure you can make Windows work but you would have to dive deeper into details of (windows and software) setup if YT I linked looks as it should.


I have used HTPC in times of Vista and it was constant and never ending stream of problems. I am sure it is thing of a past now but knowing MS it still requires some tweaking to get it right. I switched to BDs and never looked back.

Cheers
 
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sebna

Member
I have edited the above post few times so posting again so you can read the final version above ;)
 

sebna

Member
One final note.

It will be easy for you to test what I am suggesting below:

-- I am pretty sure this is the problem -- Or as said before it might be a file. Not even compression but encoding in general. TVs are not meant to be jack of all trades and they are not PCs and do quite often poorly with decoding HDR files directly from USB stick. By poorly I mean they do not do it at all and HDR part is missing and all that is left is washed out picture. I have seen it happening more then often on both my LG OLEDs (I have C6 and C9), but it does not bother me as I do not watch from files containers anyway other ten some demo material I would download from YT as my connection is pants and some of them keep buffering.

Watch the below YT in 4k HDR 60fps through built in YT app of your TV:


If it looks amazing download the same clip in same format directly from YT on your PC, copy it to memory stick and play it from USB directly on your TV.

If you get washed out picture you have your answer as to what is wrong. But I am pretty sure it is what I think it is and what I described at the beginning of this post.

Let us know your findings.

Cheers
 
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minthrow

Member
Thanks for your extensive answer sebna!

Yes, I was using full BD rips.

I put OLED light setting to max, appologies for the wrong terminology.
I experimented with Brightness and Contrast (both default 50) but changing them to anything bigger than +-5 just makes the whole picture worse. I used some test screens and settled with brightness at 51 and contrast at 49.

So, indeed, it could be that both Windows and the TV media player (tbh the smart TV is BAD, super slow and there aren't even Netflix or Amazon Prime Apps) itself aren't able to play HDR properly. It would be quite a coincident that both don't work while I try to countercheck them with each other.

I watched some more HDR youtube videos with the TV app, no issues at all, great picture!

At this point I might just order a Nvidia Shield TV (or is there any cheaper but still proper android box?) and try it again.


I will try the youtube download and playback on the tv first thing tomorrow!
 
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minthrow

Member
I downloaded some HDR youtube videos and played them direcly on the TV from USB. They looked good.

Maybe the TV and my windows PC have issues with the codec of the other HDR files (youtube download is VP9, while othere encodes are often HEVC). Thats weird though, right...

I ordered an android box (planning to install Kodi on it) and a premium hdmi cable (better safe than sorry i guess, I'm not able to go above 4k 25hz with my current cable).

Not much todo for me right now than to check if another playback device has better results.
 

minthrow

Member
I received the player and installed coreelec on it. No Change in HDR quality (at least I'm able to play 4k 60hz with the new cable).

I found a (german) review of the predecessor of my tv. Unfortunately while they praise the color accuracy for SDR content, they complain that HDR is a big failure:
Problemfall High Dynamic Range
Grundig schöpft das Potenzial des OLED-Displays leider nicht auf Anhieb aus. In vielen Bereichen macht nämlich eine offensichtlich nicht ganz sauber programmierte Software dem bestmöglichen Bild einen Strich durch die Rechnung. HDR-Quellen und der 65 GOS 9798 finden deshalb kaum zueinander: Der beste Bildmodus „Natürlich“ kappt in Verbindung mit dem HDR-Preset „Mittel“ oder „Auto“ im Test bereits Kontraste oberhalb von 100 Nits. Darüber hinaus stimmen Gammakurven und Farben nicht mit den Standards überein. Im HDR-Modus „Niedrig“ kombiniert der Grundig zu dunkle Kontraste mit starken Verfärbungen sowie bräunlichen Graustufen; in „Referenz“ wirken die Farben ausgewogener, sind allerdings deutlich eingeschränkt und decken nur das HDTV-Spektrum BT.709 ab. Die untersten Graustufen fehlen immer.
Korrekte Presets für Helligkeit, Kontrast und Sättigung sucht man vergeblich. Zudem ändern sich sowohl die Farben (Farborte, Farbsättigung) als auch die Bildwerte (Helligkeit, Kontrast, Farbtemperatur) massiv, wenn wir beim Samsung-UHD-Player UBD-K 8500 den HDMI-Farbmodus von YCbCr auf RGB wechseln oder am Fernseher die fünf HDR-Modi („Auto“, „Niedrig“, „Mittel“, „Hoch“, „Referenz“) umschalten. Dabei blitzen zwischendurch ganz kurz die gekappten untersten Graustufen auf. Ob ein Firmware-Update diese (und etliche weitere) Fehler beheben kann, wird die Zukunft zeigen.
Which pretty much says:
  • bad gamma curves
  • colors don't match the standard
  • low grey levels are basically missing
That is kind of what I'm experiencing... So I'm expecting they haven't changed their calibration or software since the predecessor...
 

sebna

Member
Ahh that is shame. Can you still return it? Would it be reason for you to return it? For me 3D > UHD but as you cannot get 3D OLED anymore good 4k is a next thing I need in my set.

Cheers
 

minthrow

Member
I can still return it for another week yes.

the sole reason for a return would be, well, basically no HDR functionality...
reasons against a return would be:
  • I compared 4k bluray to 1080p bluray, the difference in resolution from my seating position (~2-2,5m) is negligible for moving pictures.
  • everything is available as 1080p bluray. But a big portion of 4k hdr content is either scaled up from 1080p or has HDR which is not done great (at least that is the picture I get surfing around the web) So the only advantage with HDR I have here is for proper HDR content, which is probably only a small portion...
  • I only paid 700€ (!) for a new OLED. With 2 years of warranty. Usually the "off brand" (Toshiba, Grundig, Mertz) OLEDs start at ~1000€ here, while LGs are starting at 1200€. Used OLEDs are available at about 900-1100€ but then I have no warranty, have to worry about the transport (usually no original packaging available) and the risk about burn in from the previous owner.
So yea for 700€ I could never get a brand new OLED.

Do you think its possible to calibrate the TV to a decent HDR level (especially the grey/darkish areas)? Obviously that wouldn't make economical sense if I have to pay a few hundret bucks for a professional calibration. How good are those cheap DIY (100-200€) color calibration devices, could something like this help ?

On the other hand watching just SDR content, which is fine for me, is still a valid solution. I still have the OLED advantages for that (especially dark blacks, also high hz panel).
 
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[email protected]

Well-known Member
I posted in your other thread. What exactly are these Blu-ray rips that you are having issues with? I assume you haven't ripped them yourself or you would just connect the player to the TV. If these are torrent downloads I think you may be expecting a bit much as to the quality of them. How big is a proper 4k HDR blu-ray.
Does the TV not have built in Netflix, Prime, YouTube that can show HDR? If so, what are they like.
 

minthrow

Member
Ah I see bossc, sorry for the other thread, I only wanted to create one post.

I don't think its the source material, those are bluray remuxes.

The smartTV (Grundig Vision OS) doesnt have a Netflix or Prime app. Youtube HDR looks fine, as long as it is bright content(not sure about the color accuracy though). But dark content looks bad, similar to how HDR content looks on a SDR display (Washed and grey).
Those changes appear mid video. I watched Planet Earth II, the jungle episode. Daylight jungle looks fine, but then there is a night scene where everything is just grey. Worse than the same scene in SDR, while HDR should promote such color/bightness settings.
 

[email protected]

Well-known Member
No functionality to download Netflix etc from an 'app store'? And I still think you're expectation of the HDR films you have downloaded are way off the mark.
 

minthrow

Member
No Netflix app at all.

I don't really know if my expectations are too high, but it should be reasonable to expect that dark content doesn't look much worse in HDR that in SDR right? For something like Planet Earth II, which is praised to have "good" HDR.
 
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[email protected]

Well-known Member
Again...what is your source? Downloaded where from?
Also, TV doesn't sound up to much. What ' Smart' functionality does it have? Sounds severely lacking.
 

John7

Well-known Member
Have you got the same RGB range set on both TV and source device? Both should be set to RGB Limited (16-235) PC's normally output video as Full Range (0-255)
 

minthrow

Member
Yes, the smart functionality is severely lacking. It has a lot of apps for german tv channels, but those dont have 4k HDR content.

Sources are Bluray remuxes, ~50-80gb. Like i said I dont think its the source.
 

sebna

Member
I can still return it for another week yes.

the sole reason for a return would be, well, basically no HDR functionality...
reasons against a return would be:
  • I compared 4k bluray to 1080p bluray, the difference in resolution from my seating position (~2-2,5m) is negligible for moving pictures.
  • everything is available as 1080p bluray. But a big portion of 4k hdr content is either scaled up from 1080p or has HDR which is not done great (at least that is the picture I get surfing around the web) So the only advantage with HDR I have here is for proper HDR content, which is probably only a small portion...
  • I only paid 700€ (!) for a new OLED. With 2 years of warranty. Usually the "off brand" (Toshiba, Grundig, Mertz) OLEDs start at ~1000€ here, while LGs are starting at 1200€. Used OLEDs are available at about 900-1100€ but then I have no warranty, have to worry about the transport (usually no original packaging available) and the risk about burn in from the previous owner.
So yea for 700€ I could never get a brand new OLED.

Do you think its possible to calibrate the TV to a decent HDR level (especially the grey/darkish areas)? Obviously that wouldn't make economical sense if I have to pay a few hundret bucks for a professional calibration. How good are those cheap DIY (100-200€) color calibration devices, could something like this help ?

On the other hand watching just SDR content, which is fine for me, is still a valid solution. I still have the OLED advantages for that (especially dark blacks, also high hz panel).
I would not be able to answer the question about how far the calibration can take your set with HDR to regain what is currently missing. You could ask in forum section where calibrators are taking part. I am sure they will let you know, but there is also a question what controls Grunding made avaliable to play with for them as those might be also limited or not really working correctly even if they are there.

700e is great price but I am not sure if it s great value taking in account how little you are getting in return (or how much is missing). I think, if you can, it would be worth to stretch to LG for 1000 - 1200. You will get better PQ (with correct HDR operation) and all the streaming APPs and you will save on the need of buying things like NVIDIA Shield etc. which costed probably in regions of 100? So that already brings your Grunding to 800.
 

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