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ISF Calibration

Timmy T

Standard Member
I've watched the tutorials on here, and was just wondering if you can calibrate a TV yourself, you need someone to come in and do it for you, or whether there is a database of recommended settings for a given tv?

Does it make a tremendous difference?

Cheers, TT
 

mbmapit

Prominent Member
IT MAKES A HUGE DIFFERENCE!!!

Check hdtvtest.com for your tv or get someone out, it's worth every penny.
 

Boostrail

Distinguished Member
I disagree I think it is a load of hype. I challenge anyone to set my TV up to give a picture that is better than the way I want it!
 

Timmy T

Standard Member
So now I'm a tad confused!!

Is calibration something exact, or is it open to personal taste? If it's an exact thing, why don't all sets come from the factory with the optimum settings applied?

Are there companies around that specialise in this, or can you do it yourself?
 

youngsyp

Distinguished Member
So now I'm a tad confused!!

Is calibration something exact, or is it open to personal taste? If it's an exact thing, why don't all sets come from the factory with the optimum settings applied?
If you have it set up by an ISF engineer, it will be calibrated to SMPTE specifications. To cut a long story short, this means the TV will be set up to give you the picture, the movie director (for example) wanted you to experience.
Every aspect of the picture, from contrast to white balance will be adjusted to meet the SMPTE criteria. The viewing environment will also be taken into account.
I've read of a few people (note the comment above although, that was a rather strange comment) who don't like their TV's set up this way and would prefer extremely vibrant colours for example.

I calibrate my TV's myself and I prefer the SMPTE standards as, I like the picture I'm watching to represent what I would see with my own eyes, if I was in front of the camera. So, I prefer a realistic image.

It's another horses for courses scenario but, I agree with the first poster as it can make a very, very noticable difference in your viewing experience.

Are there companies around that specialise in this, or can you do it yourself?
There are quite a few around now.
Have a trawl of the forum and I'm sure you'll find someone who could calibrate your TV for you.

Paul
 
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Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
As Paul has said ISF calibration is all about the SCIENCE of getting your display SYSTEM to adhere to the STANDARDS laid down for the capture broadcast and playback of different video material.

The creation of the original content was an artistic endeavour by the folk who made the content. The SYSTEM defined to capture, broadcast and playback that information is not an artistic endeavour. It is measureable and it has to be to ensure that we see what the artists intended.

If you want to see the content the way it is intended to look then calibration is a good idea.

Now, no-one is saying that you MUST have calibration done, or even that you MUST prefer a calibrated image. It is your tv and you can watch it how you want.
 

youngsyp

Distinguished Member
Thanks Gordon. I was waiting for a professional to come along and put it a bit more eloquantly than I could.

Paul
 

Timmy T

Standard Member
So, if that's the case, why don't Sony, samsung etc send them out already calibrated? :confused:

Also, can you do it yourself or is it too involved for a Simple Joe? What sort of cost is involved in getting someone in to do it?

I'm not being awkward, just curious!! :D
 
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Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
So, if that's the case, why don't Sony, samsung etc send them out already calibrated? :confused:

Also, can you do it yourself or is it too involved for a Simple Joe?

I'm not being awkward, just curious!! :D

Several reasons.

1: There is a state of ignorance with consumers so their is no benefit for manufacturers to spend the extra time and money making their products accurate.

2: They may have done market research to see what sort of "look" end users may prefer when deciding on what device to buy in a brightly lit showroom

3: They may be wanting to play a specification game and the choices they make in order to get high contrasts levels and high light output will probably affect the ability to get the device accurate.

4: While a high end cd player may use parts with 1% or less tolerance parts your mass market consumer electronics device like tv's will probably have much lower tolerance, cheaper parts in them. This means that two sets may actually look quite different if those parts are a different ends of the tolerance scale. (incidentally I used to work for a hi-end hi-fi manufacturer and specialist hi-fi retailers and even with very high quality manufacture I found obvious audible differences between multiple units of the same product)

5: The settings required for a tv in a room with a wall that is glass and has streming daylight in it will be different than that required for somene who lives and watches in a completely dark light controlled room.


6:It would be possible for manufacturers to give you a preset that is close to correct for the correct input signal type......but then we have the problem that the sources themselves suffer from the same manufacturing problems above.

7: Which leads on nicely to the fact that ISF calibration is NOT of the TV. It is of the DISPLAY SYSTEM. That means you need to consider the environment and the sources.

Hope that makes some sense.

Cheers

Gordon


PS. Just sawthe second bit..
Just as you can buy a Haynes workshop manual and service your car you can do the same with your tv calibration. You can buy tools cheap and use free software, read lot and keep playing and you will probably be able to get a more accurate image.

You may also find that paying someone who understands what they are trying to achieve, who has more accurate equiment and an understanding of how to use it, may save time, money and effort. I have no problem with folk trying to do this themselves and I have tried on many threads in the plasma and LCD forums and via PM's to help folk who want to have a go. Just remember though....if you do calibrate yourself please do not tell everyone else to use your settings as they are a definative guide to accuracy as they undoubtedly will not be.
 
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Timmy T

Standard Member
Thanks again, things are a little clearer now.

However, I've just done a little Googling and come up with prices around the £250 mark!!! :eek:

That's more than half the cost of my TV!!! Is it really worth that much? :confused:
 

catcher

Established Member
Thanks again, things are a little clearer now.

However, I've just done a little Googling and come up with prices around the £250 mark!!! :eek:

That's more than half the cost of my TV!!! Is it really worth that much? :confused:

I'll go out on a limb, and say no- of course not.

If you have a £500 tv, then there is simply no point in getting professional calibration. IMHO, professional calibration is aimed at users who have spent the money to get a good system, and would likely get gain extra value by paying someone £250 to come in and calibrate their system to industry standards in their environment. The reason being, they are the AV enthusiasts who have the equipment to really benefit from a professional service, and would likely be in a position to notice it more than the average user. I would say a very high percentage of the public stick to factory settings on their TVs with perhaps the odd adjustment of brightness.

As for getting professional calibration for a £500 TV, I would compare that to flying in a vet from overseas to treat your budgie.
 

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Value is relative to different people. SamsungLCD tv's have the most advanced and best calibration capabilities of any display I've come across. They also happen to be relatively cheap.....

I wouldn't look at working out whether the cost is worthwhile based on the value of your display but rather based on whether the device actually has good calibration capability and whether the end results are likely to be worthwhile.
 

terry79

Established Member
Gordon whats your thoughts on calibration of Phillips products say 42PFL9703 for example? Are these new tv sets tolerences closer making their pq more accurate so harder or less worthwhile to adjust?
 

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Gordon whats your thoughts on calibration of Phillips products say 42PFL9703 for example? Are these new tv sets tolerences closer making their pq more accurate so harder or less worthwhile to adjust?

I have never worked on that model so cannot comment on it specifically. I can say that generally tv manufacturers find ways to make tv's cheaper...not always better.....
 

YellowSphere

Prominent Member
I disagree I think it is a load of hype. I challenge anyone to set my TV up to give a picture that is better than the way I want it!
Yeah, but you use dynamic. You're not in the target market.

I've always thought of calibration as trying to set your television so it has as little effect as possible on the picture on the DVD. I want to see the colours that are on the disc, I don't want them to be affected by any other part of my setup, including the television.

On televisions where the controls are available, calibration makes a big difference. Not only that, but a calibrator should also be able to work out which are the best devices to perform scaling and deinterlacing so you get the best out of what you've got.

Regarding the Philips, they offer 2-point greyscale controls, but no CMS. So if the colour space they use is relatively accurate anyway, you should be able to get them looking good, and they do have pretty good scaling too. Don't think the deinterlacing is worth writing home about though.
 

Timmy T

Standard Member
So, where do I go from here?

a, I'm not an out and out entusiast.

b, I don't have top of the range gear.

c, I don't have £750 to calibrate 3 TV's (1x 32" Panny, 2x 26" Sony).

d, I'd still like to get a decent picture.

Do I just play around with the controls and risk completely mucking it up, play dumb, plead ignorance and stick with the factory settings, or is there a resource that you can refer to that will give generic ball park settings?
 

Gordon @ Convergent AV

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
You normally find that the manufacturer will have given you one preset that is more accurate than the rest. It's usually labelled CINEMA or MOVIE or something like that. Start with it if you have one. Then go buy a test pattern dvd like digital video essentials or if you are ok with burning dvd's you can download free iso files to make your own tet pattern dvd. Then us it to set brightness and contrast accurately on your displays. Setting black and white level accurately will usually make a pretty signifcant improvement to image quality.
 

turk3y

Prominent Member
So, where do I go from here?

Do I just play around with the controls and risk completely mucking it up, play dumb, plead ignorance and stick with the factory settings, or is there a resource that you can refer to that will give generic ball park settings?

first I would go to the very good avfoums tv section where they have 2 videos that might help, one is on the controls your tv has for picture adjustments so you know what each one means and the other is on how to do basic setup using something like dve (digital video essentials) using thoes controls.

I think there is a special code to put in on a bluray player with any sony bluray disk to get a test card or something similar which you might be able to use to help. Press 7-6-6-9-Enter to access these. They can be used as per the videos above.

that will help you get make sure you set is at least in the right ball park, dve can be brought on a well know auction site for about £15, that helps setup the tv basically and also goes into quite decent depth on what you are setting and why, it includes the filters mentioned in the above videos
 

Boostrail

Distinguished Member
Yeah, but you use dynamic. You're not in the target market.


Please define "target market" in this context, at present this statement makes no sense to me. I am fully aware of what the term target market means- I previously held the position of marketing manager in my company.

I've always thought of calibration as trying to set your television so it has as little effect as possible on the picture on the DVD. I want to see the colours that are on the disc, I don't want them to be affected by any other part of my setup, including the television.

If I watch a DVD then I want it to look as close as possible to what I see in the Cinema - I dont get that using the "calibration" approach, or so called Cinema or Movie pre sets.

On televisions where the controls are available, calibration makes a big difference. Not only that, but a calibrator should also be able to work out which are the best devices to perform scaling and deinterlacing so you get the best out of what you've got.

IMHO the pictures are lifeless and dull and this applies to several LCD's (and one plasma) apart from my own where I have tried this approach.
 
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YellowSphere

Prominent Member
If I watch a DVD then I want it to look as close as possible to what I see in the Cinema - I dont get that using the "calibration" approach, or so called Cinema or Movie pre sets.
I would ask for a refund if the picture at the cinema was anywhere near akin to how sets look on dynamic mode, they're called cinema or movie for a reason, because they're closer to the standards to which all cinemas should be working.

Many televisions can look a bit to dull on the out-of-the-box movie preset due to incorrect greyscale, black/white point and the like, if that's sorted out, it should be a lot better. If you read the posts of people who had their Pioneers ISF calibrated many people report these kind of effects. i.e. it still looks realistic, but without looking dull.

Bear in mind that, as has been mentioned, calibration is also about the room in which you're watching. The fact that you've said dynamic looks closer to the cinema than cinema makes me think that you watch TV with the light on?

By target market I meant people looking for the most accurate picture, something which a dynamic setting will never provide. Just to be sure, by accurate, I mean reproducing a picture as close as possible to broadcast standards as the display can manage. Unfortunately, I cannot believe you're after an accurate picture.

That's not to say that there's anything wrong with it per se, mind. If you're enjoying your television, which you obviously are, then that's all well and good, but that's for you. Most people, certainly on here, do not like dynamic mode, especially after they compare it to a calibrated move mode. Unfortunately, it's just completely erroneous to say that it's a load of hype.
 

Boostrail

Distinguished Member
I would ask for a refund if the picture at the cinema was anywhere near akin to how sets look on dynamic mode, they're called cinema or movie for a reason, because they're closer to the standards to which all cinemas should be working.

I do go to the cinema reasonably often and to different venues. Unlike other people I sit near the front such that the picture completely fills my field of view. At this distance I would expect the picture would look brighter than to those sitting in the back row. I cannot believe that the so called Cinema or Movie settings have any relevance to a real cinema experience even from the back row.

Many televisions can look a bit to dull on the out-of-the-box movie preset due to incorrect greyscale, black/white point and the like, if that's sorted out, it should be a lot better. If you read the posts of people who had their Pioneers ISF calibrated many people report these kind of effects. i.e. it still looks realistic, but without looking dull.

Many cheaaper LCD's dont even let you vary the Cinema type setting. I fully appreciate the importance of greyscale etc. Unfortunately few are able to afford a Pioneer and yes you could have it ISF calibrated . But I suggest this is not for most on here.

Bear in mind that, as has been mentioned, calibration is also about the room in which you're watching. The fact that you've said dynamic looks closer to the cinema than cinema makes me think that you watch TV with the light on?

Here I think you have hit the nub. Nobody I know watches the TV in the dark! Yes at night I do have the light on! and in the daytime I do not close the curtains!

I have not had a TV where it was necessary to watch it in the dark since the very earliest RCA shadowmask tubed colour sets were superseded in the early 1970's
BTW I never did get the point of Philips Ambilight.


By target market I meant people looking for the most accurate picture, something which a dynamic setting will never provide. Just to be sure, by accurate, I mean reproducing a picture as close as possible to broadcast standards as the display can manage. Unfortunately, I cannot believe you're after an accurate picture.

Whilst I am quite willing to accept that what I get is not an accurate picture I cannot believe that a picture that is similar to the cinema mode on most TV's is what the programme originators intend us to watch.
 
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YellowSphere

Prominent Member
I do go to the cinema reasonably often and to different venues. Unlike other people I sit near the front such that the picture completely fills my field of view. At this distance I would expect the picture would look brighter than to those sitting in the back row. I cannot believe that the so called Cinema or Movie settings have any relevance to a real cinema experience even from the back row.
I don't know much about the science of projection, but I'm pretty darn sure that sitting right up against the screen and at the back of the auditorium won't make the difference between the cinema and dynamic modes we see on modern televisions. I know that when I go to the cinema I generally see by-and-large accurate pictures (not always, but that's for another thread). No matter where I sit.
Many cheaaper LCD's dont even let you vary the Cinema type setting. I fully appreciate the importance of greyscale etc.
Oh, plenty of televisions don't have enough adjustment options, but loads of people will still prefer the movie mode as it will be the closest to accuracy.
Unfortunately few are able to afford a Pioneer and yes you could have it ISF calibrated . But I suggest this is not for most on here.
I know, but it's a good example as quite a lot of Pioneer owners have had calibration performed. Here is an example of the sort of thing I was referring to that people have said.
Here I think you have hit the nub. Nobody I know watches the TV in the dark! Yes at night I do have the light on! and in the daytime I do not close the curtains!
Fair enough, but I find it difficult to watch movies in the light for many reasons.
BTW I never did get the point of Philips Ambilight.
It's quite good actually. If you were watching in the dark, it's good to have a source of light behind the display; it makes it easier on your eyes and, by extension, increases the perceived contrast of the picture. If I went for a Philips set then I probably would set it to a 6500K bias light rather than the coloured mode, but set really subtly it can work really well (i.e. you don't notice it until it's off, and then you switch it straight back on).

I think we're getting towards an agree to disagree situation however...
 

-Ad-

Prominent Member
Firstly, ISF costs around around the £300 mark, with one of the advertisers on here offering it cheaper when you buy a tv from them (can't remmeber who). So not this £750 number plucked out of the air.

For cheap tvs I wouldn't see the point in spending 1/2 their cost again to get it calibrated. Some sets don't even have a wealth of options to actually adjust, plus even if they have the calibrator may not physically be able to do that much with the picture after a certain amount of tweaking.

When purchasing a fantastic plasma like a Kuro or even the commercial panasonic PF/ph panels then ISF is really worth it. My kuro looks great and will be calibrated before the end of the year, and I can't wait. Already the blacks are pretty much as dark as the bezel in a pitchblack room with some ambient light behind the tv, and the dynamic range and colour reproduction is still jaw dropping after nearly 5 months of ownership.

My advice is don't buy one of these sets otherwise you will constantly be unimpressed with friends and familys sets, setup horrifically and displaying blocky pictures with inaccurate colours,m where people all look like they have been swimming in fake tan and radioactive waste.

And please take your tv sets out of dynamic/standard and put it in cinema/movie, then tweak them a bit. If you want horrible looking glary colours then buy a cheap tv from argos or lidl and don't waste your cash on a tv than can look a lot better.

:thumbsup:
 
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Boostrail

Distinguished Member
.

My advice is don't buy one of these sets otherwise you will constantly be unimpressed with friends and familys sets, setup horrifically and displaying blocky pictures with inaccurate colours,m where people all look like they have been swimming in fake tan and radioactive waste.

I agree about your observation about other peoples sets this is just the sort of picture I try to avoid - I have had several requests to set up friends/family sets after they have seen mine that does not have blocky pictures, has accurate colours, excellent skin tones and no radioactive effects.

.
And please take your tv sets out of dynamic/standard and put it in cinema/movie, then tweak them a bit. If you want horrible looking glary colours then buy a cheap tv from argos or lidl and don't waste your cash on a tv than can look a lot better.

:thumbsup:

This is what I disagree with, of course I can adjust and tweak this Cinema mode but it looks so gloomy and dull and this is on not only my LCD but others of various top makes I have had a try with. I also hate garish glary colours but dont want dull desaturated ones lacking in vibrance either.
 

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