Video - what to calibate: source(s) / receiver / TV / all 3?


Active Member
I am sure this really is the first question in "ABC of video calibration" but I haven't found the answer. I would like to do a bit of calibration to get my colours, black levels, contrast brightness etc. as good as I can. In fact once I have my projector I will get someone to that and my other gear for me, but right now I don't even know what to ask them to do. Here is my problem;

I have three main sources (PCH, PC, PS3), all route via my new Onkyo TX-NR 3009 into my Pioneer Kuro. Later I'll have a PJ, probably JVC X-30 or similar Sony.

All of them have features to adjust the image. The amp and possibly the TV (can't remember for 6080D) are ISF calibration compatible. I believe the amp will allow "per source" settings in it but I do not think it has "per output" settings i.e. TV and PJ would receive the same signal.

I suppose a starting point is set everything to a default value or zero. Then I run, say, a THX calibration disc. Where do I make my adjustment, in the source, or in the TV, or in the amp :confused:

I have figured out to try and let my amp or TV do as much of any scaling and deinterlacing as possible since I have greater faith in them than my Popcorn Hour and PS3 and PC (Nvidia GTX570 graphics). But other than that, is there a 'rule' or preferred order for making adjustments?

I suppose my ideal outcome is one day and one night set setting, for each source for each display, just to be as accurate as possible. Which is impractical. I use the PC and PS3 principally for games, the PCH is the media player for movies, and eventually I will add a HD Freeview PVR.

What would you (who know what you are talking about) do?


Active Member
RoughRider said:
What would you (who know what you are talking about) do?

I wouldn't say I know what I'm taking about with calibration but I recently had my TV professionally calibrated and it was done with the TV's ISF controls and the rest of the device chain was checked to ensure they were not altering the picture in anyway. Take from that what you will.


Active Member
OK I am not a mad person (talking to myself :blush:) I am answering my own post because I found an answer so if somebody has the same question as me they might find it here in future. Albeit a bit hard to find "Video Calibration" under "Construction" not that I have a better suggestion. I found a FAQ in the UK Onkyo FAQ page entitled "Picture quality decreases with source connected via AV receiver in contrast to a direct connection to TV” if you want to read in full, hopefully that is appropriate credit to my source without fanboy linking or using proprietary material, but in case they update that page I will paraphrase here.

Do your processing in one place - and turn every video processing option off in every other place. So I guessed right set everything to default value of zero or off. Then run say a test pattern in your source and take it in turns to calibrate in source, processor (av receiver) and finally display, each time putting the other two steps back to zero / off. The one giving the best result is the one you keep.

I suppose you could do it differently and input a professional 'reference' source to the display to calibrate that to be totally neutral first, then play the refence into into your processor (amp), calibrate that so the diplay still outputs reference, and then use those settings as your baseline instead. This could get e.g. better shadow details if instead of outputting too much brightness from amp then re-dimming it back to reference level in TV you are actually passing correct level of signal along the chain. I am curious at how different the optimal Hue, Saturation, Brightness, Contrast, Red Brightness, Red Contrast, Blue... Green... can look, it's a lot of precision.

The other factor for me is transparency on what you are actually adjusting depending on what name the manafacturer gives to the particular feature. e.g. Onkyo I think "Video" option of "Film Mode" means "deinterlacing on" and "Auto" means "deinterlacing off", Picture Mode "through" means "Scaling on" and "direct" means scaling off. In my Pio it's not so clear what everything means.


Distinguished Member
I think you're over complicating the situation.

What are you watching? The display with a Blu-ray playing through the amp. In that case, you calibrate the display whilst playing a reference test pattern disc through the Blu-ray player. You can do this for the PS3 on the ISF Day setting.

With you Popcorn Hour, you can run a reference Blu-ray ISO directly from it, through the amp and calibrate the TV on the ISF Night setting.

You can then calibrate another setting for the PC, bearing in mind it will output a completely different colourspace than the PS3* (when viewing movies) and Popcorn Hour.

If you use the PC a lot and are really bothered about the finest picture from it, due to the outputs of the PS3* (whilst playing movies) and the Popcorn Hour being very similar ultimately, you could calibrate ISF Day with the PS3 and ISF Night with the PC.


PS3*: When the PS3 is playing Blu-rays and video content, it will be outputting film level video (16-235) or YCbCr. When it's playing games, it will be outputting video level video (0-255) or RGB.

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