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Does ISF calibration matter so much with LCD/plasma?


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#1 of 22 Rob Robinson

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Posted February 05 2008 - 03:14 PM

Several years ago when I first joined the forum, ISF calibration seemed like a great idea, particularly with RPTVs that had 3 CRTS that could use aligning and such. But now that the sets are basically fixed sheets of LCD, is it still worth the $400 or so to hire a pro?

#2 of 22 GeorgeAB

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Posted February 06 2008 - 01:47 AM

Display calibration involves many things far beyond the scope of what you describe in your post. The answer to your question is, yes (if image fidelity and display accuracy is important to you).

You would be well-served to invest some time studying what display calibration really is. Go to the source: imagingscience.com , isfforum.com , lionav.com . Don't settle for amateur opinions, shallow assumptions, quesswork, or intuition. Get the facts and make a judgement whether the proper objective is worth the expense to you. An excellent FAQ about display calibration is here: FAQ Categories - ISF Forum .

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#3 of 22 Stephen_J_H

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Posted February 06 2008 - 08:20 AM

I would reiterate what GeorgeAB says and add the following: it matters moreso with plasma displays, as these are prone to "burn-in" just like CRTs if not properly calibrated.
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#4 of 22 Stephen Tu

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Posted February 06 2008 - 01:09 PM

It doesn't help as much, it's mainly if you want dead-on grayscale + color. But with flat panel there is no longer overscan/convergence/geometry/focus to fix.

Plasmas have improved their phosphors, don't really see complaints of burn-in on the plasma forums, just temporary image retention. And avoiding burn-in on TVs that can burn-in, like CRT RP, doesn't require calibration, just keep the contrast down to reasonable levels and avoid excessive display of fixed patterns.

#5 of 22 troy evans

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Posted February 06 2008 - 02:52 PM

I would say with a good calibration disc like DVE or Avia you can get damn close. However, to truely get dead on accurate results you need to consider a pro ISF calibration specialist. The question becomes, do you want your display to be the best it can be with pro calibration? Or close enough to the best it can be with DVE or Avia? Considering what you pay for a HDTV $400 seems cheap to get the most out of it.
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#6 of 22 GeorgeAB

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Posted February 06 2008 - 03:23 PM

Opinions are like a certain body orifice- everyone's got one! You can see no end to the stream of personal opinions about this subject in this and every other home theater forum. The video industry is governed by standards and proven recommended practice- not opinions.

Professional display calibration has only one purpose- to align any given display according to industry standards to achieve the most accurate image it's capable of. An uncalibrated display will only provide a non-standard image with various forms of image distortion. A distorted image will not produce a correct picture, no matter how much you may think it looks acceptable.

Image fidelity is preserved only to the extent that the display behaves according to the same standards program originators follow when they approve their work. Get the facts, not opinions, then make an informed judgement based upon your priorities and budget. There is no consumer display, or professional one for that matter, that can look its best without professional-level alignment.

#7 of 22 troy evans

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Posted February 06 2008 - 03:45 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeAB
Opinions are like a certain body orifice- everyone's got one! You can see no end to the stream of personal opinions about this subject in this and every other home theater forum. The video industry is governed by standards and proven recommended practice- not opinions.
Damn George, you seem pissed. Posted Image
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#8 of 22 GeorgeAB

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Posted February 07 2008 - 02:08 AM

Not pissed, just certain of the perpetual waste of effort it is for people to pussy foot around with speculation, when the facts about reference standards are readily available. It's all very simple. There are two ways of looking at the video quality issue: #1 "Looks good enough to me.", #2 "It works correctly." Professional calibration is for those who want image fidelity, display accuracy and a reference picture.

The vast majority of consumers have never heard of video standards, nor have they ever seen a reference image, so they settle for half-vast performance. The only rule they have to judge quality by is what they have experienced. Along came Joe Kane and the Imaging Science Foundation to tell the consumer that better quality is possible from their TVs, and that manufacturers weren't following the 'rules' of the video system. Well, they still aren't following the system rules, but there are ways to get consumer TVs to behave properly.

DVDs with test patterns and tutorials can improve matters, but genuine calibration is only available with more in-depth instruction and test instruments. I'm just trying to keep it straight in a venue where people come for genuine help.

#9 of 22 Rob Robinson

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Posted February 07 2008 - 03:34 PM

George-
I definitely appreciate your comments, and I wasn't trying to cause drama or altercations! And while everyone does have an opinion, those opinions are why alot of us look to forums and community sites, to get first hand advice from people that have used the services (and paid for it with their own money).

Just like I wouldnt judge a tv/computer/any piece of tech based on manufacturer provided spec sheets alone, surely you could understand why I would seek advice from a source other than commercial entities that exist to sell ISF calibration.

sorry to offend

#10 of 22 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted February 07 2008 - 04:19 PM

Let's face it. It's *always* about what's good enough in practice since there is no absolute perfection w/ 99.9% of such things in the real world. Of course, somebody's "good enough" might only be 50% of the way there to what's good enough w/ certified ISF calibration (and whatever other such services in other industries as well).

In the end, I guess the point is if you want to know w/ good certainty, then you need to see the difference for yourself. Otherwise, "ignorance is bliss" as they say... Posted Image Posted Image

_Man_

PS: No, I have not had my 5-yo, at-the-time ~$1600 RPTV ISF calibrated though I definitely considered doing it -- and probably would've done it if I didn't feel the need to spend ~$250 on an EW for the TV at the time. In hindsight, I do wish I had gone for the ISF calibration for it though the EW did pay for itself as well. And I might just go for it for my next display upgrade a year or so from now even though I tend to agree w/ others that it's probably less important for fixed pixel displays than for CRT-based displays. Need to do some more homework on the matter before I decide, and I've got time on my side for now. Posted Image
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#11 of 22 GeorgeAB

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Posted February 07 2008 - 04:38 PM

I'm not offended in the least by your inquiry. Imaging industry standards and recommended practice have nothing to do with selling anything. They exist to elevate the motion imaging industries they serve. Standards bodies such as ANSI, CIE, ISO, SMPTE, IEEE, etc., don't make or sell products. Such organizations set engineering guidelines, standards and recommended practices to promote technical excellence, unity, consistency, quality, and education for the industries they serve.

The links I provided are to organizations who educate the market on these issues. Their services wouldn't have meaning for an uneducated consumer. If you want to go straight to SMPTE for the information, you will have to pay for copies of their standards and recommended practice documents, just like program production professionals, broadcasters, manufacturers and service providers must.

The problem with most posters on these forums is they lack the technical education to offer factual analysis to back up their opinions and assertions. They certainly know what they like, or have observed, and can speak authoritatively with those limitations. Opinion has to be weighed against objective reference standards, if such a reference is available. When it comes to video performance, there are objective standards. Get the facts first. Without that perspective, all you have is conjecture and anecdotal experience.

Before the ISF, no one of any significant consequence was bothering to educate the video consumer about what real image quality was composed of. The state of consumer television was a horrible mess, much worse than today. Still today, consumer displays are shipped from the manufacturers set up wrong.

Home theater setup and calibration DVDs all started from Joe Kane's 'A Video Standard' laserdisc. Joe Kane founded the ISF with Joel Silver to educate consumers and professionals alike in video industry standards. They made a profound impact upon the state of the industry, but there is still a long way to go. Most consumers still have no idea that they can never view a movie at home, as it was intended to be experienced, unless their TV is calibrated to perform like the monitor the program was mastered on. Whether they happen to like the way it looks after calibration is actually irrelevant, if image fidelity is their goal. If image fidelity is the priority, the question is- does it look the way the program originator liked? The only way to insure that, is for the display to be calibrated to the same standards the pros go by.

#12 of 22 E-A-G-L-E-S

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Posted February 08 2008 - 03:00 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by troy evans
I would say with a good calibration disc like DVE or Avia you can get damn close. However, to truely get dead on accurate results you need to consider a pro ISF calibration specialist. The question becomes, do you want your display to be the best it can be with pro calibration? Or close enough to the best it can be with DVE or Avia? Considering what you pay for a HDTV $400 seems cheap to get the most out of it.

You should use the DVE-HD disc though. The Avia and DVE originals are good for some things, but for color and tint you'll want to use an HD calibration disc.....at least according to what a calibrator told me. Often the Avia or DVE originals will leave you with oversaturated colors on an HDTV with HD sources.

#13 of 22 GeorgeAB

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Posted February 08 2008 - 08:24 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Man-Fai Wong
I tend to agree w/ others that it's probably less important for fixed pixel displays than for CRT-based displays. Need to do some more homework on the matter before I decide. Posted Image
Here is a link to a great graphical representation of many things that can be wrong with any TV picture, completely independant of "overscan/convergence/geometry/focus" issues previously attributed to CRT displays: Lion Audio/Video Consultants . Elements such as: gray scale, gamma, color space management, etc., cannot be reliably calibrated without instrumentation and training. This stuff goes far beyond the scope of test pattern DVDs and user-level picture controls on a TV.

#14 of 22 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted February 08 2008 - 10:17 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeAB
Here is a link to a great graphical representation of many things that can be wrong with any TV picture, completely independant of "overscan/convergence/geometry/focus" issues previously attributed to CRT displays: Lion Audio/Video Consultants . Elements such as: gray scale, gamma, color space management, etc., cannot be reliably calibrated without instrumentation and training. This stuff goes far beyond the scope of test pattern DVDs and user-level picture controls on a TV.

George, thanks much for the follow-up.

Actually, yeah, it did occur to me that the most crucial things that DIY folks like me couldn't really do well/right on CRT are more or less the same things on fixed pixel (digital) displays. While I haven't done the homework yet, I'm actually quite curious how calibration would work w/ fixed pixel displays. On my nicely tweakable 5-yo Panny CRT RPTV, I can get at the analog fine tuning knobs inside the chassis for gray scale for instance, but do fixed pixel displays generally have similar type controls or some other physical means for fine tuning such things? OR do they usually only offer digital controls (inside the service menu/mode) that can't really be fine tuned as much as analog on CRTs?

One other thing. It also occurred to me that I'd probably need multiple ISF calibrations throughout the life of a CRT RPTV, if I want sustained maximum performance. Even if I take care of all the convergence/geometry/focus/etc stuff regularly, phospher wear, if nothing else, can still bias the image over time. Do fixed pixel displays (other than plasmas) have the same issues and need recalibrating every couple years or so? OR is one ISF calibration during the first few months of ownership be good for the life of the display?

At the moment, I plan on going for a 1080p DLP RPTV (probably circa 60") in a year or so though the talk of screen rib pitch being a potentially overlooked limiting factor has me rethinking that idea...

Thanks again for all your input here.

_Man_
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#15 of 22 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted February 08 2008 - 10:27 AM

BTW, a question about computer displays. Posted Image

Do y'all find calibration kits like the Colorvision SpyderPro to yield accurate, standards based results for computer displays on par w/ ISF calibration? I'd be using that for photo editing and such, and seems like the still photography world (and maybe non-cinema video editing world also) swear by such kits (or more pro/advanced versions of them).

Thanks again...

_Man_
Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#16 of 22 Michael TLV

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Posted February 08 2008 - 11:19 AM

Greetings

Can a DIY book on law work better for you when you go to court? Can a medical self help book do the same job as a family doctor? If you think the answer is yes ... then you have your answer for the Spyder Pro package.

Cars don't just get one tune up over their life time ... ditto for TVs. Things wear ... stuff changes ... retweaks will be needed along the way.

If you get a good relationship with your calibrator ... then the retweaks come at significantly less $$ than the original work.

My clients locally know that retweaks can be had for $100 whenever they want it. They could change out all the DVD players and cable boxes and they now just factor the calibration into their purchases.

Regards
Michael @ The Laser Video Experience
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Lion A/V Consultants Network - TLVEXP.com


#17 of 22 troy evans

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Posted February 08 2008 - 11:23 AM

George, you definately sold me on ISF calibration. I had considered this for my Samsung 42" plasma and inqiured to Micheal last year about services in my area. He pointed me to Greg Lowen of Lion/AV. I havent booked him yet for lack off time on my end. However, maybe closer to summer. It is something I've always wanted to have done. To add on a bit to Man's question, can DVE help maintain a pro calibration afterward, at least?
" I think it's time we go to plan B". "What's plan B?" "That's the one where we don't do something stupid".

#18 of 22 Michael TLV

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Posted February 08 2008 - 11:52 AM

Greetings

DVE and other discs are good to check the drift of the TV over time when it comes to the user control items.

Also good to use if you swapped out for a new DVD player let's say ... so you pop it in to double check if it is time to bring the calibrator guy back for a retweak.

My clients that do retweaks look for it once every 12 months or 18 months. Time to get lots of new toys ... before I get there.

Regards
Michael @ The Laser Video Experience
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Lion A/V Consultants Network - TLVEXP.com


#19 of 22 GeorgeAB

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Posted February 08 2008 - 01:18 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Man-Fai Wong
do fixed pixel displays generally have similar type controls or some other physical means for fine tuning such things? OR do they usually only offer digital controls (inside the service menu/mode) that can't really be fine tuned as much as analog on CRTs?
Flat panels have digital menus only, except LCDs have adjustable backlights.

Quote:
Do fixed pixel displays (other than plasmas) have the same issues and need recalibrating every couple years or so? OR is one ISF calibration during the first few months of ownership be good for the life of the display?
Michael handled this well. Phosphors wear in plasma cells and LCD ccf backlights. Everything else should be stable.

Quote:
At the moment, I plan on going for a 1080p DLP RPTV (probably circa 60") in a year or so though the talk of screen rib pitch being a potentially overlooked limiting factor has me rethinking that idea...
Every display has its quirks and limitations. Larger screens should all be going to 1080P.

#20 of 22 GeorgeAB

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Posted February 08 2008 - 01:23 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Man-Fai Wong
BTW, a question about computer displays. Posted Image

Do y'all find calibration kits like the Colorvision SpyderPro to yield accurate, standards based results for computer displays on par w/ ISF calibration? I'd be using that for photo editing and such, and seems like the still photography world (and maybe non-cinema video editing world also) swear by such kits (or more pro/advanced versions of them).
I'll defer to Michael on this. He has more experience with the tri-stimulus pods. I haven't used one for years. Personally, I would have more confidence in the i1 spectrometer or better instruments for any really critical work.


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