Disappointing DLP... AM I just CRT biased ???

Discussion in 'Displays' started by SeanA, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. SeanA

    SeanA Second Unit

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    Just purchased and set-up a Samsung HLR-4667W DLP set, after selling my 34" Sony XBR CRT set. I have not tried any calibration on the DLP just yet, but I have watched some OTA HD broadcasts and a DVD (Memoirs of a Geisha) via my Denon DVD-1600... and I was disappointed with both inputs for several reasons.

    Reason #1)
    The main problem is just a general "graininess" to the picture even with the OTA HD feed. My Sony CRT just seemed to be much sharper and cleaner. I did notice that if I view the DLP set slightly off-center, the graininess isn't as bad. Is it possible that the plastic anti-glare screen is the main culprit for the "grainy" look ???

    Reason #2)
    Another issue, mainly apparent when watching the DVD, was a sudden softening or texturizing of the picture in spots. Large areas of the picture just became "blocky", and it seemed to happen most frequently with gray shades. Again, this is something I very rarely ever noticed on my Sony CRT.

    Reason #3)
    Deep black was fine, but slightly black or grayish colors seemed to be washed out. Perhaps #2 & #3 are related, but once again, not an issue with my old CRT.


    And you knew this was coming... the questions:

    1) Are the above noted deficiencies pretty typical of DLP sets (vs. CRTs) or am I just CRT biased, because it is what I know and it is "normal" to me ?

    2) How much will a calibration help to minimize or eliminate these issues ? And where can I find recommended calibration settings for the latest Samsung sets ? (I did try a search, without any luck).

    3) How much will a good upconverting DVD player help with movie performance ? (I do have the OPPO player on order, and I am even wondering if running my Denon 1600 in "interlaced" mode instead of "progressive" would help. Is there such a thing as over-processing of an image ?)
     
  2. Kevin G.

    Kevin G. Second Unit

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    I will be paying special attention to this thread, because I will have this very same model in a few days. I think the "blockiness" issue is dithering and has been discussed before, which, if I recall, can be greatly diminished with calibration.
    Please keep me updated. Hopefully you will get a few good replies that we can both use.
    edit: I am moving from a 30" Philips CRT.
     
  3. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    What you're seeing is less a DLP vs. CRT thing than a digital fixed-pixel display vs. any kind of line-scanning display thing.

    My nephew has the same model set that you do. I have a JVC HD-DILA (LCoS) set. Both exhibited basically the same set of flaws straight out of the box and looked great (or at least good, on analog inputs) once they were calibrated. I've heard similar stories from the guy responsible for our conference room plasma sets at work. Even if you just set most of the controls to the mid-point and the sharpness to no more than 10% I'm willing to be you'll see a huge improvement over what you're seeing now.

    A poorly adjusted monitor (which is to say, one with the factory settings) can badly distort any input source. When DVD first came out 9 years ago the images on many in-store displays looked horrible, not only worse than laserdisc, but worse than VHS. People wondered why anyone would buy the new discs. But on a set that was properly adjusted, or even tweaked by eye to something closer to the correct levels, they looked very good indeed. (My local Best Buy was a particular offender, and they were running their main DVD display area with a Toshiba 42" widescreen RPTV CRT. I had the 56" version at home and after I calibrated it I wrote down the settings, brought my remote to Best Buy with me and readjusted theirs. It looked much better after that. I should have sent them a bill. Or asked for a cut of the increased DVD player and disc sales that I'm sure ensued. [​IMG])

    The other thing about HD displays, of coure, is that higher resolution (or even bigger screen size) can magnify the flaws inherent in the source material. When I first moved up to a big screen TV (a 42" RPTV in the early 90s) I found most of my home-recorded movie collection, lovingly taped off HBO and Showtime, utterly unwatchable. If your signal source is not 100% consistent the input can flucuate, making the output look really bbad. (I have cable and some nights all the analog channels turn into a mass of snow, local broadcasters sometimes forget to switch to the HD feed on their HD channels when programming starts, and I once recorded three shows on CBS on my HD-DVR with no dialogue because some weird technical glitch had dropped the center channel audio from their broadcast 5.1 stream.) So somethings will be problematic, especially if your cable company overcompresses things, as mine seems to from time to time.

    But generally speaking analog and non-HD digital channels on both my set and my nephew's range from good to very good and, digital and the HD stuff ranges from outstanding to incredible.

    Once your set is properly dialed in I don't think you'll have any regrets.

    Regards,

    Joe

    P.S.

    CRT sets are inherently sharper and brighter than pretty much any of the alternative technologies. Direct-view CRT is the the sharpest, probably followed by CRT FPTV and then CRT RPTV. For sheer image quality, CRT remains the gold standard. It is a mature tecnology, very well understood, and has been tweaked, adjusted and improved by geniuses for nearly three quarters of a century. But like all TV technologies it has its weaknesses as well as its flaws. Anyone buying a new TV these days faces not an obvious choice, but a selection of trade-offs. Price vs. quality, screen size limits, how well different sets perform in different lighting conditions, burn-in issues, cabinet size, your own viewing habits, etc. Finally there is simply which set looks best to you.

    Last December I bought my JVC 720p LCoS for my living room (after buying LCD flat panels for two other rooms) based on my particular needs. (I'm not upgrading to hi-def DVD anytime soon, I watch mostly DVDs and HD broadcast material, I live in a 3rd floor condo so weight is an issue, can't totally darken any of the rooms so perfect black level is not critical, the LCDs need to double as computer monitors, I'm on a budget, etc.) The Sony XSRD 1080p LCoS set looked better, I must admit, but not enough to justify the extra money, especially with the lingering questions about 1080p sources. My nephew went with the Samsung DLP based on space considertions - it fit in his entertainment cabinet, price, image quality, and available financing. And my advice. [​IMG]
     
  4. SeanA

    SeanA Second Unit

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    Thank you Joseph. Your words of encouragement are much appreciated !!! I will be calibrating my Sammy soon, but I think I will wait until my Oppo DVD player shows up. I did an Avia calibration on my Sony CRT, and it definitely made an improvement, but I wasn't sure you could get the same gains on a DLP set. I will report back the results of my calibration.

    Funny thing is I thought the DLPs always looked very good in the stores, but my best impression was a DLP I viewed at a "high end" store (Flanners) in Milwaukee. I would be willing to bet they calibrate all their showroom televisions.

    I do like the fact that my Sammy is bigger and doesn't seem to have geometry problems... probably my biggest complaint with my 34" Sony XBR. Vertical images towards the outer edge of the set always appeared bowed.
     
  5. Joseph DeMartino

    Joseph DeMartino Lead Actor

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    Like I said, at this point I'd try a rough and ready adjustment by turning the color, brightness and contrast down to the mid-point on the adjustment scale, and turn sharpness off completely or to no more than 10%. I think you'll see an immediate improvement of the specific problems you've mentioned.

    Good luck,

    Joe
     
  6. SeanA

    SeanA Second Unit

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    Joe, I did go ahead and make some adjustments just "by eye" (without Avia or DVE) and you were absolutely correct !!! The improvement was more noticeable than on my Sony CRT calibration using Avia, and I was amazed (and thrilled) I could get such improvement just by eye. Images are only slightly grainy now, and the grays and background images are much less muddy. The improvement was probably most noticeable when watching the first NCAA basketball game (Florida vs. George Mason). Before making any adjustments, the graininess of players streaking down the court (when the camera was taking in a wide view of the court) was awful. Afterwards, the fast moving action was much smoother. It seems to me that the default settings may have some benefit for close-up static detail or for brighter images, but are very poor for action and darker images.

    All four factory picture settings are crap, even the "movie" setting. I am amazed that Samsung would not offer at least one picture setting that would be close to a professional calibration. Now I need to decide if I want to try to enter the service menu, and turn off "DNIE". I suspect this is crap too, and any calibration I do attempt will never reach its full potential if DNIE is left on. I am guessing that taking sharpness way down helps offset some of the negative effects of DNIE. Any opinion on Samsung's "DNIE" ???

    Anyway, here is what I did with my initial "by eye" calibration. I ended up creating a "custom" setting for both my OTA DTV feed and for my Denon DVD-1600 with component video. Both custom settings were very similar, except that I ended up leaving sharpness at 15 for the DVD input and at 5 for my DTV input. Just couldn't get myself to turn sharpness completely to "0", though I may still do so once I calibrate with DVE. My complete settings were as follows:

    Contrast = 60
    Brightness = 40-45
    Sharpness = 5-15
    Color = 40-45
    Color Tone = Normal
    Digital NR (Noise Reduction) = Off

    I did also play around with the "My Color Control" setting. Adding about 5 points on the "Pink" scale helped bring out skin tones and make them more realistic for my DTV source. It did not seem to be a good thing for my DVD source (watching Cinderall Man)... skin tones looked un-naturally red. I suspect this may be related more to the overall brightness of the image than the source. I'm guessing a brighter image can "wash out" the natural skin tone.

    Thanks once again Joe !!! I am already feeling much better about my Sammy DLP.
     
  7. Phil Iturralde

    Phil Iturralde Screenwriter

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    Joseph DeMartino is correct, once out of the box, you should turn-off the MFG's TORCH MODE by lowering the Contrast & Brightness! Changing the HDTV's TEMP to Warm / Movie Mode will also get you close to the 6,500 Kelvin TEMP Industry Standard.


    To accurately nail down YOUR HDTV Color, Tint, Contrast & Brightness (which I recommend now with any DVD player, ... just do it again when you get your Oppo), ... you'll need the ...

    1) BLUE Filter and NTSC SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) Test Screen,

    &

    2) PLUGE* Test Screen to accurately set the Contrast & Brightness (Black Levels)

    ... both supplied by Digital Video Essentials - which for anyone reading this thread, ... you can purchase for $16.48 w/FREE SH @ DeepDiscountDVD!

    *PLUGE (Picture Line Up Generation Equipment) This is a name of a test pattern that assists in properly setting picture black level. PLUGE can be part of many test patterns.

    As far as SHARPNESS is concerned, for my Toshiba 56HM195, I just turn it off since any value higher** than "0" adds video noise! (**Recommended by an ISF calibrator that calibrated an 56HM195 last year.)

    Have fun with your new DPL HDTV! I'm still blown away with what we see based on a few million micro-mirrors in a little chip! [​IMG]

    Phil
     
  8. SeanA

    SeanA Second Unit

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    Went ahead and did both DVE and Avia with my Denon DVD-1600. I realized there was no reason to wait for the Oppo player since the Samsung DLP retains custom picture settings for each input device, or at least each input type. And since my Denon is wired via component video, I should be able to create another distinct set of picture settings for the Oppo which will route through DVI/HDMI.

    I did go ahead and move "sharpness" to "0" prior to any adjustments, and the end result was was not too far from my initial "by eye only" adjustments. I ended up bumping up brightness and color by 5-10 points. Here are my new settings:

    Contrast = 60
    Brightness = 50
    Sharpness = 0
    Color = 48
    Color Tone = Normal
    Digital NR (Noise Reduction) = Off

    For the most part, Avia and DVE seemed to be in agreement. The biggest difference was the "Color" correction. I actually ended up with a "52" using DVE, but decided to use the Avia result of "48" instead. I like the lower color setting better, in part because the TV has about a 10% "green" push, and I believe a lower color setting well help to de-emphasize any color errors. Red looked pretty neutral. I am now using these same picture settings with my OTA digital feed, except that I have bumped "contrast" down to "50". My logic is that higher resolution should not need as much contrast, and I still think the display is plenty bright.

    Funny how my settings are now almost exactly where Joe recommended I start.

    Next, I may try to get into the service menu and play with the Index and Gamma settings. I've read that some significant improvement can be made with minor tweaks here. I may also try to turn off DNIE, but I read somewhere that DNIE may only work to "enhance" standard def or analog signals. If this is true, and it does not influence my digital OTA feed or the DVI/HDMI input, I would see no reason to mess with it. Can anyone confirm just when and how DNIE comes into play ???
     

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