Price/benefit for calibration?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Peter Kasting, Jun 18, 2002.

  1. Peter Kasting

    Peter Kasting Auditioning

    Jun 16, 2002
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    I have seen many people sing the praises of a professional calibration on here, so I know it's a Good Thing (TM). However, I'm wondering about doing it from a price/performance perspective.

    As I posted yesterday, I'm considering getting a Sony XBR Wega 36" or 40" TV sometime "soon". For a brand new set, am I going to notice a drastic enough difference in the picture quality that I should definitely spend the money to have it professionally calibrated? If it will help "a little bit" it's not worth it to me, I'm not a video quality FANATIC. I just want the best picture possible for an economical price.

    If I were to get a new set calibrated, how long after buying it should I wait? Isn't there a "burn-in" period during which it's a little bit pointless to calibrate, since things will drift (or something, pardon my lack of knowledge)?

    Also, does calibration prolong the TV's life at all?

    Also, how good of a job can one do using AVIA for a DIY calibration? I have no idea how much tha AVIA disc costs (I assume normal DVD price?) but if I can do, say, 50% as good a job as a professional using this disc, it seems like the cost savings would be worth it. But maybe you have to know a bit more than I do to do this... what is the AVIA disc, just test patterns? Or does it guide you in calibrating your set, too?

  2. SteveK

    SteveK Supporting Actor

    Jan 10, 2000
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    Peter- Although only you can decide if the cost of a calibration is justifiable, I certainly think it is well worth doing. I have a Sony 32" Wega which is now about 4 months old. I had done the amateur calibration using the Avia DVD (they cost about $50 by the way). I was able to improve the user settings, but the underlying gray scale was still off. You can't do a grayscale calibration with the Avia DVD, or any other DVD for that matter. You need instrumentation to properly read (and make adjustments to)the "color temperature".

    About a week ago, Greg Loewen calibrated my Sony. The difference is incredible! My pre-calibration color temperature readings were WAY off, so my colors were also way off. Whites looked pinkish and grays/blacks looked purplish. Skin tones looked sunburned and most people had reddish-brown hair. Not any longer! I have true whites, true blacks and accurate colors, including flesh tones.

    I figure it this way: I could have spent a couple hundred dollars more for a set with picture-in-picture, which is a useless gimmick IMO. But for about the same price, I got a professional calibration which gave me the best picture that I could possibly get from my Wega.

    Is it worth it? Before I had it done, I wondered the same thing. But now that I have had it done, I highly recommend it. If accurate color is important to you, then it's certainly worth it. If the out of the box settings are "good enough" (whether accurate or not), then it may not be worth doing. Only you can decide. But given the cost of the set you are considering, a few hundred dollars more for a professional calibration to get the most out of it seems a worthwhile investment.

    Good luck!
    Steve K.
  3. Michael TLV

    Michael TLV THX Video Instructor/Calibrator

    Mar 16, 2000
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    Calgary, Alberta
    Real Name:
    Michael Chen

    Considering that you are looking at a cost of $225 or so ... it is not at a price point that breaks the camel's back.

    But as to its worth ... that has a lot to do with the condition of the TV OOTB. On most Sony sets, I have found that their warm setting was usually within 500K of D6500K ... but that is no guarantee that the one you buy will be the same. It may be close or it may be way off the mark. Often, that is something you can never be sure of until you hire someone to put the colour analyzer to the TV. Of course, then it is too late.

    There are also some other things that a calibration can get you ... including improved colour decoder performance(varies by set) and image centering and sizing.

    If you are the adventurous type of person, much of this stuff can be done yourself ... all except the proper grayscale. And that's where the $225 comes in again.

    I know for myself ... prior to doing this ISF stuff, I had hired an ISF guy to work on a Toshiba 36" tube set many years ago. I had fiddled with the R/G/B values, but in the end, "I just gots ta know ..." Turned out I was off by 2000K on the red side ...


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