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Why the need for ISF? (1 Viewer)


Senior HTF Member
Apr 30, 2002
I'm not saying it's not needed on new TV's.

What I am asking is why are these TV's being sold from the manufacturer without being the best possible picture and in need of ISF calibration? It makes no sense the manufacturer would build something and sell it that is not even up to it's full potential. to make an analogy, it seems like it's buying a car, but you have to do repairs on it before it runs smoothly (bear with me if this is a horrible analogy).

Any idea why this is happening? And if the manufacturers knows this is happening then why don't they they take advantage of this and offer calibrated TV's (better pictures) in hopes of outselling others that come un-calibrated.

Philip Hamm

Senior HTF Member
Jan 23, 1999
Because jacking the contrast and blue/red level makes for a more dramatic "showroom" appearance to the non-videophile. These people buy a lot of TVs. If they looked at an ISFed and a contrast jacked TV next to each other at Best Buy they'd never buy the ISF.

David Broome

Stunt Coordinator
Jun 2, 2001
And it takes quite awhile to do all the things a good ISF does. The guys at the factory couldn't spend that much time on each tv and us still be able to afford them.

Not to mention many of the things they do could be messed up in shipment jostling and are also better done after the tv has had a 'break-in' period

Dennis Reno

Supporting Actor
Jun 30, 1997
I don't think anyone can claim a need for ISF. After all, the vast majority of people sitting at home are happy with a smaller screen and a VCR! For those of us who aren't happy with the factory default, Video Essentials and Avia can help produce a much better picture. But if you are interested in the best picture a monitor can produce ISF will help you achieve that goal.

Its all a matter of perspective. IMO, if you spend thousands of dollars on a direct view, rear projection or front projector, ISF calibration seems like a pretty good value. Not only will the ISF tech improve the picture, in the case of RP or FP, they could very well extend the life of the unit.

Michael TLV

THX Video Instructor/Calibrator
Senior HTF Member
Mar 16, 2000
Calgary, Alberta
Real Name
Michael Chen

No TV absolutely needs to have a professional come in to fine tune it. They are built to meet a certain tolerance and that is all.

If you want your set more finely tuned ... then you either do it yourself or you pay a pro to do it.

If I want my car more finely tuned ... same deal.

If we wanted to add the cost of this so called ISFing to the cost of the set ... TV's go up in price by $200 to $500. The low end for tube TV's ranging anywhere from $200 to $1300.

The high range for RPTV's.

If you want to do this, then the TV's must stay in the factory assembly line for 2 to 5 hours more. Consider factory labor costs and what that translates to at a pricing level and something that costs $100 in additional labor now costs $500 for you.

This is also the same reason why manufacturers many years ago, could not add a better line doubler to a particular TV because it would make the TV too expensive at retail. The cost difference for the line doubler in question was a $5 type versus an $13 type. After manufacturing was accounted for, this would raise the cost of the TV $150 which was not acceptable at the time. (They were shooting for a $5000 price point ... and $5150 was too much.)

Now if offered the choice, 99.9% of all consumers would rather save the money on the TV than pay the premium.

Which brings us right back to where we started. Why make 100% of the paying public buy something that only 0.01% of the people really want?

Add to this ... the effects of shipping, temperature changes, viewing environments, and breaking in periods ...

So now the manufacturer has to factor in sending a tech to your home 30 days after the sale for this work. Figure 2 to 6 hours of the tech's time and we are looking at that same $200 to $500 premium again.


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