: Attention HDTV owners



The Tony Show
01-07-09, 02:41 PM
I recently purchased a new Panasonic Plasma, and spent a ton of time researching the different models on line. During my reading of countless AV forum threads, I also learned about how badly most TVs are calibrated out of the box. Even setting the menu options to "look good" by sight, most people's TVs are horribly off in skin tone, black levels, tint and white levels.

The reason I'm telling you this (not to sound like an infomercial or something, but...) is to recommend the Digital Video Essentials calibration DVD. I decided since I was spending the bucks for a new TV I might as well calibrate it properly, so I picked one of these up:

http://www.videoessentials.com/

The user menu is a little obtuse, but it includes a litany of test patterns that display on your TV. You then view the test patterns through an included set of colored lenses and adjust color and tint to achieve the "proper" levels- the patterns look like different colors when viewed with the naked eye, but once the levels are set correctly, they appear all the same color when viewed through the filter. There's also test patterns for black and white levels.

The difference is staggering. I thought my new Plasma had an awesome picture, but once calibrated it's astounding. I switched back to one of the factory presets afterward and couldn't believe how crappy it looked.

I'll post up before/after pics later, but in the meantime I highly recommend grabbing one of these DVDs or BluRays if you've got a good TV and are serious about getting the best possible picture.

trukk
01-07-09, 03:18 PM
Tony,

I've been hunting around for my old calibration disk...I may need to buy a new one. I bought it when I bought my first Panasonic a few years back (TH-42PX60U).

I just bought a TH-50PZ85U, and love it :D. I had actually purchased the 80u online, and went to the store to pick it up, and they were out of stock, so they gave me the 85u at the same price :D It wasn't worth it to me to pay a LOT more for the 800 or 850 just to get THX.

I still need to get a blue ray. Been eyeing the DMP-55 (to get the DIVX support). What are you running? Any recomendations? I don't want to go PS3, because I have a logitech Harmony remote, and it doesn't support bluetooth that the PS3 needs (no way I'm, giving up a remote that any house guests and babysitters can use with 10 seconds of instrcutions).

-Chris

The Tony Show
01-07-09, 03:37 PM
You got an 85 for the price of an 80??! Dick. :lol: I couldn't justify the price bump, so I went with the 80 (same exact model as you, too). I'll PM you my calibration settings if you want to try them.

As far as the player, I use my PS3 for Blu-Ray so I'm no help in that department.

trukk
01-07-09, 03:49 PM
You got an 85 for the price of an 80??! Dick. :lol: I couldn't justify the price bump, so I went with the 80 (same exact model as you, too). I'll PM you my calibration settings if you want to try them.

As far as the player, I use my PS3 for Blu-Ray so I'm no help in that department.

Definately PM me the settings. I'll give it a try.

I got mine at Circuit City. No wonder they are going out of business. I had a 15% off coupon, so it ended up a pretty good price (right around $1300).

-Chris

The Tony Show
01-07-09, 04:00 PM
I'll shoot 'em over to you when I get home. I found that the blue setting was good out of the box, but there was a lot of red and green push that was cured by dropping the color a bit and changing the temp to WARM.

Make sure you do all the calibrations in the CINEMA mode, as it has the most accurate gamma curve out of all the factory presets (verified by professionals with testing equipment on the AVS forum). Each of the presets actually has different settings for cuts and gamma that are NOT adjustable in the menu, so even if you set all the user adjustable controls identically, you'll still end up with a different picture if you start in VIVID or STANDARD than you will with CINEMA. The other modes tend to blow out the whites to around 9300K (actually blue-white) in an effort to make the picture look brighter- this throws off all the other settings, and can't be fixed in the user menu.

Coma
01-07-09, 04:04 PM
Calibration DVD's are a must for any serious lcd/plasma tv owner.

The Tony Show
01-07-09, 06:41 PM
Here's some before and afters. The vertical lines in the second picture are not visible on the TV in person- that's just a camera error.

http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii137/the_tonyshow/DSC01509.jpg

Notice the white crushing and noise in her neck area, as well as the loss of detail in the trees behind her. Totally incorrect skin tone as well. This was the factory VIVID setting. Here's the calibrated image:

http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii137/the_tonyshow/DSC01510.jpg

This one is even worse. Check out the noise in the blues, as well as the extreme bleeding in the red and whites.

http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii137/the_tonyshow/DSC01511.jpg

Post calibration:

http://i263.photobucket.com/albums/ii137/the_tonyshow/DSC01512.jpg

ted tcb
01-08-09, 11:24 PM
After reading your thread, Tony, I was motivated to pull that calibration dvd off my bookshelf.
I''ve been watching my Panasonic TH50PX50 on vivid, factory preset for 3 years now!
You get so used to the full contrast between deep blacks and bright white, that you ignore everything else.
My reds and blues were bleeding all over the place, and flesh tones were blotchy and pixilating.

I still didn't trust the calibration DVD, because it was really meant for projection CRT tv's.
I spent a lot of time googling ISF approved calibrations on the TH50PX60, and those settings seem to work
well with my tv.

Thanks for the post, Tony.
It motivated me to set up my tv correctly.

BTW, here are the correct settings on my tv.
Out of the box showroom settings had sharpness at +17, and picture (contrast) at +30.
All other settings were at 0.

Correct settings: Pic Mode: Standard
Picture (contrast): +22
Brightness (black level): +8
Color: -1
Tint: -4
Sharpness: -14
Color Temp: Warm
Color mng.: Off
Other Adjust
Video NR: Off (On for Analog SD TV viewing)
3D Y/C filter: greyed out
Color matrix: greyed out
MPEG NR: Off (On for Digital TV viewing)
Black Level: Light

Aron9000
01-09-09, 03:01 AM
So do they make one for my 4 year old 34" Sony HD tube-type tv? Just as a side note, I couldn't tell a difference between my friend's LCD Samsung in high def, but in standard def the picture on my tv was a lot clearer.

The Tony Show
01-09-09, 09:22 AM
The NTSC version of DVE will work for CRT (tube) TVs.

Cliff8928
01-10-09, 01:53 PM
Not bad, I'll have to check this out. Maybe even the blu-ray version. I know my TV (Sharp Aquos LC-45GX6U) has a TON of adjustments for the picture.

Oh, and a local store was selling the PX80 for like $650.

concorso
01-10-09, 03:27 PM
Tony, its my understanding that what works for one user may not be optimal for another user....something to do with differences in lighting, perhaps?

Also, you can edit the gamma on these and most all plasmas/lcds ive used. Theres a code you enter on the remote, it allows you to access the hidden menus. This will allow you to edit it to your specific room lighting, as well. Depending on if you use flourescents, incadencents, led's, etc...

trukk
01-10-09, 08:31 PM
I changed my setting and it definately looks better.

I still need to find my tuning DVD, and fine tune it for my environment.

I just got done watching the Ravens game, and MAN did it look good.

-Chris

Cliff8928
01-11-09, 01:37 AM
I know on my Logitech Harmony remote, there is a special "service" button which puts the TV into the secret menus. Otherwise it would be a combination of buttons on the TV itself.

trukk
01-11-09, 01:48 AM
I know on my Logitech Harmony remote, there is a special "service" button which puts the TV into the secret menus. Otherwise it would be a combination of buttons on the TV itself.


HMMM...more info? My harmony doesn't display that for my TV.

-Chris

hardrockcamaro@mac.c
01-11-09, 02:33 PM
THX discs such as Star Wars often have a calibration function built-in.

Just run through that and adjust the tv.

Cliff8928
01-12-09, 01:10 AM
HMMM...more info? My harmony doesn't display that for my TV.

-Chris

Maybe it's just my model of TV? (Sharp Aquos). It was just there when I went to device and selected the TV and went through the screen.

The Tony Show
01-12-09, 08:57 AM
Service menu settings are best left to a trained pro- going in there and tinkering with stuff can really screw up your picture if you don't know what you're doing, and there's no magic "reset" button like there is in the user menu.

CadillacCastle
12-15-09, 05:34 AM
Service menu settings are best left to a trained pro- going in there and tinkering with stuff can really screw up your picture if you don't know what you're doing, and there's no magic "reset" button like there is in the user menu. Service menu settings are best left to a trained pro- Where can I find a trained pro to adjust my TV settings?

The Tony Show
12-15-09, 09:10 AM
Google "In home TV calibration ____" and add your city in the blank spot. Avoid the "geek squad" service that Best Buy offers- I've heard they only adjust the user menu, which you can do yourself for free. Look for a home theater store you might have never heard of before. You could also go to the AVS forums and search there for a calibrator in your area, and maybe even find some reviews about how good/bad they are.

dkozloski
12-15-09, 02:49 PM
The big problem with tweaking the picture parameters is that it never ends. Every time you change sources from channel to channel and from local to network sources or programming everything changes how it looks. You're shooting at a very elusive target. Once you get started it gets to be an addiction and eventually you find your family going to Al-Anon meetings. You go into a big box store and they've got fifty TVs set up to choose from. They're all connected to the same source and the pictures look different on every damn one. When the source switches to something else they all change again. It's hopeless. If you're personally committed to picking the flysh!t out of the pepper this is the endeavor for you.