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Arguments for and against calibration

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Joined: 17 Aug 2009
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Having recently got my VT65 professionally calibrated, and posted about how delighted I am with the results, it's probably clear where I stand on this issue.

I'm interested to hear arguments for and against calibration using a meter, however. If you decided not to calibrate your TV (and this seems true of the great majority of people), what influenced your decision? 

Countless threads are started by people looking to spend hundreds of pounds on new kit to squeeze the last drop of performance from their system. Yet I would argue that full calibration offers the best pound-for-pound upgrade available. (In a video only context, certainly, in every other sense, probably.) I'd add that calibration is an absolute must if you've any interest in 3D viewing. The difference is even more pronounced.

Also, what are the perceived advantages of paying a professional vs. buying your own meter and software? Which offers the best value? To a degree this is system dependent. If you're Son_of_SJ, for instance, and own several high-end TVs, buying a meter arguably represents value for money as you can calibrate every TV you own. (Including that second-bedroom Kuro Wink ).

Those arguing against professional calibration, have you viewed a calibrated and uncalibrated TV side-by-side?

Discuss... excellent!

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gel
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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

strapped for cash wrote:

Having recently got my VT65 professionally calibrated, and posted about how delighted I am with the results, it's probably clear where I stand on this issue.

I'm interested to hear arguments for and against calibration using a meter, however. If you decided not to calibrate your TV (and this seems true of the great majority of people), what influenced your decision? 

Countless threads are started by people looking to spend hundreds of pounds on new kit to squeeze the last drop of performance from their system. Yet I would argue that full calibration offers the best pound-for-pound upgrade available. (In a video only context, certainly, in every other sense, probably.) I'd add that calibration is an absolute must if you've any interest in 3D viewing. The difference is even more pronounced.

Also, what are the perceived advantages of paying a professional vs. buying your own meter and software? Which offers the best value? To a degree this is system dependent. If you're Son_of_SJ, for instance, and own several high-end TVs, buying a meter arguably represents value for money as you can calibrate every TV you own. (Including that second-bedroom Kuro Wink ).

Those arguing against professional calibration, have you viewed a calibrated and uncalibrated TV side-by-side?

Discuss... excellent!

 

Money is a big factor for me not to calibrate, and if your TV goes wrong down the line, then it is money down the drain!   I must admit though watching Black Hawk Down last night, I thought the blacks were a little too strong at times, but other than that my has been great.  I also like a bright image and scared calibrating will drop that down a level.

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Main AV Setup: Panasonic 50VT65 TV (THX calibrated), Pioneer Bdp-lx71, Pioneer Vsx-lx70, B&W FPM Series, B&W PV1, Optimum AV300 AV Stand, QED Silver Anniversary XT Speaker Cable & Chord Silver Plus HDMI Cables. Gadgets: iPad 4 & iPhone 4S.

gel
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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

I have been impressed by the pictures of calibrated TVs in different threads though and it is something I would consider since seeing them!

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Main AV Setup: Panasonic 50VT65 TV (THX calibrated), Pioneer Bdp-lx71, Pioneer Vsx-lx70, B&W FPM Series, B&W PV1, Optimum AV300 AV Stand, QED Silver Anniversary XT Speaker Cable & Chord Silver Plus HDMI Cables. Gadgets: iPad 4 & iPhone 4S.

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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

Am planning on getting mine calibrated in about two weeks or so (should have clocked up about 150 hours by then) - if you've soent that much on a decent TV because you care about picture quality then another £200 seema a small step to take.

Personally I would rather pay someone to do it rather than buy all the kit:

a) I only have one screen that would need calibrating

b) I wouldn't really know what I was doing (am honey enough to admit that), and if you're going to the trouble and expense of getting it done, then may as well get it done properly.

Appreciate its a different equation if you have multiple screens or know what your doing.

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Lounge: Panasonic TX-P60ZT65B (calibrated), Pioneer SC-LX75, Denon DPB-2012, Sky-HD1TB, PS4, Xbox 360, Apple-TV, Atacama Equinox AV stand, Monitor Audio Silver RX8, RXC, RX-FX, RXW-12, Anti-Mode 8033c Sub EQ. Kitchen: Pioneer XC-HM81, Monitor Audio Bronze BX2. Bedroom: Samsung UE37D6510, Samsung BD-C5900, Sky-HD, Pioneer N-50, Rotel RC-03 (pre-amp), Rotel RB-9708X (power-amp), Mordaunt-Short MS914

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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

Having said all that I never bothered getting my old kuro calibrated - for the first few years the thought hasn't actually occurred to me, and in the last few years I'd spent so much time with it tweaking and adjusting the settings that I was extremely happy with the picture anyway.

Its only on my radar now as having invested in a new TV I want to get the best out of it as soon as possible (suspect strapped was in the same boat).

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Lounge: Panasonic TX-P60ZT65B (calibrated), Pioneer SC-LX75, Denon DPB-2012, Sky-HD1TB, PS4, Xbox 360, Apple-TV, Atacama Equinox AV stand, Monitor Audio Silver RX8, RXC, RX-FX, RXW-12, Anti-Mode 8033c Sub EQ. Kitchen: Pioneer XC-HM81, Monitor Audio Bronze BX2. Bedroom: Samsung UE37D6510, Samsung BD-C5900, Sky-HD, Pioneer N-50, Rotel RC-03 (pre-amp), Rotel RB-9708X (power-amp), Mordaunt-Short MS914

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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

Depends on what you're happy with. I'm not too an*l about these things. My Kuro had excellent out of the box settings. I used the THX optimizer to tweak it further. I'm happy with my TV's performance. If I'm not happy with my next TV, I'll consider calibrating it.

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My Home Cinema  Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90

Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H

Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router

Joined: 17 Aug 2009
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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

gel wrote:

Money is a big factor for me not to calibrate, and if your TV goes wrong down the line, then it is money down the drain!   I must admit though watching Black Hawk Down last night, I thought the blacks were a little too strong at times, but other than that my has been great.  I also like a bright image and scared calibrating will drop that down a level.

Relatively speaking, calibration isn't that expensive. I paid £205 for a day, night, and 3D calibration. When you consider that some people ask whether spending £300+ on a Blu-ray player will improve picture performance, calibration seems even more sensible.

On the brightness front, calibration doesn't have a negative effect at all. You'll gain a great deal in terms of shadow detail; while getting gamma flat (or as near as possible) means you'll notice an improvement in contrast performance. Day settings are designed to maximise contrast performance, so you'll be getting as bright an image as your TV can produce. The 2D day calibration was too bright for my eyes. I asked Jules to dial contrast back a little. (Which he kindly did, despite having to recalibrate greyscale and colour as a consequence.)

You also really can't see the benefits of calibration by looking at photos online. Your laptop screen distorts the picture and you don't get a sense of how accurate colours look, or how detail and image depth improves. There are other benefits, too. For instance, dynamic false contouring is reduced.

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Hardware: Panasonic TX-P50VT65B (calibrated); Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD; Yamaha RX-A810; Teac PD-H600; PS3; B&W 601 & 600LCR (series 3); Q Acoustics QAV (rear)

Furniture and Accessories: BLOK Classix 3000 Oak AV Cabinet; Atacama Nexus 6 (atabite metal filled); 3D3 A1112

Joined: 17 Aug 2009
Posts: 4287
RE: Arguments for and against calibration

bigboss wrote:
Depends on what you're happy with. I'm not too an*l about these things. My Kuro had excellent out of the box settings. I used the THX optimizer to tweak it further. I'm happy with my TV's performance. If I'm not happy with my next TV, I'll consider calibrating it.

I wonder if you'd say the same if you'd seen your Pioneer calibrated?

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Hardware: Panasonic TX-P50VT65B (calibrated); Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD; Yamaha RX-A810; Teac PD-H600; PS3; B&W 601 & 600LCR (series 3); Q Acoustics QAV (rear)

Furniture and Accessories: BLOK Classix 3000 Oak AV Cabinet; Atacama Nexus 6 (atabite metal filled); 3D3 A1112

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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

My bedroom TV is good, but will definitely benefit from professional calibration. But I'm not prepared to pay £200 only to watch an occasional Freeview programme before I go to sleep.

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My Home Cinema  Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90

Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H

Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router

Joined: 17 Aug 2009
Posts: 4287
RE: Arguments for and against calibration

mr malarky wrote:

Am planning on getting mine calibrated in about two weeks or so (should have clocked up about 150 hours by then) - if you've soent that much on a decent TV because you care about picture quality then another £200 seema a small step to take.

Personally I would rather pay someone to do it rather than buy all the kit:

a) I only have one screen that would need calibrating

b) I wouldn't really know what I was doing (am honey enough to admit that), and if you're going to the trouble and expense of getting it done, then may as well get it done properly.

Appreciate its a different equation if you have multiple screens or know what your doing.

For me, the choice between professional and DIY calibration was largely economic.

The cost of getting a professional in was far less than buying the equipment and software. (And better value still if you're thinking about 3D calibration, for which you'll need a non-contact meter.)

There's no shame in admitting that you wouldn't know what you were doing. Why would you, if you've never done it before? Spending a day with a calibrator is an education in itself, though, as long as you're paying attention. Most calibrators will explain exactly what they're doing and why they're doing it.

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Hardware: Panasonic TX-P50VT65B (calibrated); Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD; Yamaha RX-A810; Teac PD-H600; PS3; B&W 601 & 600LCR (series 3); Q Acoustics QAV (rear)

Furniture and Accessories: BLOK Classix 3000 Oak AV Cabinet; Atacama Nexus 6 (atabite metal filled); 3D3 A1112

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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

strapped for cash wrote:

bigboss wrote:
Depends on what you're happy with. I'm not too an*l about these things. My Kuro had excellent out of the box settings. I used the THX optimizer to tweak it further. I'm happy with my TV's performance. If I'm not happy with my next TV, I'll consider calibrating it.

I wonder if you'd say the same if you'd seen your Pioneer calibrated?

If someone calibrated my TV and agrees for me to pay only if I find it worthwhile..... Wink

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My Home Cinema  Pioneer KRP 500A, Yamaha RX-V1900, MA Radius R225HD LCR, R90HD rears, AW12 sub, Panasonic BD60, PS3, Boxee Box, Sky HD, Boxee Box, Logitech Harmony One, Logitech PS3 Adapter, Sonos ZP90

Bedroom Samsung UE32C6510, PS3 slim white, Apple TV, Sonos S5, Sonos ZP90, Audioengine 2, Oppo OPDV971H

Miscellaneous: Synology DS212J + 2 X WD Red 2TB drives, WD 1TB NAS, Sonos ZoneBridge, BT HH3 as modem & AirPort Extreme router

Joined: 17 Aug 2009
Posts: 4287
RE: Arguments for and against calibration

mr malarky wrote:

in the last few years I'd spent so much time with it tweaking and adjusting the settings that I was extremely happy with the picture anyway.

That's another benefit of calibration; you no longer feel the need to tweak your TV's settings. Indeed, the knowledge that you'll make the picture worse means you're happy just to sit back and enjoy.  

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Hardware: Panasonic TX-P50VT65B (calibrated); Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD; Yamaha RX-A810; Teac PD-H600; PS3; B&W 601 & 600LCR (series 3); Q Acoustics QAV (rear)

Furniture and Accessories: BLOK Classix 3000 Oak AV Cabinet; Atacama Nexus 6 (atabite metal filled); 3D3 A1112

Joined: 17 Aug 2009
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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

bigboss wrote:

If someone calibrated my TV and agrees for me to pay only if I find it worthwhile..... Wink

Ask EllisDJ. He's a friendly guy that owns an i1 and Calman.

Since you've debated the benefits of calibration with him previously, he might be keen to prove a point! excellent!

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Hardware: Panasonic TX-P50VT65B (calibrated); Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD; Yamaha RX-A810; Teac PD-H600; PS3; B&W 601 & 600LCR (series 3); Q Acoustics QAV (rear)

Furniture and Accessories: BLOK Classix 3000 Oak AV Cabinet; Atacama Nexus 6 (atabite metal filled); 3D3 A1112

Joined: 17 Aug 2009
Posts: 4287
RE: Arguments for and against calibration

bigboss wrote:
My bedroom TV is good, but will definitely benefit from professional calibration. But I'm not prepared to pay £200 only to watch an occasional Freeview programme before I go to sleep.

I'd agree with you on this point.

If you own a meter then sure, why not sit down for an afternoon to calibrate a cheaper, second-room TV.

Otherwise, I wouldn't pay a professional just to calibrate a 32" LED TV. You'd be charged little extra to calibrate both your main TV and bedroom set, however.

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Hardware: Panasonic TX-P50VT65B (calibrated); Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD; Yamaha RX-A810; Teac PD-H600; PS3; B&W 601 & 600LCR (series 3); Q Acoustics QAV (rear)

Furniture and Accessories: BLOK Classix 3000 Oak AV Cabinet; Atacama Nexus 6 (atabite metal filled); 3D3 A1112

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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

It's a very interesting discussion this strapped. On one hand I can see the purpose of getting the tv calibrated correctly and by someone who has the knowledge to do the screen full justice but my biggest issue with it is that if you get any issues with the tv and it's either repaired or replaced then effectively you have wasted your money.

If the screen is replaced for example as has happened to many people then it will need doing again and I also wonder what effect other reairs would have on the calibration too and for those reasons I would personally stick with my AVS HD 709 calibration disc which is far superior to the THX optimiser disc.

I don't doubt for one minute the merits of a calibration but the fact that should any issue arise with the tv then the calibration would need doing again is a major stumbling block and could lead to esculating costs making the £200-300 cost not so appealing, if you could just pay one flat fee and have it tied in to your tv so that any repairs are covered for recalibration that would be a very different prospect but that is impossible so self calibration will remain my preferred option.

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RE: Arguments for and against calibration

Where can you find someone to calibrate your TV? 

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