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Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

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FennerMachine's picture
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Assuming the cost of pro calibration is around £300.00 would you rather have:

1). a £500.00 TV and spend £300.00 on pro calibration

2). an £800.00 TV that you can adjust yourself using something like DVE HD Basics

Is it worth getting pro calibration on a budget TV or better to spend the extra money on a better TV?

My TV is about 5 years old. I'm only replacing my TV once it breaks.

Part of the reason for the question is that I've been playing with the settings (again!) and have cannot decide on the best settings (again!!).

I've got it to have better depth but the colours look a little washed out.

Going to play around a bit more. I can easily change it back to what I have from memory.

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Oldboy's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

That's a really tricky question as it goes.

The biggest deciding factor would be what budget TV you were talking about, if for example we are talking about the Panasonic TX-L32E6B award winner for this year then I would say you could justify having it calibrated but if you just bought a supermarket budget TV up to £500 I would say you would be better off not bothering and use a THX dvd or a calibration disc like Spears and Munsil or DVE basics and save the money. I simply don't beleive the benefits would be great enough to justify a calibration on most budget TVs but if you got a bargain on a previous award winner you could certainly justify it.

If you bought a more expensive TV at the £800 mark you quote then you are getting into the realms of calibration being justified and I probably wouldn't then use a calibration disc and would consider a calibration more seriously but when you consider that my calibration cost £225 that represents just over a quarter of the cost of the TV. Again it would come down to the TV in question really when making that decision and that again some TVs would be more worth calibrating than others...it's an interesting discussion for sure.

A top end TV though really needs a proper calibration in my opinion and it's something I'm very happy I had done but then when you look at the cost of my TV the calibration represents only 10% of the cost so it seems more justified, what I would say is that all of us that have had it carried out so far have been extremely happy with the results but our TVs are all at the £2000 or more range so you would expect significant gains.

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Living Room:

Samsung UE55F8000 (THX Pro calibrated), Yamaha RX-A2020, Dali Zensor 5 7.1 (front presence config), Panasonic DMP-BDT500MR, WD TV Live, Marantz CD6003, Marantz PM6004, Beresford TC-7220 MKII, PS3, QED Silver Anniversary XT speaker cable, Wireworld Chroma 7 HDMIs, Chord Crimson Sub and RCA, Chord Superscreen Mains Cable, Netgear Prosafe 8 port Gigabit switch.

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Son_of_SJ's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

I agree with everything that Oldboy has just said. I'll add only that the two cheapest televisions of the four that I had calibrated in July were the £1,400 42" Pioneer 428XD, and the £1,310 (I think!) LG 60PZ950T, and they show very significant gains, really much better than before calibration. Only this morning I had a bit of a lie-in and I was thinking how good the Pioneer 428XD now is, and just to compare I briefly went back to the pre-calibration preset, which I had thought was fine until I had the set calibrated! Oddly. the best-specified of my TVs, the Samsung PS64D8000 which has the best calibration controls, is the one that I would say probably improved the least (although certainly still significantly).

FennerMachine's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

I think you might be right.

I Emailed someone who does TV calibrations and they said it would be difficult to justify £200 to £250 for calibration with my TV.

Possibly due to its age but could be as its a low end TV, not sure as he did not say why.

Well, I've had a play with it, adjusting the Colour, Tint and White Balance controls.

Not sure if its more accurate for Blu-Ray's but fun playing!

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Son_of_SJ's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

FennerMachine wrote:

I Emailed someone who does TV calibrations and they said it would be difficult to justify £200 to £250 for calibration with my TV.

Possibly due to its age but could be as its a low end TV, not sure as he did not say why.

Your television is five years old, but I think that the age bit is not all that relevant,.My Pioneer 428XD was bought in summer 2008 - right at the end of its production run, the model having been released in summer 2007 - and calibration has most certainly helped quite a lot. Mind you, I did get a discount per television because I was having four televisions calibrated on the same day, rather than paying £250 for a single calibration.

FennerMachine wrote:

Well, I've had a play with it, adjusting the Colour, Tint and White Balance controls.

Not sure if its more accurate for Blu-Ray's but fun playing!

I'm not sure about the White Balance, but pre-calibration I had adjusted the colour, tint, brightness and contrast of my televisions using the Spears and Munsil Blu-Ray, and they were still quite some way off the correct (calibrated) settings. THe professional calibrator uses a meter to measure what the television is doing at various White Balance and Colour Management settings, and you cannot do that judging by eye, without a meter.

FennerMachine's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

I've had an Email back from another calibrator.

He might be willing do it cheaper than normal, about half price, as he says he might only need to calibrate 1 or 2 modes. Not sure what he meant so waiting for a reply. Really only want the Blu-ray calibrated as the PC input is limited, the Colour and Tint being locked, and the RGB SCART I use very occasionally for old games consoles. I currently don't watch TV on it but may do at some point. Need to sort my aerial out first!

If he can do it half normal price then I'll get it done just for Blu-ray/DVD.

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Son_of_SJ's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

FennerMachine wrote:

Going to play around a bit more. I can easily change it back to what I have from memory.

Oh, before I forget, the calibrator will probably calibrate the TV using one of the preset picture modes - Movie, Custom, Regular, Optimum, Standard, Dynamic etc - so if you are currently using another of the presets, it will take you only about 15 seconds to switch from a calibrated mode to the mode that you were using previously, so you'll be able to see the difference and impress all your friends! Smile

FennerMachine wrote:

I currently don't watch TV on it but may do at some point. Need to sort my aerial out first!

I urge you to sort your aerial out before the calibrator comes, because I strongly suggest that you might also want to calibrate it for normal TV viewing. I don't have Sky or Virgin, so all my normal TV viewing is from Freeview, and the difference that calibration has made to normal TV viewing is just as big as the difference that calibration has made to watching Blu-Rays. So ask your calibrator about calibrating for normal TV viewing. I mean, I was watching Quest (freeview channel 38 ) late last night first on the LG TV in the kitchen, then on the smaller Pioneer in my bedroom, and I was thinking how good the (post-calibration) pictures were.

robjcooper's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

I personally wouldnt bother. A £500 tv's screen probably isn't of high enough quality in the first place to warrant it and on the lower budget TV's there's probably no access to the settings which you need to do a proper calibration - Probably why the calibrator you spoke to said he'd do it cheaper is because he knows he won't be able to tweek much more than the basic settings, so at least he was being honest - No point putting a probe on and finding out for example you've got a heavy magenta bias in the blacks but with no controls to enable you to adjust it. 

Save the money and put it towards buying a better TV when you can, and then consider calibrating that. 

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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

Save your money mate! Either save up for a tv worth calibrating or get down to currys and get a tv on finance then get it calibrated.i think currys is almost intrest free.

 

i had 2 sets calibrated last month.i also have a 6 year old samsung I wouldn't have wanted that set calibrated even if it was free.i wouldn't have wasted the mans time ,yeah it would have looked better but the image would still be poor.

 

unless you have a 5 year old pioneer kuro I just wouldn't bother with a tv of that age.

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FennerMachine's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

If it makes any difference the TV has the following adjustment options:

The usual: Brightness, contrast, colour, tint, colour tone/temperature

Advanced: 6 separate controls for RGB offset and gain, 4 controls for colours – pink, green, blue, white

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Son_of_SJ's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

Tell the proposed calibrator what the adjustment options are, especially the advanced ones. My bedroom Pioneer doesn't have much more than the ones you list, and calibration was definitely worthwhile. You might be getting a discount on the normal price anyway, so tell the calibrator what the adjustment options are and see whether he thinks it worth doing.

FennerMachine's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

I've sent him an Email to advise him of what adjustments can be made.

Obviously he is the expert so may know of other things that can be done via the service menu.

I've also asked what inputs he can calibrate or if some like the RGB SCART can be made better but maybe not a full calibration (if such a thing exists). Also asked for price for calibration in case doing multiple inputs would be more expensive.

I think if he can do it for around £100 and as I intend on keeping the TV until it breaks then it's worth doing. Might as well get the best out of my TV and calibration is only 20% the cost of my TV. If it's too much more then I'll forget it and put the money toward something else.

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Oldboy's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

Normally a calibrator will do 2 or 3 inputs and for me it was my Virgin TV service and bluray input, my games consoles didn't warrant a calibration in my opinion. You normally get a day and night setting and if appropriate a 3D calibration so talking to the calibrator before going ahead is the best way forward but I'm not sure if an RGB Scart input is worthwhile but then I'm no expert so best talk it over first, at £100 it seems reasonable to me and will certainly be better than before that's for sure.

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Living Room:

Samsung UE55F8000 (THX Pro calibrated), Yamaha RX-A2020, Dali Zensor 5 7.1 (front presence config), Panasonic DMP-BDT500MR, WD TV Live, Marantz CD6003, Marantz PM6004, Beresford TC-7220 MKII, PS3, QED Silver Anniversary XT speaker cable, Wireworld Chroma 7 HDMIs, Chord Crimson Sub and RCA, Chord Superscreen Mains Cable, Netgear Prosafe 8 port Gigabit switch.

Bedroom:

Samsung UE40F7000, Sony BDV-E3100 5.1 Home Theatre System, X-Box 360.

Mobile Devices:

Google Nexus 5 Phone, Google Nexus 7 Tablet, Sony PS Vita.

cheeseboy's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

why not just get a spider, do it yoruself and then sell it on?

 

http://spyder.datacolor.com/tv-calibration/

Son_of_SJ's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

117.81 Euros for the Spyder doesn't sound any cheaper than the £100 that he has tentatively been quoted for his calibration. About selling it on, the OP has said, twice now, that

FennerMachine wrote:

 I intend on keeping the TV until it breaks

FennerMachine's picture
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RE: Worth the cost to calibrate a budget TV?

The Spider will likely do a good job but the professional calibrator with pro equipment will likely do a better job. Similar cost too. I could sell the Spider on once I'm done I suppose or could keep it for when I eventually have to replace my TV but that will hopefully be many years. Also if I pay a pro to do it then it will stop me from fiddling with the settings knowing that that's as good as they can get!

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