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Ask a Pro
Q. How Do I Know if My TV Was Calibrated Correctly?
April 07, 2009 | by Simon Scotland
How to make sure you got your money’s worth from a professional calibration.
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Posted by Mike  on  04/07  at  08:18 AM

It would be nice if THX CERTIFIED video calibrators were also mentioned in this article.  One benefit that THX offers over ISF is that THX offers certification of the calibration itself.  THX reviews the data from the calibration and certifies the calibration if parameters are within specifications.  This ensures that the technician did indeed perform the calibration correctly.  Much like a second doctor’s opinion on a prognosis, and peace of mind for the client.  This is a benefit ISF does not offer, and essentially, answers the client’s question.  If he wants to ensure the calibration was performed correctly, go with a THX certified calibration, or, get references from other clients about a certain calibrators performance history if they are not THX certified.

Posted by Mark  on  04/07  at  10:11 AM

Hmmm…can a THX certified technician calibrate a display if it does not carry a THX certification?  Do most higher-end TVs carry the THX certification?  I just checked, and my PRO-151FD does….too late though, I already had mine calibrated.  He was ISF certified, but not THX certified.

-Mark

Posted by Mike  on  04/07  at  11:14 AM

Yes, THX certified technicians are capable to perform THX calibrations on ANY display format…THX certified product or not.  Just to clarify, the calibration is THX certified, not necessarily the product.

Posted by Ken  on  04/08  at  08:05 PM

Well if you cant tell with your own eyes if a tv is properly calibrated…..then what the hell is the point of wasting $300 to have someone do it? 

I used one of those DIY dvd’s for like 10 bucks and my picture looks great.  My reds look red,  blues look blue, etc.  I can’t imagine a calibrator being able to perform some “magic”  to make my picture look any better….especiallly not $300 better.

Posted by integrator  on  04/10  at  01:59 PM

Being THX or ISF certified means that you have had training, & PAID a fee to be certified.  Not that you are better qualifed to perform the calibration.  Need proof?  Runco used to provide the answers to their dealers to the ISF test.  All you had to do then was send in the filled out form/test and a check and VIOLA you were certified. 
Now don’t get me wrong I did get trained while I was there, and the difference can be amazing.  However I saw many dealers that just did not understand the process.
Bottom line an expeirenced integrator with the training, equipment & the Experience makes the difference, not just the piece of paper of which I have many and the not once did that peice of paper make me instantly better.  Practice did just like a doctor that goes through residency, or any trade that has an apprentice program.

Posted by Rick  on  04/10  at  03:33 PM

Ken just a response to your comment.  Any consumer can buy a DVD and perform the proper user adjustments for contrast, brightness, tint, colour (decoding) and sharpness by following the tutorial.  Your TV will look a lot better than it came out of the box. What you can’t do without instrumentation is set the grey-scale, and in turn get accurate colours.  You can’t do it by eye with any kind of accuracy especially without a reference for comparison.  It is kind of like asking me to draw a 12 inch line.  I might be able to get reasonably close but it will never be exactly 12 inches long unless I measure it.  Unfortunately when it comes to perceiving colour people have far less experience than judging distances.  There is no magic, but setting the reference grey scale requires the right gear to take the measurements and as pointed out a great deal of experience.  Having performed hundreds of calibrations the list of displays over the years that responded predictably and accurately was fairly small.  A properly calibrated budget TV can easily outperform a miscalibrated top model. If you are buying a top of the line TV why would you you not want to pay a little extra for top performance?

Posted by Regcure Registry Tool  on  05/02  at  01:50 PM

i’ve got the same problem, and i found the solution here on blue screen fixing, just for reference.

Posted by Online Seo company  on  05/03  at  02:43 AM

What a great post. What an inspiration for everyone who is asking ‘Where is all this stuff I’ve asked for?’ and getting frustrated. I am in love the way you express yourself, and I thank you for doing it with such passion and honest reflection.

 


Online Seo company

Posted by B. Smith  on  05/05  at  04:34 PM

I’m so tired of this calibration crap. I guess if you’re a 90 year old person who doesn’t know the first thing about how to make a tv picture look decent, it’s helpful..(and no offense to the elderly… I’m just saying..) but otherwise, just freakin play with it yourself and use your “eyes” for God’s sake! I bought a top of the line Samsung a few weeks ago and thought about the calibration… and I actually did several tests using one of the more popular instructional DVD’s and come to find out, the settings I had already chosen turned out to be perfect already. As far as rooms go, either you got a brightly lit (you have the freakin lights on) or it’s night time..(or you have the lights off and the shades drawn).  In my opinion, the manufacturers should make the sets having the best picture quality already set….with the option of minor adjustments…for movies or sports, etc… When we buy the TV, we’re not then supposed to “finish” manufacturing the TV!! We’re paying for the best possible picture already and not to have to keep messing with it trying to “fix” it again! There is no reason you should have to pay an extra $300 just to get a better picture. It should come that way. As the purchasing consumer, it’s not our responsibility to finish building the TV. .. or paying someone else to finish the building process (talking about calibration of course). Companies will do anything they can to get your money, it’s rediculous. I’m all for paying for a higher end set. I absolutely fell in love with my Samsung and it’s certainly worth the money. Just play with the settings for a little and see what works best for you. I get tired of experts saying the turn the sharpness down. I tried turning mine down and it makes the picture so blurry and soft…a huge difference. There probably are some artifacts with it turned all the way up like I have it… but I don’t care because I can’t see them… except for maybe in a test. The picture looks 100% better to me with the sharpness turned all the way up. ... same for the contrast. If you don’t want the advantage of the lcd tv’s then just buy a 20 year old CRT for crying out loud. If you want to get the best picture you can possibly get, keep the color temp around the 6500k and use what looks normal to you. It’s not as hard as everyone makes it out to be.. and never ever have your tv professionally calibrated.

Posted by Mark  on  05/05  at  06:49 PM

Wow, feeling a bit hostile, are we, Mr. Smith?

You can rail all you like against calibration, bu the fact remains, there are aspects of picture quality that simply cannot be eyeballed.  You need a meter to correctly set greyscale, and get accurate colors.

Rick said it better than I could, just 3-4 posts back.

You don’t want to calibrate, then don’t.  That doesn’t mean the process is worthless.

-Mark

Posted by Todd A  on  05/13  at  12:45 PM

Mark, there is no aspect of TV calibration that cannot be eyeballed. After all your eyes are what ultimately matters. Calibration allows you to arrive at the optimum settings quicker than “monkeying” around.

Furthermore if you had your set calibrated but didn’t like the way it looked but were assured they were the “optimum” settings, what would you do? Leave it or tweak it yourself?

Posted by Mark  on  05/13  at  12:58 PM

Todd,
I agree that ultimately, if you’re not happy, you’re not happy, regardless of what the calibration report says.  I also agree that there will be some people out there that are not happy w/ a properly calibrated display.  They just “don’t think it looks right”.

But, for most people, who do want an accurate and calibrated display, calibration is fastest and easiest way to go.  You won’t get to a calibrated result without actually calibrating.  You may get lucky, and get something that you’re happy with, but it won’t be quite right.  Also, for many TVs, there are certain adjustments that can only be made via service menu, which a calibrator will have access to.  (Yes, you could buy something like ControlCal and get access to that info as well, but messing in service menus is probabl not a good idea for someone who is tinkering and eyeballing adjustments.)

My two bits,

-Mark

Posted by bob archer  on  05/13  at  03:03 PM

Calibration comes down to wanting the television to display video content in the same manner in which it was engineered in the post-production house.

There are some good calibration discs to help you get close, but in the end a trained pro with the proper equipment is the closest way someone can get their televisions to display to the same level as the engineers’ displays that work in Hollywood.

There is no way around that and 6500k is meant to calibrate across the CIE chart and not at one single point.

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