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Sony KDL32D3000 Calibration

by Vincent Teoh
10 June 2007

Baseline CCT (Correlated Colour Temperature)

Sony KDL32D3000Buy this for £588.99 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £31.00 discount
comes with 4 preset [Colour Temperature], namely "Cool", "Neutral", "Warm 1" and "Warm 2". Using the glaring [Vivid] picture mode will limit your choice to the former two so it's best avoided unless you prefer – against the advice we've been drumming throughout all our reviews – bright and inaccurate images with sky-high colour temperature.

Warm 2 Colour Temperature Warm 2 RGB Tracking
Pre-calibration Warm 2 CCT Pre-calibration Warm 2 RGB Tracking

"Warm 2", the default colour temperature for [Cinema] picture mode, overshot D65 slightly to hover just below 6000k, due to a red predominance that is distributed pretty much evenly across 20% to 100% stimulus. Still, it was the preset colour temperature closest to D65, and so became the foundation for my subsequent greyscale calibration.

Calibrated CCT

As mentioned before, Sony KDL32D3000Buy this for £588.99 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £31.00 discount
does not offer white balance controls in the user menu, so I had to venture into the service menu to tame the greyscale. Fortunately once you enter the service menu, you can bring up the menu (to make adjustments) and stow it away (to take measurements) with a single press of a button on the remote control, making the whole calibration exercise that much easier.

Calibrated CCT Calibrated RGB Tracking
Calibrated CCT Calibrated RGB Tracking

The calibrated CCT was very close to D65 with delta errors (dE) of less than four from 20% stimulus onwards, without any truly nasty bumps and dips that commonly afflict LCD TVs. Gamma was well-behaved too, with reasonably flat tracking throughout (see graphs below). These should translate into a balanced picture with desirable preservation of highlight and shadow detail, as we shall see later on.

Gamma Gamma Tracking
Gamma Curve Gamma Tracking

Baseline Colour Chromaticity

Colour Space Normal Wide Colour Space
Pre-calibration "Normal" [Colour Space] Pre-calibration "Wide" [Colour Space]

Two [Colour Space] options are available on the Sony KDL32D3000Buy this for £588.99 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £31.00 discount
: "Normal" and "Wide". The former came closer to REC 709 specification, however green primary still exhibited some over-saturation and hue deviation towards blue. In the real world scenario, most people probably won't even notice this, as green error is the most well-tolerated among the primaries.

Calibrated Colour Chromaticity

When fed a YCbCr signal over HDMI, strictly speaking you can only dial the colours using the [Colour] option (which affects the intensity and saturation globally) as the [Hue] control is disabled. [Live Colour] simply increases the saturation of the already oversatured colours; not that I used it anyway because this option can only be accessed if [Colour Space] is set to "Wide".

The message I'm trying to get across is that the best thing you can do to achieve better colour is by correcting the greyscale (yes greyscale influences the final chromaticities), as it is not possible to adjust the colour saturation and decoding of any one colour without introducing errors into the others. Sony has once again opted to incorporate an overblown wide colour gamut (WCG) on the KDL32D3000 without giving users the choice of shrinking it back nearer to specified standards. Well, better oversaturated than undersatured... WCG has gone down well with the public so I guess most people really don't mind.

Calibrated CIE
Calibrated CIE with reference to REC 709

Lab Test Results

Dead pixels 1 green subpixel (bottom right)
Screen Uniformity Perfect
Overscanning on HDMI, Component 2.5 percent
Blacker than black Passed
Black level Very good
Black level retention Stable with [Light Sensor] off
Primary colours Green primary tilted towards blue
Scaling Average
Video mode deinterlacing Very good (minimal jaggies on waving flag test)
Film mode deinterlacing 3:2 cadence passed with [Film Mode] on
Viewing angle Above average (120°)
Motion blur Effectively eliminated with [Motion Enhancer] on
Digital noise Very good baseline noise reduction
Sharpness Defeatable edge enhancement

Dead Pixels

To be honest sometimes I wonder why I bother reporting dead pixels, because unless there is an abnormally high incidence within a particular brand/ series, as far as I am concerned they occur at random – whether they're present on your HDTV or not is down to luck. That said, for completeness' sake I spotted just one inactive green subpixel at the bottom right of our review sample. All you need to know is that generally up to five dead pixels are specified within manufacturers' tolerance, so if you wish for a faultless screen it is better to buy your HDTV online to obtain extra rights under the Distance Selling Regulation for the purpose of refund or exchange.

Screen Uniformity

The Sony KDL40W2000 we tested 3 months ago scored highly on most fronts, but one not insignificant issue prevented us from giving it outright recommendation – clouding. This is a mura defect which manifests as patches of lightness on the screen most obvious in low ambient light when backlight is set to maximum. As you would come to expect, these 'clouds' intruded upon darker scenes and spoiled what was otherwise a very commendable picture performance from the KDL40W2000.

So it was with some trepidation that I dimmed my room light and stepped up the backlight on Sony KDL32D3000Buy this for £588.99 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £31.00 discount
as part of our screen uniformity evaluation. To my utter delight the screen was perfectly even – not a wisp of cloud could be seen in sight. I so wanted to take a picture to show you guys, but because my camera could not lock onto anything on the screen for autofocus (it was just a uniform blanket of darkness), and I was too lazy to set up my tripod for manual focusing, I simply left it at that.

Video Processing

Our Sony KDL32D3000Buy this for £588.99 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £31.00 discount
sample performed strongly in deinterlacing video material: jaggies were by and large smoothened in the waving flag test, a result that is bettered only by the Pioneer plasma and both Toshiba LCDs we've tested recently.

In terms of film mode deinterlacing, both [Film Mode] "Auto 1" and "Auto 2" detected 3:2 cadence very quickly, with the difference being how each mode interacted with the [Motion Enhancer] frame interpolation function. Some combinations would deliver the "video" feel; some resulted in frequent frame breakups; but a couple were jackpots – rendering smoother motion without perceptible loss of cinematic quality... the best of both worlds if you like.

Mixed edits (i.e. scrolling text overlaid upon film content) were handled competently without any combing or judder.

One virtue on the Sony KDL32D3000Buy this for £588.99 at Dixons
Use code '5TV' for £31.00 discount
that deserved an honourable mention was its baseline noise reduction circuitry, which helped produce one of the cleanest picture I've seen on a 32" LCD TV. Set [Noise Reduction] to "High" and any more residual grain would be gobbled up, but then motion smearing would become evident. And while enabling [Noise Reduction] hardly entailed any loss of detail on static images, on panning camera shots I could pick up fine detail being mercilessly truncated. In the end I left it off, as even at baseline the job was done just fine.

The [MPEG Noise Reduction] appeared to be a rudimentary spatial filter which applied a generic blurring to the whole image. I turned it off for good... I'd rather put up with some mosquito noise than be deprived of the subtle textures of the original image.


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