You’ve tried various “calibrated” settings posted on review sites and internet forums, maybe even purchased a calibration disc like the THX Optimizer Blu-ray or DVD to have a go yourself. But things still don’t look quite right, be it shadow detail being crushed, skin tone’s off, motion looking weird or the image appearing washed out.
We can help.
Drawing upon our knowledge and experience gained through testing and calibrating hundreds of TVs since 2007, we are now offering professional ISF calibration services at an affordable price. Over the years, we’ve actually calibrated TVs and projectors for selected readers and referred clients upon request, but it’s never been advertised. This year, we’ve decided to make our expertise more widely available – if you own an HDTV (LED LCD, plasma or OLED) or 4K Ultra HD television released in the past few years, chances are we would’ve tested it thoroughly, and therefore know how to extract the best picture quality from the display.
Through our meetings with R&D engineers from various TV manufacturers, as well as countless hours of experimenting and testing, we’ve discovered a few “trade secrets” to significantly improve the image quality of popular TV models, which may or may not be known to other ISF or THX calibrators. Here are some examples:
Panasonic ZT65/ VT65/ GT60 Plasma
- How to unlock the [isf Day] and [isf Night] modes on Panasonic plasmas for ISF calibration;
- The exact size of windowed patterns to use when calibrating Panasonic plasma TVs, to avoid triggering ABL (Automatic Brightness Limiter) which can skew the calibration results;
- How to extract up to 170 cd/m2 (50fL) light output without introducing clipping or discolouration, to prevent the picture from being washed out by sunlight during daytime; &
- How to obtain a lush image with plenty of “pop” based on BT.1886/ 2.4 gamma without crushing shadow detail.
Panasonic CX802/ CR852/ AX902 4K Ultra HD TVs
- The exact window size and [Adaptive Backlight Control] setting to use to obtain BT.1886 gamma; &
- The precise delay needed between measurement readings to account for brightness fluctuations caused by local dimming.
Samsung JS9500/ JS9000/ JS8500/ HU8500/ HU7500
- The correct [Flesh Tone] setting for Samsung TVs (if your calibrator left it at “0“, he’s done it wrong); &
- How to overcome the lack of 10-point gamma controls to obtain supremely flat gamma tracking.
LG 65EF950V/ 55EF950V/ 55EG960V/ 55EC930V OLED
- The correct white point settings to properly calibrate LG OLED (the conventional D65 standard may introduce green tinting);
- The prerequisite values that need to be entered to prevent 20-point [White Balance] controls from misfiring; &
- How to achieve 2.4 gamma for the maximum “pop” and depth (the onboard [Gamma] “2.4” setting only measured around 2.2).
Sony Bravia X94C/ X93C/ X85C/ W85C LED Televisions
- The one setting that must be disabled on Sony Bravias before calibrating, or the calibration will be worthless.
Our Calibration Gear
This is a reference-grade colorimeter that’s the undisputed champion in low-light measurement, which is critical to getting the coming-out-of-black area (the most important aspect of greyscale and gamma) right. List price is £5,100.
CalMAN 5 Ultimate
The leading video calibration software used by most top calibrators around the world. Our Ultimate license is the most expensive version (US $2999), allowing us to take measurements through the Klein K10A, as well as generate beautiful and easy-to-understand charts using our custom workflow.
DVDO AVLab 4K Test Pattern Generator (TPG)
A portable test pattern generator that can produce reference-tested video signals, allowing us to calibrate your TV for Freeview HD, Sky+HD or Virgin Media even if you don’t own a Blu-ray player. The DVDO AVLab TPG can output 4K resolution at up to 50Hz/60Hz, ensuring compatibility with the new batch of 4K Ultra HD TVs with HDMI 2.0.
HDTVTest Diagnostic Disc
We use a variety of test patterns, including our own exclusive diagnostic disc which contains custom-developed sequences for indepth evaluation and analysis of specific displays.
Our standard rate for a full professional ISF calibration is £250 per display, but the price may be higher or lower depending on your TV model, the number of sources you need calibrating, how far you are from our base (Manchester), and whether you need 3D calibration, so please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for an exact quotation. While there are cheaper calibrators out there, we feel that our rate reflects our specialist knowledge, years of experience, and industry-leading calibration hardware and software to help you get the absolute best out of your television.
- Bulk discount: If you have more than one TV that needs calibrating at the same visit, you will be eligible for at least a £50 discount per additional display. Please contact us with your requirements for a precise quote.
- Referral discount: If you let someone in your town/ city/ county know about HDTVTest‘s calibration service, and schedule your appointments together on the same day, each of you will receive £30 off per calibration. Just ask them to mention your referral when contacting us to schedule the appointments.
- Repeat customer discount: If you’ve bought a new television to replace/ go with an existing TV we’ve calibrated, we’ll calibrate the new set at a £50 discount off our normal rate.
We run special deals from time to time, offering discounted rates for some TV models, or in a certain geographical area on a specific date. Such discounts will be posted on Twitter and Facebook, so make sure you like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter to avoid missing out.
We are based in Manchester, but do travel to other cities in the North West (Liverpool, Warrington, Blackpool, Bolton, Stockport, Preston, Blackburn, Oldham, St Helens, Chester, etc.), North East (Newcastle, Durham, Sunderland, Middlesbrough, etc.), Yorkshire (Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield, Wakefield, York, etc.), East Midlands (Nottingham, Leicester, Derby, etc.), West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Wolverhampton, etc.), Greater and Central London, North Wales, and even as far as Surrey, Essex, Northern Ireland (Belfast, Derry, etc.), Scotland (Edinburgh, Glasgow, etc.) and Republic of Ireland (Dublin, Cork, Limerick, etc.) to calibrate for clients. If you’re more than an hour’s drive away from Manchester, we would need a small subsidy to cover our travel expenses – please contact us for an exact quote.
|Photo of client with his calibrated Samsung UE65HU8500, and his text message afterwards|
|Photo of client with his calibrated Panasonic TX-P60ZT65, and his text message afterwards|
|Photo of client’s calibrated Sony KD-55X9005B, and his text message afterwards|
|Photo of client’s calibrated Panasonic TX-P42ST60, and his text message afterwards|
|Source: What Hifi forum|
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How long does your ISF TV calibration service take?
Normally between two and four hours depending on television model, and whether 3D calibration is required.
2. I’ve just bought a new TV. How long do I have to wait before getting it calibrated?
For plasma TVs, we recommend putting at least 200 hours on them to let the phosphors stabilise, and to minimise drift after calibration. For LED LCD televisions, there is strictly speaking no need for any break-in period, but we advise at least 1 week of use before calling us in to make sure you have a “keeper” and not a duff unit.
3. Will calibration void my TV’s warranty?
No. Modern flat-screen televisions have calibration controls available in their user menu, so there’s rarely any need to access the service menu.
4. How do I know my TV’s been calibrated?
You will receive a comprehensive calibration report detailing the before and after measurements. Of course, you will be able to see the improvement by eye too.
5. What if I accidentally wipe the calibrated settings/ do a factory reset?
Worry not – the calibrated settings will be provided in our report, which you can then enter yourself on your TV to restore it to its calibrated state.