Calibrating Pioneer Plasma... I am going blind I think

I know. I could spend $300 to have someone come in and do a professional calibration, but I couldn’t imagine spending that kind of money just for calibration so I’m trying to do it myself. I’ve seen the Avia II, DVE, and GetGray calibration packages, but before getting one of them, I’d like to download something FREE to try first. I did try the THX calibration on my Terminator 2 SE DVD, but it is woefully inadequate and I figure there’s got to be some free tool out there that’s better than that where I can rip my own DVD?

Also, I don’t have a hi-def DVD player, just a progressive scan DVD drive. Should I set my tv to “normal interlaced mode” when running the tests since the upconversion my tv would normally do would blur the sharpness tests?

I tried asking questions on the AVS forum, but most of the time I get ignored there. Thanks for the help!

We have a Panasonic 50PZ80U - replacement from our basement flood this spring

I’m sorry if this is a stupid question. But if my printer is calibrated, would that test pattern you pasted work to match the colors? Or is that kind of a joke?

Adree’s joking.

Drop the $30 on DVE and be done with it.

Or this:

Joe Kane Productions; I haven’t played around with his stuff though.

Yes, just get the DVE disk and adjust your TV settings yourself. There are probably some calibration controls that you won’t have access to without some expensive technician’s magical calibration key but that shouldn’t matter very much.

Have you tried searching the AVS forums for a thread of TV settings for your set? When I got my Samsung I found a thread with tons of settings recommendations, and after filtering through a bit I saw people repeatedly referencing one post in particular that everyone really liked. I used those on my TV and it looks superb. I doubt I could’ve done better on my own with even the best of the calibration discs.

Yeah AVS forum usually has some good settings if the TV is popular and fairly well-established.

If you use some sort of disc, make sure you are going through the same components and connections as you are from your cable or satellite box. Most TVs have different settings for different inputs.

I think HDNet has a 10 minute program they play each week with a few different screens to help set things, but with an LCD I only found it to be useful for brightness/contrast and sharpness. Do a Google search on this one.

You don’t need to calibrate Panasonic plasmas. I wasted my money on Avia and DVE - the cinematic setting is pretty much spot on.

Unfortunately, that’s only for ideally dark rooms. If there’s any women in the room you’ll have lights on which means you’ll want to use Standard.

“Dynamic” is for showing off the TV in Bestbuy. Do not use.

Since DVE is like $20 it’s not like he’d “waste” a lot of money…

But why is “cinema mode” so dreary and the colors so muted?

Also, before I ordered the Panny from Amazon last August I"d gone to Best Buy and CC many times and they kept gonig on and on about how Geek Squak FireSog would save me tons of money on power and heat due to the calibration. Were they lying? Or is there something I can tweak to lower those values. Jen and I were testing all kinds of stuff and we had to open the windows in the living room (3:00 am) it got so hot in there. On the plus side, it looks like I won’t need to use any natural gas this winter. Yea for electric-bleed heat!

I know on my Westinghouse LCD that the set had its backlighting set to 100% out of the box, which is way higher than it needed to be to have a good picture and it throws off a lot more heat the higher the backlight is.

So they weren’t exactly lying, there are settings on many HDTVs that can contribute to higher heat and power usage, but your set should allow you to tweak these yourself pretty easily.

Plasmas put out a ton of heat, yeah.

  1. You can’t do color calibration yourself, because you don’t have a colorimeter and you have no idea how to work the service menu. You can pick the most accurate mode (Cinema, Movie, “Standard”, whatever it is on your set), and if it’s good enough for you, don’t worry about it. If it’s not, hire an ISF guy (look for recommendations on AVSForum, don’t use Best Buy).

1a. Unless you have a CRT projector that lets you turn on one gun at a time, where you can do meaningful calibration with test patterns by just adjusting the intensity of the guns to an even point. But modern digital displays are more complicated than that.

  1. Brightness and contrast, though, you can do yourself with Avia or DVE. It’s environment dependent, so you can’t just look at numbers online, but want to look at test patterns. Even the THX Optimizer will let you get some basics right, though.

Just as a point of reference, here are my settings.

I run through ‘normal’ with:

Contrast: 75%
Brightness: 60%
Colour: 55%
Sharpness: 50%

My living room is fairly bright most of the time so I tend to run both contrast and brightness a little higher.

Yes you can, in a limited fashion. DVE comes with colored transparent films and appropriate test images that you can use to adjust the color balance. It’s true that you won’t reach optimal results without the service menu but the user menu typically has some settings for that purpose.

For Movies HDTV i use the following settings…


in order in the Panasonic menu. This is a bit oversaturated on the greens, but everyone prefers it as it makes the white level seems more “realistic” or clear. Also helps SD card photos really pop.

and also Black Level to DARK in the advanced color menu.

Have you ever tried it? On a lot of those TVs, the user-mode color adjustments are worthless, and the primaries may not even line up well with those filters.

I was able to get the color pretty clean on my old Hitachi CRT projector, but I couldn’t do a damn thing with a Samsung DLP – and when I watched the ISF guy work, yeah, wow, no way I could have done that.

Yes, I have the DVE disk and did the full calibration run on my Sharp Aquos TV. Indeed I hardly changed anything about the colors based on this test, they were already about as good as I could make them. But who knows, maybe Jeff has a TV where this test might make a difference…