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  1. #1
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Data Color's Spyder TV calibration system, part 2

    Some time ago, I mentioned that I had one of these in-house and that I hoped to give it a go as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I still don't have the time to do it any justice. I also mentioned that I wouldn't be averse to lending it out to others for calibration purposes. I was thinking about it again today as my eyes chanced on it lying idle in my office. I'm not sure whether it's a good idea, for a number of reasons, or whether anyone would even want to bother with it. But I noticed venkman's post about calibration this morning, and the subject does come up regularly. AVMASTER, I think, was trying to become a Spyder dealer. Robert, I think, wanted to know if it would work with front projectors. Out of the box, no, but I haven't studied it enough to know whether it can be adapted.

    At any rate, if I were to send it out, at least three criteria would have to be met:

    (1) The person would have to be recognizable to me from this forum, say, with a minimum of posts (to be determined) and an address plainly on view for me to see. This strategy would be protection against someone joining the group just to run away with the Spyder system.

    (2) I'd have to charge a small rental fee as further, even if inadequate, protection against theft or damage. No offense to anyone in the abstract, but the likelihood of anything in circulation surviving forever is pretty small. I'm thinking of a fee equivalent to DVE's lowest cost, possibly payable via PayPal as a cash transaction, which would also help to protect me. Obviously, shipping costs would also be the recipient's responsibility. I have a FedEx express (not ground) account, which I could use for those who'd like to work fast, or I could do a regular USPS parcel post. The total cost would be far less than the Spyder's $200 purchase price.

    (3) Whoever uses it would be on their own. I don't have the time to do a tutorial. But the documentation and software are very comprehensive. The Spyder seems extremely easy to deploy. You just need a laptop or a desktop PC near your TV. If you don't have either, fuhgetaboutit.

    What do you think about this idea? Does it have any value? Sir TT, what do you think about it? Wooch, Kexo, Topspeed, etc. ? If this kind of offer isn't appropriate to the forum in the first place, by all means have it retracted.

    Ed

  2. #2
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    Talking Me! Me! . . . Pick Me! (hand waving wildly in the air)

    Ed, you gave me some very helpful advice a while back. I am the guy that recently bought the LG62SX4D DLP. Let's talk turkey. I live in Newport, Rhode Island and would love to give this a spin. How much "rental fee" are you talking about? Just let me know. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  3. #3
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by edtyct
    Some time ago, I mentioned that I had one of these in-house and that I hoped to give it a go as soon as possible. Unfortunately, I still don't have the time to do it any justice. I also mentioned that I wouldn't be averse to lending it out to others for calibration purposes. I was thinking about it again today as my eyes chanced on it lying idle in my office. I'm not sure whether it's a good idea, for a number of reasons, or whether anyone would even want to bother with it. But I noticed venkman's post about calibration this morning, and the subject does come up regularly. AVMASTER, I think, was trying to become a Spyder dealer. Robert, I think, wanted to know if it would work with front projectors. Out of the box, no, but I haven't studied it enough to know whether it can be adapted.

    At any rate, if I were to send it out, at least three criteria would have to be met:

    (1) The person would have to be recognizable to me from this forum, say, with a minimum of posts (to be determined) and an address plainly on view for me to see. This strategy would be protection against someone joining the group just to run away with the Spyder system.

    (2) I'd have to charge a small rental fee as further, even if inadequate, protection against theft or damage. No offense to anyone in the abstract, but the likelihood of anything in circulation surviving forever is pretty small. I'm thinking of a fee equivalent to DVE's lowest cost, possibly payable via PayPal as a cash transaction, which would also help to protect me. Obviously, shipping costs would also be the recipient's responsibility. I have a FedEx express (not ground) account, which I could use for those who'd like to work fast, or I could do a regular USPS parcel post. The total cost would be far less than the Spyder's $200 purchase price.

    (3) Whoever uses it would be on their own. I don't have the time to do a tutorial. But the documentation and software are very comprehensive. The Spyder seems extremely easy to deploy. You just need a laptop or a desktop PC near your TV. If you don't have either, fuhgetaboutit.

    What do you think about this idea? Does it have any value? Sir TT, what do you think about it? Wooch, Kexo, Topspeed, etc. ? If this kind of offer isn't appropriate to the forum in the first place, by all means have it retracted.

    Ed
    Hey, even I wouldn't mind trying it. I was going to get one for myself, however I was waiting for somebody to tell me how well it works. If you don't mind the wear and tear that circulating this product will incur, I think it is a great idea.
    Sir Terrence

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  4. #4
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Hairsonfire, Sir TT,

    That's great. It will be gratifying to put this thing to use. Maybe H can try it out first and then send it directly to Sir TT. The system has its own little case, which I'll box up. I'll download the software into my PC and copy the literature for myself. Maybe we can get this show on the road by Monday. Hairsonfire, I'll send you a PM later today so that we can arrange the rental fee and the shipping. Newport won't be much of a haul. You can work out a schedule with Sir TT. We'll see if anyone else gets involved.

    Ed

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    Cool!

    I don't have a problem with giving you my info: My name is Kelly Williamson, work number is 401-841-7004. My "real" email is thomas.williamson@nwc.navy.mil. I work for the Naval War College here in Newport. Give me a ring! Terrence, looking forward to speaking to you, too (eventually).

  6. #6
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    i think it's a great idea, i've contacted the company several times with a favorable response but still no merchandise. Send me a private e-mail with your rental cost.
    thanks

  7. #7
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    For those of you that I've PM'd and who may be interested in this project, I have asked Datacolor whether they would be willing to release the system software, totally under their control, to several other computers besides mine. The upside for them would be a review of the product that might reach a large number of potential buyers. I'll keep you posted here or by PM when they've decided.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular hmmmm's Avatar
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    love the idea

    Quote Originally Posted by edtyct
    For those of you that I've PM'd and who may be interested in this project, I have asked Datacolor whether they would be willing to release the system software, totally under their control, to several other computers besides mine. The upside for them would be a review of the product that might reach a large number of potential buyers. I'll keep you posted here or by PM when they've decided.
    I had actually checked this out lately and would definately be interested for my DLP. I know you don't know me but I could send you my company's info if you wanted to check to see if you trust me. It could be sent to my business which has a good reputation. At least that's what I hear Paypal would be no problem.
    Thanks!

  9. #9
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    I have spoken about my collaborative review of the Spyder with Basak S. Atilgan, Product Manager, Datacolor's Home Theater products, who has offered full cooperation and technical information as necessary--and, more important, has authorized me to release the software to additional computers. So this project is officially a go. The illustrious Sir TT, Hairsonfire, and AVMASTER are already onboard. Mr. (I assume) hmmmm and others who want to enlist in the project should shoot me a PM, and we'll try to set something up. I may solicit a few people on this forum who seem particularly savvy about video technical matters. The best possible scenario will have a waiting list for the Spyder. I hope that we have enough interested people to actually require a cutoff, at least for the time being.

    Ed

  10. #10
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    That's a heckuva generous offer, Ed. My computer is in the office on the opposite side of the house, so it sounds like I'll have to take a pass. Lemme do some research as to what this thing is, and if it's as cool as you say, I'll try to borrow a laptop from someone.

    Thanks again.

    ts

  11. #11
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    I had to lift this thread up to the top of the page again. Boy, are my arms tired. I'm getting ready to send this thing out, with just a few things to clear up. First victim is Hairsonfire. Then it's bound for the West coast to Sir TT and LJ. Let's see if we can pick anyone else up out there (Topspeed?) before it heads back my way. I have a person or two in mind to contact for stops on the trip back. Mr. hmmm and AVMASTER are in the Baltimore-Washington area. I'll have to contact AVMASTER again; he fell off the face of the earth. Sorry to those concerned for the wait. Thanks for your patience. Almost there.

    Ed

  12. #12
    Class of the clown GMichael's Avatar
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    Ed,

    This is great of you to do this. You da man!

    I hope everyone will post how well it works for them for all to read.

    I am not ready to try it yet. Maybe late summer if this works for projectors too.

    Thanks Ed.
    WARNING! - The Surgeon General has determined that, time spent listening to music is not deducted from one's lifespan.

  13. #13
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    GM,

    No projectors, I'm sorry to say--at least to my knowledge. I have yet to get fully acquainted with what the Spyder can do, or be adapted to do. I'm hoping that while it's on the road, I'll get a better handle on it, and Datacolor has pledged full cooperation for the project in every possible respect (I owe them big time for releasing the software for me to use as I see fit. I still don't know what will happen when the first person other than me installs the disk, but I am relieved that Datacolor will help to resolve any difficulties). Anyway, at the end of the project, I'll have all the data and will let AudioReview handle the full review however it wants. Datacolor may want it as well.

    Ed

  14. #14
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Quick question, Ed; how complex is this thing? I'm not the most tech savvy guy around and if this requires a fair degree of computer ability, I'm in trouble. Do you just stick it on the screen and follow the calibration recommendations from the software? Will I need to acess the ISF part of my monitor?

  15. #15
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Here's an article AH did on it.

  16. #16
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Topspeed,

    It's a cinch to use. No technical skills necessary beyond counting, using a mouse, and following instructions. Most of us American males have already mastered the mouse part; the rest of it we can fake. No need to access anything but the user adjustments. If you have the time and the computer, nothing should stop you from taking it for a test run.

    L.J.

    I actually saw it. I'm hoping to add a little more comparative "before" data, and to extend the sample beyond one kind of TV. Needless to day, if everyone has the same TV, that part of the plan won't fly, but it'll still be worthwhile.

    Ed

  17. #17
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    The adventure has begun. In a day or two, Hairsonfire will have the system. I've put a letter inside the box for every participant to read. It should stay in the box for the next in line. I've also printed out a single-page questionnaire to make data collection easier--one for each customer. I haven't confirmed with all parties yet, so the itinerary is still a little loose. But at this point, we have Hairsonfire, Sir TT, L.J., Topspeed (?), Wescott, AVMASTER (?), hmmmm, and possibly a couple of stragglers before the whole shebang comes back to me. I'll update the main thread with info as we go along. Anyone sitting on the fence should decide as soon as possible so that we can organize the shipping routes efficiently. By the end of next week the system will be in California. It should circulate there completely before heading out, presumably to Texas. If we play our cards right, only Sir TT, the first Californian, will get completely screwed with shipping costs across the country (smile).

    Unless someone has a better idea, I would think that three to four days would be enough for everyone to calibrate and collate, though we can accommodate delays if necessary. Feel free to send me a PM to give or get info, or to find out who the next person in line should be. At the very least, I'd like to know the address, the date, and the carrier for each shipment so that I can serve as the point man (and stay involved).

    I tried to plan this project out as completely as possible, but I probably missed something here and there (besides a definite itinerary). Hopefully, we can pick up my lapses as we continue. I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

    Best,
    Ed

  18. #18
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Edtyct,

    Your mailbox is full but I sent you an email. If your list is full, don't sweat it. I've been sitting on the fence for a long time basically due to the fact that I'm not very knowledgeable on the video side of things and wasn't sure I could do the system justice. Seems like it may be fun and I may actually be able to figure it out based on the posts and reviews I've read. If there's room still, I'd like to play.

    Regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  19. #19
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Jim,

    I replied to your email. It's an honor to have you on the roster.

    I have room in my PM box if anyone else is interested.

    Ed

  20. #20
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    Funny, on the General Forum page there's a thread talking about how lame AR is. Over the years Audio Review has been the most awesome site I've ever come across. This is just the latest example. Thank you!

    Regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  21. #21
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Here's a loose end that I neglected in my note accompanying the Spyder, as well as in this thread. Calibration is best performed when a display is in its most neutral state--that is, with no settings that deviate from "flat." But not only can "extra" TV modes and features interfere with calibration; so can those on the DVD player itself, a point that I failed to make until now. Therefore, you should go into calibration without any black-level enhancement features or color or gamma shifts engaged in the DVD player menu, even if you needed it to pass "blacker than video black" to calibrate brightness and contrast with DVE or AVIA. Sometimes it's hard to tell just what constitutes "flat" on a DVD player. Let's define it as the state in which the player arrived in your home (unlike that of a TV out of the box, which is as far from neutral as you'll ever see it). What we want to do is take the DVD player and the TV's extracurricular activities out of the equation as much as possible so that the results can be attributable mainly to the Spyder. This should give you an idea of how hard an accurate, untainted calibration is to achieve. Unless you know how a DVD player and TV affect color and greyscale, you can never be sure that your calibration is perfectly clean.

  22. #22
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    I'm in, Ed. I'll take it after Sir T or LJ. Sir T lives in the Bay Area and LJ in So Cal while I'm in Central Cal. Mebbe I can intercept it on the way down?

  23. #23
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Actually I'm in the valley too.

  24. #24
    Forum Regular edtyct's Avatar
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    Sir TT has run into possible scheduling problems, so Topspeed or LJ may be next in line after Hairsonfire. You guys may end up fighting over who gets the privilege of paying the most shipping. I thought Sir TT was going to get that distinction. He still might.

  25. #25
    Da Dragonball Kid L.J.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    I'm in, Ed. I'll take it after Sir T or LJ. Sir T lives in the Bay Area and LJ in So Cal while I'm in Central Cal. Mebbe I can intercept it on the way down?
    Topspeed,

    How far are you from Modesto? I'm just curious

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