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  1. #1
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    ISF Calibration?

    I'm researching TV's and picked up the latest TPV. They had a rptv shootout which was just what the doctor ordered. A 57" Sony won (don't remember the number) and was also awarded product of the year. It also happened to be the least expensive if I remember right ($2199). One of the reasons it won, even though the Hitachi had a sharper picture, is because they claimed it was right out of the box and required very little calibration. Even after ISF calibration the difference was nominal. The Hitachi OTOH required a major ISF calibration (estimated cost $600) to reach it's full potential. So here are my questions because this is latin to me:

    1) Shouldn't ALL TV's be correctly calibrated straight out of the box, especially when you're dropping anywhere from $2-4 large?

    2) I'm in the middle of nowhere (ask Woochifer, he knows) so where do you find ISF guys?

    3) Could I reliably calibrate the thing myself with the proper Avia disc or equivalent?

    4) Why no love for Sony here? Is there something that I should know? I know they had quality issues last year in their rptv's but c'mon. I'm a Hitachi/Toshiba fan myself, however if I can get a great TV from Sony and not worry about dumping another $600 into it just so it works the way it was suppossed to in the first place, I'm all over it!

    What's your take? Thanks in advace.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    1. I've heard that a lot of TVs are defaulted out of the box to project brighter and sharper than they should in order to standout in a crowded and brightly lit store demo room. All you have to do is hit the reset or default key with most TVs to see what I'm talking about. Every TV I've calibrated using the S&V disc has the brightness and sharpness dialed up too high by default.

    2. I would start with Custom TV and ask them for referrals. Or I'm sure you got a satellite retailer or TV repair shop close by. You could ask them as well.

    3. The S&V, Avia, and DVE discs will almost always improve your picture quality, compared to your TV's default settings. You should try that out first before you seek out a professional calibration. It's not that hard to use the disc and improve the picture quality. The difference that a professional calibration will make is that they will go into the service menu and access a lot of controls that are ordinarily off-limits to consumers. Whether or not you need to go into the service menus depends on the TV. Keith from Canada wrote about the ISF calibration he got on his Panny RPTV, and it apparently made a huge difference there because the service menus were needed to maximize the picture quality. He also prefaced that Panasonics are not set correctly out of the box, whereas Toshibas are better out of the box and may not need professional calibration.

    4. Sony gets a bum rap from some people (myself included) because their build quality has really gone downhill over the past decade. Sony's reputation is still good among most shoppers, and most of the time their products are above average in terms of performance, but they've had several bad production runs the last few years (their early production Wega TVs, several of their DE and DB series receivers the last few years, some DVD player models, etc.). My wife and I have had multiple product failures with Sonys the past few years, so we flat out will not buy a Sony unless we have no other option (e.g. PS2). This perception was only reinforced by a couple of friends who used to sell AV equipment. It got to a point that they no longer demoed Sony gear unless a customer asked about Sony. Too many defects and DOA units, too many irate customers, too many lost commissions.

  3. #3
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Thanks Wooch!

    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    The S&V, Avia, and DVE discs will almost always improve your picture quality, compared to your TV's default settings. You should try that out first before you seek out a professional calibration.

    4. Sony gets a bum rap from some people (myself included) because their build quality has really gone downhill over the past decade.
    Wow, now I know why Sony recorded record losses for the 3rd quarter and laid off thousands of employees. Ouch. I had no idea their quality issues were running rabid throughout their lines. I thought it was just rptv's. Thanks for the update on that.

    I really like Hitachi as I have a 32" Ultravision crt now and love the picture quality of it. I also heard that Hitachi supplies most of the optics to everyone else anyway but keep the newest and best for proprietary use. Any truth to this that you know of? What do you know about their new lcd rptv's and is there any advantage over their regular rptv outside of the obvious such as smaller stature and lack of tonnage?

    Sorry about all the questions but I really am a novice when it comes to TV's.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    I thought it was just rptv's. Thanks for the update on that.
    Funny. The RPTVs are one of the Sony product lines that I didn't hear a lot of negatives about. That said, my friend typically demoed the Toshiba TVs first because of their reliability (he was always a fan of Mitsubishi as well, but he felt that they were starting to cheapen some of their products)

    Quote Originally Posted by topspeed
    I really like Hitachi as I have a 32" Ultravision crt now and love the picture quality of it. I also heard that Hitachi supplies most of the optics to everyone else anyway but keep the newest and best for proprietary use. Any truth to this that you know of? What do you know about their new lcd rptv's and is there any advantage over their regular rptv outside of the obvious such as smaller stature and lack of tonnage?

    Sorry about all the questions but I really am a novice when it comes to TV's.
    I'm probably more of a novice when it comes to TVs than you, although I hear bits and pieces from people who do know their stuff. I don't know much about Hitachi (the stores where my friends worked never carried the brand), other than they made the hard drive in my laptop and it still works a year later. Woodman's been on the fence with them, but at least he didn't give it his emphatic thumbs down (and if you've seen him on the board for a while, you'll know what he likes and doesn't like ... and given that he services TVs, he should be a good source on what's built well and what's not).

  5. #5
    ride a jet ski Tarheel_'s Avatar
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    for what it's worth...i own a 2001 model Hitachi 50" 4:3 RPTV. The S&V disk proved very useful and the picture quality was much improved. I enjoy its picture and have had no problems during ownership. I realize your not seeking 4:3 advise, but i thought i would chime in on my personal experience.

    Buddy of mine just bought a Sony 60" XBR RPTV and is waiting shipment (January) so you may want to check on availablity while shopping. The dealer said 8-10 weeks is normal for the Sony. Good luck!

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