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Video Calibration Services

Video Calibration Services – Consumer

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As I tell all those that inquire about my calibration services, my calibration sessions now come in two flavors.  The “THX/ISF Full Service” session usually takes about 4 to 6 hours.  There is a large education component to the calibration process.  The premise behind this is that answers … without any understanding, are answers that have no meaning or value.  Calibration provides answers, but without the understanding of the questions, the process is for naught and wasted.  Also described as “colour commentary” on everything that gets done or dinner theater version of calibration.  Something that might take 30 sec. to do can now take 15 minutes when you sit back to hear all the stories.  And believe it or not, this presentation is actually quite entertaining.  Even house wives and girl friends have thoroughly enjoyed these presentations.  (With tears of joy coming from the clients as their wives can finally understand their passion in words they could never muster to adequately explain it.)

(Cost of this service is $350-$400 with add on services being extra.)

Cool Stuff and way more education with the Full THX serviceThe second type of calibration service is the “THX/ISF Express Service” that takes up to two hours.  In both cases, the end result is the same, a properly calibrated display.  (Cost of this service is $200 with add ons being extra.) Everyone gets the same great picture and I use the same calibration equipment in both versions of the service.

The best way to describe the two service levels is to use the DVD example.  “Movie Only” DVD and the “Special Edition” DVD with all the extras.  Both versions deliver the same movie, but one gets a cliff note version of the education and no other perks or extras in the Express version (Extended education, THX plaque, Nifty Stuff, Graphs,  etc.).

Calibration packages to fit all budgets.

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The cost structure for displays is as follows:

Base price for 2D calibration of a Projector … (up to 2 HDMI inputs).  (Usually $350-$400 depending on the display … If there is a CMS, then it will be $400, if not, $350.  For instance, Epson/JVC/Benq usually have a CMS … Optoma usually does not … and so forth)  THX Express option is also available here.

3D will be an additional charge. ($150 no charts or $250 with charts)

4k/UHD-SDR Grayscale/Color Set up will be an additional charge. ($75 no charts &  $175 with charts)  This mode is for you tube items and netflix items where the HDR signal is not provided.  SDR is Standard Dynamic Range and HDR is High Dynamic Range.  This service is not typically needed for UHD Blu Ray.

4k/UHD-HDR Grayscale/Color Set Up will be an additional charge. ($100 to $200 depending on the TV as some take a brutally long time. Again, add $100 if you want charts with this service.)  Model number/brand of the TV is needed to determine the charge for this service.  Some are simple where only the grayscale can be adjusted.  Others take a long time with many more controls to adjust.)  Turns out that regular HD and UHD material need distinctly different color settings and grayscales. If you are watching any 4K material on Netflix or a UHD Blu ray player, then this is a good idea.  (UHD-SDR and UHD-HDR may require different settings from each other and can be two separate calibrations.)

Special ISF/THX modes via computer interface will be an additional charge. ($150)

Special ISF/THX modes without computer interface will be an additional charge. ($50/mode)

Calibration through DVDO or Lumagen or other external processor. ($150) in addition to Full Service/Express calibration package.

3D Color Cube via external processor ($200)

Firmware/Software – Manual Updates ($75)

Computer Monitor Display Calibration ($75 for dual display/$50 for single display)

Meter Comparison – Compare your DIY meter to professional grade equipment. Is your stuff close or way off?($75)

 

No travel fees – As long as there is sufficient interest in an area, there are no additional travel fees on top of the calibration service. (Otherwise it is $50 or more depending on travel time)

Additional Displays in the same home will be discounted. (30-50% Discount off normal rates)

Good light control is always a plus for calibration work and while pitch black is not needed, the darker the room environment, the better.  Consider black garbage bags and painters tape as a temporary black out solution.

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FAQ – How long does a TV calibration last?

One of the top questions that people will often ask me and the answer depends on a few factors; the number of hours people put on the TV and whether it is a flat panel or a projector.

 

The short answer for flat panels is that the calibration will most likely last the useful life of the TV so only one calibration is ever really needed.  The amount of drift over time is marginal and by the time the TV needs a touch up calibration, it is six years old and people are looking at other newer and fancier TVs to replace the now aging set.  So effectively, the calibration lasts the life of the TV.

Now the fine print.  The need for re-calibration is dependent on the amount of use of the set.  The more hours you put on the TV, the more wear it gets.  The light bulbs in the LCD sets change color over time as does long term wear on a Plasma TV and OLED TV.  A recent revisit to a Samsung Plasma found a yellow image on this 7 year old display.  The TV had 27,000 hours on it.  Most people are lucky to put 13,000 hours on the TV in that same time (5 hours a day for 365 days a year for 7 years).  All that said, even D65 back lights mounted on the back of TVs change over time.  A D65 fluorescent tube back light measures 5800k around 10000 hours of use.  Nothing lasts forever.

 

The short answer for projectors is 500-700 hours of use or with every bulb change.  The bulbs dim over time and change color (slightly).  At most, a re-tweak is a good idea based on the amount of use rather than a set period of months or years.  This recommendation varies somewhat depending on the technology of the projector.  LED based projectors will change color more rapidly over time than the conventional UHP lamps.  Laser projectors are too new, but may be more stable than UHP bulbs so the jury is still out on that.

 

Recalibrations are recommended for post-production facilities where they need the certainty that the displays are correctly set up.  And of course, displays in such facilities see many more hours of use then TVs in the typical home.  Displays can typically get 700-800 hours on them every 3 months so re-tweaks are a good idea.

 

Video Calibration Services – Business

A base charge for calibration services is available for businesses (Installers/Integrators) and they are free to mark up this service at their discretion. Customers might like the idea that the actual “THX/ISF” Instructor came to fine tune their Video system, not just someone that took the THX/ISF class.

This saves the company the need to get THX/ISF video training for themselves and then pay for the equipment, maintenance for said gear and build their own experience one display at a time …

 

Other Services to Consider:

Simplify the system with one Remote Control.  Click here.

Get the best sound from your music and movies.  Click here.

Get the TV/Cable Box/Stereo/DVD player/Apple TV hooked up correctly.  Click here.

 

 

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