Integrators have been hanging flat panel TVs and installing projectors for decades, but how many of those are calibrated?
There is no doubt that every year TVs and projectors get better and better, and with HDMI 2.1 already here, we are about to see some truly unbelievable images. As great as these displays are, we are (and will always be) dealing with the same old dilemma: the display manufacturers have no idea what type of room the display will be in. They also can't predict every lighting condition, seating positions, what type of content the customer will be watching, nor what other gear may be in the system.
So, how do you ensure that the picture quality is optimized for each and every one of your clients? The answer is calibration. Calibration is a 100% custom service based on the client's unique environment and situation. No two rooms, systems, or people are the same, so why treat them as such?
As I travel around and teach people about displays and calibration, I have been bringing up the infamous Game of Thrones episode that was "too dark" (read my take on the episode here). Every time the topic comes up, everyone in the room winces and has a nice chuckle about the amount of controversy this caused. Multiple integrators have told me that their customers were calling in, claiming that their new TV was broken! Here is my question: if the display the customer was watching had been calibrated, would there have even been a controversy? Or phone calls? Or truck rolls?
I have a personal client of mine who was unfortunately going through chemotherapy treatments. Her vision was severely sensitive and any bright light gave her a massive migraine. As a film buff, watching movies is one of her favorite hobbies, but because her TV was so bright she could not enjoy her favorite pastime. As a last-ditch effort before returning the TV to the retailer, she hired me to come over and check things out.
During the calibration, we looked the test patterns together so I could tune the TV to her room and her vision. Two hours later, she was hugging me and crying because she could finally enjoy her movies without the migraines. Since then, she has referred me to at least five new clients. I love sharing this story because it really shows how important it is to understand not only a display's capabilities, but also the level of customer service you can potentially provide to your clients.
These days most displays are pretty easy to calibrate. Just a few basic adjustments to a display can make a major difference in picture quality. Now that we have Autocal with CalMAN (a calibration software package by Portrait Displays), a full calibration can be done quickly and accurately. If you consider yourself a custom integrator, this a great way to separate yourself from your competitors!
My challenge to you is to find out if your competition offers calibration. Visit imagingscience.com/dealers, enter your city and see what is happening around you. You might be surprised by what you find.
I recently hosted a webinar on this topic and had the founder of the ISF Joel Silver, HDTVTest's Vincent Teoh, and Portrait Displays Tyler Pruitt as guests. We had a great discussion about the industry and what we are excited to see over the next few years. Feel free to check that out here.
We host AVPro Academy and ISF courses all over the world several times throughout the year. Here you can learn more, in great detail, about this custom service and what you need to get started. If you have been before, but it has been a few years, maybe it's time for a refresher. Check out the dates and locations for these classes here.
If you are not calibrating the TVs and projectors that you install, I'd be interested in hearing why. What is holding you back?
Written by Jason Dustal, AVPro Head of Training and Education
Today’s digital age has resulted in a greater need for homeowners, bars, airports, and sports arenas to distribute audio and video over long distances. Previously, coax cable was used to transmit these analog signals but, as resolution has increased, so has bandwidth. This created a need for infrastructures that can distribute higher bandwidth digital signals over a long distance.
The use of Category cable and the introduction of HDBaseT came to the rescue. Using CAT cable, we can extend HDMI signals over 10x the distance of HDMI’s 10-meter specification. However, HDBaseT doesn’t use a traditional digital signal to transmit audio and video. While connection speeds for networks are measured in Mbps (Digital measurement of bits), HDBaseT signals are measured in MHz (Analog measurement of waveforms).
So, what does this mean?
Traditional ways of testing CAT cable using category testers does not determine whether or not the CAT cable can handle an HDBaseT signal. Most testing equipment made for category cables will check that the pinouts match on both ends of the cable, and sometimes the distance; more expensive units can even test for network speeds. Unfortunately, even if they can test data rates, it’s done in Mbps, and HDBaseT is measured in MHz. This renders the device inadequate for audio/video signals. While both can fall victim to EMI and attenuation from length, HDBaseT signals are more susceptible to both.
So, how do I test HDBaseT signals?
While there are a few solutions that test CAT cable for HDBaseT signals, they are expensive and few and far between. Don’t worry, hope is not lost. Tests can be run using a few simple tools you may already have:
Together these tools are only a proving ground for category and better results can be achieved by following both the HDBaseT Gold Standard and the HDBaseT Do’s and Don’ts. Checking category runs prevents frustration during installation and helps prevent additional truck rolls costing you money.
So you want HDR, but it's not displaying on your TV or Projector? This guide will walk you though troubleshooting this issue.
One of the most common issues that integrators have today is not being able to trigger HDR on a display. This can be frustrating, especially when it seems like all of the stars are aligned and everything in the system is HDR capable. Here are some tips on system setup and troubleshooting that will help you in case you run into this issue.
In the following scenario we are looking at this system:
UHD Blu-ray Player --> AVPro Edge Matrix Switch --> AVR --> Display
Some tips before you start troubleshooting:
How to troubleshoot for "No HDR":
NOTE: Conduct these troubleshooting tests with either the Murideo SIX A and G or the Fox & Hound Kit. This guide is written for the SIX A & G Test Suite, but the process is almost exactly the same with the Fox & Hound Kit. Always have a known good 18Gbps HDMI cable in your kit. You will use this for testing different components in the system.
Testing the source:
Testing the matrix switch:
If the source is outputting an HDR signal, the HDMI cable connecting the blu-ray player to the matrix switch tests out, and the matrix switch’s EDID is correct, then the problem should be solved. If not, confirm that the HDMI cable that connects the matrix switch to the AVR is passing 18Gbps. If it is not, replace the cable. If the cable tests out and shows zero errors, it’s time to move to the next component downstream. In this case that would be the AVR.
Testing the AVR:
Since the AVR has an input and an output you will have to test both.
At this point you have tested every other component and every HDMI cable in the system. If you are still not able to get HDR to the TV, follow these steps to test it:
In some cases, you may be dealing with an HDBaseT Matrix Switch. Here are some tips from HDBaseT that will endure a successful installation:
There are many ways to troubleshoot a system, and with the proper tools and methodology you can track down problems in a minimal amount of time. Come up with a plan, take things one step at a time, keep track of what you have and haven’t tested, and if problems continue to persist you can always call our tech support department at 877-886-5112 or +1 605 274 6055 (Int'l).
For years televisions have been plug-and-play. From the introduction of color television, to component, to the early years of HDMI, everything just worked. Today, we live in a world of catching up. Our legacy set top boxes struggle to produce 4K while advanced 4K displays sometimes resist the change to new formats. But hope is not lost, understanding common issues in today’s mixed resolution world can decrease the amount of time spent troubleshooting.
4K and HDR have taken the world by storm. Next-Gen gaming consoles and premium streaming devices have made this possible within the home but not all displays are as accepting as others. You may find a host of problems while simply trying to connect your device.
Distributed systems are a perfect way to deliver all sources to any part of the home; but what about HDR sources on legacy displays that do not support it? While scaling to the resolution of the display may show picture, you might find an issue with the image displayed.
Dolby Vision is the cream of the crop in terms of HDR. The ability to adjust brightness levels frame by frame attracts many consumers to buy displays capable of doing it. Unfortunately, not everyone can agree on how to process Dolby Vision leaving us with different profiles used in the market. If the source plugs directly into the display, this is not an issue. However, in a distributed system with multiple displays capable of Dolby Vision, they might not be processing it the same.
As displays continue to move from 4K to 8K and beyond it is almost guaranteed that new issues will arise. Being able to diagnose these problems now will help your ability to address them in the future. For help managing EDID and addressing high end 4K visit support.AVProEdge.com or give us a call at 877-886-5112.
Here at AVPro and Murideo we talk a lot about ISF calibration and how important it is when building a high performance A/V system. Display calibration is necessary to achieve two goals:
As important as ISF calibration is to a home theater system, it is as equally important in a commercial environment. Let’s take your favorite sports bar for example. Next time you go, look around at all of the displays see if they all match. Check out the grass on the baseball field. Does it look real or radioactive? Take a look at the white jerseys. Can you see detail in the jersey or is the white totally blown out? Calibration will fix all of these problems by making all of the displays look the same.
Next time you encounter a video wall, maybe at an airport, take a look at each panel. Especially when an advertisement pops up. Are all of the panels equal in brightness, or are some brighter or darker than others? Do they match in color, or are some white while others are a blue-ish white? Now imagine that you are a marketing executive for a brand that pays for advertising space in that airport. What would you think if you saw your brand or logo on the screens and the color of your logo was incorrect? All of these problems will be fixed with calibration since all of the displays are calibrated to the same standard.
In many cases a commercial display will be initially set up in its brightest picture mode. Not only does this ruin the image quality, but it can literally be painful to look at. That last thing someone wants after a nice dinner in a restaurant is a migraine. In one extreme case, in an airport I had to close my eyes while coming down the escalator because the LED wall is entirely too bright. Not only is this unnecessary wear and tear on the display, but it can be dangerous!
As important as ISF calibration is in a home theater system, it is equally and arguably more important in a commercial environment. In these cases, the goal is not only image fidelity and accuracy, but also to save the life of the displays and to keep people looking at these displays comfortable and safe.
AVPro and Murideo have everything you need to offer display calibration to your clients. From pattern generators (the Murideo SIX G and VideoForge PRO) to meters and software including CalMAN we have you covered. Not only does AVPro offer the tools you need, we also work hand in hand with the Imaging Science Foundation to put on the best training in the industry. Have questions on how to get started or want to attend an ISF class? Give us a call at 877-886-5112 or visit avpro.training/isf for more information!
Calibration, testing and troubleshooting, Murideo is gearing up for CEDIA 2019 and will be located in booth #1643. This year be sure to stop by for scheduled demonstrations including HDR calibration, calibration with CalMAN AutoCAL, 8k and more with Jason Dustal of AVPro and Tyler Pruitt of Portrait Displays. The SIX A & SIX G Test Suite will be on display as well as the Fox & Hound Kit, a must on every integrator's truck. Finally, don't miss the AVPro Customer Appreciation Party on Friday, September 13 from 7-10PM at 10 Barrel Brewing in downtown Denver, details below!
We'd love to meet you at CEDIA! Visit us at booth #1643 or simply fill out the form above to set up a meeting time.
CEDIA SHOW SCHEDULE
Thursday, September 12
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Friday, September 13
9:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday, September 14
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
The Colorado Convention Center
700 14th Street
Denver, CO 80202
AVPRO CUSTOMER APPRECIATION PARTY
WHEN: SEPTEMBER 13, 2019, AFTER CEDIA DAY 2 from 7:00 PM - 10:00 PM
WHERE: 10 BARREL BREWING - DENVER, 2620 WALNUT STREET, DENVER, CO 80205
JOIN US FOR A NIGHT OF DRINKS AND FOOD AT THIS OPEN HOUSE STYLE EVENT. STOP BY FOR ONE OR STAY ALL NIGHT, WE WANT TO SAY THANK YOU FOR THE CONTINUED SUPPORT WE RECEIVE FROM OUR AMAZING CUSTOMERS!
Our August webinar was a great success and covered Display Calibration in 2019. A big thank you to host Jason Dustal and special guests Vincent Teoh of HDTV Test, Tyler Pruitt of Portrait Displays and Joel Silver of the Imaging Science Foundation. If you missed the webinar check out what's new in the recording below.
For years AV Technology has been plug and play, things just worked....
In today's world of HDMI distribution, things are different. Variables between displays and sources have continued to increase in complexity. Each product has their own detailed specifications that are slightly different than other, similar products. These specifications rely on something called EDID (Extended Display Identification Data). Contained within the EDID information is metadata sending preferred resolution, audio, timing, and a host of other information pertaining to the capabilities of the display.
When a source is connected to the display the EDID information is sent back to the source, which will then generate the correct signal. Most displays have a setting that must be enabled to do HDR formats, these settings can change the EDID information.
The largest problem in distributed systems is the mismatch of EDIDs from different models and manufacturers. AV manufacturers handle these issues in two different ways, unmanaged and managed. In the example below we compare two matrix switchers, a 4x2 with unmanaged EDIDs and a 4x2 with managed EDIDs.
Once you have an understanding of managing EDID, that knowledge can be used to tackle all kinds of problems both in the field and in design. From shortening sync times, fixing color space, or just getting the best quality audio and video, EDID management can change the whole system.
AVPro Edge has made a huge leap forward in EDID Management. Using the AC-DA12-AUHD-GEN2, AVPro has created an EDID Compiler mode which uses the video capabilities of a display or projector and combines it with the audio capabilities of an AVR or soundbar. The DA12 also includes a 1080p downscale port allowing support for a legacy AVR. This can bring Dolby Atmos to your home theater while avoiding AVR limitations and shortening sync times. AVPro Edge continues to push the edge of innovation.
When I started calibrating, TVs and projectors were nowhere near as advanced as they are today. A TV back would only have a few controls and they were usually buried in the minefield of the service menu. Sometimes the controls worked, and sometimes they didn’t. I just had to do my best with what I had to work with. I still run into these situations sometimes, but luckily it’s not often. The difference today is that our equipment and software are light years better and the calibrator community is as big and as strong as ever.
I want to invite you to join our newest hour long webinar on display calibration in 2019. I'm going to do a quick refresher for those calibrators that may be a little rusty, then I will talk about all the advancements in imaging science, we will also talk about all the mis-information that is out there as well as what the future holds.
One of the most popular videos on our YouTube page is my calibration webinar from last year. But this one will be the most exciting one I’ve done so far. I’ll have 3 special guests on to talk about some of their experiences and what they are looking forward to in 2020 and beyond.
Calibration Expert Guests
Want to learn even more?
If you haven’t taken the class before, there is not a better time than now. During the ISF class we spend 3 full days covering everything related to electronic imaging and the standards that hold everything together. This includes hands on activities such as fiber termination, front panel TV controls, and manual and automated calibration of the grayscale and color gamut on the displays that we have in class. EDID management and HDCP compliance cause headaches everyday. We will show you how to use the necessary tools to keep track of and manage these things. Not only will you come out of class with a solid foundation of video signals and a new skill, but also CEDIA and AVIXA credits. If you take and pass the ISF exam you will be listed on the ISF site as a certified dealer so potential customers can easily find you.
We see a wide range of students come through the ISF class. Seats have been filled by not only A/V integrators, but also cinematographers, post production editors and colorists, broadcast engineers, medical professionals, even home theater enthusiasts looking to learn. Continuing education in our industry is a MUST, and we invite you to class even if you have taken the course before.
With the introduction of 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Range), the AV industry has been flooded with various signal types that may not be supported by your distributed system.
Does your device say 4K60Hz, yet still no signal?
Is you device “full 4K”?
The truth is, some devices cannot handle higher bandwidth 4K (4K60Hz 4:4:4 8Bit/18G or 4K60Hz 4:2:2 12Bit/18G). Using a 4:2:0 Chroma manufacturers can produce “4K60Hz” devices that are only handling 50% of the color information, as well as not displaying full HDR (4K60Hz 4:2:0 8 or 10Bit/(9G). Leaving customers with a choice to use only a few select 4K formats. For years manufacturers have been hiding behind this vague specification affecting switches, extenders, and even HDMI cables. Looking for specs that include 18Gbps or 4K60 4:4:4 with HDR, help notate a wide open, high bandwidth 4K signal. AVPro Edge provides many 18Gbps solutions, including all of our 444 extenders and AUHD products, that ensure the best video quality for your customers. Murideo, trusted in HDMI testing and troubleshooting, also provides tools to help confirm correct signaling with the Fox & Hound Testing and Troubleshooting Kit and the SIX-A Analyzer & SIX-G Generator Test Suite.
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