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.
The Imaging Science Foundation continued its international training, this time making a stop in Australia. ISF teamed up with AVPro and AVD to put on a display calibration course down under. Jason Dustal ISF Level III Instructor, taught this class and he had this to say:
"ISF along with our partners at AV Distributors recently hosted the first Australian ISF class in a couple of years! The class was attended by a wide variety of people including experienced calibrators, medical professionals, post production professionals, and some who are brand new to calibration! We spent time talking about 18Gbps distribution and how to troubleshoot HDMI issues. Lots of hands on activities with both flat panels and projectors gave the attendees a glimpse of what to expect in the real world when servicing clients! We'd love to see you at the next class, cheers mate!"
ISF hosts classes all year long around the world, if you are interested in becoming an ISF certified calibrator register for class today.
For more information on ISF Visit AVPro.Training
In order for a distributed video system to work nicely with different kinds of displays EDID managing is crucial. What is an EDID?
An EDID is the data that is sent from a display to a source, this data tells that source what kind of signal to output. Some displays may ask for 1080p resolution with 2ch audio, and some may ask for 4K resolution with HDR colors and Dolby Atmos, in order for these two displays to play nicely inside one installation we need to manage the EDID to work with both. Every integrator has been here; you connect everything in a new installation, play your source and....... one or more displays do not have picture. If you are working with 4K, you may have an EDID problem. The Fox & Hound has many capabilities, in this article we are going to explore how you can use your Fox & Hound to manage the EDID's in your system. There are two main ways you use the Fox & Hound for EDID management:
Testing an Multizone Video Distribution System
Scenario: 8 video zone installation, using different brand displays, the source is a Apple 4K streamer. When the integrator turns on the system, 4 displays have a picture, 4 displays say no picture. You have tested all the cables and connection points and extenders and they all work - You have an EDID problem.
The Answer: Find the television inside the system that is the oldest or has the lowest capabilities. Your goal is to find an EDID that will work with all the displays in your system. Connect the Analyzer to this display and copy the EDID. You will be able to see all the information from that EDID including:
The final step would be to place this EDID from your Analyzer into your video matrix switcher. Connect the analyzer to the input of your matrix switcher and using the matrix web GUI you can use this EDID on each input. We recommend AVPro Edge's line of matrix switchers for easy EDID management.
Saving your favorite EDID's
Scenario: You find a EDID from a specific display that works great for all the products you like to install, even when you use different brands of displays, this EDID works every time. You go to a new install and they don't have the type of TV that outputs the EDID you like to use. How can you get your favorite EDID into this installation?
The Answer: By using the Fox & Hound HDMI Testing and Troubleshooting kit you can save your favorite EDID for later use. This might not seem that exciting but if you are working with 4K and HDR, having the perfect EDID is essential. To give you a head start the Fox & Hound comes loaded with the most useful EDID's already loaded.
This is only one of hundreds of ways you can use the Fox & Hound to save time when working with HDMI. If you do not currently have a Fox & Hound from Murideo right now is the time to buy, we just introduced a payment plan where you can get a Fox & Hound for $199.00 a month for 12 months. For more information give us a call!
Getting your hands on professional HDMI testing, troubleshooting and calibration equipment has never been easier. Purchasing HDMI test equipment can be expensive, but with the new 12-month payment plans from Murideo, things just got a lot more affordable.
Murideo offers two Generator and Analyzer pairs:
The Murideo SIX-G and SIX-A: A robust 18Gbps 4K HDMI Generator and Analyzer combination that also comes with a PC software, perfect for calibrators, manufactures, and integrators testing areas.
The Murideo Fox & Hound: A 18Gbps 4K HDMI testing kit that is built to be in every integrators truck. Very easy to use and understand, this tool saves integrators time and money, hands down.
*A credit card must be on file to participate in this promotion. This card will be automatically charged every month.
Working alongside ISF, AVPro Edge and Murideo are manufacturing products that keep the ISF method at the forefront of 4K video distribution. It is paramount to the mission of ISF to get the complete and correct signal from the source through any repeaters in the HDMI network all the way to the display. Our goal is to assure that what the client sees on their display is as close to the director’s original intent as possible.
Few integrators have successfully taken the dive into distributing 4K with HDR because the signal exceeds the limitations of most of the current infrastructure in homes and businesses. CEDIA integrators have either put in systems with 4K and no HDR, limit the system to 1080P SDR, or they put the sources in the room with the HDR display. None of these compromises are necessary. At the ISF Seminar, these missteps will be covered at length to help attendees confidently sell and install these high bandwidth products and systems without the need for any shortcuts or compromises. For example, the course will cover high bandwidth distribution products like the AVPro Edge HDBaseT extenders. Thanks to the proprietary compression algorithm ICT (Invisible Compression Technology), AVPro is able to deliver a pristine image, free from compression artifacts, over category cable. With these and other 4K + HDR solutions from AVPro Edge, including matrix switchers, audio down-mixers, distribution amplifiers and more, the system can be optimized for high bandwidth signal distribution. Then, it will be time to perfect the display.
Thanks to advanced tools and software the calibration process is as easy as ever, and today’s displays typically calibrate very well. With Murideo’s SIX-G Test Pattern Generator and AutoCal by CalMAN, the tedious parts of calibration are now automated, saving calibrators tons of time. This leaves more time for educating the client and giving them a great demo.
Now, let's cover some basics on what calibration is all about and some of the tools that are needed.
What makes a great picture?
It's easy to look at a TV in a showroom and say “that TV looks great!”, but what is so great about it? Most people are fooled by the blazingly blue-ish whites, the way too dark shadow details, the oversaturated colors, the extra sharpness and edge enhancement, and the dreaded soap opera effect. Luckily we've studied what makes a great picture, and at the end of the day it all based on our human biology and how we see. Here are the four things that we look for while judging picture quality:
Why calibrate a display?
There are two approaches to why a display should be calibrated. The first approach is easy! All you need to know are the four qualities of a great image that you just read about. Let’s use these and talk about how the picture will be improved after calibration.
The second approach is all about standards, which can be somewhat abstract to the average Joe. When we calibrate a display we are setting it to known standards. There is a major benefit to this because it will allow you to view the movie, video game, TV show, etc as the creators intended. Calibration is all about honoring the art of content creation. When a filmmaker uses a specific color palette for a scene of a movie, it is done intentionally. Color in movies is used to set the mood of a scene and to evoke emotion within the viewer. This type of emotional manipulation is not only used in film, but video games and TV shows as well. As someone who appreciates the time, effort, and artistry that goes into production, calibration ensures that the reproduction is as close as possible to what was intended.
Now that we have defined picture quality and covered the benefits of display calibration, let’s cover what tools are needed to offer this unique service.
What tools are needed?
ISF Calibration is a very unique, custom service that you should be offering to your clients. Labor dollars will contribute to your bottom line and system maintenance will not only ensure that your client’s system is performing it’s best, but it will also bring in recurring revenue. We have studied the numbers over the years and have also found out that ISF calibration also helps prevent TV returns which is a great added bonus. With the help of AVPro and the ISF, we can give you knowledge to not only perform this service, but also how to explain the benefits to your salespeople and ultimately your clients. Again, for more information including dates for ISF Australia and other AVPro Academy classes, contact AVD at +61 7 5561 7530 or visit avpro.training.
Striking differentials in 8K TV picture quality at CES 2019 showcased the awesome potential for 8K - and showed the serious pitfalls of processing massive amount of data into space, light and time.
The best pictures at CES were fantastic and created buying lust - even among the financially challenged press corps. The worst TVs were soft and fuzzy, artifact ridden, and were downright fatiguing to watch.
All Digital TVs (DTV) are simply machines that turn bits into pictures. The first DTVs in 1982 digitized our old analog TV pictures that used either 525 or 625 TV lines.
To better understand this long progress that has evolved to 8K TV, just visualize how we see TVs in space, light and time. Let’s break it down:
Space – The number of visible lines or pixels on screen
Light – How bright the picture is, and how many colors are visible on screen
Time – How many pictures are flashed per second – “temporal resolution” or pictures per second (PPS)
To start at the beginning, how did analog bring pictures into our home:
Space – Either 525 or 625 horizontal lines top to bottom
Light – Tube TVs (CRTs) were only 100 Nits bright – but had unlimited steps between black and white
Time – Either 50 or 60 pictures per second (PPS), unchanged since the 1930’s
Standard Definition Digital Rec.601
Space – 640x480, or roughly 300,000 (.3K) pixels to process
Light – 100 Nits – 220 steps from black to white to process at 8 Bit – CRT TV’s phosphor-based colors
Time – Same 50/60 PPS as 1930’s
High Definition Digital Rec.709
Space – Up to 1920x1080, or roughly 2,000,000 pixels (2K)
Light – 100 Nits – 220 steps at 8 Bit – but somewhat improved to 1990 CRT colors
Time – Same 50/60 PPS as 1930’s
Ultra-High Definition – 2012 specs BT.2246-1
Space – Up to 8K – roughly 33,000,000 pixels
Light – Up to 10,000 Nits – at 10 Bit roughly 1000 steps, at 12 Bit roughly 4000 steps
Time – Up to 120PPS – “temporal resolution” is finally improved – and sports are awesome!
Processing 8K TV Data – The Beauty and the Beast!
Creating perfect analog pictures with digital bits will never happen. However, more bits provide the possibility to create pictures that are closer to analog and will look beautiful at very close viewing distances – but only if processing is superb!
The Beauty - Evolving from .3K to 8K provides the potential for smooth artifact free pictures if processing deploys sufficient power and speed coupled with intelligent algorithm engineering.
The Beast - 8K reveals poor processing like a jeweler’s loop reveals defects in diamonds.
The Beauty – Even a 1000 Nit TV is 10x brighter than our old TVs – and with 200x more steps and 8K pixels, we can control color and light transitions that are life like and relaxing to watch.
The Beast – Brighter TVs reveal motion artifacts and poor color transitions that induce user fatigue.
The Beauty – We have been watching 60 PPS since 1939. HDR’s space, color and light have revolutionized watching movies in our homes. 120 PPS will do the same for sports!
The Beast – Double the number of PPS increases the cost of processing and the challenges for engineering intelligent algorithms.
The 8K CES Conclusions
For those readers who like to skip to the bottom of a story, here are the quick facts:
1 – There is far more to 8K than just less visible pixels. Improved control over motion in space, plus precision modulation of light and color produces visibly improved “digital to analog conversion”.
2 – If video processing is superb in time, space and color, then 8K pixels enable visibly smoother transitions and deliver more analog like pictures.
3 – Motion artifacts may still occur, but they are one quarter the size and therefore less visible.
4 – 8K 120 PPS will redefine “temporal resolution” and revolutionize watching sports on TVs.
5 – At first, only the Tier One TVs will be awesome with 8K. Many TVs will look worse with 8K. We will get what we pay for in 8K!
CES 2019 showcased what the planet’s best engineering teams can accomplish with 8K’s spatial resolution. They showcased vastly improved space, color and light. I can’t wait to see what these amazing people will do with 120PPS TVs at CES 2020.
I left the CES 2019 show discovering that I need new TVs once again……….it was enormous fun and a most entertaining show!
Here at Murideo we talk a lot about video calibration, but what about audio calibration? The audio inside a home theater is one of the most important parts. So why are so many installers doing home theaters without properly setting up the room to benefit the audio?
We want to change that and are here to help, with the HAA kit from Murideo, and access to HAA training, you can become the a certified home acoustics expert. HAA classes will give you the knowlege you need to successfully set up a room with perfect acoustics. Find our more here. www.avpro.training/haa-audio1.html
The HAA Kit will provide you with all the tools you need to test the room and make sure you are setting up the best experience possible for your client. You can purchase the HAA Kit here. www.avprostore.com/HAA-Complete-Acoustic-Calibration-Kit-PLUS-p/au-haa-kit-plkus.htm
From the HAA Website: The HAA is all about “Great Sound Through Science”. If you are looking for a community that is focused on high performance audio in the home environment, you’ve found it. We’ve been in the business of high performance sound since 2001. We are not an equipment or design sales company but our professional membership is filled with companies that are. Look through our Dealer Locator for a pro near you, or join our community as an Enthusiast member for free to get advice on our forums. Help us build our new public portal by joining and participating. Also, come back from time to time to read our expanding blog and see how our public site grows.
The Imaging Science Foundation has been leading the display calibration charge for over 20 years. In that time ISF has grown and adapted to each advancement in display technology that has come to market.
Today is no different, always pushing display technology forward, Joel Silver founder of ISF had this to say:
“The current HDR era is the very best of times for ISF Calibrators and their clients! The early HDR HDMI connectivity issues are now easily resolved by those with Level III skills, and the impressive HDR image quality now available through streaming, discs and HDR downloads is driving sales of ISF calibrations and large screen UHD TVs.
The upcoming year will bring us wonderful new content in HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision's three offerings, HLG, SL-HDR1,2,3 and a glimpse of 8K and sporting events in 100/120 Hz. Today's innovations have revitalized movie viewing - tomorrow's advances in temporal resolution will revolutionize sports!
We will only offer five North American ISF Level III sessions in 2019 - overseas demand and private sessions will limit the number ISF sessions. We were touched by CEDIA's recognition of ISF's impact on thousands of businesses, and we look forward to seeing you at an ISF Level III event in 2019.”
Joel Silver was awarded the CEDIA Lifetime Achievement Award in September 2018 at the CEDIA Expo in San Diego. You are able to find his award video below.
Being an ISF certified calibrator you become an expert in delivering the best possible picture to the display, With the Level III Class, calibration has expanded from the display to the distribution channel. Attendees will get hands on experience with the latest calibration and video distribution equipment as well as work on a verity of modern projectors and displays. We hope to see you in 2019.
The Level III ISF event is a seminar that Joel himself hosts around the world. Planning for ISF Level III is being done now and we would love your help. Please vote for the city where you would like to see ISF in 2019 below.
In the above video, we take a quick look at calibration throughout the years, where it started to the present day.
What is CalMAN with AutoCal?
Learn more about CalMAN with AutoCal and our partners' solutions by giving us a call 605-274-6055
We are honored to have Murideo's own Jeff Murray giving a presentation on 4K and HDR at this years Facilities Integrate Auckland 2018. As AVPro Global Holdings companies continue to expand in New Zealand and Australia we are excited as to support that region. Murideo and AVPro Edge fill a gap in the the market when it comes to testing and distributing 4K and HDR - technology that is expanding to all parts of the globe.
Here are the details about Jeff Murray's Presentation:
4K HDMI with HDR
Integrators now must understand how to successfully design and implement an HDMI solution that is capable of distributing 18Gbps of bandwidth.
Jeff’s two hour seminar has been tailored especially for the AV Integrator and will provide thorough insight into how to effectively design and implement a real-world distributed HDMI solution with 4K and HDR (High Dynamic Range).
What is discussed:
Who will be there:
The Murideo Fresco Six A/Six G combo has a robust HDMI cable test built in (to see a "how to" step by step guide click here).
This cable test was specifically designed for copper based HDMI cables. Testing fiber based or fiber/copper (AOC) hybrid HDMI cables is a little more tricky. Luckily we have a process that will help you test these types of HDMI cables.
Bottom pic is an example of a FAIL
by Terry Paullin
Not surprisingly, friends, readers, potential clients ask me "What T.V. should I buy?"
The answer they are looking for is something like " a 50" Binford 3000".
My first response is "There is no good, short answer to that question". Then I ask, "What is your favorite screwdriver?" After quizzical looks subside -
What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?
No, really, what's your favorite screwdriver?
Well, it depends .........
Well, first of all, do I need a Phillips or a flat blade or a Torx
and then of course there is a size choice .... and I don't
always have the wallet to buy all Snap-On, so sometimes I opt
for an economy tool from the Bargain Bin Hardware store.
"See", I said ... "no short answer".
When I engage with a Home Theatre client, I would never begin to answer "What T.V." until I have made a site visit. There I learn about the ambient light environment, seating arrangements and get a sense of the budget. Only then can I decide what display to put in the proposal. I used to ask about viewing choices and usage patterns, but I've stopped that for some time now. I have learned that that all changes when you get a decent theatre system.
For every time I'm asked that question, I imagine my friend Joel Silver is asked it 100 times, so I decided to interview him on this topic.
So, Joel, what do you say when someone asks you "What T.V. should I buy"?
(J) -Terry, as you mentioned the room environment is absolutely a key factor in choosing not only a TV brand, but determines the very TV technology that is applicable to the task at hand.
We often deal with sizable rooms that have fantastic views from really large windows. That creates quite a challenge, and often the best solution is a large flat panel for daytime viewing, and a much larger retractable projection for night viewing - that is the ultimate Day/Night "viewing mode".
(T) - Joel, we have taught in class for years that REAL contrast ratio is the biggest care-about amongst non-technical viewers who still know what pleases them when watching on-screen images ..... but contrast ratios can be relative. Are there some absolute metrics that folks should consider?
(J) - For dealing with ambient light professionally there are fantastic Contrast Ratio performance standards from InfoComm. They specify multiple contrast goals for different viewing applications. We use their "Full Motion Video" standard all the time when planning a media room system with ambient light issues, and then we audit our own installations when we are finished to insure and document performance compliance on site.
For light controlled home theaters there is a new Video performance document from CEDIA and CTA that details both minimum acceptable and aspirational contrast ratios.
We don't have opinions on video performance, we simply learn and apply industry Standards……..
Two really fundamental considerations that we find to be completely client dependent are two simple specifications - "how big should the screen be", and "how high should the screen be mounted".
(T) - Yes, I often find myself urging clients to the next size up. Although ability to accommodate can be a real issue, more often than not, it isn't. I have never had a client say "You know, I wish we had gone one size smaller" - on the other hand, the opposite has been expressed from time to time.
Field-of-view is important to cause maximum envelopment in the movie watching experience. What was the commercial theater analogy I've heard you use to answer those two questions for students?
(J) -Those fundamental personal questions are best answered by simply asking our clients about their favorite seats in their favorite commercial movie theater. We have been doing this a long time, and have found that people are absolutely dogmatic about how far back they choose to sit from the screen. Once we know their preferences, we can recreate their personal choices for their own optimum viewing angles for height and width in their own homes.
We have even found instances where spouses have provided us with different seating preferences, and have uncovered long standing and quite stressful movie going situations. We have not found resolutions for these situations, but if you are diplomatic you may end up doing additional residences for both spouses.
(T) - Indeed. Job security!
(J) - Another major topic is light output. For flat panel TVs this is a quickly evolving scenario. HDR and wide color gamut have raised the bar for what we can wish for in our homes. We can now deliver image quality in many rooms that was just not possible a few years ago. So the right answer about what HDR TV to buy is now the newest and top of the line one!
(T) - So true. HDR and all that comes with it takes us into a whole new realm of movie enjoyment. Still, the best HDR is closely linked to light output of the display. What is your take on the fate of front projectors and HDR?
(J) - For projectors HDR remains a challenge, but if we deploy enough light output and native color space we can now deliver the best images ever seen in homes. Do not expect to easily equal a studio HDR monitor with a 1000 nit image with projection, but we can easily exceed all our prior expectations - and a very large projection screen HDR wide color gamut image in a light controlled room is fantastic.
The real answer to "what TV should I buy" is best answered by a good demo. The recent stellar progress in image quality simply cannot be described in print - and mainstream retail demos of uncalibrated TVs in poor lighting show a mere hint of what is now possible.
The best of the new HDR digital video images live in rarified air. The few Dolby Vision theaters worldwide provide a superior new movie going experience that even non technical people appreciate. The few custom installers that have mastered "The Art of the HDR Demo" are now updating all their client's old systems. This is a new era of image quality - and right now is the best time in memory to buy a new TV!
(T) - Thanks Joel for your time. I'm sure our readers will heed your counsel and spend their money more wisely as a result.
Once again Murideo was at ISE 2018 and we had a great time. We hope you enjoy some of the pictures for our products around the show, as well as our lovely staff. Thanks for everyone that stopped by our booths this year.
As an AV professional, buying a new TV for my own home is always a little more stressful than it should be. Since I deal with this stuff on a daily basis, I am hypersensitive when it comes to improvements, new features, and pricing. I am not the type to buy a new TV every model year, in fact just like everyone else I am looking for the best deal.
After passing on the 2016 6 series LG OLED, I decided that the 2017 C series was the one for me. They had finally fixed the dreadful CMS and it finally came out of black much better. These were 2 things that were terribly important to me as I am constantly on the quest for the “perfect” picture. I had a feeling that the chrome bezel would have bugged me, so in December of 2017 I decided on the 55C7.
As CES 2018 was approaching, the question in the back of my mind started to linger...did I screw up by not waiting for the 8 series? Did LG come up with something that is going to blow us all away? Well Now that CES 2018 is over, we know a little bit more about the 8 series OLED and what to expect in the upcoming model year.
LG showed off 2 models that received a lot of attention. One of them was something that some of us have been predicting for years...a TV that rolls up when not in use. This is something that I can see as a practical use. I’ve always been a sucker for automation, and I love the idea that I can hide my TV when it is not being used. I also love is that this isn’t simply a show off feature. Since the TV can roll up and down freely, you could have the screen exposed in such a way that all you see is a stock ticker, weather information, and much more (maybe the Bitcoin price for those who love to torture themselves). For the cinemaphiles out there, goodbye black bars! In a theater application things can get tricky and expensive when trying to hide black bars. In this case however, it is just a matter of unrolling the screen enough so that the display is in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. For 16x9 content all one needs to do is unroll the screen all the way. I’d love to see an option to mount the unassuming white enclosure upside down on the wall or ceiling so the screen unrolls down similar to a traditional 2 piece system, but that may be wishful thinking!
Crazy display #2 would be the 88” 8k OLED. Unfortunately this is a prototype piece for CES so don’t rush out to Best Buy expecting to see it on display. The folks who saw it had nothing but great things to say about it, and if we have learned anything about prototypes at CES this may be a prediction on what we will actually see rolling off the assembly line within 5 years. Only time will tell!
So what about the rest of the OLED line? What will we see at the big box stores and on the front page of our favorite A/V websites in 2018? Luckily LG has some cool plans!
First let’s get one thing out of the way because I know you are wondering. The 2018 8 series will not feature HDMI 2.1. We are all excited about it, but it will be at least 1 more year for the LG OLED line. Not to worry though...there are still some great improvements within the line.
Luckily LG decided to not confuse everyone with a change in the structure of the model line. The entry level model will continue to be labeled a “B”, followed by “C”, then “E” (picture on glass), and finally the ultra flat wallpaper thin model keeps the “W” badge. All models will support HDR, Dolby Vision, HLG, and a format that we were surprised with in the 7 series called “Technicolor”.
Want to order an Uber from your TV? Now that is possible as all models in the 2018 LG OLED line will have the Google Assistant built in. Check out vacation photos, set timers, and more, all with the power of your voice. Still need more control? Each model will work with the Google Home, Google Home Mini, and the Amazon Echo.
LG has introduced a new processor to handle the heavy lifting. The “A9” processor claims better color, sharpness, contrast, and faster Smart TV operation. Each model will have the A9 processor with the exception of the entry level B8 model. The B8 will continue to use the A7 processor which was found in the 2017 7 series OLED TVs. More on this in a moment.
All models in the 2018 OLED line will feature HFR, or High Frame Rate. At 120fps, this is will help with blurry, quick motion without the use of motion interpolation. It is important to mention that 120fps HFR only applies to internal streaming apps and OTA, not outside sources. As previously mentioned, the entry level B8 model will use the A7 processor. Because of this technical limitation the B8 will not be able to simultaneously display HDR and HFR. This should be enough for hardcore gamers to ignore the B8 and jump straight into the C8.
Each model in the 2018 OLED line will feature Black Frame Insertion (BFI). When movies, TV shows, and video games are made, the images we see are not actually moving. When we see enough still images in a short amount of time our brains interpret these images as if they are moving. If the display doesn’t flash from one still image to the next quickly enough, we see this as motion blur. BFI helps this by inserting a full black frame in between each usable frame in the image. Some viewers are sensitive to this and describe the display as “flickering” while some do not notice it at all. Because there are now twice as many frames as before there is a bit of loss in light output, but BFI will help with motion blur without the use of motion interpolation. LG gives BFI a new name called “Motion Pro” and will be available in SDR and HDR modes.
The 2017 LG OLED TV’s featured “Active HDR”. This was a great feature as it added active metadata to HDR images, making them look more like real life. Turning the feature on was a bit confusing as LG called it “Dynamic Contrast” and it only worked correctly when set to LOW. Luckily in the 2018 models they have implemented the same feature, but now they call it “Dynamic Tone Mapping”, which makes a little more sense. Because the TV inserts its own metadata, these displays will most likely not be compatible with HDR10+.
The 2017 7 series LG OLED calibrated quite well, and the 2018 8 series looks like it will be even better with the introduction of built in Look Up Tables (LUTs). LUTs are important to calibrators as they give us much more than the typical calibration controls. Until now, a LUT could only be implemented by a rather expensive box that sits last in the signal chain before the TV, and had to be controlled by software such as CalMAN. The OLED models that contain the new A9 processor will be capable of 33x33x33 LUTs while the B8 model with the A7 processor will be capable of 17x17x17 LUTs. The display will talk directly to CalMAN, which makes things MUCH easier for calibrators as this will save a significant amount of time when calibrating the 20pt grayscale and Color Management System (CMS).
Each model will come in the following sizes:
-B8 55”, 65”
-C8 55”, 65”, 77”
-E8 55”, 65”
-W8 65”, 77”
Like the 2017 OLED line, no models will support 3D. All models will be in stores by June 2018.
Gamers and videophiles will be able to take advantage of some new features in the 2018 LG OLED line, but unless there is a significant price reduction 2017 model owners can rest knowing that they made a good decision by buying a 7 series. If you own the 2016 6 series OLED, the 2018 8 series will be a significant upgrade. Now it’s time to sit back and see what happens with pricing, which is usually the ultimate factor.
There’s been a lot of buzz in the last 2 years about QLED technology and Quantum Dots that drive it. They claim more contrast, more color, brighter picture, more energy efficient, etc. The Quantum Dot technology is very promising! If you have 4 minutes, here’s a quick video on how Quantum Dots work.
If you have an hour Scott Wilkinson at Home Theater Geeks gets really deep into it with some of the folks at Nanosys:
Sounds cool right? Well, as with every type of TV technology, there is some confusion on what is really going on. Here’s the problem…remember when “LED TVs” first hit the market? Everyone was (and still does) calling them “LED TVs”. Were they LED? Well kinda. The LED part of the TV refers the light source, or the backlight. The actual panel which makes the image is technically an LCD panel (stuff we’ve been using since the days of the electronic calculator) but now with a much better backlight solution. This was a massive improvement ESPECIALLY over CCFL bulbs. We saw some immediate improvements in contrast, color, efficiency, and all of a sudden TVs were super thin. These are all good things, but we are still dealing with the shortcomings of LCD. If we are being technical accurate these would be called LED/LCDs TVs!
Fast forward to the first QLED TVs. Quantum Dots sound really cool…even futuristic. Almost like something out of Star Trek! QDs are going to solve all of the problems with LCD right? Better viewing angles, more color saturation, better dynamic range, better screen uniformity, and the promises of world peace, right? Wellkinda…
QLED TV’s are not Quantum Dot panels…they are traditional LCD panels with a Quantum Dot backlight. This is still a big deal as the Quantum Dots can get brighter and are much more efficient than LEDs. Now the manufacturers can make the TVs even thinner and even brighter which is what the masses seem to love. But is this a good solution to overcome the shortcomings of LCD panels? Not quite.
Fast forward to March of 2017. Samsung announced the acquisition of Harman International. This was a big deal. Harman International seems to be involved with everything A/V from automotive to commercial theater applications. When the news was released I remember thinking to myself that it made sense but I hadn’t quite connected the dots until Summer of 2017.
Don’t get me wrong. I love going to the movie theater. There’s nothing like being in a room with hundreds of other people screaming in terror with the little girl crawls out of the well at the end of “The Ring”. Experiencing “Avatar” in 3D on a 70” IMAX screen was unbelievable. I swear I could reach out and grab theWoodsprites right out of thin air. And the sound in the commercial theater? I can’t even come close to that at home without a dedicated room with a six figure budget. The theater is still fun, but I have to have to be honest with myself when I say that I do not go to the theater for the image quality. Sure the screen is huge, but it doesn’t look that great, especially if you compare it to your high end flat panel at home. Sure the TV at home is only 65” but it looks much better!
I was convinced that I would never see the Holy Trinity of A/V…a huge screen, that looks great, with a bone rattling audio system.
Fast forward to July of 2017. Samsung announced their Cinema LED Screen. Is this the game changer that we have all been waiting for? Since the late 1800s we have been going to theaters and looking at the same technology…a projector with a screen. As I mentioned before, we can make some really BIG images but they never look that great. As we know from studying how our eyes work and how our brains interpret light waves, Dynamic Range is the #1 important aspect of picture quality. Simply, Dynamic Range describes the difference between the darkest and the brightest part of an image. Nobody likes a washed out picture regardless of how many pixels are on the screen. An OLED (and even some of the best LED/LCDs) can make very impressive black levels. How can a device such as a projector make perfect black like an OLED? Projectors project light pretty well but they have a hard time projecting black! The result is washed out picture with desaturated colors. Two things that our eyes and brains HATE!
Samsung’s Cinema LED Screen gives us the best of both worlds. Each pixel is its own light source that can turn off (black) or get bright based on the scene, just like OLED. The resolution is true 4k (4096x2160), HDR compatible, WCG compatible, and here’s the best part…it’s 33.8” wide! No more need for a projector and a screen as this is a true LED screen technology.
As great as this sounds it will be a while before these theaters are common. By 2020 we are only expecting to see 10% of theatres across the world adopt this technology. My guess is that it’s pretty pricey! So if we aren’t going to see this in theaters until 2020, that means that we won’t see it in the home until somewhere around 2025, right? Well kinda...
This week at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Samsung revealed a pretty interesting new display dubbed “The Wall”. A modular 146” “micro LED” HDR/WCG display capable of infinite contrast (like OLED) but at 2000nits (like a REALLY bright LED/LCD). This sounds a lot like a residential version of the Cinema LED Screen, and the best part is that this isn’t some “made for CES” display…according to Samsung these will be shipping THIS YEAR! Now we wait to see a price…
So as always I have more questions than answers…
Will Cinema LED screens eventually replace the old 2 piece projection systems in commercial theaters? I sure hope so!
With the acquisition of Harman International mean that Samsung is taking aim at some market share in the commercial theater industry? Probably!
Will “Micro LED “ displays become the gold standard and replace OLED and LCD (QLED or LED)? Only time will tell. Will there ever be a singularity in TV technology? Probably not, but what I do know after working in this industry for a long time (19 years this year!) is that the competition is fierce. Some technologies will die (cough cough plasma and CCFL LCD) while some will thrive and lead us up to the next big thing. “Minority Report” anyone???
This chart has always been helpful in explaining the different types and variants in video signals. We thought we would share it, so everyone can have the information in one place. Below is the Bandwidth Chart:
This below is a break down of what makes a great picture on your screen. You might be surprised to find out that resolution is 4th on the list.
When you push "Play" on your new UHD Blu-ray player, how will you know what is actually being output? Will the color depth be 8-bit, l 0-bit or 12-bit? Will the color sampling be 4:4:4, 4:2:2 or 4:2:0? Will the picture be displayed with High Dynamic Range (HOR) or Standard Dynamic Range (SOR)? Unless you have a TV or projector that displays color information on screen (a rarity), or you're using a Murideo Analyzer you won't know for sure. Besides not having an on-screen display (OSD) for color depth or color sampling, the choice of settings offered for those features on a UHD Blu-ray Player can be non-specific; AUTO or OFF may be your only choices. Subsequently, you won't know if Standard Color Depth (8-bit) or Deep Color (10-bit or 12-bit) is actually being output. The reason it's important to know the actual color depth output is because HDR requires at least 10-bit color. With 8-bit color HOR's benefits are not apparent rendering the benefits of 4K/HDR useless
On a recent trip to a dealer's store in Oregon, I experimented with the Oppo 203, one of the few UHD Blu-ray Players which allows individual selection of all parameters. I was able to individually select 4K 24Hz or 60Hz, 4:4:4, 4:2:2 or 4:2:0, 10-bit or 12-bit color and HOR or SOR. Wanting the best picture I chose 4K/60/4:4:4/l 2-bit/HOR. I pushed "PLAY" and got a picture. But, wait a minute that's not possible - I shouldn't get a picture because the settings far exceed the 18Gbs maximum data rate for the player, TV and the cable. If the settings exceed the systems specifications why did the TV display a picture? The reason is that the player automatically changed one of my settings, most probably the color depth from 10-bit to 8-bit. That brought the data rate back to l 8Gbps and, at 8-bit, HDR was compromised .. Therefore, if you want HOR don't set the player to 4K/60/4:4:4. Understanding the parameters, the possible combinations and how they impact the viewing experience are the keys to getting a display with the parameters you selected and ensuring your customers are getting the maximum return on their investment.
Here's a list of the parameters for setting up 4K a Btu-ray Player:
Frame Rate: 24Hz or 60Hz
Color Depth: 8, l 0, 12-bit
Color Sampling: 4:4:4, 4:2:2, 4:2:0 Dynamic Range: HOR or SDR
The game-changing feature for the newest 4K displays is HOR. However, for HOR to have its maximum impact the UHO Blu-ray Player's output must have its output setup for Deep Color, i.e., a color depth of l O or 12-bit. One way to ensure that Deep Color can be output is to set the Frame Rate to 24Hz (the native Frame Rate of almost all UHD Blu-ray discs). Then you can select 4:4:4, 12-bit, HOR and still be well within the operational envelope of the player and display. Another solution is to select 60Hz, 4:2:2, 12-bit, HOR. This solution requires l 8Gbps performance for all the components in the system including the HDMI cable.
Possible Blu-ray Player Settings and Data Rates:
To ensure individual performance of all HOMI cable models each and every HOMI cable is
hand-tested at Tributaries using a Murideo Six-G HDMI Generator and a 4K/60 4:4:4 . (18G) display. All passive HOMI cables and UHDO Fiber Optic HOMI cables are tested and verified for 1 8G performance. All active UHDS and UHDP are tested and verified for 10.2Gbps. You won't receive a defective HDMI cable from Tributaries because the Quality Control testing of each cable is done in our factory not in your customer's home.
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