Calibrating DILA Tracking/Phase for Pixel Perfection
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(10/5/00) If you're a HTPC user of DILA projectors, you're interested in this!
This improves picture quality of a DILA from a HTPC!
I used DisplayMate to calibrate Alan's DILA projector. However, I have created a new
custom DILA test pattern from scratch so you do not need DisplayMate! You can get your
DILA projector perfectly and sparkingly "PIXELLY SHARP<tm>".
Remember, setting a HTPC to do 1360x1024 does NOT necessarily get the best picture
quality. You're not there yet! You need to adjust the "PIXEL CLOCK" on your DILA
projector to get optimal results! That means TRACKING and PHASE adjustments in the
"PIXEL CLOCK" adjustment setting of your DILA projector?
What is TRACKING and PHASE, you say?
Good question. Allow me to explain - all digital projectors, including DILA, use
digital electronics for displaying images. However, VGA input is analog! In a digital
projector, the VGA is converted to digital. This means the PIXEL CLOCK in the projector
must be exactly the same as the dot clock of the computer's video card (i.e. GeForce).
Otherwise, you will get jittering and flickering if you walk up closely to your screen.
TRACKING allows you to increase/decrease the PIXEL CLOCK of the projector relative to the
computer's dot clock. PHASE allows you to adjust the synchronization of the clocks - on
the exact pixel and not half-a-pixel out of alignment.
Fortunately, it is easy to adjust TRACKING and PHASE
Using my new DILA test pattern! First, you should already have a 1360-pixel-wide
computer resolution already configured on your HTPC computer, and you switch to the SXGA3
input. Doublecheck that you're already on the SXGA3 input of your DILA. To do this, use
your DILA remote control, hit the MENU button, then select VIDEO SOURCE, then select
SXGA3. You must be using SXGA3 to use the full 1360-pixel-wide resolution, unless the
other inputs are modified to use 1360 pixels wide.
Use SXGA3 Input
If you cannot do 1360-pixel-wide or you do not want to bother with custom computer
resolutions, simply select 1280x1024 instead and use SXGA1 or SXGA2. Remember, 1280x1024
looks better than 1360x1024 on SXGA1 and SXGA2. Use 1360x1024 ONLY on SXGA3.
Do not use a HTPC with the HDTV input on the DILA
This is not recommended due to vertical scaling artifacts (720p->768p or
540p->768p). Switch to one of the SXGA inputs depending on the above.
MY DILA TEST PATTERN
STEP BY STEP:
HOW TO ACTIVATE TEST PATTERN
Right click this link and select "Save As": Digital_TestPattern_ByMark.bmp
If your PC is your HTPC, save to your WINDOWS subdirectory
(C:\WINDOWS). If your PC is not, save to a floppy disk. Then bring the floppy
disk to your HTPC and then copy the file to your WINDOWS subdirectory.
On your HTPC, bring up Control Panel:
Start Menu -> Settings -> Control Panel
Doubleclick Display icon
Click Background Tab
Select "Digital_TestPattern_ByMark" as the background
Important! Select "Tile" (instead of "Center"
You will now see multiple copies of the test pattern tiled horizontally
and vertically in the background.
Close or minimize all windows, so you only see your Windows Desktop. You
do not need to move or remove your icons, as long as at least half of your screen is
STEP BY STEP:
HOW TO ADJUST YOUR DILA USING TEST PATTERN
I made a few simulations of the artifacts that you will see on your DILA projector.
While making the below adjustments, feel free to run up to the scren and watch from 2-3
feet away from the screen while you adjust your DILA. It makes the adjustment easier!
Also, while adjusting the patterns, watch all 3 test pattern bands, and also the sharpness
of the tiny text in my test pattern. All of these items will assist in adjustment.
Important! The following simulated images are meant to be viewed on a desktop
computer monitor. This is because the below simulations will be messed up if you're trying
to view the below on an uncalibrated DILA projector. If so, please view this post on
another computer that is using an ordinary desktop computer monitor, so you can see the
true look of these images.
Important! Remember, you need to TILE the test pattern on your background, not
stretch the test pattern to have one test pattern fill the whole screen. Do not right
click on any images above or below and "Set as Wallpaper" - don't do that -
because it does not tile the test pattern.
- This is probably the pattern you will see on your DILA:
These vertical bands can be any thickness, from a
few pixels thick to almost full screen width. If you see vertical bands like the above,
you need to adjust your TRACKING adjustment.
To adjust TRACKING, use your DILA remote and hit MENU button, then select PIXEL CLOCK. Now
adjust TRACKING upwards and downwards. Don't adjust PHASE yet. As you adjust TRACKING, you
will notice that the number of bands will go up and down. Try to decrease the number of
bands to zero.
- If you succeed in the above, you will see the following:
Important! If you're unable to get the above, don't worry. Try to
adjust until the whole picture is noisy - with no bands. You want a picture that's either
*uniformly* perfect or *uniformly* noisy. What you want to do is eliminate ALL bands -
even bands that are half a screen wide! Go to next step.
- HOWEVER, if you failed to get the picture clear on the first try
and your image looks like either of the following:
If you see either of the above, you simply need to adjust your PHASE adjustment.
Notice that the first image looks very muddy, including the text. You might not even be
able to tell the difference between the 1st and 2nd of the 3 test pattern bars. Other
times, you will see a noisy image, much like the second image.
Adjust your PHASE adjustment upwards and downwards. Notice how you start to make the image
sharper? Try to find the PHASE adjustment that produces the sharpest image without noise.
- Finally, if you succeed, you will see the following image:
You now have DILA PIXEL PERFECTION!
Featured in December 2001 issue of Stereophile Guide to Home
Theater in Pat Megenity's PCinema column! (Page 32)
This pattern also works with most digital projectors and most plasma displays too.
Alternate QUICKER method of installing test pattern, using Internet Explorer, if you
are already on the computer that you want to install the test pattern on:
- Right-click on the DILA test pattern image (first image in my post above) and then
select "Set As Wallpaper"
- On your HTPC, bring up Control Panel:
Start Menu -> Settings -> Control Panel
- Doubleclick Display icon
- Click Background Tab
- At the bottom, select "Tile" (instead of "Center" or
- Click OK
You will now see multiple copies of the test pattern tiled horizontally and vertically
in the background. This is a quick way of checking Tracking and Phase of nearly any