Imaging Sciences Foundation (ISF)
To the casual observer, the image of RPTVs out of the box is very nice. But for
videophiles, it is not good enough and although some can tweak their system with an Avia
or Video Essentials HT disc, an ISF calibration is an absolute must.
I'm not even going to attempt to describe what it is or how it is done. I'll
leave it up to the experts. But in a a nutshell, ISF calibration is essential for
making your TV perform to its full potential.
Calibration - What it Entails
Calibration will allow for correcting or optimizing the following parameters:
- Greyscale tracking *
- White & Black Level *
- Color temperature *
- Chroma Level and Phase *
- Focus (Electrical & Mechanical)
- Horizontal & Vertical Center
- Convergence (static & dynamic)
- Chroma detail enhancement, and
- Scan Velocity Modulation Disconnection
* Typically part of
basic ISF service (around $275). The rest are extra and come under the umbrella of the
Calibrator more than ISF'er.
It really depends on the set. If the set's defaults are far or way off from what
they really should be, then the difference can be staggering. If the set's defaults
however are close to calibrated values, then the difference may not be as dramatic or even
But most folks who've had their sets calibrated however feel that the change is quite
noticeable. Blacks are black; whites are white; even light distribution; realistic
colors; and images are filmlike in quality. Apparently, a lot of problems with
out-of-the-box sets also get corrected. Problems such as shimmering, ringing, weird
color fringes, jaggies, and hot spots are reported to be reduced or even disappear.
If you've spent thousands on your HD-ready TV, you'd probably want to spend a little
more to make your set perform at its best.
When Should One Get It?:
Although, one can theoretically get professional calibration as soon as you get the set
(new0, it is recommended that you let your TV have at least 100 hrs of use before getting
What does this accomplish? It allows new TV components to get broken-in.
Although electronics these days are quite a bit more robust and reliable, the possibility
still exists for higher than usual mortality rate. If one gets the professional
calibration right away and then the TV malfunctions shortly thereafter (or during the
manufacturer warranty period), then it is almost certain that all calibration work done on
the set would be wiped out when the authorized service tech works on the set. There
goes all the fastidious adjustments on the set along with the money spent on it.
So, wait a while and let the set settle down. In the meantime, do user
calibration using home theater discs like Avia or Video Essentials and try to build your
knowledge base on tweaking your set or optimizing your viewing experience.
So, why aren't TVs precalibrated at the factory?
Good question indeed. Some might also ask why manufacturers don't do this in the
hopes of outselling the competition. Michael TLV explains why...
- For a good description of an Anatomy of a Calibration,
please check out this collaborative article by Michael TLV and Mr Bob.
- For a good overview of what an ISF calibrator can do for your TV, you'd
want to visit Robert McJimpsey's site.
- For the general sequence of tweaks/adjustments one can follow in making
adjustments to your TV, click here.