ISF Calibration Pricing
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If you'd like your set calibrated by respected video specialist Robert P. Jones (Mr Bob), you can contact him
directly. If you happen to be not within close proximity to his geographical base,
you can assemble or join a group of other folks who'd like to get their sets calibrated as
well. Please contact him and let him know which option you'd like to pursue. Please
read all the information below for Mr Bob's general terms:
Mr Bob writes: "As you probably know, 100 hours is the ideal burn-in period
for new big screens, so if your TV has accomplished that by now, it's ready. This is the
period where your RPTV is most likely to drift in certain high-precision parameters, like
convergence, because of being brand new, so it can also be called the "drift"
Ideally, calibrations are done after the drift period, but not necessarily. My new
Panasonic 65" PRTV, though no different from any other brand new RPTV on such issues,
was so far off out of the box that corrections were mandatory within the first several
viewing hours. I literally couldn't stand to watch it that way without correcting it.
Any TV over 100 hours old is ready for a complete calibration, with some owners, like
myself, ready and willing to do it immediately after purchase and then again after the
first 100 hours - which I will do for no extra charge on critical precision operations
like convergence on the primary scanrate/input/mode/format as long as a second travel
charge is understood as being necessary and is covered by the client. Travel charges are
always independent of each other.
If retrimming ops like convergence - or an other calibration operations - are desired
done again on scanrate/input/mode/formats other than the TV's designated primary one,
there may be reasonable extra charges, which we can discuss at the time.
Keep your contrast low for the first 100 hours, no more than 75% of what your eye tells
you your TV can do, and probably more like 50% max would be safer.
All CRT based RPTVs should be recalibrated every 2-3 years, if you wish to really get
your money's worth out of your several thousand dollar investment. Otherwise, most of the
time you are not seeing anything close to what your TV is capable of at all times, which
is of course to look like better than new at all times for the effective 10+ year life of
As far as screenburn goes, NO
EXTENDED-TIME FIXED IMAGES AT HIGH CONTRAST. EVER.
No MSNBC, no FOX, no fixed-image/border video games, no ticker tape reports burning
that band into your phosphors. You'll probably have your hands full, after awhile, just
keeping the black/grey bands from being seen on your screen while bright and white images
are there, due to the mixing of standardized aspect ratios in this crossover era between
NTSC'S 4X3 and HDTV's 16X9. High Contrast is not good for regular viewing anyway, because
it blurs your picture, and usually midpoint Contrast is the max recommended for high
precision viewing. But for screenburn concerns, keeping Contrast as low as possible,
always, is imperative. Let Contrast be high only on special occasions, like if you need to
watch something during the day and your viewing area has poor light isolation, or you
can't - or simply haven't yet - removed your glarescreen.
If you absolutely have to have fixed images up there for any length of time, turn your
contrast low for the duration, and save the bright images for when you're watching
something really spectacular. I even keep my contrast low when I watch Jay Leno's
monologue in HD every night, turning it up later, for the better parts of the program.
Brightness is not the bugaboo on burn-in, Contrast is. Brightness, a misnomer, controls
the background darks; Contrast controls the foreground bright areas. On certain brands,
like my Panasonic, it is necessary to turn BOTH down, to truly protect your phosphors. On
Mits's, usually just Contrast attenuation would be enough.
If you choose to accellerate the burn-in, so as to take a shorter time to get to the
end of the 100 hours, don't just run the TV night and day for the required time. Be sure
and turn OFF the TV at night, and let it go totally cold between extended daytime ON
periods. Mechanical expansion and contraction are substantial parts of the burn-in
process. Just running it for 100 hours straight, night and day, won't accomplish this part
of it. Only letting it go completely cold repeatedly, over and over, before warming it up
again completely, will.
The basic cal package covers, on whatever you designate as your one, primary
input/mode/format/aspect ratio, (for the basic cal package you must choose between NTSC or
HD, to do both is a higher figure, see below), the following: Regular optics cleaning. Old
Mits's are factory sealed, and generally don't need cleaning under the regular lenses, so
to clean down to the coolant covers does not apply to them or to any other factory sealed
units, where the CRTs would have to be removed to get to the coolant covers, rather than
just the exposed lenses. Deeper optics cleaning is extra, see below;
Mechanical and electrostatic focussing - with special emphasis on
precision blue defocussing, and how it relates to greyscale's white balance vs. blue image
Mechanical focussing is performed using the Cantilever Technique,
which you can read up on under entries by Mr Bob - me - on the Keohi site: www.keohi.com/keohihdtv;
Geometry - picture shaping and placement (HIGHLY critical and
necessary operation, which I spend inordinate amounts of time on in a calibration); then
super-tight general convergence of the primary designated input/mode/format/aspect ratio.
Basic calibration package does not include advanced-level rebiasing-type areas of
convergence, though that extended service is available upon request (see below);
Complete greyscale alignment, using the ISF optical comparator. I
don't use the $5K Philips color analyzer, because I don't need its guidance, nor the
guidance that the Sencore instrumentation also offers. If I did, and as such felt the need
to purchase it, my rates would have to be a lot higher.
AND, the optical comparator, my career choice, is what is used as the bottom-line
double-checking device for the Philips and Sencore analyzers, anyway. Joel Silver also
uses a device that provides no guidance, tho much more expensive than even the color
analyzer. Analyzers are welcomed by the unordained calibrator, to let them know WHAT to do
and with which color, which I mastered years ago. Joel Silver himself has double-checked
my optical comparator, which I purchased directly from ISF, and he found it to be dead on,
with his $7K Minolta direct-read-of-the-x/y-coordinates device.
Calibration to user centerpoint of the Brightness/Black Level, for the
look and feel of 35mm film, where efficiently available in the unit's service menu. If
not, detailed description is given as to where to set it in user settings, if
recalibration of user center is not readily available;
Calibration of color and tint to user centerpoint, also if allowed for
in the service menu, using the VE blue filter test;
Checking of the accuracy of the color decoder;
A certain amount of general consultation on HT subjects, such as SVM,
where to set Sharpness and Contrast levels, etc.
This rear projection TV package on sets less than 70 inch size currently costs $450
plus travel, and again, covers only your primary designated input/mode/format/aspect ratio
- NTSC or HD; for both see next paragraph. Use of progressive 480p DVDPs is preferred and
covers 480i sources like S or DSS or cable or OTA NTSC channels. If transferring from i to
p scanning by upgrading your DVDP in the future, side to side and/or up and down
positioning may be affected to a certain degree;
Due to the increased precision needed for For RPTVs 70 inches and larger, an extra $100
is charged on TVs of this larger size, per scanrate.
For calibration of BOTH NTSC and HD, the price is an additional $200,
or $300 for larger TVs. That means $650 plus travel, $750 for TVs 70" and larger.
This covers your primary input mode format or aspect ratio in EACH of both the 480i/p NTSC
and 1080i HD modes of your TV. An additional $200/300 will be charged if your TV is 720p
capable, and you wish this scanrate calibrated also.
HD mode usually freezes your aspect ratio response to one specific and exact 9x16
aspect ratio, tho on the 4x3 HDready Toshiba, HD is stretched vertically in HD mode. This
can be corrected to fully accurate HD format reception of 9x16 via corrections in the
service menu, as an extra. The black bars that will be created are inescapable and will
eventually screenburn your 4x3 set, treating your CRT exactly the way they are treated in
9x16 HD units; as of this writing, there are still no 9x16 CRTs made, only 4x3 units used
in 9x16 applications. The resulting screenburn is understood on the 4x3 CRT faces, but of
course is not visible to the screen or the viewer, when the screen is a 9x16 screen.
Ground traveltime is $60/hr. RT, from my location to yours and back. Air travel is
charged at the rate of $25/hr for airtime and airport waiting time, all of which is lost
production time. Clients who live within 15-20 minutes of the airport will not be charged
any extra groundtraveltime, but if farther than that, the $60/hr rate kicks in. Take me to
dinner or lunch on the way home from the airport, and those charges have been known to
have been waived, as long as you don't live TOO far away...
Anything aside from that is extra, and will be talked about with the customer at the
time, before work is performed on that extra.
Extras might include:
Removal of a permanent-style glare screen, known in non-videophile
circles as protective sheild, and in videophile circles as glarescreen, for some rather
important and inescapable videophile reasons.
Now, if you have dogs or medium age small kids, either living there or appearing now
and then, you may wish to explore alternate means of eliminating the debilitating effects
that room reflections have on the depth perception and 3 dimensionality potential of your
bigscreen - such as backlighting only, in place of any frontlighting in the viewing room
However, removal of your glarescreen is the best, truest and most phenomenal way to see
your picture, and drink in its depth and 3 dimensionality - which you would miss with it
on, anytime your room is not totally dark. It is the cheapest "quick and
dirty"-est method of improving your picture available, outside of knowing how to do
your crosshairs properly, on static convergence. (Yes, even static convergence requires
special instruction for many people in order to get it really right, by using the picture
for the final doublecheck on the static settings, rather than the crosshairs).
This is not offered when the glare screen is glued in and unremovable without breakage,
like in the older TW40X81. In the new 40" Toshs they are removable, at regular rates.
Mits WS series glare screens come off in about 40 seconds, so no charge there, tho some of
the newest of the new are not so simple, and do cost the regular fees;
Astigmatism realignment of one or more CRTs, if found to be needed for
accurate electrostatic focus;
Deeper optics cleaning, which requires removal of readily available
lenses, which most units have. This is not generally needed on units up to a year old, but
may be needed every year after that.
Normal extras prices do not cover cleaning of deeper optics that are not readily
available, as in some double and triple mirrored RPTVs. Any optics that are hard to get to
but still need cleaning, however, can be cleaned for an adequate amount of extra money;
Changing of coolant, if found to be contaminated on older units - this
shows up in the picture, but requires access to the optical cavity for verification that
the problem is definitely tainted coolant, and not strictly the optics being in need of
Multiple aspect ratios converged which are local and not global, like on the Toshiba TW
series and most Pioneers, as elaborated on below;
Advanced convergence on older Sonys and Pioneers, and any other units that use C Lin, S
Lin, etc. Regular dynamic convergence is covered in the basic cal package, and static
convergence - aligning the crosshairs - is of course performed at no charge at all, along
with consultation on how to do static convergence best, upon request;
Geometry/convergence for aspect ratios different from the designated primary aspect
ratio in each scanrate, requiring separate geometry, convergence, and/or greyscale for
that scan rate and/or aspect ratio, as in Full vs. Normal vs. Zoom vs. Theaterwide 1, 2 or
3, etc. HD is usually locked in at the one 9x16 aspect ratio that HD uses, so usually no
extra aspect ratios can be done on HD anyway, just so you know;
Re-aligning the color decoder, as in eliminating the red push in the Mit x3 and x5
series units. I will be glad to supervise and help set the variable attenuator on the x7
and x9 Mits's for no additional charge, as long as the customer has already purchased all
the necessary parts and does the actual hookup work himself. Having a copy of Shakespeare
in Love at the ready for the Before and After test for red push is always pretty
thrilling. I usually carry one with me. If you want to make sure I bring my copy in your
case, be sure and remind me, otherwise own it or have it rented for the day;
Duvetyne/black felt installation, tho you don't need my technical
expertise for an operation like this. My hourly rate on this op is $95/hr., with you
providing all materials and tools. Just over an hour is usually a pretty good timeframe
expectation. I do not do the lens hood, you'll have to do that; Anything else not included
in the basic calibration package.
I am not set up for credit cards and don't intend to be in the forseeable future.
Aside from traveltime, calibration time expectancy on one scanrate is usually 4 hours,
or 6 hours for 2 scanrates, as in to include HD. Extras and especially problematical
calibrations can take extra time over and above these figures, and can resultantly cost
The viewer is responsible for having the Setup and/or Service Manual at the ready,
BEFORE I arrive on location for the calibration. Some brands don't require me to use the
service manual, such as Toshiba and Mitsubishi, either because they are straightforward
enough or because I have done enough calibrations on that particular brand to not need the
Others, like Pioneer, Panasonic and Sony, require the manual to be at the ready. I have
and carry with me the manual for the current Pioneer Elites, the older Panasonics, the x7
series Mitsubishis and some others. I also have the manual for the 34" Sony HD1 16x9
Directview, which is several years old now, but which contains enough info to cover the
new Wega 16x9 Directviews.
I have a few other manuals, but don't make any promises as to having the exact manual
you might need for your set. Newer units all use specific get-in techniques and service
mode codes, many of which codes bear absolutely no resemblance to reality as far as trying
to interpret their abbreviations extemporaneously, to try and make sense of them on
location without the correct keys and legends which setup/service manuals carry within
Many of these manuals are available by downloading them from the net. 2 resources are:
The manufacturers themselves are the bottom line resource if downloading off the Net
doesn't work. If I arrive on location for your calibration and the manual is not readily
available, I will do my best with what we have - which is quite a bit, really, and
includes anything mechanical, such as focussing and astigmatism realignment - all of which
is still very empirical and not dependent on service codes.
If that is not sufficient to complete the calibration, however, the customer will be
charged the travel for that visit plus a minimum partial-calibration charge to cover my
time, which will be fully applicable to the final fees once the proper information is
present and the cal can be completed. As such, the only actual loss the customer will
incur in that case will be an extra travel charge. Unfortunately, while that might be an
inconsequential sum when local, it could wreak havoc if the cal is part of a calibration
tour out of state.
If you have any questions about whether your TV will require a particular manual to be
ready for me on location, email me or call me, as it is your travelcharge money that will
have to cover any return visits that could have been avoided, had you had the
setup/service manual at the ready during the initial visit.
For out of town/out of state clients, those over 20-30 miles away from
my home base of San Lorenzo and the SF Bay Area:
All out of town/out of state calibrations are to be paid for in cash, money orders or
I'd be happy to stay on a couch or in whoever's guest room during overnight travel, a
motel is not strictly necessitated. A rental car is sometimes necessary, tho;
I do also require either a phone line for my laptop or use of your computer at night,
to keep in contact with my emails. Also, use of your phone would be necessary
occasionally, to make calling card calls back to my homebase and my "other"
life. Those LD phone expenses are on me, of course."