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Wonderful user-friendly calibration dvd ---- but will it help you?
on November 5, 2010
Recently purchased a 55" Samsung UN55C6800 LED TV and was looking for a calibration disc. I was about the purchase the DVE HD Basics Blu-Ray but saw a press release concerning this DVD, so I decided to wait until this one came out and give it a go.
I will preface this by saying I had already used calibrated settings from CNET as well as users on the AVS forums to tweak my TV already. Before using the WoW Blu-Ray I would say I was about 95% satisfied with the picture my TV delivered using the settings I found online. The main reason I bought the blu-ray is I was just interested in seeing all the (albeit non-professional) test patterns used to calibrate a TV and so forth. I went in to this purchase not expecting any vast improvements in Picture Quality over my already somewhat tweaked settings. I know this disc is no substitute for a ISF professional calibration and was not expecting such results.
First, for people who havent purchased, head over to Disney's website and search for this blu-ray. On its Disney page, you'll find at the bottom a link to download the "WoW Technical Manual." This is basically an instruction booklet on how to use the blu-ray, and I found it to be a nice read before I actually received the blu-ray itself. It goes over a lot of the test patterns and how they work.
Here are the contents of the blu-ray:
The discover section basically gives you an overview of what HDTV is, how a picture is composed, etc.
*Brightness *Aspect Ratio *Contrast *Color *Sharpness
VIEWING ANGLE DIAGNOSTIC Find the best seat in the house
*Speaker ID *Polarity Test *Noise Floor *Buzz & Rattle Test
ADVANCED VIDEO CALIBRATION TOOLS
*Advanced Brightness & Contrast *Aspect Ratio *Convergence *Chroma & Hue *Sharpness/Focus *Overscan Test *A/V Sync
DISPLAY EVALUATION TOOLS *Purity *Scaling Test *Advanced Scaling 1 & 2 *Sharpness/Focus *Hyperbolic Zone Plate *White-Black Clipping *Viewing Angle Test *Gamma Response *Grayscale *Compound Test Chart
AUDIO TOOLS *Speaker ID *Polarity Test *Noise Floor *Buzz & Rattle Test *A/V Sync *Speaker Level Adjustment *Subwoofer Level Adjustment
PROFESSIONAL TOOLS HD SHOOTOUT Standard DVD vs. HD Blu-ray (BD only)
1-2 minute clips of recent Disney movies.
So....how did it work for me?
First, I love the included manual. Very well written and easy to use. Also, this blu-ray comes with a blue filter gel used to calibrate your colors. (I believe the DVE Blu-Ray also comes with color gels).
The actual DVD menus are wonderful too. Each test pattern has three sections: Overview (description of whay the particular TV setting is important), Instructions (shows the test pattern and clearly talks about how to use it), and finally just the test pattern itself, allowing you to tweak and take as long as you want.
Depending on how familiar you already are with your TV and if you wanted to watch the "Discover" portion of the disc, you can expect to spend anywhere from 1 hour to a few hours with the disc. There is a second included disc called Visions that has a bunch of nature scenery/etc to show off your TV. I did not care for the second disc, but i could see how someone could enjoy it.
At the end of the day, after running through all the tests (some multiple times because other tests later on may change your initial settings), I only changed two settings on my current set-up, and they were very small changes at that. I was disappointed that my settings didnt change too much, but like i said in the beginning I was already very happy with my TV's picture using settings I found online.
For what it is (an average-joe TV calibration blu-ray), this product is wonderful. I highly recommend it for people purchasing their first HDTV as it thoroughly discusses everything a person new to the technology would need to know. If you are the type of person who buys a new TV and starts watching it day 1 on the default settings, this dvd may help a LOT. However, for those who already play around with settings, consumer calibration dvds such as this one will probably not help all that much - especially since we can get decent settings online already from professional review sites or forums.
However, since I am rating the product, it undoubtedly deserves 5 stars. Easy to navigate, well produced, professional, etc. Just understand that if you've already tweaked your TV settings using information you've gathered online, this dvd may not bring that much of a change to your picture settings!