Saturday, December 16, 2006

Sony KDL-46XBR2 LCD Panel Calibration

With the recent price drops on LCD panels, more and more clients are requesting calibration of these sexy thin TVs. Even though they've been around a few years now, it's still cool to see a TV that's only 3 or 4 inches thick. This calibration was for one of Sony's top-of-the-line new panels the 1080p KDL-46XBR2. This TV has all the necessary calibration controls in the user menu to include grayscale, gamma and several interesting noise-reduction controls. Since my client was switching his satellite box and DVD player (a superb Marantz DV-9600) through a receiver, I only had to calibrate the HDMI inputs on the TV.

Most Sony TVs have a DRC palette control which only works for 480i signals. This TV allows the DRC controls to work on all scan rates. I was able to fully resolve the multi-burst patterns with the DRC controls and use less of the traditional edge-enhancements. The end result was a super-clean noise-free image from all sources. Of course, I set the satellite box to always output 1080i and the DVD to output 1080p. By the way, if you spend enough money on an upconverting DVD player, it really does approach HD quality. It's not quite there but it's darn close.

The color and tint controls required no adjustment so I moved on to grayscale. I got the tracking within 100k of D65, excellent performance. I spent a lot of time checking each gamma setting and finally settled on medium. This coupled with reducing the backlight to its minimum setting gave me deep, detailed blacks and a gamma curve of 1.93. By the way, this panel has a nearly perfect color gamut. Primaries and secondaries lined up beautifully right out of the box. I'm glad to see a TV that makes color accuracy a priority over excess light output and over-saturated colors.

Needless to say, the resulting image was stunning. This is by far the best LCD panel I've worked on to date. It seems like I've had quite the rush on Sony calibrations lately but they really do make some fine hardware. With the amount of control available, this is one of the more ISF-friendly TVs out there. It's a pleasure to achieve such good results without burning incense and chanting to the video gods for guidance. As an added bonus, my client had me calibrate his XBR960 CRT. I've covered this set in a previous post but I'll say it again, this is the last of the truly great CRT TVs. It's hard to beat its rock-solid image with accurate color, excellent geometry and of course dynamite blacks. Two excellent TVs to calibrate in one house, it was a video geeks dream come true!

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