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Why You Should Ignore Contrast Ratio Specs:

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Old 09-24-2008, 03:07 AM   #16  
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Originally Posted by Jim Bob Jones View Post
I disagree with the proposition that contrast ratio specs should be totally ignored just as I find objectionable the theory that amplifier/specs are meaningless.
My thoughts exactly. For years i've had people tell me that for instance "Why spend $600 on a Harman Kardon with 75w x7 when you can get an Yamaha for $400 that blows it away with double the wattage".....

... what people don't understand is that Harman Kardon rates their receivers wattage by measuring it's output through the entire spectrum from 20hz to 20khz. Almost every other commonly found brand of receivers measure their output @1khz or frequency that gives them good marketing numbers.

Most people still don't understand that concept until they actually hear how much better, clearer, and more dynamic the sound is out of my H/C receiver than the competition in a similar price range.
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Old 09-25-2008, 06:43 AM   #17  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bob Jones
I disagree with the proposition that contrast ratio specs should be totally ignored just as I find objectionable the theory that amplifier/specs are meaningless.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew LB View Post
My thoughts exactly. For years i've had people tell me that for instance "Why spend $600 on a Harman Kardon with 75w x7 when you can get an Yamaha for $400 that blows it away with double the wattage".....

... what people don't understand is that Harman Kardon rates their receivers wattage by measuring it's output through the entire spectrum from 20hz to 20khz. Almost every other commonly found brand of receivers measure their output @1khz or frequency that gives them good marketing numbers.

Most people still don't understand that concept until they actually hear how much better, clearer, and more dynamic the sound is out of my H/C receiver than the competition in a similar price range.
First: Although the issue of published or claimed contrast ratio may be somewhat analogous to published and/or claimed wattage ratings of audio equipment, it is very much an apples and oranges thing. Perhaps if you had read and considered the complete discussion you would understand this.

Second: Actually, your mild tirade says in a general way exactly what the point of the original post says . . . since the manufacturers arrive at the numbers in different ways, the numbers are meaningless until they disclose exactly how the numbers are arived at.

Finally: In small tribute to your audio analogy, imagine that the "Watt rating" race became so absurd that manufacturer's derived "methods" to spec their equipment at 5,000W, 50,000W, 1,000,000W. I'm sure that because of your understanding of audio power you would immediately see how totally ridiculous this is. Well, it's the same with video/contrast ratio; and the manufacturer's are simply taking advantage of the ignorance of the average consumer to specify false and misleading ratings.
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:56 PM   #18  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew LB View Post
My thoughts exactly. For years i've had people tell me that for instance "Why spend $600 on a Harman Kardon with 75w x7 when you can get an Yamaha for $400 that blows it away with double the wattage".....

... what people don't understand is that Harman Kardon rates their receivers wattage by measuring it's output through the entire spectrum from 20hz to 20khz. Almost every other commonly found brand of receivers measure their output @1khz or frequency that gives them good marketing numbers.

Most people still don't understand that concept until they actually hear how much better, clearer, and more dynamic the sound is out of my H/C receiver than the competition in a similar price range.
Actually, HK measures their receiver's power rating by driving ALL CHANNELS with the full audio spectrum of 20Hz to 20kHz. That is why they have lower ratings. Most others rate them with limited use (like what a movie would provide with lower infrequent sound from the surrounds) of some channels, but HK rates them with ALL channels driven equally at the same time. It is honorable IMO, but is somewhat self defeating since that is not how they are used.

Contrast ratios are so far out of wach with reality as Scottnot stated, that they are virtually useless other than comparing various models from the same mfg using the same display technology, but even then they could change HOW they measure it so I would say they are basically useless.

Given how they do not disclose HOW they rate them and can change this "method" at any time, and each mfg measures it very differently, how could any of us rely on ANY numbers they give?

My Panasonic plasma has a dynamic CR of 1,000,000:1 rating. What are they going to use for the next year models as the rating? 2 million, then 3 million? Meanwhile using the ANSI method, they only get around 1470:1, and LCDs are much lower usually using the ANSI method.

They have so abused their "method" of rating them that they are now useless/meaningless IMO.
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:56 PM   #19  
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:45 AM   #20  
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Scott, great post. After reading it, I am rethinking how I calibrated my plasma. I calibrated it in a darkened room, without any lights on, but not pitch black. However, my wife always insists on having a light on when watching tv. Should I have calibrated my tv with he room conditions that we regularly view programming, meaning the light that she always has on?

also, I calibrated the TV with an essentials disc in both custom and vivid modes. In switching between the two, the vivd seems to be sharper. Why is that? Also, since they ahve both been calibrated, would there be any harm in viewing in the calibrated vivid mode?

I appreciate your thoughts on my questions.

Thanks,
John
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Old 10-03-2008, 05:55 PM   #21  
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Scott, great post.
Thanks for the kudos.

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After reading it, I am rethinking how I calibrated my plasma. I calibrated it in a darkened room, without any lights on, but not pitch black. However, my wife always insists on having a light on when watching tv. Should I have calibrated my tv with he room conditions that we regularly view programming, meaning the light that she always has on?
Technically, yes; because in a totally darkened room you will be setting the black level (brightness) to a lower level than you would in a room with some ambient light. The result of course is that when you view in the low ambient light that your wife prefers you will be losing some of the detail in very dark scenes. My personal opinion, however, is that the difference is extremely slight and with normal content you may never notice the difference; however, if you feel the need/urge/compulsion to recal - do so in the "normal" conditions of viewing.

As regards white level (contrast) - just set that where the picture looks best in accordance with content and viewing conditions . . . only being careful not to exceed the maximum level that you determined during calibration.

Quote:
also, I calibrated the TV with an essentials disc in both custom and vivid modes. In switching between the two, the vivd seems to be sharper. Why is that?
Dunno??? Is "sharpness" set the same in both modes? Are the "auto" features all turned "OFF"?

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Also, since they ahve both been calibrated, would there be any harm in viewing in the calibrated vivid mode?
No, no problems at all (I assume that the set "holds" your calibrated settings in the "vivid" mode?).

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I appreciate your thoughts on my questions.
Glad to help out.
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:03 PM   #22  
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But I saw where Samsung was boasting about a set with 1,000,000 to 1 CR....you mean I aint goin' to see a great picture with numbers like them?...Tee....Hee...Hee...

Great post Scott maybe the new management will make a sticky since this comes up about 20 times every day or two...
http://www.tweaktv.com/how-to/what-m...st-to-you.html
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:27 PM   #23  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottnot View Post
Thanks for the kudos.


Technically, yes; because in a totally darkened room you will be setting the black level (brightness) to a lower level than you would in a room with some ambient light. The result of course is that when you view in the low ambient light that your wife prefers you will be losing some of the detail in very dark scenes. My personal opinion, however, is that the difference is extremely slight and with normal content you may never notice the difference; however, if you feel the need/urge/compulsion to recal - do so in the "normal" conditions of viewing.

As regards white level (contrast) - just set that where the picture looks best in accordance with content and viewing conditions . . . only being careful not to exceed the maximum level that you determined during calibration.


Dunno??? Is "sharpness" set the same in both modes? Are the "auto" features all turned "OFF"?


No, no problems at all (I assume that the set "holds" your calibrated settings in the "vivid" mode?).


Glad to help out.
thanks again
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Old 10-04-2008, 12:10 PM   #24  
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I guess I shouldn't be surprised that the lack of uniformity regarding any sort of rating system in audio/video exists. I work in a totally non related field - but same thing. We develop, test, and sell a product. We use massive replication across environments and statistical analysis to arrive to a final value. While the "name" of the value being stated is universal - the actual rating system is not.

My industry does not have a police force as yours doesn't. Guess it's all the same.... No wonder consumers get confused.
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Old 10-07-2008, 10:47 AM   #25  
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contrast ratio is a subjective rating, however the low end lcd's that have a low contrast ratio, have very bad black levels that's a fact.
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Old 10-07-2008, 01:53 PM   #26  
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Contrast ratio is not "subjective" as it can be precisely measured. The problem is that each mfg measure them differently and sometimes just for different models as well. What if a mfg offered an inkjet printer that had a stated spec that it could do 300 pages per minute? Would you believe it? Using the ANSI measuring standard most of the BEST plasma displays come in at about 3500:1, but most of the best LCDs come in much lower than that, or they achieve that measurement by making the picture too bright which hurts the black levels.

It is true that low CR will produce poorer blacks IF you go by REAL measured CR, and not the mfg BS ratios. There is no replacing adjusting the display properly and looking at how it handles blacks in the same lighting you would look at it in your home. The problem is that most stores have ultra bright lighting so the blacks on LCDs look great and black until you get it home and watch in dim lighting. LCDs are getting better with black levels, but plasma still has them beat except for the LED backlit models but those cost a lot more than a comparable plasma.
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Old 11-22-2008, 05:11 AM   #27  
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thanks
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Old 11-30-2008, 07:10 PM   #28  
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thanks!! didn't realize a difference of 10000:1 was so miniscule.
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Old 01-02-2009, 12:48 PM   #29  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Bob Jones View Post
I disagree with the proposition that contrast ratio specs should be totally ignored just as I find objectionable the theory that amplifier/specs are meaningless. Measurable data that may have a direct impact on performance should be disclosed to potential buyers. The degree of impact may be debated but that does not justify discarding the information.

I agree with Jim Bob Jones here. In the end, people will have different tastes as to what sort of picture looks the best. Still, since you can't go and look at every single HD set, the contrast ratio gives you a sense of which ones might have the best picture.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:43 AM   #30  
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I agree with Jim Bob Jones here.
Perhaps that is because he interjected the word "totally" in his post.
Had you (and he) read the original post with some care and deliberation you would understand that the isssue is that of published specifcations, measurement methods and human visual accuity.
The concept of contrast ratio is quite meanigful regarding picture quality; the published specifications are, in most cases, meaningless.

Quote:
In the end, people will have different tastes as to what sort of picture looks the best.
As regards contrast ratio, this is hardly the case.
As another poster in this thread pointed out: "Contrast ratio is not "subjective" as it can be precisely measured. The problem is that each mfg measure them differently and sometimes just for different models as well."
The effect of the actual contrast ratio on a display is real, and has little to do with "different tastes".

Quote:
Still, since you can't go and look at every single HD set, the contrast ratio gives you a sense of which ones might have the best picture.
That's exatly the "scam" that the manufacturer's play with this spec.
Since you can't look at evey set under the ambient conditions of your normal viewing, they publish an (often) completely bogus specification knowing that the uninformed buyer just may make his decision that their set "might have the best picture".

As was explained earlier, "since the manufacturers arrive at the numbers in different ways, the numbers are meaningless until they disclose exactly how the numbers are arived at."
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