Samsung Ties up with Calman

One of the key messages themes from Samsung, and I suspect will be for the whole TV industry in 2017, was color volume over color gamut. Color volume takes into account the color performance of the TV over the full range of luminance values it can produce, while color gamut only describes the extremes of the RGB color chromaticity values. Color volume is a more accurate measure.

To reinforce this theme, Samsung announced a partnership with Portrait Displays, which recently acquired SpectraCal, the company that offers the very popular CalMAN calibration software package. The company claims that, “CalMAN software is the video calibration solution used by nearly every professional video calibrator, and by most end users in broadcast, production and post-production. It is also the leading market solution for home video enthusiasts.” They may actually be right and it is certainly the leading package for the measurement of HDR characteristics and is the basis of an HDR calibration disc that Samsung and SpectraCal developed and distributed at last year’s CEDIA conference.

To better understand why they did a deal with Samsung, we spoke with Martin Fishman, Co- C.E.O & E.V.P. Worldwide Sales/Marketing at Portrait Displays, Inc. He explained that the partnership will install an auto calibration communications feature into the new Samsung QLED TVs, but exactly what tests and adjustments will be performed is still being worked out. In addition, the CalMAN software will have to be updated to accommodate this Auto Calibration mode.

This new mode will allow QLED TVs buyers to have the TV calibrated by the retailer, CEDIA dealer or by an independent calibrator. In theory, the home owner can do it themselves too, but they will need a copy of the CalMAN software, a colorimeter or spectrophotometer, pattern generator and PC to communicate with the TV (over Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable).

According to Fishman, “The major element introduced here is that it will no longer be necessary to iterate through the various patterns and dial in the TV’s setting using the TV’s remote control. This saves tremendous of amount of time and effort in the calibration process.”

But does it help the QLED TV owner? Fishman said that, “AutoCalibration on TVs is a major breakthrough and will be a new standard by which consumers can be assured that the color is accurate and as the content creator intended. Every content creator calibrates its studio grade displays and they are equally motivated, given how good 4K HDR content can look, that the content is as the artist intended. The broader the gamut, the greater the potential for inaccurate settings that could occur, so AutoCalibration should help address this issue.”

Analyst Comment

I have seen CalMAN calibration on Samsung TVs and Fishman is right, there is a lot of back and forth between the PC and the TV remote to get to the right modes, adjust settings and check the patterns. Automating this will indeed save a lot of time for the calibrator, so it’s a big benefit for them.

A calibrated TV in general should help address the desire to display content as the creator intended. It may be that auto calibration just makes it a little easier for the TV owner to say yes to this service – especially if the price is lower than a more manually intensive calibration, so I will be curious to see if that becomes the case. – CC

It seems to me that reducing the time taken for calibration might make it easier for retailers to offer calibration services, which could help drive adoption. (BR)

This article was independently written and prepared, but was moved from behind the pay wall with sponsorship from the company