‘Thank you again for the wonderful job you did on my now perfect OLED TV!’
Jemal M. – ISF TV Calibration Service – London
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Professional TV Calibration Service (ISF Calibration)
Professional TV calibration (also known as ‘ISF calibration’) is the practice of adjusting advanced settings on a TV or a projector to bring out the true potential of the screen.
Many people think they are getting the full visual experience when they buy a TV off the shelf. They think that ‘set up’ consists of plugging it in and turning it on. The reality is that modern visual products are highly engineered, sophisticated pieces of technology that need to be correctly set up with specialised tools to enable them to deliver their maximum intended picture quality.
Why Do I Need to Calibrate My TV?
You will have already noticed the main reason for the need to calibrate your TV in day-to-day life without even realising it.
You will have undoubtedly at some point walked into the television department of an electrical store, which has the same channel playing on all their demo TVs. You will probably have noticed that the pictures look very different on each TV. How is it possible that the same show can look so different?
It’s because the televisions need to be calibrated for the best picture quality.
Manufacturers set up their TVs to look best in the lighting conditions of a retail store. This is where most people will make the decision to buy a television, and if it looks its best in the store – they sell more TVs.
The large number of super bright, super white overhead halogen lights requires the manufacturers to set up their TV to look its best in these non-normal conditions. However, without individually calibrating each television, to each specific location in each specific store – it’s not easy for these technology giants to get right every time.
Some look better in some stores, others look better in other stores.
Now, relatively speaking electrical stores usually have similar lighting, but despite the similarity – the difference is still easily visible. Next time you are at a shopping centre, why not go into different TV departments and see this difference yourself.
Now consider this.
If the slight difference between two electrical stores is enough to make a noticeable difference in picture quality – imagine the difference between the lighting in an electrical store and the lighting in your home.
Unless you have overhead halogen strip lighting in your home, your new TV is going to look vastly different to how it was intended to look. Almost all televisions ship with picture settings for retail lighting, even the ones that are not on display.
This is why you need calibration.
The TV that is sitting in your home right now is still set to the default picture mode designed for retail lighting conditions. The colours will not be accurate, the gamma will be skewed, the white balance will be off, and the dynamic range will be wrong.
You may think that your uncalibrated TV already looks great. And you might be right.
But with calibration, it could look a whole lot better…
What Do We Offer?
We are industry-leading, ISF-certified calibrators with over a decade of experience. We provide a professional TV calibration service throughout mainland UK (England, Scotland, Wales) for all makes, models and display types including:
- LED TVs
- OLED TVs
- QLED TVs
The calibration process starts with us assessing the lighting conditions of the room your TV (or projector) is in.
We will then utilise specialised equipment including an Ultra HD signal generator, colorimeter, and dedicated software to ascertain the current performance of your display (black level, light output, colour temperature, colour gamut) prior to adjustment.
Using reference test patterns, we will then tweak and tune many of the advanced settings on your TV or projector to allow you to experience films and television shows the way the directors intended. Our experience means that we are usually in and out of the house in a few hours – which allows you to start being mesmerised by your new and improved visual experience immediately.
Is It Worth Paying for TV Calibration?
That depends on the TV you have.
We can only work with the technology available to us. If you have a low quality or budget TV that only cost around £500, then it is probably not worth the investment. We could make your TV look better, but the quality of the device would limit the potential for improvement – and your money would be better spent saving for a higher quality TV.
However, if you have a high-end TV (displays that cost more than £1000), then calibration is most certainly worth it. We would say it is almost essential (as you might expect!).
You have invested in a premium product that has huge potential, but without calibration – that potential is untapped. It’s like buying a Ferrari for someone who has not passed their driving test yet – the potential for excellence is there, but at the moment it’s a waste.
Professional calibration is a small investment (compared to the amount you have paid for your new TV) that will instantly, and noticeably improve your viewing experience dramatically.
We can make your colours more natural.
We can bring out shadow detail that is currently lost.
And most importantly…
We can make you remember why you spent so much on your TV after all.
Our Calibration Equipment
- Colorimetry Research CR-100 Colorimeter
- Murideo SIX-G Test Pattern Generator
- Calman Video Calibration Software
- ColourSpace Video Calibration Software
- Spears & Munsil Blu-ray Calibration Discs
- miniDSP UMIK-1 Calibrated Microphone
- TrueRTA Audio Calibration Software
Frequently Asked Questions
1. ‘How long does it take to calibrate a TV?’
It typically takes between two and four hours depending on the television model and the number of picture modes required.
Projectors usually take longer to calibrate at somewhere between three and five hours depending on the model and requirements.
2. ‘Is a run-in period necessary first?’
A break-in period of at least one week is recommended prior to an appointment. This allows for some initial performance drift and to cater for a higher chance of failure during the first few hours of use.
3. ‘What if I have to do a factory reset?’
We provide a comprehensive PDF report detailing all changes made to the TV or projector for future reference so that you can re-enter the calibrated settings yourself in case of a problem like this.
4. ‘Should I make the room dark beforehand?’
You should make the viewing room as dark as possible before your appointment. This can be achieved by sticking bin bags over any windows to reduce ambient light if the curtains or blinds aren’t sufficient.
5. ‘Does ISF calibration make a big difference?’
This depends on a wide range of factors.
Occasionally the difference will not be immediately noticeable. This can be due to a variety of different factors, such as coincidental calibration. However, over time, the effects are always noticeable. This is especially true when you are watching your favourite shows that you know and love. You will start to notice more detail and the skin tones of your favourite characters will be much closer to how the director intended them to be.
However, nine times out of 10 people will notice an immediate and obvious difference in the way their television or projector looks. We love seeing our customers’ reactions to their new and improved screen, it’s the best part of the job.
Useful Links and Further Information
- Why Calibration Matters
- When to Bring In a Professional
- Sharing Calibration Settings
- Imaging Science Foundation
Pricing and Services
Our specialised services reflect the expert knowledge we have gained from hundreds of on-site calibrations since October 2007. Bookings can be scheduled during the week or at weekends. Prices start at £300 for a single display or home cinema system. Discounts are available for picture and sound, or multiple displays calibrated during the same visit. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us for a quote.
TV and Projector Calibration
Our professional TV and projector calibration service is based upon many years of experience working with every major brand (LG, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Philips, Loewe, Bang & Olufsen, JVC, Epson, Optoma, BenQ, etc.), combined with the latest studio-quality hardware and software to obtain the best possible results from your display.
ISF Day, ISF Night, HDR, Dolby Vision and Game (SDR, HDR, Dolby Vision) picture modes are calibrated where applicable.
Home Cinema Audio Calibration
We offer a bespoke surround sound calibration service which maximises audio performance by balancing your individual home cinema layout against the receiver output level and frequency response for each speaker and subwoofer in the system.
You will experience the movie soundtrack as it was intended, which is often vastly different from the results achieved by plugging in the supplied microphone and then running the automatic speaker calibration (Audyssey, MCACC, YAPO, etc.).
Summary of What We Offer
- Our calibration service is for all makes and models of OLED, QLED, LED TVs and projectors.
- We use reference-grade equipment including a CR-100 colorimeter and Calman software.
- The calibration will include ISF Day, ISF Night, Game, HDR and Dolby Vision picture modes.
- Audio calibration is available for sound systems ranging from 5.1 up to 9.2.6 Dolby Atmos.
Payment can be made by cash, bank transfer, credit card (including American Express) or debit card on the day of the appointment.
We provide professional ISF calibration services throughout all mainland UK areas including Greater London, the South West (Bournemouth, Bristol, Gloucester, Plymouth, Swindon), the South East (Brighton, Maidstone, Milton Keynes, Oxford, Portsmouth, Reading, Southampton, Woking), the East of England (Ipswich, Luton, Norwich, Peterborough, Southend-on-Sea, St Alban’s), Wales (Cardiff, Newport, Swansea), the West Midlands (Birmingham, Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford), the East Midlands (Derby, Leicester, Northampton, Nottingham), the North West (Blackpool, Liverpool, Manchester), Yorkshire and the Humber (Leeds, Sheffield, York), the North East (Middlesbrough, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Sunderland) and Scotland (Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow).
If you are interested in a calibration or require further information, please fill out the website contact form.
We aim to respond to all enquiries ASAP.