LCD from 2010 - RGB full or limted?

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2mg
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LCD from 2010 - RGB full or limted?

Post by 2mg » 25 Mar 2020, 00:26

Help me with an old peasant (but serviceable!) LCD please.

I'll try to keep it tldr;
- old 2010 Samsung TN LCD BX2231
- HDMI only, Nvidia control panel sees it as HDTV, known NV issue
- tried 2 options: RGB full, YCbCr444
- both options increase perceived clarity/"cleanliness" of the screen
- "AVS HD 709" black-level/clipping calibration pattern shows more black colors
- bright material seems even brighter, and more contrasted to dark material

Issue:
- overall screen becomes darker
- dark material loses a lot nuance (aka gray becomes dark gray and so on)
- no gamma bumping (in-game or LCD OSD) is bright enough
- LCD's "HDMI black level" is Normal, because Low+RGB full = even more darkness
- contrast 75, brightness 100, gamma mode1 (I'm unsure it that's 2.0, 2.2, 2.4 or some else)

So, I'm confused. It's a PC monitor, on a PC, where RGB full makes sense. Screen gets overall cleaner, but also loses a lot of perceived brightness, and dark stuff becomes even more dark.

Old panel, or a setting set wrong?

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Re: LCD from 2010 - RGB full or limted?

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 30 Mar 2020, 14:47

2mg wrote:
25 Mar 2020, 00:26
So, I'm confused. It's a PC monitor, on a PC, where RGB full makes sense. Screen gets overall cleaner, but also loses a lot of perceived brightness, and dark stuff becomes even more dark.
Sometimes good colors is diametrically opposed to great visibility of dark colors. Especially if your contrast ratio range is limited & you also have lots of ambient lighting. In this situation, you have to make a compromise -- make your darks brighter by choosing a brighter gamma setting. This will wash out your bright colors but make dark colors easier to see, especially when you have lots of ambient lighting.

You could get a colorimeter (like a Spyder or i1) to help you calibrate the best compromise, especially when the settings are "fighting against you". Especially if existing adjustments don't have enough range to solve your problem. Also, different picture setting profiles (or icc profiles) for WIndows versus for video gaming, can also be useful, if your dissatisfaction is more with Windows, or more with games.
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2mg
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Re: LCD from 2010 - RGB full or limted?

Post by 2mg » 31 Mar 2020, 01:32

Chief Blur Buster wrote:
30 Mar 2020, 14:47
In this situation, you have to make a compromise -- make your darks brighter by choosing a brighter gamma setting. This will wash out your bright colors but make dark colors easier to see, especially when you have lots of ambient lighting.
That's the problem, I can't compensate the extreme darkening of anything that isn't really bright with in-game gamma or the monitor's settings.

Take this forum's design as an example on full:
- the text box becomes much brighter and cleaner, and fonts stand out more
- the shapes on the sides/background go from gray and washed out black, to darker gray and pure black

Which seems nice.

Then I switch to a game, or an image with darker gradients, and it all becomes, well, loss of visual information, since nothing is clear-cut as this forum's design, color-wise.

See this image? https://storge.pic2.me/cm/3840x2160/919 ... 5da477.jpg
Well, the reflection becomes pretty much a black shadow, you can't see that it is a reflection at all, and brightest gamma won't bring that lost detail back.

So, I'm left with ICC profiles, and maybe my GPU's own image settings to fiddle, since games and the LCD itself don't offer much improvement, right?

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Re: LCD from 2010 - RGB full or limted?

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 31 Mar 2020, 01:39

2mg wrote:
31 Mar 2020, 01:32
So, I'm left with ICC profiles, and maybe my GPU's own image settings to fiddle, since games and the LCD itself don't offer much improvement, right?
Yes.

ICC profiles and GPU settings can give flexibility far beyond your display's adjustments and game's adjustments.
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Re: LCD from 2010 - RGB full or limted?

Post by 2mg » 31 Mar 2020, 15:49

Eh, I'm disappointed this is happening from the get-go. It's an older LCD, but was quite costly for it's time. Will try to fiddle with GPU's color/gamma settings, which begs, what settings should I leave on the LCD itself?
Factory default?
The "standard" preset (which has the brightness quite low) and so on?
It feels like I'm trying to color the image from "inside", rather than from "outside", and with outside (the LCD) already being a non-calibrated point itself.

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Re: LCD from 2010 - RGB full or limted?

Post by Chief Blur Buster » 31 Mar 2020, 17:04

2mg wrote:
31 Mar 2020, 15:49
It feels like I'm trying to color the image from "inside", rather than from "outside", and with outside (the LCD) already being a non-calibrated point itself.
If it helps, on some LCDs the inside/outside has the same quality considerations.

Easiest fix: Put your LCD in its uncalibrated-widest-gamut and let an automated colorimeter calibration generate a custom ICC file just for your display.

Note: What you could do is put your LCD in its full-gamut uncalibrated sate (RGB gains 100, contrast/brightness/gamma at panel native, color temp at backlight native, etc) and transfer the calibration responsibility completely over to ICC. Except for backlight-only adjustments (like backlight brightness), you can still continue to adjust that.

In this situation, the banding differences of an inside calibration vs outside calibration can become identical, because it's simply remapping an uncalibrated panel only once to its final gamut. You just don't want to remap the colors twice (display-side and computer-side). In some situations like this one, that you are encountering, you want to either adjust only display-side, or only computer-side -- then the quality considerations can actually become identical if the color depth is preserved.

Mathematically, picture adjustments are essentially a color-by-numbers game (inside the panel firmware or in computer software). For the 8-bit-per-channel color space or 10-bit-per-channel color space (8-bit per channel means 256 shades each for Red, for Green, and for Blue, for a grand total of 256x256x256 = 16,777,216 colors = 24-bit color).

The ICC method is ultimate because you can completely remap the colors in ways far beyond what Control Panel / NVIDIA Control Panel / AMD Catalyst Control Center can do. For the cheapest colorimeter, you may want to buy an open-source ColorHug and its free software, and it will generate a custom ICC file just for your specific screen.

For most, one don't necessarily need to know how it works. You plug in the colorimeter, run the colorimeter software, click a button for the apporopriate automatic color calibration in an easy wizard, and then you've got a resulting ICC file for your preference. Picture looks much better. If too dark or too high / low gamma, you reconfigure your preferences for the automatic preferences and re-run the calibration, to get your preferred picture, whether it be 120-nit print ready, or "brightest good gamma 2.2 color calibration", etc.

Bear in mind -- Some colorimeters software may calibrate the display hardware (via DDC commands), while other settings may calibrate by generating an ICC file (for Windows). If your software contains both options, then both options can be tried to see which produces better results.

A colorimeter is typically a one-time purchase and then works with all your displays, laptops, etc, including future upgrades.

There's the option of just purchasing a new display. But many 10-year-old 1080p LCDs still have stellar color and image quality, often just needs to be calibrated. A few high quality displays will easily last 20 to 30 years because they are very good panels, if you're lucky to have a very good panel.

<Technical>
Each of the 16,777,216 colors can individually be remapped to any other of the 16,777,216 colors of an 8-bit color depth (2^8 x 2^8 x 2^8) = (256 x 256 x 256) = 16,777,216. Internal display panel adjustments already do this for an 8-bit panel, Contrast/Brightness/Gamma are simply mathematical/algebraic remapping of color-by-numbers, so you're just transferring the responsibility to the computer side. And the software that comes with the colorimeter, does this job automatically.

You may get degradation if you have a 10-bit panel but your video cable connection is limited to 8-bit (see NVIDIA Control Panel to find out your color depth on the cable). But you should be OK with an 8-bit panel and an 8-bit on video cable. Or 10-bit panel or 10-bit on video cable. Then in that case, it can be made to not matter (banding-wise) for panel-side calibration or computer-side calibration. You just don't want to remap the colors multiple times or go through conversion steps (like 10bit->8bit->10bit) to generate rounding errors = amplify banding artifacts.
</Technical>
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2mg
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Joined: 17 Jul 2018, 22:08

Re: LCD from 2010 - RGB full or limted?

Post by 2mg » 02 Apr 2020, 02:46

That's quite a lot of stuff, thanks. Mind you, this is an old TN panel, no backlight settings, might even be 6bit+FRC, also HDMI only, no DP...

Might try with a colorimeter.

Still, don't quite understand why contrast/gamma changes so much in RGB full, since it is a PC monitor after all.

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