Hey people, I have been dialing in my TV settings using 240P Test Suite, and figured I would post some notes and my before & after settings.
Dreamcast<>"Madness Gameware" VGA box<>Startech MXT101MMHQ10 VGA monitor cable<>46" LCD SAMSUNG LN-46A650 A1F
Originally, before I had the setup disc, I went by eye and used Shenmue 1 & 2, F355, and Test Drive Le Mans as my "testing" material, and came up with these settings.
Picture Mode: Standard
Sharpness: 50 (locked at 50 in "Standard" Picture Mode when using VGA D-Sub input)
"Screen" menu: (use these settings to adjust vertical and horizontal position, and horizontal aspect ratio, although you cannot get correct aspect ratio in 4:3 mode or 16:9 mode, even with this adjustment.
Coarse:35 (Stretches the image horizontally. You can fill the screen with this setting in 16:9 mode save the small black bars but it is very stretched. I went with 35 since it was a good compromise between black bar size and a stretched aspect ratio.)
Fine:0 (This fine tunes the "course" adjustment)
Position: Horizontal- Fully to the right Vertical- default
"Detailed Settings" menu:
Dynamic Contrast: Medium
White Balance (Six adjustments for R,G,B Offset and R,G,B Gain)
Default is 25, I set all to 15.
"Picture Options" menu:
Color Tone: Normal
This looked OK, but I knew that the tint was off and the yellows looked too green. I made a 240 Test Suite disc for Dreamcast and used it.
Couple of things, my eventual preferred brightness settings wound up somewhere between the PAL and the NTSC bars that you are supposed to adjust to in the PLUGE test. Also, my TV wouldn't quite do what the Color Bar test wanted it to do, so instead of adjusting towards the right-hand side, I began to balance the RGB levels across the "1" bar or "0" bar on the left. (Can't remember exactly if I used 0 or 1, but you get the idea.) My TV will do "Blue Only" mode, but NOT in VGA mode, so I could not use the SMPTE Color Bars. When working with the color levels, I initially set the RGB color levels towards the 0 /1 bar in the Color Bar test using the TVs White Balance adjustments, and then went to the eyeball and my games to fine-tune the tint, again using the TVs White Balance adjustments.
The Grey Ramp test was useful and revealed an anomaly that I did not notice before. I felt like I was chasing my tail when balancing the grey-scale for the very dark shadows. eventually I realized that my viewing angle has an affect on how I see that grey scale balance. For example, if I am playing a game and sitting and looking straight-on in the middle of the screen and the dark/black shadows look "dialed" in the center of the screen, the corner areas of the screen will sometimes show a different hue for the shadows than the center of the screen, unless I move and look at that area straight on. Then it looks more black / matches the hue from when sitting in my normal viewing position. So that was screwing me up for a while until I figured that out while setting Grey Ramp.
The main problems that were a little tougher to dial in after initial settings were:
-Getting the yellows balanced between too orange or too green, minimizing yellow/green tints in the blue high-lights.
-Getting the greys balanced between looking too green or too red.
-Getting the dark shadows balanced towards looking black, rather than too red/purple or too blue.
-Maximizing the overall picture quality while using the most efficient settings and minimal TV processing.
I did brightness and contrast first, then the color levels, then fiddled with the White Balance settings to adjust the tint. Here is what I ended up with.
Pic Mode: Standard (no change)
Backlight: 9 (was 8)
Contrast: 90 (no change)
Brightness: 58 (was 50)
Sharpness: 50 (no change,locked at 50 in "Standard" Picture Mode)
Coarse: 35 (no change)
Fine: 0 (no change)
Position: Horizontal- Full right. (no change) Vertical- Full up. (Was Default. Caught that in the Linearity Test)
"Detailed Settings" menu:
Dynamic Contrast: High (Was Medium)
Gamma: +2 (Was +3)
R-Offset: 10 (was 15)
G-Offset: 5 (was 15)
B-Offset: 10 (was 15)
R-Gain: 6 (was 15)
G-Gain: 0 (was 15)
B-Gain: 6 (was 15)
"Pic Options" menu
Color Tone: Normal (no change)
Size: 16:9 (no change)
This seems to be a big improvement overall, and the best that I am going to get. With my setup, 240P Test Suite got me in the neighborhood, and then I had to use my eyes after that. It's still hard to strike a balance between some of the White Balance settings when dialing in the tint and grey-scale during game-play, and it's helpful to switch between games for certain things, or to go back to the test disc to check where you are. These white balance settings for tint and grey scale are all about compromise. The TV bumps you towards one hue or the other when you reach a certain point in any of the tint adjustments. I was able to get the yellows looking more yellow than green, without looking too orange. The reds look more red than magenta, but slightly orange. Some blues might have just a wisp of green in their highlights. The greys are grey, not obviously tinged red or green, and I forget which, but it is towards one or the other. The very dark shadows look nearly black, maybe slightly towards deep indigo blue, although like I mentioned before, the viewing angle can affect how you see the grey-scale, especially with very dark graphics. Nothing I can do about that, but it is nice to know why.
Overall, I'm pretty happy with the overall results using the 240P Test Suite. It helped me check or dial in the color levels, tint, brightness, contrast, sharpness, position, and it helped me discover how my viewing angle affects my grey-scale, and I feel that my settings are now as efficient as they are going to be, while giving much better visual results than before.
If you want to post up your setup and settings after using 240pTestSuite, and even your "before" settings if you have them, and any comments in regards to how you used 240pTestSuite to dial in your picture, feel free to post up.