4K HDR OLED TV Calibration Guide (with LG B8 55 ″ review)

In the end I made the handover: 24 months after the purchase of my first 4K HDR TV (Sony KD-55xd8005), I changed technology, going from LCD to OLED, model LG B8 55-inch.

I chose this TV after reading several reviews that praised the image quality, as well as the value for money: I also found it at € 1200, very low compared to the price list.

Why OLED? Viewing angle, especially contrast and perfect black rendering, since I use the TV mainly in the evening.

The Impressions

LG OLED55B8 offers a thin frame with the central stand, which allows positioning on small surface bases; the remote control offers a central part for standard navigation and two gropes for Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Other dedicated keys allow you to reach the navigation interface and quick configurations, long press the detailed ones. Furthermore, by leaving the 0 key pressed, you can configure Quick Access, which allows you to associate additional shortcuts to the remaining numbers, such as an HDMI input or an application: very useful.

On the back and left side there are 4 HDMI ports, 3 USB ports, the optical, antenna and headphone connectors.

In relation to the TV, I had to change the set-up of the devices connected to the Home Theater system, since the Pioneer amplifier in my possession processes the signal "only" up to 1080p resolution: to the latter I connected Nintendo Switch, Apple TV fourth generation and SNES Mini, while PlayStation 4 Pro, Xbox One S and Sky Q have found a place directly on the TV: all four HDMI inputs support the 4K / 60Hz / HDR signal, unlike many models, especially the previous generations.

To listen to the audio of the consoles and native apps offered by the TV on the Home Theater system, I used the HDMI 3 port, the one that has ARC, or Audio Return Channel. More common than you think, this technology allows you to separate the video from the audio and therefore in this case preserve the 4K HDR signal while sending the Dolby Digital / DTS 5.1 signal to the HDMI input of the amplifier.

Last but not least, native support for Bluetooth and USB keyboards is available, along with external keys and hard drives for recording unprotected content.

The pointer with cursor is an alternative that allows you to be faster after a learning period. Side note: be careful if you have particularly curious cats, they could jump in the direction of the TV as has happened to me a couple of times?

LG B8 comes with WebOS version 3.0, an operating system developed by the Korean company and a credible alternative to Android TV. Indeed, in terms of speed and usability for me it is superior, net of less customization and less offer of applications on the dedicated store.

A good part of the ones I use are there, see Netflix, YouTube, Spotify, Amazon Prime Video, Dazn, Plex; absent illustrious VLC and Crunchy Roll, in addition of course to the exclusive proposals of the Apple ecosystem, such as Apple Music and Photo.
The situation of the remaining apps is disastrous, especially in the games sector, which offers few titles of bad quality.

Following my "homemade" calibration (I'll talk about it in the next paragraph!) The quality achieved is really excellent: the definition of the image, the contrast and the colors are enhanced by the video games developed as they should (I have it with te, FAKE HDR Red Dead Redemption 2) and native 4K HDR and 1080p content, in some cases truly impressive.

Even the input lag is rather contained in game mode (around 22 milliseconds): I can feel satisfied overall.

Calibration Guide (Version 0.9 of 19/12/2018)

Nowadays, after having spent hundreds (thousands!) Of euros for a TV, we must not be satisfied with the standard image quality, unfortunately not calibrated, nor be duped by filters and artificial derivatives to improve it: often the previous model or higher end. low offers a very similar visual quality, allowing you to save hundreds of euros!

There is therefore a need to change some settings to improve the situation.

In this post I try to share the considerations and settings I used to calibrate my LG OLED B8 TV, because they can also be useful for owners of other makes and models.

If you want to get the most you have to rely on professional calibrators or expensive external tools, provided you know how to use them.

Without forgetting, moreover, the following variables:

  • Each device (console, decoder, other) requires a more or less different calibration, as well as any type of content.
  • There is an optimal calibration but also people's tastes, who may prefer vivid or realistic colors, warm or cold tones, a more defined or “soft” image.
  • Each panel is slightly different, even when it comes to the same TV model.
  • Some settings must be changed when watching TV in a well-lit room or in the dark, always with a view to maximum visual yield.

Below is the video with the review and calibration tips, refresh if you don't see it:

The main problems when you have to calibrate your TV there are two: the image quality, which must be realistic, not artificial and in any case pleasant, and theinput lag, criticality linked to video games and trivially the time that elapses between the command given with the pad and the display of the result on the TV, after the latter has processed the image with any filters.

Although I told you a few lines ago about some variables, my advice is to throw all those bombastic automatic modes proposed by today's TVs down the toilet. They make the image unrealistic, too saturated, full of graphic artifacts; in addition to increasing the aforementioned input lag. Instead, you have to work on a manual configuration, obviously starting from a base proposed by the TV.

In my specific case I had the need to:

1) Calibrate the TV for the devices coming from the amplifier with maximum resolution 1080p (Full HD).
2) Calibrate the TV for 4K video (including HDR) on the TV, such as those offered by Netflix, and for apps.
3) Calibrate the TV for games on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One S, HDR and otherwise.

Two further clarifications relating to owners of LG OLED TVs.

Remember to enable ULTRA HD Deep Color format for each HDMI input. It is located under Settings -> Picture -> Additional Settings, and allows you to “unblock” the full 4K / HDR / 60Hz signal. Why is basic disabled? For compatibility with older devices.

Question burn-in, or the temporary or definitive retention of prolonged images even when the TV is off. A critical issue that could plague all OLED panels, but much less than you think.
It does not represent any problem, in fact, to look at the same channel for a few hours which perhaps offers static overlays; same thing for video games that now have dynamic interfaces that change continuously. Watching a television newscast for 10 consecutive hours every day could be detrimental, but personally I see it as an unlikely use case.

To mitigate this potential problem, however, select Settings -> Image -> OLED Panel Settings, enabling “Screen Change”. Then use “Pixel Refresher” in manual or automatic mode. Finally, set “Logo luminance adjustment” to low.

Now you can live more peaceful.

Once you have reached the Settings by pressing and holding the appropriate button, you will find on the left a panel with the configuration parameters.

Under "Audio", for example, there are several choices, including optical output, headphones, or combinations with the TV speakers, decent in the absence of dedicated alternatives.

The section that interests us most is obviously the one called “Image”.

First, deactivate “Energy Saving”, as it constantly changes the brightness; in “Additional settings” leave “Eye Care” off and activate as mentioned ULTRA HD Deep Color. Finally, head under “OLED Panel Settings”, where you will find options to mitigate the risks of burn-in.

The first item of the “Image” section is the one you will use the most, as it provides a series of presets with different names, on which to operate to calibrate the panel.

Let's start with generic content without HDR, excluding video games: select “Expert (Dark Room)” or “Expert (Bright Room)”, preferably both configured in order to have a quick configuration to select for the day and one for the night.

Contrast on 90, Brightness on 50, Sharpness on 0, Color on 50 and Tint on 0. You can instead differentiate the "OLED LIGHT" option, setting it at 20-30 for completely dark rooms, 50/55 with natural 80 artificial lighting: it is a parameter that does not affect the image quality and allows you to adapt the brightness of the pixels to each situation.

Once you have confirmed these basic settings, remember to select "Apply to all inputs", so as to have the same configuration in "Expert (Dark Room)" and "Expert (Light Room)" on the other HDMI ports or applications native.

Phase 2, in the same screen there are two other important options, “Expert Controls” and “Image Options”.

Let's start with the latter: enter the menu and deactivate everything. In the case of "TruMotion", the classic interpolation according to different parameters, deactivate or under "User" use low values, if you want to avoid the "Soap Opera" effect. For 24fps masters, “Cinema Reale”, active by default, takes care of it.

Selecting “Expert Controls” goes even more specific.
Leave everything off, “Color Gamut” on Auto and “Gamma” on 2.2, the ideal setting in terms of brightness and contrast.

The last two options make a difference but also require a different calibration for each panel.
They are called "White Balance" and "Color Management System": at the bottom of the article you will find all the images of my configuration, which can serve as a starting point for obtaining an even better image.

Now it's the turn of HDR content.

In this case, select “Technicolor Expert (User)” as the picture mode and set “OLED LIGHT” to 100, to reach the maximum capacity of your TV in managing the great contrast offered by this technology.
Under "Expert Controls" disable everything and do some testing with the item "Dynamic Tone Mapping": for a reproduction faithful to how the creator of the content wanted it should be left disabled, but in some cases it can produce a better effect.

Last but not least video games, HDR and otherwise.

Here the ideal is to select the "Game" picture mode to minimize input lag, turn off "TruMotion" completely and set the color temperature, which replaces the white balance, to "F40" to the left, that is for more shades. warm and close to ideal calibration.

The remaining options are similar, for HDR content each video game offers additional options to change the brightness and get better results: you'll have to tinker on these shores too.

Once again I remind you to use the “Apply to all inputs” option where available, so that you don't have to re-enter all the settings on every HDMI input or application you will use.

Below you will find the advanced configuration of my panel on "White Balance" and "Color Management System". You can try to replicate it and see the final result if it is to your liking.

If you have any questions write in the comments and maybe share the article after all the effort put into writing it!

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