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Main > Archives > 2009 > January > Consumers Question Best Buy Calibration Service

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Consumers Question Best Buy Calibration Service

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Does your TV need some fine-tuning? Evidently,HDTV's are like high-performance sports cars, because they need to be tweaked for optimal performance, or, in your TV's case- picture quality. At least, that's what Best Buy is telling us.

The troubled electronics retailer is being critcized in the blogosphere, for its $300 calibration service.

I'll read more info about this "calibration technique", because of few of the readers on dvice and consumerist claim it's a legit service. (Of course, those could be some Best Buy posters.)
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and Best Buy is coming off  a tough holiday season, so I wouldn't be surprised if this turns out to be a big scam.

By Matt O'Hern at 04:29 PM | Comments (12)

(12) Thoughts on Consumers Question Best Buy Calibration Service

its not a scam. The people that are getting scammed are the BBY shareholders. BBY spends 10k per tech to get them certified, and then they leave after the training to make more money!

Comments by Fred Sanford : Thursday, January 01, 2009 at 08:31 PM

I have decided to offer my calibration service which includes the following: Switching your source box (cable, satellite, blu-ray, etc.) to the "1080p" setting and either plugging in your HDMI or Display port plugs to your TV.
Limited time offer: $149.

Comments by Ryan : Friday, January 02, 2009 at 08:18 AM

lmao its not a scam but you can try doing it yourself . You can also read magazines like sound & vision on the subject matter.Its not for everyone but if your looking to get ture picture quality then calibration is the way to go .

Comments by BestBuy : Friday, January 02, 2009 at 01:30 PM

This is all very, very sad. As a broadcast engineer, (over 20 years of working with manufactures, producers, networks and broadcasters) this article is an exercise in dysfunctional journalism. It also exposes the new reality of the blogosphere: Most posters and/or the masses not having one iota of understanding on a subject, but proclaiming expertise and then reporting it as scam. It’s just plain depressing to me.
The good news is that are a few post here that are actually correct – just a few.
The goal of a properly engineered quality television is to do one thing – accurately reproduce what the camera captures. In the broadcast world we take enormous strides to calibrate to standards co-developed and established by both us engineers and the government. (SMPTE, NTSC and ATSC)
TV manufactures need to sell TV’s in the less than optimum viewing conditions of the Best Buy’s, Wal-Mart’s and a Costco’s of the world. As a result they all feel obligated to grossly deviate from these known standards. Many manufactures just look the other way purposely because the product is incapable of performing correctly to these standards to begin with. The other very relevant issue is that proper calibration takes into account the environment where the display device resides and no manufacture can predict that.
The ONLY way to see what we transmit, in the exact way we capture and produce it, is to have the TV professionally calibrated to these standards – just like we do every day in our studios and production centers. To properly calibrate a TV to these standards, it takes from $7,500 to $100,000 worth of test gear and a KNOWLEDABLE technician that knows how to use the equipment.
Every reputable TV reviewer in the press understands the Calibration Process and performs one before critically evaluating a display device. Most of them have the equipment and training necessary to perform a proper calibration. On the consumer side there’s a group of engineers that formed a certifying group call ISF ( Imaging Science Foundation ) http://www.imagingscience.com They are well known among not only manufactures but reviewers and quality installers alike. Many TV manufacture’s like Pioneer Elite, LG, Panasonic, Runco, Optima and InFocus have ISF licensed features that facilitate professional calibration integrated into the products.

This article prompted me to call a local Best Buy store. I spoke to the gentleman that runs their so called “Geek Squad” in that particular store. He actually was reasonably informed about calibration and explained to me that they in-fact have the proper equipment - as when I asked what they had he replied “Sencore CT-5000 and VP-403’s.” I was SHOCKED. That actually is decent equipment that sells for about $10,000. He also stated that the technicians that actually perform the calibrations were ISF trained and certified. Frankly – I was surprised that he knew about ISF and was shocked that he had a reasonable understand of the process. I was also amazed that they do indeed offer that service to their customers and on top of that, for what seems to be a very reasonable fee. Do they actually do a good job? – I have no way of knowing. But my first impression with the Geek Squad manager was positive indeed and would tend to think that from the way he spoke about the subject matter that they would do a reasonable job.
In this day and age it’s easy to jump to the wrong conclusion not know who to believe. In this case a great disservice has been perpetrated to anyone who just wants the best picture his TV is capable of. If you are one of those – get your TV calibrated, just like we do.
On the HDMI controversy, there is no easy answer to this controversy, but suffice it to say – that compared to a calibration – it simply doesn’t matter. On an absolute level, go HDMI when you can, but be prepared for the possibility of a plethora of compatibility issues and keep the cables as short as possible. Cable quality starts to matter real fast as length goes up and it’s just not always as simples as “it either works or doesn’t work.” Under 2 or 3 meters of length – almost any quality cable – not necessary expensive – should work well.

Comments by Mark Coangelo : Friday, January 02, 2009 at 04:19 PM

Embarassing blog...First off, Matt would be better served knowing anything about Best Buy. One, they are definately not a "trouble" electronics retailer. In fact their probably the only electronics retailer that is still financially viable. Two, even someone with limited AV knowlege understands the importance of calibration when purchasing a flat panel television. Finally, you absolutely can not do it yourself. Unless, your certified by ISF and have an agreement with the vendor, you will not have acess to the service menue that is required when properly calibrating a television.

Comments by Chandler : Monday, January 12, 2009 at 07:13 PM

1.I believe my use of the word "troubled"is a fair assessment for a retail leader that LOST online traffic during the HOLIDAY season.

2.You must have missed the section where I said I was going to read more about the topic. I never claimed to be an expert on the topic and this blog is commentary,not the New York Times. Observation of a trend within the blogosphere isn't an accusation. I said I wouldn't be surpised if it was a scam, and for good reason- Geek Squad at my local Best Buy has attempted to scam me a few years ago.
After they charged me just to look at my PC,they tried to persuade me that I needed a new hard drive, but a trip to my local PC repair store resolved my problem without replacing the hard drive, for a fraction of the cost Geek Squad was proposing.(And they didn't charge me just to look at it.)
Naturally, I'm a bit skeptical about Best Buy's services.

Comments by matt : Monday, January 12, 2009 at 08:36 PM

clearly you all should read more about what a calibration does. Otherwise go by a fuc%#$ tube tv dumb a$$@#!

Comments by agent : Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 10:18 PM

I recently purchased a Samsung 61 inch rear projection tv and purchased the optional calibration service. When I got the TV home the picture was perfect so I cancelled the service. Would the calibration service make that much of a difference on a rear projection TV?

Thanks.

Comments by TCD : Saturday, February 07, 2009 at 10:18 AM

I don't think online traffic reduced during holiday season but increased due to offers in festive season.
Read more on Calibration service to about it.

Comments by carolina : Thursday, May 14, 2009 at 07:01 AM

I got a friend who bought a 46 inch Sony Aquaos. No Blu-Ray player nor HD cable or Satalite service. So, tell me, does she need to spend 300 dollars to have her new 1000+ dollar tv calibrated to watch normal tv?? I think not. Best Buy is ripping her off.

Comments by Manny : Saturday, January 16, 2010 at 03:11 PM

@ TCD, Yes your rear projection TV would be "Better" with a calibration. The point of the calibration is not so much to make it better however, merly allow your TV to understand what the picture is truely supposed to look like. Good luck to all in your decissions to or not to calibrate. I did, and I am very happy!

Comments by Gregg : Tuesday, February 09, 2010 at 01:41 PM

@ manny... your friend did not purchase a 'Sony Aquaos'. There is no such device, idiot. It's either a Sony Bravia or, more likely, a Sharp AQUOS. And she may not need a calibration to watch, as you say, 'normal' tv, but she doesn't need a 'friend' like you who obviously doesn't know the first thing about HDTVs advising her on the matter. Also, there's no point in paying $1000+ for a near-top tier HDTV if you have absolutely no hi-def programming. If the employees at Best Buy didn't tell her that, then they are obviously not trying to rip her off because they didn't even sell her the stuff that she needed.

Comments by Frank : Monday, April 19, 2010 at 08:20 AM

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