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Aug 27 2008
By: JohnMalc Lombax Warrior 186 posts
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Spread the word: "RGB Limited" has best colors (not "Full")!

250 replies 188 views Edited Aug 27, 2008

Some of you probably know this, but ever since the early firmware update (1.8?) that allows for "RGB Full" under video settings, I had left that selected, rather than limited (hey, who would want something "limited"?).

I've only recently become aware that this is unequivocally WORSE for picture quality than RGB Limited (again, sorry to the videophiles who already know this). It's pretty much consensus over at AVS forums, and I recently found this out in a cNet article. I was pretty stunned, as I thought I was pretty knowledgeable when it came to this stuff. Some more corroboration:

http://nicolaspeople.com/ch3rokeesblog/?p=13

http://www.neowin.net/forum/index.php?showtopic=622671 (Great summary: thanks to Tensaiya for finding this). 

http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=30377&page=2  (read the SECOND post. He's correcting the first guy).

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-10022389-1.html?tag=blog.1  CNet editors (the pros)

 

So, short answer; best picture settings are to be had with:

BD/DVD Output - YCbCr (or leave this automatic)

RGB - Limit
Super White - On  (unless viewing on a PC monitor)

 


*Edit: A brief explanation of what RGB Limited/Full settings really does: ALL TVs, from the $85 models to your $4000 Sony XBR, speak in a certain color "language". They are expecting a RGB signal with colors 15-235. A PC monitor, however, is expecting a color signal from 0-255. Thus, with RGB Full setting, the PS3 is attempting to speak the language of PC monitors, so it "translates" (read: stretches), the exact same color information over the wider 0-255 signal. This does not change the actual colors at all. In fact, when used properly, the signals of RGB Full and Limited should end up looking exactly the same, but on a PC monitor and TV, respectively. 

 
The nomenclature is confusing, so for a while many of us thought that "Full" was just a better setting. This isn't so. We also could see a difference, since the XMB went much darker (better, right?). Unfortunately, no. When you select RGB Full, but are using a TV, the PS3 is outputting a RGB signal from 0-255, but your TV is expecting a 15-235 signal. That means all colors from 0-15 (15 shades of black/gray) and 235-250 (your brights) are lumped into the same color. You're essentially throwing away 12% of your color information. Initially, blacks may seem darker, but this is only because things that were intended to be gray are now black. The same effect goes for the brightest shades, meaning it "flattens" any HDR or bloom (any awesome lighting) by replacing it with plain white. So in no way is this a matter of preference, or TV settings. You're simply throwing away color detail, and no amount of TV adjustments, no matter how much your TV cost, your picture will suffer.

 

 

I thought that since my TV was a brand new, top of the line HDTV, I should select Full. And when I change the setting to full, it even appears to go blacker. This, however, is a very bad thing. Even with the XBR 4 and 5, which specifically have settings to cope with RGB full, the best IQ you get will be the same as if you just left RGB Limited, and at worst, you will again gimp your colors. And I'm kind of mad now to see how much better games look, and to think how long I've been playing with flat brights and crushed blacks.

 

One of the best improvements I've seen since switching back to Limited is actually in lighting. Games like Warhawk, Oblivion, Uncharted, GTA4, GT5P (etc. etc. etc.) all feature incredible lighting systems,  but when using RGB full, many shades are turned into pure white, flattening the image. After switching back to Limited, objects seem to glow in a way I haven't seen before. You've gotta see it to understand it. 

 

There are hundreds of pages in tech threads that arrive at this conclusion, and I'm sure some will be skeptical, but for the sake of your eyes, your TV, and the way your games were meant to be played, select RGB Limited, and then calibrate your TV set. Turn your brightness down for darker blacks and better colors. Spread the word.

 

*Edits* Jake 302 found a great calibration page, viewable from your PS3 browser. http://www.photofriday.com/calibrate.php

IsPeter offers the following test to determine your set's color range: http://sr-388.net/images/patterns/Brightness.jpg

           Instructions on how to use the previous test (from Neowin post):
"Turn up the brightness control on your display until you can (hopefully) see all four numbers. (1% grey, 2% etc) Assuming you can see all four, adjust brightness to the point where 1 is just about to turn solid black. (if the lowest number you can see is 2, then adjust it until that is almost black). Now, enable Full RGB. If your screen supports it, you should still be able to read the same numbers. If not, it will turn pure black. However, many TVs that support both won't auto-switch between the two, so you may need to check your TV's menus for a "black level" setting. (may be called something different) If you have that, change it and you should see the numbers pop back up onscreen."


 

Now with comparison shot goodness! All photos taken under identical lighting conditions, TV settings, aperture and exposure length. Taken on a Konica Minolta Dimage Z5. Pictures not edited in any way. Photos are from videos in XMB, which use the identical color spectrum as the games.

 

Limited:

 

RGB Limited

 

Full: Notice the black crush.
RGB Full

 

 

XMB: Trailer for 300 on RGB Limited

RGB Limited

 

And RGB Full:

RGB Full 

 

Another Uncharted comp (talk about exact same image, look at the torn frame in both). RGB Limited:

RGB Limited 

 

And RGB Full. This is actually how I played through Uncharted the first time.
RGB Full

 

 

I'm getting tons of "Nu-uh, mine looks better on Full" responses, but I promise you, this is not a subjective setting. This is fact. Your IQ will look better on Limited. Most nay-sayers are going on impressions from the past, so before you chime in with a "Nu-uh your TV sucks" or a "But I'm a Mexican rapper with two $6000 TVs in every bedroom", give limited an honest try. Select Limited, adjust your settings (turn down brightness for darker blacks), and THEN explain why you find the additional color to be worse. 
Message Edited by johnmalc on 08-27-2008 01:19 PM
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Fender Bender
Registered: 09/05/2007
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Re: /

Aug 24, 2008
Does this even effect you if your using component cables?
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Lombax Warrior
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/

Aug 24, 2008

Alright I have switched to limited. Doesnt look as nice though but I guess ill keep it.


Edit: What does Cross Color reduction filter do? Do you guys have it on or off?

Message Edited by l-leaT on 08-24-2008 01:42 PM
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Lombax Warrior
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Re: /

Aug 24, 2008

TheRazor375 wrote:
Does this even effect you if your using component cables?

No I don't believe it does.

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Uncharted Territory
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Re: /

Aug 24, 2008
so what if i play on a monitor?
Photobucket
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Lombax Warrior
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Re: /

Aug 24, 2008

Linited is wayy better! Full just crushes blacks and even if you bump up your settings your gonna lose detail and black level so keep it on Limited and Adjust from there.

 

but then again i have no idea how most ppl can buy a HDTV and not calibrate it i know 2 ppl who use it on De4faut Dynamic!!!!

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Treasure Hunter
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Re: /

Aug 24, 2008

Sniper_NY wrote:

Linited is wayy better! Full just crushes blacks and even if you bump up your settings your gonna lose detail and black level so keep it on Limited and Adjust from there.

 

but then again i have no idea how most ppl can buy a HDTV and not calibrate it i know 2 ppl who use it on De4faut Dynamic!!!!


Well, I have to say that I'm one of those people

 

So do you know any good calibration settings for a Samsung LCD?

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Wastelander
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"RGB Limited" has best colors (no "Full")!

Aug 24, 2008

RGB and Super White are only for HDMI though. From the looks of your settings, it's on Component

PSN ID-Trailnutz2525
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Fender Bender
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Re: /

Aug 24, 2008

NiteStrikerZero wrote:

Sniper_NY wrote:

Linited is wayy better! Full just crushes blacks and even if you bump up your settings your gonna lose detail and black level so keep it on Limited and Adjust from there.

 

but then again i have no idea how most ppl can buy a HDTV and not calibrate it i know 2 ppl who use it on De4faut Dynamic!!!!


Well, I have to say that I'm one of those people

 

So do you know any good calibration settings for a Samsung LCD?


Searching your model Samsung on the AVS forums should set you up just right. 

Old PSN. Add my new one. Curtismyhero
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I Only Post Everything
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Re: /

Aug 24, 2008

Sniper_NY wrote:

Linited is wayy better! Full just crushes blacks and even if you bump up your settings your gonna lose detail and black level so keep it on Limited and Adjust from there.

 

but then again i have no idea how most ppl can buy a HDTV and not calibrate it i know 2 ppl who use it on De4faut Dynamic!!!!


 

I havent calibrated it yet because I dont know how, people say buy a movie, but which one, the cheapest! Whts the easiest way to calibrate a HD?  and i def. dont use default
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