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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Updated 2016.11.30

It's been a great 10+ years, but I've decided to no longer provide Optimization services to Digital Home members/friends/relatives. It takes a great deal of work to keep up-to-date with all the latest products in order to optimize them properly. The latest change to "break the camel's back" has come with many people purchasing 4K TVs, 4K STBs (many of which cause issues with AVRs/TVs) as well as many people using streaming technologies instead of DVDs/BDs. Although I could probably continue, there are simply too few people contacting me for these services to make it worth my while. I would like to thank all those people who have utilized my services.

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Not optimizing your home theatre is like purchasing a furnace without a thermostat. (Home Entertainment Magazine - Paraphrased)


57’s Home Theatre Setup, Assistance, Optimization, Consulting and Training Service

Many of you know me as a moderator on this forum. I can be of assistance to people who are setting up their home theatres and wish them optimized. I specialize in optimizing all of the equipment in your home theatre, not just the TV.

I have done hundreds of optimizations for people with a huge variety of different equipment. Please read their comments on the pages that follow.

I am able to assist with the following:

- Setup/optimization of a TV using several different test DVDs/BDs and your DVD/BD player (user settings only).
- Connecting various components to each other, to optimize performance
- Recommending placement of the components, speakers
- Setting up and optimizing A/V receiver/speakers (SPL Meter, DSPs, Connections, input assignment, naming, etc)
- Optimizing the setup of all other equipment including BD/DVD Players/recorders, STBs, VCRs, Game Systems, CD players, etc.
- Recommending alternate ways of connecting components
- Recommending alternate seating arrangements and lighting
- Recommendations regarding cables, connections, placement.
- Discuss A/V connections through A/V Receiver, or direct to TV, or through TV
- Help with “translation” of your operating manual(s) into layman’s English
- Show you how to operate your system best
- Tips on “better/easier” ways to do things
- Basic assistance with remote control(s).
- Assistance in getting your remote(s) to control other equipment (not always possible depending on the remote and equipment)
- Assistance with spouses, children in operating the equipment.
- Supply of cables if requested (at prices lower than most stores)
- Answering any questions you may have about your system.
- Very minor installation services - but I do not wish to go inside walls or outside the home.
- Yes I optimize front projectors, I use the test patterns from Spyder, AVIA, etc.
- I do not go into the service menu of your TV.

- - Consultation before purchase, including home survey, recommendations, etc. Most people who've had a consultation have commented back to me saying they saved much more than the cost of the consultation in equipment purchases, or recommendations, or installations, not purchasing the wrong equipment, etc.

The default settings for the equipment are never the proper ones for an optimized system. BD players, STBs, TVs AVRs usually have hundreds of user menu settings, all of which need to be set appropriately for an optimized system.

Quick Consultation:

When you're ready to arrange the Optimization, it's a good idea to contact me if you're planning on purchasing any new equipment just before the setup. Many people purchase equipment that they regret because it doesn't do what they expect.

For example, people buy a HTiB, but it doesn't have any digital audio inputs for DD5.1 sound, or it doesn't have enough of them if they need more than one device connected.

Also, many people are confused about HDMI inputs on AVRs. People assume that they will be able to use the HDMI for audio in the AVR, when some less expensive AVRs/HTiBs don't handle the HDMI audio at all, requiring separate digital audio connections. etc.

This can usually be done in a few minutes at no charge. If it takes longer, then we can negotiate a fee depending on the time and location.

Operating Manuals:

It's a good idea to have the operating manuals handy. I can usually find my way around without them, but sometimes some obscure function may require a visit to the manual

Price List:

The price for my optimization service is $100. This includes up to 3 hours of my time on-site for any of the items listed above, at your home, at your convenience. (this $100 covers about 4-5 hours total time, including travel, pre-discussions, some research on your equipment and my vehicle costs)

Additional or a shorter time is possible and can be negotiated. Additional time is usually $30/hour.

If your TV is in the default (store) mode, the cost of my services can be recouped though energy savings alone over the life of the TV. A properly optimized TV uses less power than one in the default (store) mode.

A typical optimization takes about 3 hours (TV, STB, AVR, speakers, etc). This assumes that that all the equipment is already set up and connected. I can assist with setup/connection, sometimes minor installation, but additional time is usually required for this work.

Where available?

In and around the GTA. Distances of more than 5 km from Yonge & Eglinton will typically be priced at $1 per additional km one way over 5 km. (So, if you're 30 km away, the price would be roughly $125 instead of $100) I don't think it'd be economical for me to travel more than say 200k one way, so that an overnight stay is not required.

Smokers:

I am allergic to cigarette smoke, so if you are smokers, I will be pleased to come to your home, provided no one smokes inside while I’m there. (Pets are fine)

My Background:

I’m a semi-retired professional engineer, who sold technology into the Oil/Gas industry for 31 years.

My hobbies and interests include: Home Theatre, computers, good red wine, good beer, X-C skiing, cycling, running, travel, BBQ’ing and cooking. I've always been very interested in audio/video equipment.


I have no “store association”, therefore I act as an independent consultant if requested.

(I do not wish to assist with setting up HTPCs - not my specialty, but I can certainly work with an HTPC that's incorporated into the overall HT)

I am not interested in making a full time business out of this. I'm currently doing this a couple of days a week.

In the same way that people hire a contractor to add a deck to their home or for a bathroom renovation or an interior decorator or architect before renovating, they should not be embarrassed to hire someone to consult with or to properly set up and optimize their Home Theatre equipment.

For more on optimization, see the following article on Digital Home Canada:

Why you should optimize your Home Theatre : Digital Home



Please PM me with your contact information - e-mail address and phone number if you're interested. (PM is a private message, that can be sent by clicking on my username and scrolling down to send a private message.)


Post with additional information:

http://www.digitalhome.ca/forum/14-...home-theatre-optimization-16.html#post2666089
 

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I would like to quickly let all of you know that using the above services by 57 was probably one of the best decisions I could have made. I am extremely happy with the results after he spent 3.5 hours both educating me and optimizing my home theatre set up.

If you might be the least bit hesitant, think about the amount of money you spent on your system, probably in the thousands, and figure that for only a fraction of that amount ($100), you can get everything working the way it should by utilizing this service by 57. (believe me, you may think that you have everything working properly as I did, but after 57 was done, I couldn't believe my eyes at the difference)

Trust me, its worth it!
 

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Great service, Hugh - is there anyone in the Ottawa area that you might recommend for calibrating my HPR4252C Samsung? I've had the set a little over a month now, been careful re: the break-in period and really have NO major issues with the picture. I was one of the lucky ones, I guess in that the pic was great right out of the box.

On some forums though, the HDTV picture is so real you could touch the fields of wheat and get your hands wet in the babbling brook!! So although I am very pleased with this picture, I feel it could be just that much better with some sound (and knowledgeable) adjustments.

I'm looking for a professional in the calibrating field to take this set to it's full potential, so any help available for me in the Ottawa area?.

thanks in advance for any and all assistance.
 

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For those who have had 'professional' installations, you may want to take advantage of 57's services to check the 'professional' work.

Last weekend I helped a neighbour hook up his new Samsung SIR-T451 STB to his Pioneer plasma display only to discover (in a neatly coiled and zip-tied bundle of connectors) that the 'pro' installer had used an excellent quality UltraLink component video cable to connect a BEV 4100 via composite and R & L analogue audio OUT to the plasma control unit.

$100 for a piece of mind considering the thou$and$ $pent on a home theatre, seems like a heck of an investment to me.
 

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I've always wanted someone to look at my home theater setup more closely. I never knew anyone that I could hire for a professional calibration on my Hitachi RPTV. I suppose Brantford would be too far for you to go. I'm about an hour west of Toronto.
 

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filper said:
$100 for a piece of mind considering the thou$and$ $pent on a home theatre, seems like a heck of an investment to me.
Considering the markup on UltraLink cables I suspect the installer can buy a lot of 'peace of mind.' Using these on a 4100 is a total waste of money and a misapplication of the product. I doubt anyone will see or hear any difference over the cables supplied with the 4100. A difference may be seen with a 9200 HD PVR but many will dispute even that. BTW, I have several UltraLink component cables I no longer need since getting a HDMI capable TV.
 

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I_Want_My_HDTV said:
Considering the markup on UltraLink cables I suspect the installer can buy a lot of 'peace of mind.' Using these on a 4100 is a total waste of money and a misapplication of the product. I doubt anyone will see or hear any difference over the cables supplied with the 4100. A difference may be seen with a 9200 HD PVR but many will dispute even that. BTW, I have several UltraLink component cables I no longer need since getting a HDMI capable TV.
I don't think the complaint was about the Ultralink Cables, but about the "pro" installer using Component Cable to connect the devices using the Composite and L+R audio terminals. A "pro" installer would have connected the component cables to the component terminals.
 

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"57", could you please email me (frost147 at rogers.com) concerning some "Qs" regarding your availability and $$$ charges?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
E-mail sent. For the benefit of others in similar situations (outside the GTA), here's my response.

Hello, you asked me to e-mail you about my assistance. I am pretty flexible on times, but I noticed that you're in Ottawa. I have no plans to work more than 200km from my home, since this is something I do part time and I'd need to charge too much for travel. Ottawa is definitely too far.

My charges are as outlined in this thread and I have worked within an hour or two of my home (one way) for the noted additional mileage charge.

Let me know if there's anything else you need to know.

Thank you for your interest, 57
I've modified my original post to discuss travelling distances.
 

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Home Theatre

I would like to thank 57 for help (for complete) setup of my new home theatre system.

He helped in so many ways to optimize the sound quality and video image of my new Plasma and home theatre components. Our family was fighting last night to see which movies and channels to watch first as it looked and sounded so great.

He even saved me money in cable (HDMI) purchases and other rip-off products the big box stores try to sell you.

All I can say after spending all that money on equipment is the small fee of $100 for three hours was truly the best money spent.

I would 100% recommend 57 to anyone who purchases a new unit and wants a professional setup.

Thank you 57!
 

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Great Service

Thank you 57 for your great service and terrific advice.

My picture looks great. Your impressive knowledge about the various settings helped me to make decisions about the set up of the SA8300HD that has sped up and simplified my surfing and improved my picture quality even more than I expected was possible.Your adjustments to my audio receiver settings and speaker placement has dramatically improved the balance of my sound. All the video and audio questions I had and could not get answers to elsewhere you had easy to understand answers to.

We ended up accomplishing way more than I had expected:

- Answering questions regarding the SA8300HD and optimizing the various settings.
- Answering questions regarding my A/V Receiver + speakers and assistance with setting all the speaker levels, as well as speaker positioning. (subwoofer, center).
- Optimizing the picture on my HDTV using the Spyder and providing a pdf report on that optimization.

Thank You!
 

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Calibration in Ottawa

I used the service of a guy named John Scott in Ottawa. He is CEDIA Certified Professional. He comes with a bunch of professionnal equipments, such as the video sensor (Sencore) that he places on your screen and run a bunch of test patterns and everything get analysed on a laptop to adjust your colors.

I got my 2 projectors calibrated (all inputs independently) by him and everytime, the difference was huge. So if you are looking for the perfect ajustment (not through a blue filter) then that's the way to go. He can even help build your HT.
He is his email if you are interested.
jscott at thesoundchoice dot ca
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Tatoo, how much did that cost - roughly, for how many hours?

The Sypder I use also uses the same Sencore video sensor, however, instead of a signal generator, your DVD player sends the signals from a test pattern DVD that comes with Spyder to the TV, which are analyzed by my laptop. Did he go into the service menu to adjust? I don't do service menu adjustments only user menu.

barryschafer. Thank you for your kind feedback.
 

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He is a friend of a friend who got his home theater desgined and built by him, so I don't know if I got a good price or not. Just for the video adjustement, took him 2 hours (with all the talks about home theater stuff) and charged me 150$.

I don't know what you mean by Service Menu but he adjusted the the Red Gain, Red Bias, Blue gain, etc + Brightness, constrast, sharpness, color temp of my Digital In (DVI) and the Red-Green-Blue connections as well, which has tint and saturation. That was on my Optoma HD6800 projector.

To me, for all the money we put in our home theater, that the minimun we should do, get a pro to calibrate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
"Service menu" adjustments are the kind of adjustments that you need a special code to do and are not a nomal "user adjustment" which YOU can bring up at any time.

Most of the ones you mention are User adjustments (Brightness, contrast, sharpness, color temp of my Digital In (DVI) and the Red-Green-Blue connections as well, which has tint and saturation) The other ones may have been service adjustments.

See the Digital Home FAQ (under help) - "Service Codes".

FPs may be different...
 

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Calibration in Tottenham

Hi 57, am well north of toronto, about an hour out or so....100km. Just wondering if that's too far for you and if so do you know anyone up there (newmarket, alliston, bolton) who does this sort of thing that you would recommend?
 
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