Product Review (July 2003) - Milori Software
ColorFacts CF-6000 Display Device Analysis System

Display calibration has become an important part of the today's home theater investment. Many serious enthusiasts now allocate part of their home theater budget for the services of an experienced ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) calibrator. Having been ISF certified for nearly three years now, we religiously perform an ISF calibration on every display we review. Without a calibration, one cannot accurately see the true potential of the display. Color analyzers have traditionally been costly, keeping them out of the reach of most end-users. Furthermore, many existing color analyzers designed for CRT displays will not accurately read the other display technologies (i.e. DLP, LCoS, LCD, Plasma, etc.), making the large investment even more difficult to justify.

A company called Milori Software, located in Raleigh, North Carolina, known for their ColorFacts calibration software, has recently teamed up with GretagMacbeth. Anyone involved with the accurate reproduction of color in the publishing industry knows about GretagMacbeth products. They have a full line of color management software and tools. Their Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer is used in several lines of products and offers very accurate measurements, and has the added benefit of being fully compatible with all current display technologies.

Combining the expertise in both software and hardware, Milori Software has introduced the new ColorFacts 6000 Display Device Analysis System that utilizes their ColorFacts software along with the highly accurate GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer. The advantage of being a software development company is they can focus on the software and not on a particular instrument. This allows the calibration software to be powerful while still supporting a large number of color sensors currently on the market. The latest software release (Version 3.0) supports a total of ten instruments. We tested the ColorFacts software with a separate GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro spectrophotometer. This is the same sensor provided with the ColorFacts 6000 System.

Setup
Our test setup included a Stewart FireHawk filmscreen along with a Toshiba TDPMT8U high-definition DLP projector. Using the GretagMacbeth Spectrophotometer to measure the light coming off the screen, we were confident of the accuracy. We also ran some tests on our Pioneer Elite PRO-610HD rear-screen projector.

We loaded the latest ColorFacts Version 3.0 software on our Sony Vaio PCG-GRX550 laptop, which is a P4 running at 1.6GHz with 512K of RAM. Setting up the ColorFacts software is simple and the latest release can be downloaded from the ColorFacts website. A special key is required to enable the software and must be requested through the ColorFacts application or by email. The key is based on a serial number generated during the installation. The Registration Window is used to submit a request from Milori software for an authorization key. Once the key is emailed back to the user (pending verification) and entered into the registration box, the software becomes fully enabled. Without the key, the software will use a simulated color sensor to let potential users get a feel for the application. This is a good approach to get users familiar with what they are buying before they fork out $2495.

We had two different color analyzers to work with during this review. We tried our Sencore CP288 since it was listed on the compatible devices and it worked perfectly, albeit for CRT-based displays only. We then tested the GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer, which is compatible with all displays including reading light off a screen in front projection systems. The Milori CF-6000 ColorFacts System includes the GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer for a complete package. Selecting an Eye-One product does require some clarification if you use the Options menu. If an Eye-One Pro device is connected, you'll need to select the "GretagMacbeth - Eye-Beamer" on the menu. Similarly, if you have the newly released Eye-One Display device you'll need to select the "GretagMacbeth - EyeOne Display". This seemed a bit confusing and I can see how one might select the "GretagMacbeth - EyeOne Display" when they are really using the Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer.

Measurement readings can be displayed in Metric (nits, lux) or Imperial (foot-candles, foot-lamberts) units. Automatic or manual exposure times can also be determined by the operator. The ColorFacts Online Help/FAQ is very well layed out and helps answer common questions users may have with the software.

Features
We found the ColorFacts System very easy to use for anyone who is already familiar with the various video parameters that need adjusting. The fact that the PC or laptop running the software can also be used to generate the video test signals is very powerful. However, the actual scan rate needed for a particular calibration will likely be different. Each set of tests has a set of detailed instructions (Wizard) that guide you through the steps. This was very helpful in the beginning before we became more familiar with the steps that need to be taken. Once you know what you are doing, the detailed instructions can be disabled. Single or continuous readings can be taken depending on how the user wants to use the software.

The ColorFacts screen displays all of the information needed to analyze a display. Manual and automatic measurements can be taken to evaluate the display's performance characteristics. Device Primaries are used to determine the Red, Green and Blue primaries for the display. These three primary colors create a triangle on the CIE chart and determine which colors the display is capable of producing. Only colors inside the triangle can be reproduced. Color reference marks are also displayed on the same chart for comparison to the industry standards (HDTV, NTSC, NTSC(1953), and PAL/SECAM). The ColorFacts System can also determine the display's Contrast Ratio by taking readings at the minimum and maximum brightness levels. This feature works well, but it requires a room with no ambient light, which can drastically affect the results. Gray Scale readings are easy to measure using the automatic feature. Four different testing groups (Standard, Half-Step, Detailed, Very-Detailed) for IRE level sampling are available. The Standard testing has 10 IRE levels, the Half-Step testing has 20 IRE levels, the Detailed testing has 32 IRE levels and the Very-Detailed testing has 64 levels of testing. Complete color calibration history of all sampled IRE levels are displayed for Luminance, Color Temperature, RGB levels and CIE data points. Instantaneous Luminance, Color Temperature and RGB Level data are displayed in separate windows making it easy for the calibrator to see. Raw Color Data is also displayed in a separate window anytime the measurement device samples data. The Test Color window allows the user to produce a wide range of colors by simply clicking on the color palette area. The Spectral Scan window displays a graph of the spectral power distribution (SPD) produced by the display in the visible range (380 to 780 nanometers) for meters capable of returning this information. If an instrument is not capable of returning spectral information, the ColorFacts software will remove the instrument from the GUI. The 3-Axis CIE Chromacity Target window helps the calibrator adjust the three primary colors to converge on a specific white level (e.g. D6500) by visually watching the offset. Finally, Brightness Uniformity is calculated by taking two readings, one in the center of the screen and one on the side.

Updates
The LiveUpdate (optional) feature of the ColorFacts software ensures that you always have the latest version running. Assuming you have an active connection to the internet, ColorFacts will connect with the Milori server and determine if an update is needed. In fact, we just found out version 3.02 has just been released.

Conclusion
The ColorFacts Display Device Analysis System is an amazing and powerful product. The software is well designed for fully automatic or manual readings using the PC as a video generator. The compatibility with an extensive line of color analyzers makes the package even more valuable. The ColorFacts System covers all current display technologies using the GretagMacbeth Eye-One spectrophotometer. Furthermore, the ability to accurately read directly off a high-end screen in a front projection system makes this tool even more powerful. The best part is that you can get all this performance for under $2495, which is a fraction of the cost of some systems with far less capabilities. Whether you're a professional ISF calibrator or just an avid videophile, the ColorFacts System will help you maximize the capabilities of your display technology.

- Kevin Nakano, ISF Calibrator





Review System

Display #1: Pioneer ELITE - PRO-610HD High-definition Rear-screen Projection Television
Display #2: Toshiba - TDP-MT8U High-Definition DLP™ Projector
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100-inch Luxus Deluxe FireHawk ScreenWall
Scaler: Focus Enhancements CenterStage CS-2 Scaler
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: RCA DTC100 HDTV/DSS Satellite Receiver
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables
DVI Cable: Monster Cable M Series M500DVI DVI-D Cable
Video Generator: Sencore VP300 SDTV/HDTV Video Pattern Generator


Review at a glance

ColorFacts CF-6000 Display Device Analysis System

Software Features:

  • Seven Easy-to-use Wizards
  • Interfaces to many popular calibration devices
  • Summary and detailed reports
  • Internal or External Test Image Generation
  • All Data and Graphics can be saved to files
  • Hardware and Software Upgradable
  • Software downloadable for evaluation
  • Highly Graphical and Easy to use
  • LiveUpdate automates Software Upgrades

    Functionality:

  • Analyzes Analog and Digital Front Projectors
  • Analyzes Analog and Digital Rear Projection Sets
  • Analyzes Direct-View Sets
  • Automates Gray-Scale Characterization
  • Automates Contrast Measurement
  • Automates Gamma Calculation
  • Automates Brightness Uniformity Measurement
  • Allows Real-Time Analysis and Calibration
  • Displays Yxy, XYZ, LCh, RGB, Lab, and Luv Color Spaces
  • Displays Color Temperature in Kelvin
  • Displays R, G, B Calibration Corrections
  • Displays Bulls-Eye Target
  • Allows Calibration Target Selection (A, B, C, D50, D55, D65, D75, E, 9300 K, Custom)

    System Requirements:

  • Pentium Class CPU, 400MHz, 64MB RAM
  • One free USB 1.1 or USB 2.0 Port for Eye-One Sensor
  • 800x600 Resolution Recommended
  • 24 or 32-bit Color



    Hardware Specification:
    (GretagMacbeth Eye-One Pro Spectrophotometer)
    Spectral analyzer:  Holographic diffraction grating with diode array
    Spectral range:  380 - 730 nm
    Spectral reporting:  10 nm
    Sampling Interval :  3.5 nm (100 bands)
    Spectral Reporting:  10 nm
    Analog/Digital Converter:  16-bit
    Interface:USB 1.1
    Physical dimensions:  L 151 mm, W 66 mm, H 67 mm (6 x 2.6 x 2.6 inches)
    Weight:  185 g (6.5 oz)
    Accessories included:  Calibration plate, USB cable, Mount direct holder, Tripod Mount

    Emmision:  
    Emission spectra: spectral radiometric emission measurement of the luminance
    Measurement aperture:  4.5 mm
    Measurement range:0.2...300 cd/m2
    Short-term repeatability:x, y: ±0.002 typical
    Measurement Time -
    Emission:
    1 Second

    Power and Environmental Conditions:
    Power required:  Powered by USB, no additional charger required
    Operating Temperature:10°C to 35°C (50°F to 95°F)
    Storage Temperature:-10°C to 50°C (14°F to 122°F)
    Humidity: 0 - 80% non-condensing

    CF-6000 Package Contents: Picture
    Source: Manufacture Supplied
    Warranty: Lifetime limited warranty
    MSRP: $2495

    ColorFacts: Data Sheet
    Order: ColorFacts 6000


    Company Information
    Milori, Inc.
    8412 Falls of Neuse Road, Suite 204
    Raleigh, NC 27615
    Phone: 919-518-8407
    Fax: 919-518-8427

    URL: www.milori.com
    E-Mail: sales@milori.com
    E-Mail: support@milori.com

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