It only gets better. We were extremely pleased with its image quality after adjusting by eye for what I thought was proper skin tones, etc. and I couldn’t disagree with my wife that we might be crazy to have it professionally calibrated.
Earlier today Gregg Loewen of Lion Audio Video (lionav.com) unpacked and setup two travel cases of equipment and showed me that my settings were actually quite bad. He spent a couple of hours getting it well within THX calibration spec. While there were a couple of results that were not perfect, they were quite good, within THX spec and if better not anything that would be visible to the eye. Gregg’s comments included; “it had more calibration settings than most sets” and included the words “gorgeous” and “jealous”. You’ll have to check with Gregg for any comparison to other TV’s that he’s calibrated.
While the picture was great before calibration, it’s fabulous now. No question that colors are as they should be, whites are brighter, blacks are dead black (with room lights turned off blacks are totally black as with the TV turned OFF), etc. I don’t have another calibrated TV to compare it to, but as far as I am concerned, it’s perfect. Best of all, my wife says that she can easily see the improvement on both HD and SD programs and that it was worth getting it calibrated.
It’s too bad the TV’s can’t be properly calibrated as received from the manufacturer and the stores can’t have a level playing field with all display TV’s properly set up for an honest comparison.
My advice to anyone that spends the $ for a high end TV is that no matter how good you think it is, you’ll never know if it is as good as it can be without the services of someone with the equipment, knowledge and time to get it right. It’s also nice to no longer think that it could be better with additional tweaking by eye to correct for what might simply be poor quality program material.