The Most Accurate and Comprehensive HD Test Disc Available
Whether you're a home theater novice or a professional calibrator, you'll find all the tests you need to set up and adjust your HDTV in the Spears and Munsil HD Benchmark.
The previous edition of the HD Benchmark was recommended by the New York Times, Widescreen Review, Home Theater Magazine and dozens of other print and online publications.
"If you really want to dive into your TV setup, or you want to compare your TV with the latest models, this is an easy $30 to spend," reports Geoffrey Morrison at CNET.com.
"Considering what's on offer here, the asking price is something of a bargain," marvels Home Cinema Choice (UK) "The results are undoubtedly worth it."
Get the Highest Performance from Your System
"Highly recommended for anyone that's interested at all in getting the highest performance from their system," noters Chris Heinonen at Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity.
"[A] useful test tool to find out whether or not an HDTV, Blu-ray Disc player, or an external video processor/scaler is delivering the performance that it claims to deliver on paper," says Robert Silva at About.com.
"The Pinnacle of Setup and Evaluation Discs"
Kris Deering at Home Theater Magazine called the first edition "the pinnacle of setup and evaluation discs… If you have a Blu-ray player, you should have this in your library."
Sam Grobart praised the first edition in The New York Times. "Its regimen of tests and patterns will help you adjust your TV's settings to more natural levels."
This new edition keeps all the features of the previous disc and adds several new features, including 3D stereoscopic calibration and evaluation patterns; audio tests for speaker setup, calibration, and A/V sync; motion patterns to evaluate 120Hz and 240Hz interpolation modes; more help for the home theater beginner; more patterns for the advanced user or professional calibrator.
The Spears and Munsil HD Benchmark is the most accurate and comprehensive HD test disc available anywhere. Every pattern was created using our exclusive ultra-high-precision software tools and represents the state of the art in video reproduction.
Note that all 3D patterns require a 3D Blu-ray Disc player and 3D television. The 2D material will play in any Blu-ray Disc player.
See the section below for info on the first edition, including background from the developers.
Groundbreaking Test and Calibration Patterns
This disc is filled with test material and calibration patterns to help home theater enthusiasts evaluate displays and players and adjust their home theater systems to get the best possible picture.
The High Definition Benchmark uses all-new patterns created from scratch. "We developed our own pattern software so we could make patterns for ourselves for evaluation and calibration. We didn't make our disc by encoding patterns from an off-the-shelf pattern generator," said co-creator Stacey Spears. "Everything was created and encoded entirely by us, with no compromises on quality."
The disc includes patterns not seen on other discs, and new twists on old favorites. A clipping pattern makes it easy to see whether the display is reproducing the highlights or shadows properly. The cropping pattern instantly shows how much of the 1080p image is being cropped by the player and/or display. A whole suite of chroma-channel evaluation patterns make it easy to evaluate chroma reproduction separately from luma.
"Our proprietary software generates the patterns in the native color space of Blu-ray, without any unnecessary color space conversions or rounding. That's the only way to minimize artifacts and preserve all of the detail and bandwidth," said co-creator Don Munsil. "Chroma patterns are especially tricky, because you can't create them properly with full dynamic range in the RGB space that most image-processing software uses."
"We're especially proud of our Chroma Alignment pattern," he added. "It allows you to quickly tell if the chroma channel is aligned properly with the luma channel. It's easy to see an offset of as little as a quarter-pixel, which we think is a first. And it allows you to check both vertical and horizontal alignment. In the old days of analog, vertical chroma alignment was never a problem. But we've seen modern players that misalign the chroma channels up or down. Only our pattern can show you that kind of alignment issue, and show you whether it's a convergence problem or a decoding problem."
Even a classic pattern like the ubiquitous Color Bars gets the Spears and Munsil touch. "We noticed that lots of color bar patterns have small artifacts at the borders between the bars," said Spears. "We shifted the borders between bars slightly so every one of them is on an AVC or VC-1 macroblock boundary. This ensures that there is no bleed or artifacting caused by compression."
Spears and Munsil are best known for their analysis and testing of deinterlacing chipsets, so it's no surprise that the disc includes a full suite of deinterlacing evaluation material. "When we started this project," said Spears, "we found that no existing software could create the special video-to-film pulldown patterns we wanted to generate. So we built our own pulldown generator. We built our own video editor and text overlay generator as well. This disc really fits the Spears & Munsil motto: Hand-Forged Video."
"Bottom line," he said, "this is the disc Don and I wished we'd had when we started creating the DVD Player Benchmark™ and Progressive Scan Shootout."
*All 3D patterns require a 3D Blu-ray Disc player and 3D television. The 2D material will play in any Blu-ray Disc player.
"If you really want to dive into your TV setup, or you want to compare your TV with the latest models, this is an easy $30 to spend."
- Geoffrey Morrison, CNET.com
"Considering what's on offer here, the asking price is something of a bargain…the results are undoubtedly worth it."
- Home Cinema Choice (UK)
"Highly recommended for anyone that's interested at all in getting the highest performance from their system."
- Chris Heinonen, Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
"[A] useful test tool to find out whether or not an HDTV, Blu-ray Disc player, or an external video processor/scaler is delivering the performance that it claims to deliver on paper."
- Robert Silva, About.com
First Edition Reviews
"…the pinnacle of setup and evaluation discs… If you have a Blu-ray player, you should have this in your library."
- Kris Deering, Home Theater Magazine
"Its regimen of tests and patterns will help you adjust your TV's settings to more natural levels."
- Sam Grobart, The New York Times