Projector Reviews

LG HU70LA CINEBEAM THINQ 4K PROJECTOR REVIEW – CALIBRATION

LG HU70LA CineBeam ThinQ 4K Projector Review – Calibration Settings: Calibration Notes, Best Mode SDR Calibration, Best Mode HDR Calibration

Calibration Notes

I performed two calibrations on the LG HU70LA (Best SDR Mode & Best HDR Mode). Since this projector would probably be utilized in a room with some ambient light, I set my SDR target gamma at 2.2. I set the Energy Savings (lamp power) to Minimum which is its highest power mode. LG calls its lamp power mode “Energy Saving” which is a bit strange. I wish the LG would change the name of it lamp power mode setting to something more in-line with the rest of the industry to eliminate any possible confusion.

Since the HU70LA menu system is based on the LG proven smart TV UI, it includes LG’s precise and highly effective calibration workflow. The Cinema, Game, and Expert (Dark Room, Bright Room) modes provide access to all the CMS and White Balance controls. Unlike most projectors, the HU70LA has 10-Point and 21-Point White Balance (unique to these LG FPJ) which allows precise finetuning.  In addition, its CMS adjustment on the HU70LA, like on their TVs, was very responsive. This powerful set of tools that made calibration quick and easy.

Best Mode Calibration for SDR

Expert Bright Room (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)
Expert Bright Room (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)

The Cinema and Expert (Dark & Bright) Modes were most accurate out of the box.  Measuring showed that the default White Balance tracking of the Cinema was similar to the two Expert modes. The Cinema Mode has more of LG’s picture enhancements engaged, which are normally turned off during calibration, so one of the Expert Picture Modes is probably a better starting point for Calibration.

The main difference between the two Expert Modes is the bright room version, which targets a gamma of 2.2, while the gamma target for the dark room version is BT.1886.

For my Best SDR Mode calibration, I chose Expert (Bright Room) Mode because its default gamma setting was closer to my 2.2 target. I left the Contrast and Brightness settings at their default of 50. I left Sharpness along with Color and Tint at their defaults as well. In Expert Bright Room Mode, the default Gamma was 2.2 which was pretty spot on to my 2.2 target.

The color temp pre-set was Medium which measured an 8300K average. The pre-calibration HU70LA white balance was low on Green and high on Blue (green decreasing and blue increasing with brightness). This makes perfect sense because the HU70LA projector’s 4ch LED light engine’s fourth channel is a Blue LED designed to boost its brightness. Prior to calibration, the DeltaE measurements were between 6 to 10.

Expert Bright Room (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration Gamma Log 2.2 Average Gamma (target 2.2)
Expert Bright Room (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration Gamma Log 2.2 Average Gamma (target 2.2)

IRE Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
10 IRE 7523K 6650K
20 IRE 8247K 6548K
30 IRE 8117K 6523K
40 IRE 8242K 6538K
50 IRE 8311K 6534K
60 IRE 8363K 6514K
70 IRE 8517K 6488K
80 IRE 8514K 6531K
90 IRE 8506K 6548K
100 IRE 8458K 6555K

Measurements taken at Mid Placement with Normal Lamp.

Average Gamma Pre-Calibration: 2.21 (target 2.2)

Average Gamma Post-Calibration: 2.2 (target 2.2) @ 562 Lumens

Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Energy Savings Minimum Minimum
Contrast 80 80
Brightness 50 50
Color 50 50
Tint 0 0
Sharpness 10 10
Color Temp Medium Medium
Color Gamut Auto Auto
Gamma 2.2 2.2
Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Dynamic Contrast OFF OFF
Super Resolution OFF OFF
Noise Reduction OFF OFF
MPEG Noise Reduction OFF OFF
Smooth Gradation OFF OFF
Black Level Low Low
Real Cinema ON ON
TruMotion User OFF
RGB High Low
Red -6 -2
Green 29 0
Blue -36 0

White Balance calibration settings for Night mode.

Expert Bright Room (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)
Expert Bright Room (Best SDR) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)

Setting the Color Temp to Medium resulted in a white balance of just over 6500K. By using the HU70LA projector’s 2-Point and 10-Point adjustments, I was able to quickly achieve a DeltaE average of less than 1. The projector also has a 21-Point adjustment which would have allowed me to fine tune the white balance even further, but it wasn’t necessary. Post-calibration white balance was very good with a 6500K average.

The image post-calibration looked excellent and measured very well. After calibration, the projector’s brightness was 24.fL on a 95” screen which is more than bright enough for a good 4K picture.

Best Mode HDR Calibration

When viewing HDR content there are five HDR picture presets (Vivid, Standard, Cinema Home, Game, and Cinema). These presets are different then the SDR options and offer adjustment settings which are also independent of the SDR versions.

Only HDR Game and HDR Cinema modes offer full access to the CMS and WB adjustments. For my Best HDR Mode calibration I chose HDR Cinema mode. Pre-calibration HDR white balance was very similar to SDR Expert Bright Room Mode with a heavy blue cast pushing the white balance to the 8300K range. DeltaE (including Luminance errors) ranged from near 18 on the bright end down to 3 at the low end.

I left Sharpness along with Color and Tint at their defaults. Just like with SDR when viewing HDR prior to calibration the HU70LA white balance was low on Green, high on Blue (green decreasing and blue increasing with brightness).

After setting the Color Temp to Medium and using the HU70LA projector’s 2-Point and 10-Point adjustments, I was able to quickly achieve a DeltaE average of less than 1. The projector also has a 21-Point adjustment which would have allowed me to fine tune the white balance even further, but it wasn’t necessary. Post-HDR calibration, the white balance was very good with a 6,500K average.

HDR Cinema Mode (Best HDR) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)
HDR Cinema Mode (Best HDR) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)

The LG HU70LA did a good job tracking the HDR EOTF right out of the box.

The Dynamic Tone Mapping and Contrast settings can be used to adjust HDR EOTF tracking. When Dynamic Tone Mapping is engaged, the EOTF curve is automatically adjusted (depending on how bright the content/scene was mastered) to provide the best balance of picture brightness and highlight detail. With the HU70LA’s Dynamic Tone Mapping set to ON, to achieve the best compromise between overall brightness and highlight clipping I set Contrast to 41 and Brightness to 53. When fed HDR content mastered at 1,000 nits, the HU70LA’s EOTF tracked well in Auto mode.

Overall based on the HU70LA price point, I was pleased with the 4K/HDR white balance and EOTF performance after calibration. The projector’s measured onscreen brightness was 27fL on a 90” screen which is more than bright enough for a good HDR picture.

HDR Cinema (Best HDR) Post-Calibration (Electro-optical Transfer Function)
HDR Cinema (Best HDR) Post-Calibration (Electro-optical Transfer Function)

IRE Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
10 IRE 7626K 7100K
20 IRE 7887K 6541K
30 IRE 8140K 6471K
40 IRE 8268K 6484K
50 IRE 8549K 6470K
60 IRE 8478K 6459K
70 IRE 8433K 6481K
80 IRE 8553K 6509K
90 IRE 8535K 6478K
100 IRE 8537K 6489K

Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Energy Savings Minimum Minimum
Contrast 100 100
Brightness 50 50
Color 50 50
Tint 0 0
Sharpness 10 10
Color Temp Medium Medium
Dynamic Tone Mapping ON ON
Dynamic Contrast OFF OFF
Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Super Resolution OFF OFF
Color Gamut Auto Auto
Noise Reduction OFF OFF
MPEG Noise Reduction OFF OFF
Smooth Gradation OFF OFF
Black Level Low Low
Real Cinema ON ON
TruMotion OFF OFF
RGB High Low
Red -16 -4
Green 15 0
Blue -47 0

White Balance calibration settings for HDR Cinema mode.

HDR Cinema (Best HDR) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)
HDR Cinema (Best HDR) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)