Projector Reviews

LG HU80KA Review: A Smart Laser Projector for Home – Calibration Settings

LG HU80KA 4K UHD Home Theater Projector Review – Calibration Settings: Calibration Presets Notes, Best Mode Calibration, Brightest Mode Calibration & 4K Calibration

LG HU80KA Calibration Notes

Note: All of my measurements and calibration work was done without using the mirror.

The HU80KA has 9 modes (Vivid, Standard, Cinema (User), Sports, Game, HDR Effect, technicolor Expert, Expert (Bright Room) & Expert (Dark Room). I spent most of my time with Expert (Dark Room), Standard & Standard HDR. The menu layout is identical to LG’s OLED & LCD TV’s which in of its self I have no issues with, however some of the preset values seemed copied over too and don’t make much sense here. For example, Expert Dark, Expert Bright and technicolor modes all have contrast defaulted to 80 which is far too low making this lumen challenged projector dimmer than it needs to be. Like LG’s OLED’s these 3 modes are nearly identical to each other except for some slight gamma differences.

Note: The terminology used in this calibration page, Brightest Mode and Best Mode, refer to two modes of this projector. “Brightest Mode” refers to the brightest (calibrated) mode the projector has, while “Best Mode” refers to the mode with the best calibrated color offered by the projector. These modes will often not be named “Brightest” or “Best” in the projector’s menu – these are merely terms we use to describe the brightest mode and the mode with the best color.

Best Mode Calibration for 1080p and REC.709 – Expert (Dark Room)

Expert (Dark Room) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)
Expert (Dark Room) Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)

For my Best Mode calibration, I used Expert (Dark Room) with Energy Savings set to minimum. This is the same as having the lamp or (light engine) set to high. I increased Contrast to 95 which clips whites just above 235. Pre-calibration was not good with DelatE shooting off my chart at 12+ across the entire grayscale range. Part of this was due to contrast being set to 80 and the other factor was the color temp pre-set was oddly set to Medium which was plus blue/red and minus green giving a purplish/blue white balance (7600K average). Setting the Color Temp to Warm was a little better with its heavy red push but surprisingly it was putting out more lumens so that is why I used Warm as my starting point for calibration. Like with LG’s flat panels the HU80KA offers both 2 and 20-point white balance calibration in some of its modes with SDR content. This is the first time I have seen a 20 point (or 10 Point for that matter) on a consumer projector. For this review I did not use the 20-point.

I was able to increase V&H Sharpness from 10 to 20 without creating any halo artifacts. Edge Enhancer I left on and Super Resolution seemed to have no effect with 1080p content so I left it off. Post-calibration white balance was ok with a 6600K average. The 2 largest errors were found at with 60IRE measuring 6815K and 10IRE at warm 5814K. Normally I would leave Dynamic Contrast off because it gives me the flattest gamma but setting it to Medium helps give the image a little pop it sorely needs. Speaking of gamma, the default for Expert (Dark Room) is BT.1886 which should be the best choice for a dark room but it’s very bright, measuring at a 2.00. Selecting the 2.4 preset ended up being slightly darker and therefore a better choice. But because it too is so high I had to choose a 2.2 gamma for my target and even then, after calibration the closest I could get was a 2.10 average, a far cry from the advertised 2.4. Final post-calibration lumen output was not that impressive at 713 lumens.

Expert (Dark Room) Mode Post-Calibration Gamma Log 2.10 Average Gamma (target 2.20)
Expert (Dark Room) Mode Post-Calibration Gamma Log 2.10 Average Gamma (target 2.20)

IRE Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
10 IRE 5917K 5814K
20 IRE 7895K 6537K
30 IRE 7630K 6800K
40 IRE 7409K 6657K
50 IRE 7458K 6581K
60 IRE 7802K 6815K
70 IRE 7530K 6606K
80 IRE 7432K 6607K
90 IRE 7432K 6570K
100 IRE 7475K 6611K

Measurements taken at Wide Zoom with Energy Savings at Minimum.

Average Gamma Pre-Calibration: 1.92

Average Gamma Post-Calibration: 210 @ 713 Lumens

Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Contrast 80 95
Brightness 50 50
Color 50 75
Tint 0 0
Color Temp Medium Warm
Dynamic Contrast Off Off
H Sharpness 10 20
V Sharpness 10 20
Super Resolution Off Off
Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Color Gamut Auto Wide
Gamma BT.1886 2.4
Edge Enhancer On On
Color Filter Off Off
Noise Reduction Off Off
MPEG NR Off Off
Black Level Low Low
Real Cinema On On
True Motion Off Off
RGB High Low
Red -44 -13
Green 7 0
Blue -17 -2

White Balance calibration settings for Expert (Dark Room) mode.

Expert (Dark Room) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)
Expert (Dark Room) Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)

Delta E is a metric for understanding how the human eye perceives color difference. The term delta comes from mathematics, meaning change in a variable or function. The suffix E references the German word Empfindung, which broadly means sensation. Simply put, look at Delta E as a measure of grayscale/color accuracy. 3 and under is considered ‘Excellent’ and imperceptible by the human eye.

Brightest Mode Calibration for 1080P and REC.709 – Standard Mode

For my Brightest Mode calibration, I wanted to use Expert (Bright Room). Problem is I’m unable to make it any brighter than my Expert (Dark Room) calibration which is already kinda anemic at 713 lumens. So, I used Standard mode with Energy Savings set to minimum. Problem is Standard mode lacks both White Balance and CMS controls. So, I was not able to make the same improvements like I did with my Best (Dark Room) calibration. Standard mode pre-calibration white balance was very blue pushing past 10000K territory. Changing the color temp from Medium to Warm did help reduce the blue push down to 7800K and while still not great it’s still better than 10000K.

Standard Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)
Standard Mode Post-Calibration RGB Balance / Grayscale Tracking (target D65)

Pre-calibration gamma measured at a very bright 1.77 average. My gamma target was 2.10. Setting gamma to High2 thankfully brought gamma down to a 2.10 average. Like with my Best Mode calibration I suggest you try Dynamic Contrast on Medium. I lowered Sharpness to 20 from 25, increased Color to 75. Turned Dynamic Color, Super Resolution, NR & MPEG NR all off. Post-calibration DeltaE is not good running from 6 on the low end to 12+ on the high end. This however is not unexpected as I am unable to perform any white balance calibration. On the plus side we did achieve a brighter image at 1011 lumens, 300 more than our Best Mode calibration.

Standard Mode Post-Calibration Gamma Log 2.10 Average Gamma (target 2.10)
Standard Mode Post-Calibration Gamma Log 2.10 Average Gamma (target 2.10)

IRE Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
10 IRE 7809K 6315K
20 IRE 10796K 7187K
30 IRE 10825K 7593K
40 IRE 11528K 7854K
50 IRE 10808K 8020K
60 IRE 11029K 7838K
70 IRE 11081K 7851K
80 IRE 10492K 7818K
90 IRE 10019K 7683K
100 IRE 10182K 7433K

Measurements taken at Wide Zoom with Energy Savings at Minimum.

Average Gamma Pre-Calibration: 1.77

Average Gamma Post-Calibration: 2.10 (target 2.10) @ 1011 Lumens

Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Contrast 95 95
Brightness 50 50
Color 50 75
Tint 0 0
Color Temp Medium Warm
Dynamic Contrast Medium Medium
H Sharpness 25 20
V Sharpness 25 20
Super Resolution Low Off
Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Color Gamut Wide Auto
Gamma Medium High 2
Edge Enhancer On On
Color Filter Off Off
Noise Reduction Low Off
MPEG NR Low Off
Black Level Low Low
Real Cinema On On
True Motion Clear Off
RGB High Low
Red n/a n/a
Green n/a n/a
Blue n/a n/a

White Balance calibration settings for Standard mode.

Standard Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)
Standard Mode Post-Calibration DeltaE 2000 (target below error of 3)

4K with HDR – Standard (HDR) Mode

Lastly, I did a 4K/HDR calibration. On an LG OLED I would use the technicolor picture mode but here just like the two Expert Modes it’s quite dim and with HDR content we need as many lumens as we can get, so like with my Brightest Mode calibration I used Standard (HDR) mode. Had I used technicolor mode I would have had CMS controls but oddly no white balance controls. In fact, no mode has white balance controls with HDR content. When you enter technicolor with HDR content it does show the 20-point white balance controls but they are all greyed out and can’t be accessed.

Standard (HDR) mode pre-calibration white balance was very blue pushing past 10000K. Changing the color temp from Medium to Warm did help reduce the blue push down to 7400K-7800K range. I kept Contrast set to its max setting of 100. I lowered Sharpness to 20 from 25, decreased Color from 65 to 50 and kept Super Resolution on Low. Turned Dynamic Color, NR & MPEG NR all off.

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

With HDR the HU80KA does not offer Gamma control, however Dynamic Contrast does effect EOTF (gamma) and I recommend you keep it at Medium or even High setting. DeltaE is not good measuring from 6 on the low end to 12+ on the high end. This however is not unexpected as I am unable to perform any white balance calibration. Final measured lumen output is 1038.

Standard (HDR) (dynamic contrast med) Mode Post-Calibration (Electro-optical Transfer Function) aka gamma
Standard (HDR) (dynamic contrast med) Mode Post-Calibration (Electro-optical Transfer Function) aka gamma

IRE Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
10 IRE 5333K 5022K
20 IRE 7434K 6386K
30 IRE 10349K 7578K
40 IRE 10928K 7740K
50 IRE 10936K 7828K
60 IRE 11108K 7845K
70 IRE 10167K 7407K
80 IRE 9930K 7560K
90 IRE 10086K 7422K
100 IRE 10359K 7475K

Measurements taken at Wide Zoom with Energy Savings at Minimum.

ETOF (gamma) Post-Calibration: Dynamic Contrast set to Medium tracked overly bright on the low end then loosing brightness around 50IRE @ 1038 Lumens.

Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Contrast 100 100
Brightness 50 50
Color 65 50
Tint 0 G5
Color Temp Medium Warm
Dynamic Contrast Medium Medium
H Sharpness 25 20
V Sharpness 25 20
Super Resolution Low Low
Type Pre-Calibration Post-Calibration
Color Gamut Wide Auto
Gamma n/a n/a
Edge Enhancer On On
Color Filter Off Off
Noise Reduction Low Off
MPEG NR Low Off
Black Level Low Low
Real Cinema On On
True Motion Clear Off
RGB High Low
Red n/a n/a
Green n/a n/a
Blue n/a n/a

White Balance calibration settings for Standard (HDR) mode.

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

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