Yes, this is an absolute necessity, period! Depending on which brand your purchaced, the differnce is anything but subtle. I had my 4 year old, 56" Sony xbr calibrated by John Gannon, a ISF tech., who now an editor for home theater review magazine. It was the best $350.00 that I ever invested. When he was done , my set looked better than my neighbor's HD set! But then John calibrated that set, and now it really is unbelievable (and way better than mine, which it should have been in the first place). Now, why don't these sets look so good from the factory?; because the manufacturers ralize that many consumers are trying to compare these sets to one another in flouresent lit show rooms, and have no idea what the source material should look like. With this in mind, they boost the reds to enhance flesh tones, and push the blue gun to give the impression of a more vivid and "brighter" picture. Even if these purposefull "colorations" were avoided by these companies, any set could still be improved from a focus, geometry and convergence adjustment. (Every set has to be shipped, and all that bouncing around on the truck will affect these parameters). Now, before you go out and just call any ISF guy, please be aware that these guys are not all the same, and many are "cheap and dirty", when it comes to doing a perfectionist calibration. In my case, John Gannon utilized a $4000.00 color calibration meter, attached to a lap top computer, which is the absolute best way to adjust each of the tubes' outputs. John's color adjustments, and his additional adjustments to focus, geometry and convergence, took him about six hours to properly complete!. (I have been told by many other videophile buddies, that this level of attention by an ISF certified tech is unprecitented, in the video industry...exept for Joe Kane, who actually founded the ISF). In terms of how often it should be done, you may experience a slight drift on your convergence every six months. I am told this varies from set to set, and how much you move it around. (Fortunately, my set still looks virtually the same after two years). In my opinion, if you identify a "respectable" ISF guy, he can do wonders with virtually any projection TV set. Good luck.
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