Apple's color balancing feature for projectors

Apple launched a new Apple TV 4K a few days ago. Yawn!

However, with the new ATV, iPhones have a new feature - color balancing - which will automatically calibrate the colors on your Apple TV by using an iPhone. Essentially the Apple TV plays certain test patterns, which are read by the camera of an iPhone running a future iOS 14.5, which automatically calibrates the Apple TV to the right colors. So instead of calibrating your projector, you calibrate your output device, the ATV4K. Best of all, it works on older Apple TV’s like the 1G ATV4K. Am looking forward to it.

https://9to5mac.com/2021/04/21/new-tvos-14-5-color-balancing-feature-works-with-older-apple-tv-models-heres-how-to-use-it/

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Yup…its quite innovative. It only work when you are in Apple TV app itself I suppose, meaning Apple TV movies will take advantage of this calibrated mode to present to the viewers a more accurate PQ. But I dun expect the calibration by this “trick” will work for other sources.

I actually like this approach. So for folks like us, imagine if I have an Xbox and ATV4K connected, and an Oppo 205 separately, I only have options for two devices. 2 profiles to choose from. So if I have optimised the calibration for Oppo on hdmi 1, and Xbox for hdmi 2, I can no longer optimise it for ATV4K

With this new approach from ATV4K, it will adjust on the ATV4K device itself to suit the calibrated profile on the PJ for Xbox or Oppo.

This is good news indeed

After read this article, it made it clear that the so called color balance is targeted at BT709 color gamut only as DV is not supported, meaning WCG calibration is not supported. This is a waste of time since most TV/Projector already have very good OOTB BT709 setting. So pls don’t waste your money if one intends to get this because if this color calibration feature.

Do it for the right reasons like better BT reception, ability to stream higher framerate HDR content via airplay and support up to 8K since it has HDMI 2.1.

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Aiya, then it’s a waste of time … no point. What we want is a calibrated DV profile

But at least helps in some way for Rec709 for those who don’t use a meter to calibrate , better than nothing

Desray, I don’t think it is targeted at Rec709 because HDR10 is supported, which implies WCG. I seems that when TV-led Dolby Vision is enabled on the Apple TV, the Color Balance will be turned off. The rationale seems to be that Dolby Vision is already prerecalibrated into the display and there is no reason (or way presently) to calibrate a Dolby Vision display.

What is not clear is if color balancing is supported with LLDV because LLDV is basically Dolby Vision in a HDR10 container and there is no TV-led color balance. So, it makes sense that Apple would leave it on.

In any case, it works on the older Apple TV 4K. All I need is the latest version of iOS, which hasn’t been released to test it out. Basically free if you are in the Apple ecosystem. If LLDV doesn’t work, then I’ll have to decide to watch the movie in HDR10 or Dolby Vision i.e., whether the colors or tone mapping is more important.

Flatpanels indicates HDR10 supported

Until we get our hands on one and try it out, we will not know. I’ll reserve my comments and speculation for now.

iOS 14.5 is due out this coming week, so i should be able to test soon. There are a few videos out on how it works

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Yeah, true. If they expanded the tool to cover DCI-P3, it would be a lot more useful. I’m guessing the tool is setup for BT709 could be due to majority of streaming content is in BT709. Not sure :thinking:

BT2020 on the other hand, most displays are unable to cover. The only one I came across that could cover the entire BT2020 gamut is the 3 laser Samsung LSP9T, costing about 13 Singapore stacks of cash :sweat_smile:

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That’s why it led me to believe that it’s targeted at BT709 which is much more easier to achieve compared to WCG. While HDR is synonymous with WCG, the calibration is something that is not easy to do unless we are looking at BT709 spectrum. Also let’s not forget that having a good BT709 base, HDR will look at its best when there is enough luminance or even resort to fve use of LLDV signal from Dolby Vision. So if I were Apple, this is what I would do. Getting BT709 colors as close to the reference as possible and let the TV do the WCG conversion.

iOS 14.5 & TvOS were available this morning and I updated both the Apple TV and my iPhone X to try out Apple’s Color Balance. Not straightforward with a projector since color balance is designed for monitors and TVs. A quick surf of the Internet showed how to do it. You have to cover Apples front camera with a muslin cloth of similar white tone to your screen and aim the front camera at the projector. Essentially, the iPhone camera sees the color on your cloth and not on the screen so the cloth must be the same white tone as your screen. Took me some time to find a handkerchief that was the same slightly off white tone as the screen.

Took just a few seconds for the calibration. Apple TV was set to 4K60 HDR and the WCG filter was on for the BenQ W2700. So its now confirmed that the calibration can be done on HDR/WCG. After the Color Balance was finished, the Apple TV shows a static picture with Color Balance On. You can switch it off to compare. For me, the brightness, contrast and saturation were much better with Color Balance On than with it disabled. So it works… at least for the static picture that the ATV displayed.

Its not possible to simply switch Color Balance off and on to compare in movie clips. Once you switch it off, the whole process has to be restarted from scratch. So A/B comparison is hard. If I switch out of HDR/WCG mode to 4K60 SDR on the ATV, color balance also becomes disabled. While it is reenabled, if I switch back the HDR/WCG, its clear that there is only one color balance memory and I either apply it to HDR/WCG or SDR (BT709). I’m quite happy with my SDR calibration anyway, so my main use would be for HDR/WCG.

As for Dolby Vision, if I enable DV for the ATV interface, Color Balance is no longer an option. Generally though, I have my interface in SDR and have color space matching turned on on the ATV. Hence, the system switches to DV only when I watch a movie that is actually encoded in DV. In my case, I am using Player-Led DV from the ATV and I can’t tell whether Color Balance is actually on during DV clips even after watching several clips from David Attenborough’s Life in Color on Netflix a few times both in HDR10 and DV. Overall though, the DV stream is better than the HDR10 stream. In the beginning of Episode 1, Attenborough is walking on a backlit beach and the DV clip looked a lot better to me than the HDR10. Human skin tones look similar so I’m going to stick to DV whenever its available.

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Nice… good to know , thanks for sharing your experience

Glad to be proven wrong…thanks for sharing. :slight_smile:

Other user also reported the same…DV is not supported.

Can take pics for comparison and share it here…thanks.

Here they are. Actually it was a dynamic moving image on the Apple sample shot, not a static one. I took a video clip, then did a screen capture on two scenes. You can see that the balanced one is more saturated. The ATV 4K is set to 4K60 HDR


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Those images in SDR or HDR?

The Apple TV 4K was set to 4K60 HDR during Color Balance

Ok thks.

Still I think it is a waste of time with Apple TV’s color balance…the dE for white is too “high” at dE 6.4.

“It’s cool, but…” :expressionless:


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