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Author Topic: NEC PA241W Calibration Problems with i1 Display Pro  (Read 2976 times)
gbillett
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« on: February 28, 2013, 11:03:55 AM »
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Can anyone help me resolve this conundrum:-)

Ordered a PA241W from Wex Photo in UK on 25th Feb,  arrived 26th.  Downloaded the Spectraview Software off the European NEC website for a 14 day trial ( price not apparent on website ).  Received email confirming the trial and potential order the following day ( 27th Feb ) suggesting price was 100 Euros,  with the following information :

'If you own a NEC SpectraView Monitor (like SV Reference 271) the software will run automatically for free as the monitor is the "dongle" for the software! If the software still asks for a license then there seems to be a problem with the hardware communication and you should contact our support team at:
spectraview@nec-displays.com'  'Please acknowledge your order by replying to this mail.
The license file will be sent to you immediately after receipt of your payment. Best way for payment is via PayPal. Just let us know your PayPal mailadress and we will send you a payment request.
In the meantime you can work without any restrictions, if you download a 14-days trial license.'

In the 14 day window of restriction-less use I tried to calibrate using an old i1display using the spectraview software but an alert came up saying the software 'did not recognise the instrument'.  I borrowed my son's i1display pro and the same message occured.  I contacted Wex who advised me to contact x-rite re compatibility.  I contacted x-rite who,  in a recorded message,  advised that I contact the supplier for any queries regarding i1 products.

I phoned NEC and had a subsequent following email exchange with a senior product adviser there :

Hi Steve
Trying to calibrate my new NEC PA241W  with xrite i1display pro and Spectraview 5 software.
Repeatedly brings up an Alert stating  'no instrument found' despite the instrument flashing away and being recognised in Windows 7. This Any advice please?

On 28/02/2013 14:22, Steven Cxxxxxx wrote:
You mean a SV241?

From: GeoffreyBillett [mailto:geoffreybillett@googlemail.com]
Sent: 28 February 2013 14:24
No PA241W

On 28/02/2013 14:25, Steven Cxxxxx wrote:
Did the Spectraview software come in the box?

My reply
No downloaded from  http://license.basiccolor.de/login.asp?language=en&oemId=3

On 28/02/2013 15:27, Steven Cxxxx wrote:
Sorry Geoffrey, does it have a Spectraview label on the front? I
think it does...just checking

From: GeoffreyBillett
 what the monitor?  its called MultisyncPA241W,  no mention of
 spectraview on the monitor's casing but NEC's own literature
 recommends the Spectraview software for the range of large gamut
 monitors NEC produces, including the PA241W

On 28/02/2013 15:35, Steven Cxxxx wrote:
If you have a PA, it won't work, Im sorry As I explained yesterday, in
Europe, SV sw only works with SV monitors

My reply :
Ok so what independent calibrators are recommended?

On 28/02/2013 15:44, Steven Cxxxx wrote:
Any really, just use the Xrite sw with it...
WEX should have recommended the SV241-apologies
S

My reply :
OK thanks.  For clarity are you saying that no independent calibrators will work with Spectraview software at all,  and will need to use their own native software? So there is no point me buying the software as it wont work with the PA241W monitor?

On 28/02/2013 16:42, Steven Cotton wrote:
correct


Ok - so I am left confused.

1.  NEC recommend in their own literature/web pages that Spectraview is recommended for this monitor see http://www.necdisplay.com/support-and-services/spectra-view-II/Compatibility#models
2.  Many people have recommended across the internet that the Spectraview software is the way to go using 3rd party calibration tools
3.  Neither Wex nor x-Rite appear to take any responsibility for taking queries regarding this issue
4.  This NEC senior customer adviser Steve Cxxxxx  suggests all this information is incorrect and suggests that Wex should have advised me to buy the SV range monitor if I wanted to use this software.
5.  I still have a problem that this software will not recognise either of my third party calibration tools despite people apparently using them widely with no problem across the world with Spectraview software.

Any advice from anyone please :-)

Ps I am sending a copy of this thread to Steve C,  NEC's senior management and Wex Photo for their information.
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Geoff Billett
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« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2013, 12:58:44 PM »
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Hi Geoffrey

FWIW I bought a PA24W here in New Zealand and the suppliers couldn't/wouldn't supply SV II, so I bought it online from the US.  It works perfectly well with my i1Display Pro.

Assuming it's the Euro version of the software that is hobbled to not work with your display, could you do the same?   (Of course, if they have somehow hobbled the display, it's a different issue)

Cheers

Tim

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gbillett
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« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2013, 01:24:21 PM »
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Thanks Tim.  Good suggestion.  There are 2 issues for me here,  firstly the apparently misleading advice from the adviser,  who was categorical in his stating that SV was not appropriate for the PA monitors and only recommended for the SV screens.  If the software has been hobbled for PA monitors in Europe there appears to be no other software which can fully calibrate the monitors to their maximum technical potential.  I would think this is unlikely.

The other is practical considerations - am I doing something wrong either with USB connections or settings on the monitor.  I am not very technical and find this technology and learning curve difficult to assimilate.  The American website appears to provide far greater information regarding these factors and I will study it more closely.

Another aspect I find irritating is the lack of transparency regarding the cost of the software.  You have to download for a trial before the cost is revealed.  Do you recall how much you paid?

Thanks again.

Geoff
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Geoff Billett
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« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2013, 01:31:25 PM »
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Sorry I take the comment re cost back.  Its $89 from http://www.necdisplay.com/p/SVIISOFT-W,  substantially cheaper than Europe.
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« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2013, 03:48:37 PM »
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What's confusing is that there's a US software product and a European software product. One, the US version which I use (being in the US) is made by NEC, the other another (BasICColor?) European company. I'm not certain you can use the US software on a European display and vise versa. So whatever NEC site you're looking at, it might tell you something that isn't appropriate or correct for your region. Some of the instruments are locked out of one or the other version. Sorry I don't have specifics as I don't run the BasICColor product but instead the US product. It runs fine with my i1Display-Pro, the older i1Display and the i1 Spectrophotometer products.
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« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2013, 09:20:22 PM »
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Geoff

I'd hate to get this wrong for you.  My experience was that the US version of Spectraview II (incidentally, I got it from B&H rather than NEC) is that it works perfectly with i1 Display Pro and the PA24W I bought here.  If Andrew is right and the European-sold monitors are somehow different and hobbled to lock out the US SV II then following my lead wouldn't do you much good!  As far as I can tell there's no way of knowing where my PA24W was built.

On the other hand, in this thread Paul (in the UK) says that the Basiccolor SW works with the i1 DispPro and performs all the same functions as SV, and produces, in his words, better icc profiles.  Looking at their website, it seems that Basiccolor might be a tad more expensive but, if it works .....

FWIW if the hardware is hobbled for different markets that would be  a marketing strategy I find irritating and nonsensical.  But no one could explain why NEC's sales people c/wouldn't sell me SV II here either.  Perhaps NEC knows something we don't.  Funny world!

Cheers

Tim

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gbillett
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« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 03:34:02 AM »
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Further clarification from http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/nec_pa241w.htm

'  1) SpectraView II - This is NEC USA's piece of proprietary software which is designed to offer the user hardware calibration of supporting screens from their range. In The USA NEC provide two varieties of the screen. There is the regular PA241W which does not come with this software or a calibration tool. It is however "unlocked" and ready for use with the SV II software should you want to. It therefore allows unrestricted calibration at a hardware level when paired with SV II if you purchase that, and a calibration device, separately. The second version of the screen is the PA241W-SV (SpectraView edition) which comes bundled with the software and NEC's calibration tool. The monitor itself remains the same.

The SV II software is not available internationally unfortunately. It is reasonably basic in settings and features but does a good job nevertheless. You can see information about SV II from our review of the PA271-SV

2) SpectraView Profiler - This is NEC Europe's equivalent software, based around the popular and high end BasICColor Display software package. It is supposedly designed in this way for the "more demanding" European audience and has a larger range of settings and features than SV II. In Europe there are also two versions of the screen, the regular PA241W and the PA241W-SV (sometimes also referred to as the SpectraView Reference 241). The complication comes with these two varieties in Europe. The regular PA241W has an additional firmware lock which means it cannot be used with SpectraView Profiler to hardware calibrate the screen. Therefore you are limited to software calibration in most cases. Interesting the USA SpectraView II software could work with this screen as it does not care about the firmware lock, but there are issues with availability of that software in Europe.

The NEC PA241W-SV edition does not carry this firmware lock. According to NEC they also offer hand picked and factory optimised panels and so supposedly offer that slightly higher level of accuracy in addition to the regular PA241W. Because the PA241W-SV is no firmware locked, it can be used with the SpectraView Profiler for full hardware level calibration. Again, it could work with SV II as well technically.'

Explains why my calibration tools are not recognised by by Spectraview profiler downloaded from NEC's European website and why the American Spectraview software works with the PA241W.

Interesting but complicated.  Apologies due to Steve C but hardly an endorsement of NEC's complex global hardware/software configurations.

Decision to be made : whether to accept limitations of this monitor to use only software calibration options ( perhaps using profiles offered on the helpful http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/articles/icc_profiles.htm#calibrate )  or to buy the American Spectraview software through eg B&H.

Thank you all for your advice.
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« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 03:43:19 AM »
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Interesting final comments from the http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/nec_pa241w.htm site

'It's all very well saying a panel is capable of 10-bit colour depth (1.07 billion colour palette) as opposed to an 8-bit colour depth (16.7 million colours), but you need to take into account whether this is practically useable and whether you're ever going to truly use that colour depth. Apart from the requirements of your application, operating system, graphics card and software, one more pertinent limitation is from a display point of view, where there must be an interface which can support 10-bit colour depth. At the moment DisplayPort is the only option which can. Thankfully the PA241W does include a DisplayPort interface capable of handling a 10-bit colour depth. If you use the DVI-D interface you can only take advantage of 16.7 million colours out of palette of 65 billion. Remember, the panel is strictly operating with 8-bit colour depth, but with an added AFRC stage at the panel side to extend the colour palett'
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« Reply #8 on: March 01, 2013, 08:57:40 AM »
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'  1) SpectraView II - This is NEC USA's piece of proprietary software which is designed to offer the user hardware calibration of supporting screens from their range. In The USA NEC provide two varieties of the screen. There is the regular PA241W which does not come with this software or a calibration tool. It is however "unlocked" and ready for use with the SV II software should you want to.

Pretty darn sure ALL the hardware is the same but as you point out, there may be some firmware that limits options. As you point out, there are options to use the NEC USA software, with a NEC branded X-rite instrument or you can use your own supported instrument or none of the above (just the display and some other solution. Not recommended!).

In terms of hardware in the US and Europe, my understanding is again, they are the same. Don't take this the wrong way Europe but to make you feel like you're getting something special, perhaps with the higher price point, and due to the demanding needs there <g>, you get a certificate of some accuracy of the display which based on my understanding would make a useful liner for a bird cage. IOW, no difference. There may be some software lock with the European products (in the panel, in the software, don't know, sounds like you're saying firmware in the display itself).

Quote
The SV II software is not available internationally unfortunately. It is reasonably basic in settings and features but does a good job nevertheless. You can see information about SV II from our review of the PA271-SV

Yes, it's a silly policy. As much as I love this product and have several, NEC international hasn't a clue. Originally, when the units were first shipping years ago, you couldn't even purchase the US software on the web and download. You had to buy a CD. Worse, there was a time when NEC didn't have enough CD's and people who wanted to drive their SpectrView's couldn't even get the software, waiting on NEC to burn CDs. Unbelievably dumb!

Quote
2) SpectraView Profiler - This is NEC Europe's equivalent software, based around the popular and high end BasICColor Display software package. It is supposedly designed in this way for the "more demanding" European audience and has a larger range of settings and features than SV II.

I applaud you for using "more demanding" because while the customers may be, both sides of the world have little choice here and as far as I'm concerned, they both get the job done. In some countries, calibrating to Lstar is all the rage (despite no actual peer review work that proves this. This was discussed years ago on the ColorSync list and nothing as changed since then). The European software builds LUT profiles which some feel, agin without any empirical evidence that this is 'better' more demanding then what the US product builds.

Yes, it's kind of a mess.
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« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2013, 04:11:18 AM »
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Response from Basiccolor in Germany and my response.   I am assuming that setting the white point and luminance on the monitor manually is inferior to setting it within a profiling environment which will then become integral to/within the profile.  Or is there no difference?

Hello Geofrey,

the MultiSync PA241w is not supported with a full hardware calibration by the SpectraView Profiler 5. Only the SpectraView series monitors are supported with a full hardware calibration. The MultiSync series monitors are supported with a "combined HW/SW calibration". This means the White point and the luminance will be set up in the monitors hardware but the corrections of the LUT's will be still done on the graphic card.
The list of compatible models you've posted is from the US american website. In the USA NEC has a different line up of the monitor series. They only have a MultiSync series, but not a SpectraView series.
In the USA it is possible to purchase an additional software (Spectraview II). Over here in Europe this software is not available. The SpectraView monitors here are shipped including the SpectraView Profiler 5 software. And this software can be purchased as option for the MultiSync monitors.

If you have an original X-Rite i1 Display pro and the original i1 Profiler is installed on your system it is possible that the SpectraView Profiler 5 will not connect to the instrument. The problem in this case is one background service of the i1 Profiler which is accessing the instrument permanently. (Imagine…. two people want to drive a car at the same time… this is impossible). So in this case the background service (I think it is the profile reminder which can be found in the system menu) has to be quited before connecting the instrument to the SpectraView Profiler.
Beside this you have to ensure that the instrument is connected to the computer before you start the SV Profiler 5. Otherwise the instrument couldn't be found (this is a problem of the system driver of the instrument).


Best regards

Tim xxx

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Am 28.02.2013 um 18:47 schrieb geoffreybillettphotography <geoffreybillettphotography@gmail.com>:
geoffbillett <geoffreybillettphotography@gmail.com>
   
9:46 AM (9 minutes ago)
      
to Support, Steven.Cotton

Dear Tim

Many thanks for you your explanation.  My initial request for advice was to basically find whether there were/information incompatibility problems between the i1 display pro and SV Profiler;  I had no software for any calibration tool was on my computer.  I was surprised that SV Profiler could not detect the colorimeter and that was simply the basis of my request for advice.  WEX referred me to X-Rite,  X-Rite referred me to WEX.  I phoned NEC and Steve provided me ( as it turned out ) with the correct information but not the wider picture and I partially apologise to him.  He should not accept sole responsibility for this confusing situation.

Again for clarification are you telling me that the idisplay pro WILL work with Spectraview Profiler ( providing there is no x-rite software installed )  but in a limited fashion?  If correct this suggests that in Europe there is NO available software/hardware configuration which will provide a FULL hardware calibration for the NEC WA241W monitor ( and thus realise its full potential) ,  a professional wide gamut monitor which costs in the region of £800.  If this is the case,  I find it unbelievable.  Are there seriously professional colour workers/advanced photographers who are happy with this situation?

I have subsequently downloaded the software for the i1display pro and profiled the monitor with this but am not wholly pleased with the results.  The website http://www.tftcentral.co.uk/reviews/nec_pa241w.htm suggests also that the preset profiles are inaccurate so full calibration is considered essential.

Can I ask that you confirm that if I bought the the Spectraview 11 software from America ( B&H sell it for $99.00 - which is cheaper than the Spectraview Profiler available in Europe and reputedly inferior but adequate software ) it will be fully compatible with my PA241W monitor and my i1 display pro calibrator ( I will remove the x-rite software from my computer ).

My initial conversations with Steve included comments about the inadequacy of information on NEC's European webpages about the monitor.  Steve encouraged me to email to him some of my concerns and appeared to have to have some sympathy regarding this.  Can I ask you to clarify where,  on the European website,  the information you have helpfully provided me with today can be found?  If it is there I have missed it.  Is it correct that Steve suggested that WEX should have directed me to the NEC SpectraView range of monitors?  Can you advise me where to purchase a PA Spectraview 241W monitor - a quick search on Google revealed only 1 outlet selling these monitors in the UK for considerably more money.

I agree I should have done more research before purchasing this monitor,  but having done so subsequent to purchase it has not been easy to fully understand the WHOLE PICTURE which,  to my untrained eyes and experienced colour management professionals ( and authors ) on the Luminous Landscape website,  appears a mess.

I am an exhibiting analogue photographer with an opportunity to have a local exhibition of digital images taken at the recent Kumbh Mela  in Allahabad ( see here www.geoffreybillettphotography.co.uk ) and require a monitor capable of providing me with accurate colour information for images taken within a range of very difficult lighting conditions which I would also like to sell.  My son ( in his last year of a Documentary Photography degree course at the University of Wales,  Newport ) has an Eizo monitor,  is astonished at the problems I am having to achieve something he can routinely achieve on his monitor.  The PA241W can undoubtedly achieve what I want it to but it seems I need to purchase the Spectraview software from the USA to obtain FULL control of the monitor.

Or am I missing something fundamental here?

Best wishes

Geoff
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2013, 09:37:02 AM »
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If you have an original X-Rite i1 Display pro and the original i1 Profiler is installed on your system it is possible that the SpectraView Profiler 5 will not connect to the instrument. The problem in this case is one background service of the i1 Profiler which is accessing the instrument permanently.

Let me rephrase this: it's our bug in SpectraView Profiler but we'd like you to think it's X-Rite services since these services don't affect other products (at least on the Digital Dog and other's system).

These newer services run just fine, even using the older ProfileMaker Pro software, built prior to i1P's services release.

To be more fair, the X-rite services are IMHO, a huge waste of X-rite engineering time and effort and largely unnecessary. So I can see how this company would call it an X-rite bug, despite it working in other and older software products.
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« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2013, 01:35:11 AM »
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Response from Basiccolor in Germany

the MultiSync PA241w is not supported with a full hardware calibration by the SpectraView Profiler 5. Only the SpectraView series monitors are supported with a full hardware calibration. The MultiSync series monitors are supported with a "combined HW/SW calibration". This means the White point and the luminance will be set up in the monitors hardware but the corrections of the LUT's will be still done on the graphic card.
The list of compatible models you've posted is from the US American website. In the USA NEC has a different line up of the monitor series. They only have a MultiSync series, but not a SpectraView series.


Hi again Geoff

I think the Basiccolor people want you to buy the Basiccolor software!  And, quite possibly, NEC have a commercial arrangement with them.  I guess it is not in Basiccolor's interests to encourage you to purchase SV II from the US. 

I'll bet Andrew is right.  I reckon Basiccolor's claim that the NEC monitors on sale in the US are different from those sold in Europe is accurate only in as far as branding and bundling is concerned.  The claim that somehow very good copies are selected for special branding would be impossible to verify, I imagine.  Sound like hype to me.

AFIK the only difference between the US 'Multisync' version and the "Spectraview" version, is that the latter comes bundled with the SV II software and a NEC branded puck. 

My only option here in NZ was to buy the 'Multisync' PA241W.  But it calibrates and profiles perfectly (in my experience) with i1 Display Pro and the SV II s/w I bought from B&H.  I can't imagine what change to the hardware NEC would (want to) make to make it not work with their own profiling solution, in spite of a possible agreement with Basiccolor.

It sounds like "Spectraview Profiler 5" which is included (is it?) with the PA241W sold in Europe, may be similar, or even a little more functional, than "NEC Multiprofiler" that was included with my PA241W.  It allows hardware calibration/adjustments but has no functionality to interface with a colorimeter or spectrophotometer.  (Actually, I only think that because I can't find any reference in the menus or the manual - but the Multiprofiler manual is not a paragon of clarity.)

You have i1 Display Pro.  My guess is you are going to be a happy camper if you go ahead and purchase SV II from the US.

Cheers

Tim
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