Hardware Spotlight ? Sencore
Sencore CP5000 All-Display Color Analyzer
By Grant Clauser
Aside from creating new opportunities for selling home entertainment gear, the growth of direct pixel-addressed display technologies such as plasma, DLP and LCD has opened up another issue to the public consciousness — display calibration. The problem, however, is that most of the video calibration equipment on the market, specifically, the tristimulus device color analyzers, are not compatible with new technologies.
Analyzers like the Sencore 288/290 (and similar devices from Philips and others) were, and still are, great for CRT calibrations. But these days, many more home theater consumers are opting for DLP and plasma. Spectraradiometers work in those instances, but can cost well over $10,000. Optical comparitors are excellent for calibrations, but don't give you any readouts to record and may produce more subjective results. Sencore has just introduced its CP5000 All-Display Color Analyzer to fill in the gap.
The CP5000 is similar to the CP288 in that it's a Windows PC-based system used with a laptop. The product includes two pods with USB connections (serial also available), one for DLP, CRT, LCD projection and plasma, and the other for flat-panel LCD. There's the Windows-based software, a pod cable extender, a pod mount and an internally padded, secret-agent man-type metal carrying case. The list price is $4,995, but Sencore offers $1,000 off if you trade in your old CP288 or CP290.
Installing and setting up the software on my Windows XP machine was simple, and took about two minutes. Immediately after installation you're prompted to do a dark calibration of the software by placing one of the pods receptor-face down. After that, the system is ready to go.
The CP5000's setup utility allows you to customize designated default settings used each time you run the software. The three most important settings are White Reference, Offset Factors and Refresh Rate. White Reference sets the target coordinates to which you want to calibrate your display. The coordinates you enter here will correspond to the CIE chromaticity chart on the measurement window. Users of the CP288 will be familiar with this interface.