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On the internet have appeared a few blog posts claiming that inexpensive 4K-TVs make great monitors, at least for programmers.

Can these monitors also be used well for creative work, such as processing digital photographs, and doing finishing?

Has anyone color-calibrated such a 4K TV? What about the long-term stability of the calibration?

Update: A few days after posting, one guy has done the calibration himself and answered it very thoroughly: Why does Spyder4Pro calibration of Seiki Monitor look odd?

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  • See also this question, which asks the same thing, but was closed as a duplicate of a different question about lower-cost, lower-resolution television monitors.
    – mattdm
    Feb 11 '14 at 19:38
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After a lot of digging, I couldn't determine the exact panel type. I found some theorizing that it is a S-MVA panel and a statement that it has less color shifting than a TN panel, but it still isn't as good as a S-IPS panel.

For color calibration, a really key detail is the amount of color shifting that you see based on viewing position. If you don't get consistent color regardless of how you look at the display, then true color calibration is impossible since color will change even as you look from one side of the display to the other.

I have not personally worked with any S-MVA panels, so I can't speak directly to their suitability for color accurate work. It's also not a particularly high end panel aside from the resolution, so my guess is that wouldn't be ideal compared to a similarly priced, lower resolution panel with better screen technology.

The inconsistent brightness described by the review that James Snell mentioned in the comments below indicates this monitor does not meet the minimum requirements for holding a calibration. It also has a slow refresh (not a problem for viewing, but might be for making edits) and some reports are that the color depth is comparatively so-so. These problems mean I would not want to use one as my primary editing or review monitor. A lower resolution, higher gamut monitor with a larger emphasis towards color accuracy would do a much, much better job.

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    Also, as the review points out, the backlighting is at best poor and uneven. That alone makes the panel unsuitable for graphic work as there's no point in getting colour accuracy when the brightness is all over the place... Feb 11 '14 at 18:37
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    @JamesSnell - good catch, I didn't see that in a review, but I concur that would be sufficient to make it completely unsuitable. I have updated my answer accordingly.
    – AJ Henderson
    Feb 11 '14 at 18:44
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The key question here is: "Color calibrated to what?" If you simply want to profile it and say it's good (doubtful) then go for it. But if your actually trying to match a calibrated print or proof then that's where things get more complicated than just viewing angle.

The real issue is metameric match. Getting a metameric match ( Meaning having a color display that matches a color proof or print under one light source) is the real problem. For most of the high end displays used as soft proofs today, there is one key factor that the manufacturers have built in, and that is software color tweaking. Getting a numbers match might be possible, (or not) and getting close to the process aims is all that could possibly be achieved. In that case it's time to adjust the display properties and re-profile to produce a match.

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