02-17-2009 02:08 PM
How to Calibrate Your HDTV
Out of the box, most new TV sets are tuned to catch eyes from the showroom floor, not to accurately reproduce colors and images. Properly calibrating your TV by fixing the brightness, contrast, color and sharpness settings will give you a better picture, and, as a bonus, could also save electricity and extend the life of your set. Most TV retailers are more than willing to send over a trained technician to tackle the calibration conundrum — and why not? They often charge up to $500 for the service. But there’s no reason you shouldn’t save some money and do it yourself.
For the best results, we suggest buying a device that does most of the work for you. Products such as the Datacolor Spyder3TV attach to your TV screen and take color readings that allow you to easily adjust the settings. And while buying a pricey product may not cost much less than hiring a technician, you can keep your new purchase around and use it repeatedly.
A cheaper way to tune your set is to pick up a calibration DVD. These typically walk you through the calibration process by using a series of clips that help you adjust each setting. (“Turn the contrast up until you just barely see the black tie floating over the black background.”) One I like is the THX Optimizer, which actually comes bundled for free on many THX-certified DVDs. (Hint: Most Pixar and Lucasfilm DVDs have it.) However, to use it, you’ll need a pair of THX’s special blue-filtered glasses. The blue filters provide a known color tint, which will help you adjust the settings.
Of course, the cheapest way to tweak your TV is simply to eyeball it. Your efforts won’t produce a technically precise picture, but you should be able to dial in a pleasing image that suits your tastes. Start with brightness, then move on to contrast, color and, finally, sharpness, says Mark Schubin, a television engineering consultant. Tune the brightness to the lowest setting, then slowly move it up until the darkest points on the picture begin to brighten. Leave it at just below this point. For contrast, color and sharpness, begin at the midpoint. From there, raise the contrast as high as you can without making the blacks look milky, tune the color so skin tones look realistic and raise the sharpness until the picture begins to look artificial. And while your TV’s preset “Movie” or “Theater” modes may give you a well-balanced picture, avoid the ones labeled “Vivid” or “Sports” — they’ll make your movies look like cartoons.
One last point: There is no catchall configuration that works for every room or TV. In fact, the same TV could benefit from different settings at different times of day. Thankfully, most sets allow you to save several custom configurations, so unless your TV is in a pitch-black home theater, you should program in at least two settings — one for daytime and one for night.
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05-22-2009 05:38 PM
07-15-2009 10:02 AM
Or have a professionally trained futureshop employee calibrate your tv for you. Only $299, available starting July 9, 2009.
That's about the price of a PSP, is that not a happy coincidence.
And they will have a hard time justifying this amount of money On top of the price of the TV to get a good picture from the same TV who the salesperson already said to the consumer was almost perfect.
Suddenly, I have a small feeling that all TV will look like crap.....
Over 6,000 post
In the "forum français".
07-17-2009 01:22 AM - edited 07-17-2009 01:24 AM
I'm a strong believer in calibrating the TV yourself. I've done it with the THX optimizer menu on the Star Wars DVDs. Then picked up DVE HD Basics on Blu-ray, and the HQV Benchmark Blu-ray. Going back and forth between the final two I was able to produce a near flawless picture. I have no qualms about describing my system as "Calibrated" although I usually avoid the word "professionally".
I would put my TV up against any pro calibrated display with confidence. Unless they are taking the back off of my TV and adjusting the curcuitry to tweak performance, I don't know how the image could improve.
It was what I learned while making the adjustments that were so valuable to me. Learning about how my TV handles sharpness alone was worth the purchase of those disks. I wouldn't have learned any of that if I had had someone else do it for me. Not to mention if I move and have to set-up my system all over again, I now have the knowledge to do it myself.
I couldn't imagine how much frustration I would feel if I shelled out $300 to have my system calibrated, only to come home and find out the kids were playing with the settings, and I have no idea how to get it back.
If you have an HD TV you owe it to yourself to pick-up or borrow those calibration disks. If nothing else use the THX optomizer on the Star Wars DVDs. It will save you big $$$.
Cost of HQV Benchmark and DVE HD Basics Blu-rays. About $40 total ($20 ea).
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If at all possible, have a great day!
07-17-2009 04:44 AM
Over 6,000 post
In the "forum français".
07-20-2009 10:14 AM
08-13-2009 10:38 PM
For those that disagree with a prof cal of the TV, you have to factor in a great many things. For example, more and more people are getting serious about high def. If you follow THX or even other experts advice on seating distance, your average 50" TV for example, THX recommends 5-7.5 feet away!! Now, any prof cal set will SMOKE any eyeballed or dvd disc calibrated set out. When you are sitting that close, you are immersed in the video (and audio) and will notice color or greyscale flaws with ease. To make actual real changes that reflect seating distances, lighting conditions, etc etc etc, this has to be done through the service menus. Only people who actually know what their doing can properly do this. This is also something that has to be done in their home.
Simple Google search on THX will show you seating distance. A more detailed THX standard can also be found. As THX also reports..."the biggest consumer complaint about HDTV purchases is that they wish they had gone bigger."
Thank God futureshop has large tv's. ))
Personally now, if I spend 4K on a TV, 10% of the cost to have it properly tuned up for me is a small price to pay. Mind you, I love movies and my home theatre! Next buy.... Motion chair!
08-19-2009 10:20 PM
08-20-2009 08:11 AM
Only a few techs are actually ISF certified and they will definitely be the ones doing the ISF calibrations.
Light meters, colour analyzers, etc are used for the ISF calibrations. The other techs only calibrate to THX standards.
$299 is the base price and covers 1 input only. Each additional input is $99.