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Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador
Expert (TV)
Snapshot
Posts: 4,435
Registered: ‎07-11-2007

How to Calibrate Your HDTV

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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Contributor
Heyasuki
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎05-15-2009
0

Everything you need to know about calibration is in this...

Everything you need to know about calibration is in this episode of Systm   They break it down, tell you what you need and give you a lot of insight.
Visitor
Sean
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎06-24-2007

Re: Everything you need to know about calibration is in this...

Or have a professionally trained futureshop employee calibrate your tv for you. Only $299, available starting July 9, 2009.
Recognized Expert
Expert (TV)
sonimax
Posts: 875
Registered: ‎08-14-2008

Re: Everything you need to know about calibration is in this...


Sean wrote:
Or have a professionally trained futureshop employee calibrate your tv for you. Only $299, available starting July 9, 2009.

Only!!!!!!!!!

That's about the price of a PSP, is that not a happy coincidence.:smileywink:

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.....

Trust your senses, not the numbers...

Over 6,000 post
In the "forum français".
Recognized Expert / Community Ambassador
Kayne314
Posts: 431
Registered: ‎06-18-2009

Re: Everything you need to know about calibration is in this...

[ Edited ]

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).

 

 

Message Edited by Kayne314 on 07-17-2009 01:24 AM
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Expert (TV)
sonimax
Posts: 875
Registered: ‎08-14-2008
0

Re: Everything you need to know about calibration is in this...

I second that. But a true professional calibration involve also ajusting some parameters that are not accessible by the user menu. And those, you can't mess up. One of the most important thing in a TV is the color of white or grayscale tracking. And this, generally you can't ajust without going in the service menu. I certainly hope that the 299$ tag from the guys at FS include the balance of the grayscale WITH the appropriate equipement and the gamma curve.
Trust your senses, not the numbers...

Over 6,000 post
In the "forum français".
Emerging Expert
jordanblanch
Posts: 111
Registered: ‎05-15-2009
0

Re: Everything you need to know about calibration is in this...

Sonimax is right. My TV is THX certified (and it looks great in THX mode, when watching a movie, of course), but however how hard I try making the Standard mode be the same as the THX mode, I'll never be able to do it. Even if I write down the THX numbers for each option available on my TV (brightness, color, etc) and choose the same numbers in the Standard mode, I don't get the same result. So I'm guessing those DVDs that help you calibrate your TV do help, but they most probably won't allow you to get the best looking picture. You need to know how to go into the more specific menus in order to modify the other parameters that are hidden. If you don't want to pay that much money to calibrate your TV, just opt for a THX certified TV like me! hehe
Contributor
viper359
Posts: 30
Registered: ‎08-13-2009
0

Re: Everything you need to know about calibration is in this...

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.  :smileyhappy:))

 

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!

Emerging Expert
kaitoe
Posts: 60
Registered: ‎01-01-2008
0

Re: Everything you need to know about calibration is in this...

Does anyone know if the Future Shop technicians are ISF Certified? And will they calibrate the television with a colour analyser and whatnot, because $299.99 seems cheap compared to the $300+ that some calibrators charge from the looks of their websites (which were find via the ISF website with listings of ISF Certified calibrators).
Trusted Expert / Community Ambassador
Expert (TV)
3M_3TI8
Posts: 1,090
Registered: ‎02-22-2008
0

Re: Everything you need to know about calibration is in this...

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.

 

 

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