How to Calibrate Your HDTV

How to Calibrate Your HDTV If you haven't calibrated your HDTV, you're probably not seeing the images you paid for. There may be reasons for you not doing this yet. Most people aren't down with buying a calibration disc that they use once then never touch again. Second, what exactly is the best way to go about doing it? There are endless forum posts out there from TV owners begging for that perfect setting for their new high-definition friend, and let me tell you it's not pretty to sift through. You spent your hard earned money on your stunning HDTV, but its picture maybe isn't as good as it should be. If you want to see sports events like you are actually there and movies with special effects that look the way the filmmakers intended, then you need to calibrate your HDTV. Here's how to get a near-perfect image on your high-def screen without breaking the bank.

Here is a secret: tucked inside hundreds of THX-certified DVDs floating around out there, possibly in your very own DVDs, is a free THX optimizer that can help in calibrating your TV. It is a fast and simple HDTV calibration tool that can save you time and money. The tool itself is a set of six test patterns that let you choose the settings for HDTV calibration: contrast, brightness, tint and sharpness. So how do you get your hands on this tool? THX has been quietly placing the Optimizers in nearly every THX-certified DVD for years - so that's hundreds of movie options to choose from. There are lists online naming all of the movies the tool is found in, but also THX is reformatting the Optimizer for high-def discs and the new version will be placed with those DVD's in the future. In the end, there's probably at least one movie you'd like to own that happens to come with the Optimizer.
There are other options if you have a few hundred dollars to spare. You can hire a professional to do the calibration for you. The price of our beloved HDTVs are not just chump change, so after spending that kind of money on your gadget the idea of spending more for calibration may not sound great. Armed with knowledge, proper software, and a little free time, you can handle the task yourself. Anyone knows how to plug in a TV and use a remote – most can even access a TV's menu and fiddle with the settings. But if you're looking for the ultimate home-entertainment experience, here a few important things to keep in mind: Don't stick with the factory settings. HDTVs leave the factory calibrated to look good in a store where they are exposed to ambient light and every other TV on the display shelf. The settings preset for these situations are super bright, way too over exposed and look awful in your living room. Just turning down the brightness and contrast will help. If you're willing to take the time, calibrate one programmable mode based on the time of day which you like to watch TV the most. Avoid the Dynamic Mode setting. At least at night, anyway. This setting turns sharpness and contrast way up, which results in overly bright, garish images. On most HDTVs the Normal, Movie, or Cinema modes are likely to produce a more accurate picture.

Remember friend: proper calibration is just one facet of creating the most awesome, high-quality HD experience. Take the time to get to know your electronics and they will give you the experiences you bought them for to experience in the first place.