Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

15
Oct 12

How to hit a home run with your TV calibration settings


TV calibration settings image

Are your flat screen TV calibration settings on track? If the image on the right is a familiar sight, they might not be.

We’ve just seen baseball history being made.

There were four divisional playoff series, and each one went to a deciding fifth game. While the game seems to cooly laze through the summer, things are heating up now that it’s October. But when you’re glued to your flat screen TV, are you really seeing everything?

Did you see the flex of the bat when Raul Ibanez hit his walk-off, game winning second home run? Did you see the spin of the ball when Cy Young winner Justin Verlander mowed down the A’s to move onto the AL Championship Series?

If you didn’t, it’s time to calibrate your HDTV. Here’s how to find that flex and spin.

If the last time you calibrated your TV was March, it may be time to grab your best set of eyes and do it again. If you missed our video, here’s a quick refresher on what to look for in your TV calibration settings to make sure you’re getting the best possible picture for your LCD flat screen TV.

Preparation

First things first, you’ll want to make sure that your home is as close to your normal lighting as you can get it. If you watch TV in the day, either do the calibration during the day, or get enough light into your room to simulate that brightness. If your TV is mostly turned on at night, then shut the shades and get the room as dark as it is when you flip on the tube.

Of course, since most games happen at night, you’ll want to simulate evening conditions as best you can — we’re going for pitch perfect clarity here.

You’ll also want to find something you watch a lot that looks normal. Try to avoid movies that are shot in very low light (the latest Batman movies wouldn’t be great when calibrating, for example), or with odd color choices.

A word on TV calibration settings

Before we get into the TV calibration settings proper, there’s one thing I want you to remember: don’t be afraid to play around with the settings. This is important, because the only way you can learn what some of these settings do is to throw them so far out of whack that your picture is going to look very bad.

Since you don’t have professional calibration equipment, you aren’t going to be getting precise, objective readings about how the picture looks, so you’re going to be making subjective changes. One setting may affect another one you made earlier, so don’t be afraid to go back and adjust one you already thought you finished with.

Brightness/Contrast

Out of all the settings on your flat screen TV, brightness/contrast is probably one of the most straightforward ones to understand. Brightness affects how bright or dim your picture appears.

For daytime viewing, you’ll want to adjust this higher, because your HDTV will be fighting against ambient light — a lower setting will make it appear dim and washed out.

If you’re adjusting it for night viewing, set it lower. A brighter setting at night will make the TV appear too bright, and can cause eye fatigue (and I know you don’t want to miss anything because you had to look away for few seconds).

Color

Color affects how intense particular colors appear on your screen, and for most flat screen TVs, it’s divided into 3 different sliders: red, green, and blue. This is because most HDTVs use those three colors in their cells, allowing you to manipulate how they appear.

While there’s loads of theory about how to best use this TV calibration setting, I’ve found the easiest way is to find something you know should be white and something you know should be black in a scene, and adjusting until both of them look correct.

Tint

This is one of the more odd TV calibration settings. It can appear to be mimicking color and brightness, but its actual function is affecting how cool or warm your picture is. Don’t be tempted to just skip this setting: it’s tough to understand at first, but it may end up being one of your most important ones.

This is one of those setting you’re going to want to play around with for awhile.

Sharpness

No, this setting isn’t going help your plasma or LCD flat screen TV cut through phonebooks or julienne fries, but it will make edges appear more defined. Be careful with this setting, however, as its primary function can be a double-edged sword.

For HD images, this TV calibration setting makes for better viewing since there’s more information in the image, but if you’re watching a standard definition picture with a fairly high setting, it can just make the image appear more pixellated.

Remember: don’t be afraid to play around with your settings. It’s the best way to get a great picture on your HDTV. And since I know you’re going to be spending the rest of October glued to your TV, that’s exactly what you need.



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