Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Calibrate your HDTV

My son called me the other day, all excited because he had purchased his first HDTV. A few days later, I asked how he liked it.
"Gee, Dad...the picture isn't as good as I expected it to be."
OK, that could be caused by a variety of things. After discussing several scenarios, we thought about seeing if the TV was calibrated to his taste. So, what tools can a neophyte use to fine tune a high definition television?

When setting up computer output to a data projector, I use NTest, a piece of freeware from our friends at Nokia. It helps me to set brightness levels, color purity and other things that help to tweak a video display just the way you like it.

While the Nokia is computer software, there are ways to calibrate using your DVD player. If you have a Sony Blu-Ray player, there is a hidden set of calibration screens. Press 7-6-6-9 Enter to access those.

And if you have a garden variety DVD player, go out and grab a new DVD from Pixar. Most all of the new ones have a THX Optimizer chapter in the Set Up or Special Features menu. By adjusting contrast, picture, sharpness and brightness, you are sure to end up with a more pleasing HD picture.