Calibrating Your HDTV With a Calibration Disc

The other day I finally ordered a copy of Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics on Blu-Ray from Amazon. For $20 with shipping I figured I couldn't go wrong even if it turned out my TV was calibrated well without it.

I found the disc to be very educational, easy to use and quite helpful. In short, the Blu-Ray version of DVE is great.

With this disc it's up to you how you want to calibrate your display. You can choose to do it yourself with just the test patterns or you can watch a whole educational video that explains each test pattern, what it's meant to test, why, and how it all works. I chose the latter and learned a lot about my TV. I learned even more about my TV as I looked at each test pattern.

For instance, I learned my model of TV has a slight issue with displaying true colors, so post-calibration my TV does not quite display green as it should. I also learned that my TV uses the correct type of contrast control as per HD standards. Interesting stuff, if you're into that sort of thing.

The Blu-Ray version also offers some nifty features. The ability BD movies have to display a "pop-up" menu during playback was great for this. While setting Brightness and Contrast I was able to flip back and forth between test patterns by using the pop-up menu. Not to mention that every test pattern was displayed naitively in 1080p over HDMI to give me the best possible test patterns for my TV.

There is another section of test videos as well. You can watch them with or without commentary about their purpose and what you should see.

A nice bonus is the inclusion of color filters for accurate setting of tint and color. When I finished with the test patterns I had made a few minor adjustments and some changes to color temperature. The end result was a fantastic picture with accurate flesh tones and amazing detail.

I wrapped everything up by watching Spiderman 3 on Blu-Ray and found it very appealing. Combined with my surround sound system I felt that I had finally achieved a real home theater system. The purchase was definitely worth it.

For more information on test patterns, look here.

My new home theater setup now consists of:
Philips 42" PFL7422D/37 HDTV (1080p)
Sony STR-DG820 Receiver
Boston Acoustic Horizon MCS 100 5.1 Surround

I bought the Philips over a year ago at Sam's Club for $1,100 and picked up the receiver for a mere $190 on Amazon a couple of weeks ago. That was a 65% savings for a pre-Black Friday sale. The speaker set was an early Christmas gift, but it was bought from Amazon for $200 as a gold box deal of the day.

The sound is amazing and the PS3 pumps out full TrueHD/DTS-HD Master Audio sound with my Blu-Ray movies. So if you ever hear you can't get a nice sound system for around $400, just remember it's all about shopping smart.

Another great resource for questions is the HighDefForums:

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