Home theater calibration is a service that many electronics retailers offer. Most services send technicians out to your house to calibrate your home theater system for $100 or more. If you are more of a do-it-yourself type, you can purchase a home theater calibration disc that won't dent your wallet as much. Our top three home theater calibration discs – DVE HD Basics, Disney WOW World of Wonder and Spears and Munsil HD Benchmarks – can help you do the job at a much cheaper price. Home theater calibration discs teach you step by step how to properly calibrate your video and audio. They're easy enough that even if you are a calibration novice, you should be able to properly calibrate your TV's settings for maximum viewing enjoyment. Be sure to check out our articles on home theater calibration.
If you use a home theater calibration disc, you can fine-tune your system to enjoy your home theater system at its full potential. HDTV manufacturers preset the TVs they send to retailers with settings that are meant for the showroom; however, the retailer's showrooms are not necessarily meant to produce an actual representation of what your home setting will look like. Most people take their TV home without any other thought after plugging everything in. However, a couple tweaks here and there to the video and audio settings can make a huge difference.
Everyone's home theater setting will be different. Light will come through a certain window or from a different light fixture, your viewing area might be bigger or smaller or couches may be further from or closer to the TV. These factors make it hard to do a simple internet search on how to calibrate a TV. A calibration disc can help you customize your TV settings to your specific room, maximizing the audio and video capabilities of your HDTV.
Home theater calibration discs offer on-screen test patterns giving you a visual representation to follow along with that will help you make the right calibrations. You may be new to the home theater calibration game, so having easy-to-follow instructions is an important factor as well. A home theater calibration disc that does not take too much of your time is ideal, as well. The number and types of calibration tests are important, and of course, you will greatly appreciate having a customer support team that can help with any questions or concerns.
Obviously if your TV does not look better after using a home theater calibrator, then the disc is not doing its job. We subjectively graded how well each calibrator performed after a basic video optimization. Ease of the optimization is also important. Some discs or software are easier to use than others are. If the calibration process is too complicated, you might get frustrated and not finish the job.
There's no need to hire someone from the big box retailer to come to your home and calibrate your TV. You can get the same results by following an easy to follow disc with instructions. If you have never done a home theater calibration, having easy-to-follow instructions is a must. Not only is it important to have detailed instructions, but on-screen tutorials, examples and instructions provide the easiest way to calibrate your TV.
Some calibrators take about half an hour while the more in-depth discs take a little more than an hour. Some home theater calibration gives you an in-depth introduction into HDTV and the settings, while some throw you into the fire with just basic instructions and tutorials. More information makes you more knowledgeable and gives you a better understanding of the settings and what to look for; however, that does double or triple the time you spend calibrating your TV.
Each home theater calibrator offers a variety of test patterns. You may or may not use each test pattern, but it's useful to have them available to you if you want to use them. Generally, the more test patterns that are offered, the more properly calibrated your TV will be. The most basic test patterns optimize colors, brightness, and contrast.
Help & Support
Sometimes the included instructions are not enough. A good manufacturer offers assistance after you purchase the disc through email or phone contacts. Some also post extra help on the company website in the form of forums or a FAQs section allows you to explore and find answers yourself.
Home theater calibration can truly enrich your television viewing experience. By calibrating your own TV and home theater system, you can save yourself some money while ensuring your home theater looks amazing. With the right DVD or Blu-ray calibration disc, you will have the tools and the know-how to calibrate your HDTV.
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