HDTV Calibration and your Home Theater PC

HDTV Calibration:  Why is it so important?

Something that is often overlooked by most people who are casual home theater users is HDTV calibration.  With just a little time and some simple tweaks, you can get a whole lot more from your HTPC & HDTV.  Before calibrating your HDTV for your HTPC, you might not get sharp blacks and vivid colors.  After you are done, you will be amazed at the difference.  It is difficult for me to teach you how to tweak your TV, since all HDTV’s and room settings will require different settings to make the picture look optimal, I just want to raise awareness to you; my readers! :-).


Required Tools:

The only thing you really need is a hdtv calibration DVD, and your HDTV remote.  I suggest this DVD from Digital Video Essentials available on Amazon here.  They do sell Blu-Ray’s but for this purpose, you don’t really need a Blu-Ray.  You are just going to be looking at test patterns, so you don’t need test patterns in vivid 1080p to see colors and sharpness.  I also would HIGHLY recommend against anything made by Monster.  Just my bias against Monster, I don’t enjoy overpaying by 1000% on things like cables.

HDTV Calibration after receiving your DVD:

Once you have that bad boy, what you pop it into your HTPC and wait for it to load up.  It will then give you a full readout of what you need to do to observe in each test pattern and what to adjust to make it look better.  It’s hard for me to give you a full tutorial on how to tweak this the best for your HDTV, however there is a great resource I have found if you are looking for cookie cutter tweaks, check out TweakTV.com.  They have full drop downs of all major manufacturers and model #’s to give you a good idea of what your settings should be.

My personal thoughts:

Personally, I find it best to do the tweaking myself, though tedious, all rooms will have different lighting conditions proving one persons color settings looking way too dark, or way too light.  Black levels are the most important thing to pay attention to when tweaking your TV, it is the difference between seeing Aeon clearly or not 😉 .


Also don’t forget most TV’s use different settings for each input, so make sure you apply these settings for your other inputs as well!


PS:  Another great suggestion I have for you guys is to consider purchasing is an ambient light for behind your HDTV.  It will prevent you from squinting when viewing your movies and will give you a better viewing experience all around!  I could make a whole post about how much I love my ambient lighting, but I wont!  Check here for the ambient lights I have that work great and use very little energy.

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