When you can’t afford to pay someone to tune your TV, or buy one of those fancy DVDs, you can use a few helpful tips to tune your TV yourself. By taking an afternoon to dial in your TV, you can have hours of high-quality viewing in your living or home theater room and be ready for the big Super Bowl. No more too complicated technologies to figure out.
Have a Base to Start At
Having a base to start at such as a Blu-ray player and a Blu-ray disk, will be a great way to have the best possible quality, since it delivers a full 1080p image. You do want to calibrate your TV to the best possible picture source right? If you don’t own a Blu-ray and don’t plan on buying one anytime soon then use what you have on hand to get the best possible picture from what you have.
A film that has a good blend of dark and bright scenes as well as a fair amount of color will work best. Something animated would work best since they tend to have vivid color and detail information.
TVs come with a variety of picture modes and pre-sets, that are named sports, games, vivid, movie, cinema, and standard. Most of these might work, but the majority of them are unbearably out of tune. Too bright and too dim come to mind when I think about these settings. The best launch pad for your living room or home theater room is the cinema setting. It may appear a bit darker than you may want, but that will be fixed with the adjustments you will make. Once you make your adjustments, create a custom setting to not lose track of all your hard work.
Most processors that are intended to enhance images can be too much for a smaller media room. If they do seem desirable you can always turn them on when you are finished. The very first thing that I suggest you disable is the motion smoothing feature. Names for this could include: MotionFlow, CineMotion, TrueMotion, 240Hz, 120Hz, 480Hz or something similar. These processors crush the cinematography that makes films look marvelous. Other enhancements to disable could include flesh tone, dynamic contrast, edge correction, black enhancement, HDMI black level, digital noise reduction (DNR) MPEG error correction, etc.
Without breaking into the locked service setting of your TV, you can still make a lot of basic adjustments.
Your picture setting, or contrast, will come down to personal preference. In order to find the best picture setting for you, find a scene with a bright, white image contained in it and hit the pause button. Adjust the contrast to the point where the white object is bright, but still contains detail and crisp edges. Bouncing back and forth between the contrast and brightness settings to find the optimum combination will help to find the optimal contrast setting for you. This is normal and can take a little time, but the final result is worth the effort.
This setting, if too high, will produce a loss of dimension. If set too low, you will lose detail in dark areas of the screen. The easiest way to adjust the brightness is to use the letterbox bars at the top and bottom of a movie, they should be solid black and will usually be even darker than the movie credit reel background. Pause on a scene of your choice and adjust until the letterbox bars appear grey. Then reduce the brightness just until the black bars are totally black. Finding a scene that involves large dark sections that still contain detail will help when adjusting the brightness. Action movies are great for this adjustment, as are the Harry Potter films. Beware that when the brightness is set too low, you’ll be missing those small details in the dark scenes.
Controlling the strength of the back light on an LCD or an LED TV is why there is a back light. If your TV is in a dark room, you will not need to make this setting very high. However if you are in a brighter room, more back light intensity is necessary. To avoid an unnaturally high setting, make this adjustment when the sun is not shining directly onto your TV. A great way to make sure that you have adjusted this setting correctly is to watch something for 10 minutes on the new setting and if you notice yourself starting to squint, the back light is too strong. If this happens, go ahead and reduce the back light and repeat the process until you are satisfied.
High-def images really do not need much of an adjustment for sharpness, but if you want to play around with this setting feel free to. A scene with lots of buildings or uniform shapes will be a great place to start. If you turn the sharpness to the maximum you will notice that the straight lines become jagged. This is the TV introducing artifacts to the images that shouldn’t be there. Reduce the sharpness to a point where the edges appear clean and straight.
On most modern TVs, color and tint will not need to be changed. Color adjustment is one of the most subjective picture adjustments. But you still want to avoid a picture where it looks like everyone has jaundice or is sun burnt. It is a very rare instance that you would need to change the tint settings; therefore we recommend that you leave this setting alone.
Now that you have made your adjustments, we suggest that you take notes of each setting and store it for future reference. Not all TVs will allow you to copy the work you did for a customized input. Having a hard copy of your settings will allow you set things quickly if need be.
Not having to pay any money to calibrate your TV will help you save money for other projects, such as your Super Bowl party. If you are stilling wanting more, it might be worth the small investment to buy a DVD set, but after all of these small adjustments your TV is ready for anything you want to watch.