Monday, February 16, 2009

HDTV: To calibrate or not to calibrate

The January 2009 issue of SID's Information Display has an interesting article by Pete Putman with title To Calibrate, or Not to Calibrate? Mr. Putman is an expert on TV calibration who since its inception has held the ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) certification for this specialty.

The article has some interesting conclusions that can save you a lot of time and money. For example, if you have just basic cable service and a red-laser DVD player, an HDTV with 720p/768p resolution is more than adequate.

As for calibration, it is only really necessary for home-theater front projectors. Today's direct view HDTVs are so good, that all you have to do is to choose the correct factory image presets, such as low-level Cinema and Movie modes.

In summary, here are the five quick steps to set up your HDTV:

  1. Set the HDTV's contrast between 60 and 80 and brightness between 50 and 60.
  2. Switch from "Dynamic" to "Standard" or "Cinema/ Movie" picture mode.
  3. Select a warm-color-temperature preset.
  4. Turn down the sharpness control to 20% or less.
  5. Turn off any other edge-enhancement processing. (Think about it: Why would HDTV content need detail enhancement?)

This is for your HDTV. As a color scientist you still need to regularly calibrate your monitors and printers.

Thank you, SID and Mr. Putman!