Ditching the old-fashioned bulky CRT TV sets and buying a sleek LCD TV has many obvious advantages. But once the TV set has been installed or place at the desired spot in your house, you may find that the picture quality is not quite the same as you saw in the TV store.
This because when LCD TVs are displayed in the stores, they are set in such a way that their picture catches the consumers attention. The brightness and the contrast are usually tweaked to the maximum and the image enhancement settings are also set on optimum.
By tweaking several settings, store owners aim to enhance the image on the TV in order to attract customers. However, the lighting conditions in your home could largely vary from those in the store; therefore, you need to adjust the TV settings accordingly.
Your viewing experience will be greatly enhanced if you use the proper brightness, color, and contrast levels. This process of enhancing image quality by tweaking or manipulating certain settings is called calibration. This is an LCD TV calibration guide to help you carry out the process easily.
How to Calibrate an LCD TV?
Before you begin calibrating, place the TV on the desired spot. Then, refer to the user guide in order to learn how to access the picture settings, and successfully navigate the menu to locate the required options.
Step 1 - Ambient Lighting
In order to carry out an LCD TV calibration test, it is imperative that the ambient light conditions are ideal. Most people prefer to watch movies in complete darkness, in order to emulate the effect generated at movie halls. But this is not advisable when you're watching a movie at home on your LCD TV.
You might have noticed that watching a movie in the dark quickly tires your eyes. This is because the contrast between the TV screen, and the surrounding is too great. Thence, having dimly lit surroundings helps solve this problem.
Also, you must ensure that there is no reflection of any other source of light falling on your TV screen, you can regulate the daylight by using curtains or blinds.
Step 2 - Backlight Settings
Every LCD TV has a bright fluorescent light that exists behind the LCD panel. This light is known as the backlight; it helps dictate the luminosity of the entire screen.
Most LCD TVs today have a separate LCD backlight control option, which lets you decide the amount of light emitted by the screen. Calibration and color enhancement necessarily requires you to adjust the backlight to its minimum level.
Step 3 - Brightness and Contrast Settings
An LCD TV's brightness refers to intensity of darkness in a picture, and decides how dark the black sections in the picture should appear. You should play a movie that has letterboxing bars on the upper and lower parts of the screen to help you choose the right brightness.
Letterboxing is necessary because, the calibration panel occupies the center of the screen. In case you don't have such a movie, you can always change the aspect ratio of a full-screen movie.
Once you have visible black portions on your screen, adjust the brightness control to maximum and then gradually lower it till the letterboxes appear as close to black as possible. This will help you set the appropriate level of brightness.
A high level of contrast will obscure fine details in the picture and make you strain your eyes in dim lighting. For setting the contrast, choose an image that contains some white color in it, with a few details here and there. Turn the contrast all the way up and then lower it till you can perfectly see all the fine details against the white background.
Step 4 - Color Settings
The color settings, or saturation, plays a vital role in your viewing experience. Before you begin adjusting the color settings, you must locate the color settings tab. When adjusting the saturation or any other color-related settings, it's always better to switch to a picture or film which has a variety of colors on it.
You can also switch to a sporting event like a football or basketball game. Adjust the settings in such a way that you get the right balance of red, green, and blue. 'Right' here refers to your viewing experience, and can change from person to person. Set a level which gives you your expected color scheme.
Secondly, you should change the color temperature to either warm or medium (options include normal, cool, warm, and sometimes, extra warm as well). As the color temperature increases, white turns to yellow, and then red.
Setting the color temperature to cool in some TVs might instantly look attractive; however, cool settings actually add a bluish hue, and do not provide a justified color spectrum. If the temperature indicator also mentions values in a Kelvin scale, prefer setting it to an ideal 6500ºK.
You may prefer to set to a preset color mode; however, these modes won't always suffice every purpose for using a TV. For instance, you might want to watch movies, play games, watch sports, or even surf the Internet; each purpose requires different color schemes. Therefore setting a color scheme manually can be used for multiple purposes, unlike presets.
Step 5 - Fine Tuning
If you see a tint or hue setting in the program menu, set it to neutral or zero (drag the slider bar to the center). A hue or tint enhances one of the three colors (R-red, G-green, B-blue), thus making the picture reddish, greenish, or bluish. Setting it to zero would give you the most perfect balance of the three colors.
Secondly, you'll also find an option for adjusting sharpness. Increasing sharpness adds or darkens the outlines of foreground objects. However, most digital media including movies, regular television, games, etc., come with the appropriate amount of sharpness; therefore, you do not need to increase or decrease sharpness, rather keep it on zero.
LCD TV calibration is vital to obtain the optimum television viewing experience. It balances brightness/contrast, color temperature, hues, and other important settings. So go ahead, calibrate your new LCD TV, and enjoy all the movies and shows to the fullest.