Why Is the Grass Blue? Why Do the Voices Sound Muddled?
though prices have dropped dramatically since high-definition TVs first
entered the marketplace, having a home-theatre system still costs some
good American dollars. If you’re spending that kind of money, you want
to see and hear the very best from your system. That’s where the term
“calibration” comes in.
When a television program is produced,
or a film is converted to video for transfer to DVD or Blu-ray disc,
the process is precisely controlled to industry standards and monitored
on correctly calibrated displays. Producers put much time and effort
into assuring that picture levels, color saturation and hues are
processed properly every step of the way.
You can experience the
full, original quality of those video programs at home, but only if
your video display is calibrated to the same industry standards. If it
is, you can have picture quality that approaches and even sometimes
exceeds that of your local cinema theater.
With professional video calibration you will see what the artist intended. Depending on your display and its current state of adjustment, this may be a significant difference.
“Amazing difference. Night and day. Black and
white. North and South. Bad and good. A high-definition TV with factory
settings and after calibration by the Home Theatre Guru. Polar
opposites all. Any questions?”
W.M. - Austin, TX
Manufacturers Calibrate to Look Good in the Showroom
a myth that manufacturers calibrate their HDTVs at the factory to give
you the best possible picture in your home. That’s because
manufacturers want their displays to look the brightest next to
competing displays in the showroom.
The system delivered to your home was adjusted by the manufacturer to look its best somewhere else.
Even if manufacturers attempted to accurately calibrate your HD display
at the factory, it is simply not possible for them to account for
signal or configuration differences in your equipment (cable or
satellite set-top boxes, Blu-ray or DVD players), or to adjust the
display properly for the ambient lighting conditions in your viewing
environment. In other words, a truly accurate and complete video
calibration must involve your equipment and be performed in your
viewing environment under normal (for you) lighting conditions.
displays and video processors include multiple programmable memories,
such that we can calibrate both daytime and nighttime viewing settings
for you to switch between easily. Some clients may also appreciate an
additional “B&W” (black and white only) calibrated viewing mode for
enjoying some of the old standards with the same sepia-toned imagery
that was seen on the big screen in the original theatrical releases,
such as Casablanca, which is available in high definition on Blu-ray disc.
A Short Burn-In Period
realize optimal performance and maximum life expectancy of your system
once it is professionally calibrated after a short “burn-in period” of
normal operation. Depending on display type, this initial burn-in time
will vary. Also, along with THX, ISF and HAA, the Home Theatre Guru
highly recommends regular recalibration of your system every 18 months
for most, and at least annually for frequently used front-projection
and other lamp-based displays. This is due to both the systems’ own
age-related performance changes, as well as the various settings that
spouses, kids, guests and well-meaning friends might change.
Individually, these things may result in slow, subtle changes that are
not readily apparent in your day-to-day viewing and listening. But
after time they can result in appreciable differences, so much so that a
systems check and recalibration (tune-up) offers a surprising return to
the performance level you had enjoyed previously.
Also, if you
have a lamp-based display (front- or rear-projection) that has recently
required a bulb change or is approaching the 50 percent point in
estimated lamp-life (hours), you should consider a recalibration, since
the light output, and to some degree the lamp color temperature, will
shift over time. Similarly, if you have redecorated or rearranged your
room with regard to furnishings, seating positions, display location,
changes in ambient lighting, or speaker locations, any previous
calibration work will likely need to be reviewed.
Discounted Tune-Up for Existing Customers
If you’re already a Home Theatre Guru calibration client, a recalibration or tune-up of your existing equipment within 18 months of its previous calibration is available at a discounted rate. Please see our rates and fees page for more information.
A Properly Calibrated Display
Provides a sharply focused, full-resolution, more film-like image
Displays visible detail in both the darkest and brightest parts of the picture
Is properly matched to the video system, source components and the viewing environment
Maintains the same accurate color balance in both picture lowlights and highlights
Produces a full range of accurate colors, including flesh tones, grass and sky
Displays film qualities as the cinematographer intended
Minimizes picture artifacts (distortions that were not part of the original image)
Is easier on your eyes, minimizing eye fatigue during extended viewing
Can extend the service life of your display over factory default settings
Reduces energy consumption
A Properly Calibrated Sound System and Room
Transforms booming bass into smooth, rich bass
Sounds great at higher volume levels (not painful or fatiguing)
Provides improved dialog (speech) clarity
Can improve the apparent sound stage
Improves seat-to-seat uniformity of the sound
Offers benefits / improvements that the casual listener can appreciate (Golden Ears not required)
Want to Know More?
For a brief but more in-depth clarification of the compelling reasons
for video calibration, you are welcome to review the superbly written
article, Display Calibration: Root Fundamentals (a two page PDF file), authored by G. Alan Brown, President of CinemaQuest, Inc.
if you’re interested in reading more about audio calibration and why
any enthusiastic music or movie lover should calibrate their sound
system, please go to the Home Acoustics Alliance Web site, and click on the Audio Calibration link on the left side of the page.
Home Theatre Guru Serving Austin and Central Texas with Professional Home Audio/Video Calibration and Consulting Services for High-Definition Television, Video Projection and Sound Systems
PLEASE NOTE: AS OF JANUARY 2017 WE ARE NO LONGER OFFERING VIDEO CALIBRATION SERVICES, though we do continue to offer our experience in A/V consulting, system setup work, and especially, audio calibration.
Services are available in the following areas:Cities: Austin, Bastrop, Buda, Cedar Park, Elgin, Fayetteville, Kyle, La Grange, Lakeway, Lockhart, Manor, Pflugerville, Rollingwood, Smithville, Tarrytown, Taylor, Westlake and West Lake Hills. Counties: Bastrop, Caldwell, Fayette, Hays, Lee, Travis, Williamson. Some locations may incur a travel/fuel surcharge. Please contact us for details.
Sonny DiFranco's Certifications and Licenses:
Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA) - Certified Level II Audio Guru