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How To Calibrate Your HDTV

An uncalibrated HDTV can make you feel like you've been sent back to the gray days of Standard Definition. Calibrating your TV correctly puts you back in the center of the on-screen action.


  • Step 1: Adjust the contrast, then the color, and finish with the sharpness. Beginning at the midpoint and raise the contrast until you are satisfied. Adjust the color so skin tones look realistic, and raise the sharpness until the pictures starts to look cartoonish. Turn the sharpness back a hair and stop.
  • Step 2: Contact a professional if you have trouble with other methods. Technology stores offer calibration, but the service will cost you a pretty penny. However, once your HDTV is performing at tip-top levels, you'll never want to look at an uncalibrated television again.
  • FACT: In 1932, RCA presented the first all-electronic television, paving the way for HDTV's emergence in the 1990s.
  • Step 3: Adjust the brightness first by tuning the television to the lowest setting, then moving it up slowly until the darkest points on the picture brighten.
  • TIP: [Eyeball it] Use your own visual guesses to make adjustments the television. Find an image that you like. You can download free images online that are created specifically for calibrating a television.
  • Step 4: Use a calibration DVD for a cheaper alternative. Many THX-certified DVDs come with a THX Optimizer that walks you through the calibration process. You will need a pair of special blue-filtered glasses available to purchase on the THX website.
  • TIP: Check Pixar films and Lucasfilm DVDs, as they often are the DVDs you will find the THX Optimizer on.
  • Step 5: Purchase a calibration device that does the work for you. These devices run around $200 but are an easy solution to calibrating HDTVs. Simply attach the device to your television, and let it take color readings and tell exactly what to adjust.

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