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Friday
Feb212014

Podcast #623: Home Theater Calibration Discs

If you don't think your home theater looks or sounds as good as it should, you probably want to calibrate it. Calibration is the process of dialing in all the settings on your TV and receiver to optimize the viewing and listening experience for your home. There are a ton of options for this, from buying a calibration disc for the do it yourselfers, buying a calibration system like SpyderTV for the almost do it yourselfers, to hiring a professional calibrator for those of the just do it for me persuasion.

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Home Theater Calibration Discs

If you don't think your home theater looks or sounds as good as it should, you probably want to calibrate it. Calibration is the process of dialing in all the settings on your TV and receiver to optimize the viewing and listening experience for your home.  There are a ton of options for this, from buying a calibration disc for the do it yourselfers, buying a calibration system like SpyderTV for the almost do it yourselfers, to hiring a professional calibrator for those of the just do it for me persuasion.

 

Your Options: 

Nothing beats the professional calibration, but if you want to save some money and give it a go on your own, there a bunch of discs to choose from. The website 2014 Best TV Calibration Disc Comparisons and Reviews gives you a quick glance at a few to help you make a more informed buying decision. Some of them may be available at your local library, or even via Netflix, if you don’t want to buy it for yourself.

 

DVE HD Basics
Buy now, $39.95

Created by home theater industry veteran Joe Kane, HD Basics is a great High Definition home theater calibration tool. It promises to improve your picture and give you an understanding of the concepts that are vital to getting the most out of your HDTV.


Spears & Munsil High Definition Benchmark
Buy now, $29.97

They claim that whether you're a home theater novice or a professional calibrator, you'll find all the tests you need to set up and adjust your HDTV in the Spears and Munsil HD Benchmark. The previous edition of the HD Benchmark was recommended by the New York Times, Widescreen Review, Home Theater Magazine and dozens of other print and online publications.


Disney WOW World of Wonder
Buy now, $19.99

The Disney WOW: World of Wonder disc is a "how to" guide for in-home high definition (HD) optimization of home entertainment systems featuring the help of classic Disney character Goofy and including HD demonstration clips from popular Disney titles including Toy Story, Up, Bolt and Pirates Of The Caribbean: At World's End. The easy to follow on-screen guide is designed to help consumers get the best quality experience from their home theater systems.


Proximus Calibration Toolkit
Cost, $25 if you can find it

This disc appears to be out of print, or at least difficult to come by. It reviews quite well if you can find it. Use the Proximus Toolkit to help check the hookup and settings of any home theater system. The Proximus Toolkit allows you to adjust components for most screen imagery and multi-channel sound levels.


PixelProtector Blu-ray
Buy DVD Edition V2, $29.95

The Blu-ray edition isn’t available for sale as far as we can tell, but the DVD is. It is a DVD based premium screen diagnostic and calibration tool for all types of LCD, plasma and rear projection TV screens. Using test signals PixelProtector allows you to accurately adjust your screen to its full potential. Specific test signals are provided for aligning and calibrating Plasma, LCD, projection sets, over head projectors and rear projection. PixelProtector also has unique screen washes they say will recalibrate pixels uniformly and supposedly keep your TV's picture looking good for years to come.


Avia II: Guide to Home Theater
Buy now, $29.99

For years, the original AVIA Guide to Home Theater DVD was the gold standard for calibrating your entire home theater. AVIA II added new tutorials to make it easy for beginner and expert alike, and hundreds of video and audio test patterns and signals. But it’s still a DVD, not updated to Blu-ray yet. Adjusting your audio and video system for maximum performance is easy with AVIA's step-by-step instructions. Professionals (or those who want to learn more) can directly access advanced calibration signals with on-line explanations.

 

Conclusion

There’s a disc to fit the needs and budget of just about any do it yourself calibrator. Read the amazon reviews, they can be quite helpful if you need to decide which one is right for you. Some are more basic, others more advanced. Some are more helpful, others assume you know more about what you’re doing. Some are boring, some are fun.

There are even some apps now that can help with calibration. Maybe we’ll take a look at them in a future episode.


 

 

 

Download Episode #623

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