In Pictures: TV Calibration - six tips for a better image

Learn how to get the most out of your new Plasma or LCD television

  • Noise Reduction
    Many TVs use noise reduction technology (NR) by default which can actually do more harm than good. This can often lead to crawling pixels or dots that seem to dance on-screen. Try turning off the noise reduction and see if it makes a difference. Noise reduction is usually found in the advanced image options and can be called Digital NR or DNR. There is also MPEG NR as well, which can also be turned off to improve image quality in some cases.
  • Six-axis colour control
    Some TVs give you the option of calibrating the colour levels in very specific and minute ways. If your TV seems to have too much of one colour, the six-axis colour control allows you to correct this problem. Slightly altering the level of a certain colour can turn an image that is overblown with red into something that is comfortable and easy to watch. Keep in mind that the other colours will be affected too so try not to fiddle too much.
  • Contrast
    Contrast and brightness go hand in hand. The correct blend of these two settings will determine how good colours look and how image subtleties appear, especially in dark areas. To start out, set the contrast to the maximum that it can go. In many cases, this is where it will stay but it may need to be reduced depending on your panel.
  • Backlighting
    Some LCD televisions allow you to reduce the brightness of the light behind the screen. You should only adjust this if the image is too dark or if the back light is affecting the black levels in a negative way. A simple reduction or increase in intensity can make a world of difference, especially when watching movies.
  • Sharpness
    The first thing you should do when you get a new TV is turn down the sharpness level. Flat panel televisions are factory pre-set with high sharpness levels to make them stand out in a store display. This often leads to a noticeable halo-like effect on edges which can usually be removed. The best way to fix this is to look at some text on screen and reduce the sharpness until the halo disappears.
  • Brightness
    The best way to make sure the brightness and contrast levels are correct is to look at the black levels. Play a DVD and use the black letterbox bars as a reference. With the contrast up, adjust the brightness until the black levels are deep without losing detail in the image or washing out colours. You will need to find a setting that is pleasing to your eye while also trying to keep the black levels as dark as possible.
  • Six Tips for better image quality
    Flat panel televisions are complex and precise machines that need a tender touch and some careful fine-tuning to help them deliver the best image possible. In this slideshow we will show you 5 things you can do with nothing more than your remote control to make the most out of your new TV.
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