How do I calibrate my HDTV?

By: Jonathan Strickland

What You Need to Calibrate Your HDTV

During calibration, you'll need to adjust your set's brightness, sharpness, contrast and color settings.
During calibration, you'll need to adjust your set's brightness, sharpness, contrast and color settings.

Think about the room your HDTV is in. You'll want to limit light in this room. It doesn't need to be pitch black, but if you have lots of ambient light from windows, you may want to close the curtains before you calibrate your set. If you do most of your television viewing in the evening, you'll want to simulate the same lighting levels as much as possible.

While practically every HDTV on the market has a way to tweak the TV's settings, not every television uses the same interface. It's a good idea to check your owner's manual before you do anything. Once you know how to access the menus, it's time to get a calibration DVD.


Before you rush out and buy a specialized DVD, take a look at your movie collection. Several DVDs -- including Pixar and Lucasfilm movies -- include a THX optimization selection. Choosing this on your menu leads you to a series of calibration tests designed to help you get the best out of your television. The tests guide you through adjusting brightness, contrast, color saturation and sharpness.

To perform the complete test, you'll need a pair of blue filter glasses. These glasses are necessary to adjust color levels. If you don't have a pair -- or you don't want to order one -- you can choose an alternative test.

If you want to dig in a little deeper, you can buy a specialized calibration DVD. Several companies offer these discs. Many will guide you along as you make adjustments to your television until the settings are just right.

One thing to keep in mind is you may need to calibrate your television's settings for each input. You can do this by connecting your DVD to each input and running through the calibration process. Or if that sounds too time-consuming, you can use the calibration disc once and then do your best to adjust the settings on each input to match.

Once your HDTV is calibrated, you're ready to enjoy high-definition content the way it was meant to be viewed.

Learn more about HDTVs through the links on the following page.

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More Great Links


  • Carnoy, David. "Pro HDTV calibration: rip-off or money well spent?" CNET. Aug. 6, 2004. (Sept. 9, 2009)
  • Heron, Robert. "How to Calibrate your HDTV." PC Mag. June 7, 2006. (Sept. 9, 2009),2817,1975752,00.asp
  • Mahoney, John. "How to Calibrate Your New HDTV (and Not Lose Your Mind)." Gizmodo. Nov. 28, 2008. (Sept. 9, 2009)
  • Reisinger, Don. "This Is Not a Test: Calibrate Your HDTV." The New York Times. April 10, 2008. (Sept. 8, 2009)
  • Spector, Lincoln. "How to Calibrate Your HDTV." PC World. July 19, 2008. (Sept. 8, 2009)
  • Tovel, Kevin C. "HDTV calibration on the cheap." engadgetHD. July 29, 2005. (Sept. 8, 2009)