A few years, ago, I bought one of the last high-end rear-projection TVs based on CRTs - a Pioneer Elite 620HD. I did some basic calibration with the Avia disc and did some other minor adjustments, but never got around to getting a real calibration done.
Calibration is the process of getting the TV to be as close as possible to NTSC settings - the same settings that were used when the program was created. That means getting colors and gray levels as close as possible to what they should be.
But, if it's a high-end TV, why isn't it set from the factory to meet NTSC settings? Well, the simple fact is that TV manufacturers play games to make their TVs stand out in showroom settings. That generally means pictures that are far brighter than they should be (with corresponding poor black levels), colors are off, and the picture is over-sharpened.
Some newer TVs let you choose a setting that's close to NTSC, but in most cases, calibration can make a big difference. If you have a LDC or Plasma set, start with a disc like Avia and see what you get out of it (Avia also has calibration for surround sound, which may also be useful).
In my case, my set needed cleaning, focus adjustments (because it's a rear-projection set), convergence (because it has 3 CRTs in it, one for red, blue, and green), and geometry (because it uses CRTs). You can find local techs in my area who can do calibration, but because my set is fairly rare these days, I wanted an expert, and hooked with David Abrams from Avical, working out of LA, when he was on a trip in the Seattle area.
David is a really nice guy and did a wonderful job. He spent 90 minutes on the geometry of the set (making sure straight lines are straight in all 3 colors), and about 60 minutes on the convergence (aligning all three colors). I only have about 5% of the patience he has when he's doing those kinds of things.
So, after cleaning the set, setting the focus, setting the geometry and convergence, he was on to setting the gray levels and colors. With his test pattern generator (running through the TV's component inputs, which is all I use...) and his $18K color analyzer, that part went pretty quickly. He then worked through all my sources (Tivo HD, DVD, XBox 360) and verified that everything was set right. Finally, we looked at some source and he did some final tuning.
The results were pretty impressive.
The downside is that the differences between HD feeds is now really obvious - some look great, but others really fall short.
I am a box of toys and notions. Among other things, I contain a hard box full of legos and a gross of superballs. On my outside I have a series of labels that tell me where I have lived.
As a proud corrugated-American, I'd like to share my story.
My location for the last 24 hours. My owner has moved to this office to be closer to the rest of the HealthVault partner team, which he has joined due to a recent organizational optimization. I like this location because lots of people stop by, but I'm worried it will be loud because of the standby diesel generator right outside.
I moved back to main campus to this office. It faces east and has a decent view of a parking lot. My owner works on the HealthVault partner team.
I love this office, which is big and has a nice view to the south. I do worry about degradation of my structure because the sunlight makes it hot and sometimes the A/C fails. My owner works on the HealthVault partner team, and enjoys the "small team" atmosphere.
This office is on west campus. It's okay, but the building isn't great. My owner works on the Windows Live pictures and video team.
I moved from one end of the hall to the other, and my corners are getting banged up. My owner is on a newly-reorganized team and isn't sure what he works on right now.
I moved two offices down to this one - I can look out through the window and watch my owner when he sits outside at lunch, though he does complain about the cafeteria now and then. My owner is on the Windows Movie Maker team working on the DVD Maker user interface.
Welcome to the Movie Maker team, and to a new area of campus. Building 50 stands alone by itself and is a bit inconvenient to get to, but it seems nice enough, and there are lots of boxes next door that I can spend time with.
A new office in the same building, this time looking at a wall of plants. My owner is a PM on the C# team, and is doing language design.
Despair. My owner is happy with his assignment as the test lead on the C# compiler, but this office faces south, gets very hot, and has a lovely view of the top of a cafeteria.
A pretty good office in a really nice building. I face north towards a set of vegetation. My owner co-owned office assignments on this move and got to choose his one before other people, so he got a nice one. He's a test lead for the C++ compiler front end, though there are rumors that there's something new coming along.
My first window office, with a beautiful view of a forest. My owner is very happy to get such a nice window office, but he finds it hard not to get lost in the 1-4 building complex. He's a test lead for the C++ compiler.
I was never in building 25, but my owner often tells me stories about it late at night. He says he had two different offices there, both of them pretty good.