Buying a new television is often fraught with difficulty. The vision you see on screen in the store showroom may look totally different when you take your new TV home.
Why? Well, a couple of factors come into play. In store, you're probably looking at a high definition feed (good) that has been split to display on multiple screens (bad). And often times, floor stock will have their picture settings cranked up to artificially high levels to stand out in the usually poor artificial lighting conditions in the store.
At home, with different input sources -- broadcast television, DVDs, game consoles -- different video connections -- HDMI, component, s-video and composite -- as well as different lighting and background environments, the images displayed on your new telly may not be what you expected. Fiddling with the contrast and brightness controls may help, but it can be a hit and miss affair. How can you tell which are the "right" settings?
Aaron Rigg, a display calibration professional from Avical Australia, says that ideally your television can be set to meet film and broadcast standards, developed by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF), so that its displays the images exactly as produced and intended by the content's creators. Calibrating your screen to reproduce these standards in your unique viewing environment and accommodating the variations from your particular source equipment can have surprisingly impressive results.
In addition to optimising the display with correct colour reproductions for your equipment and room lighting conditions (professional calibrators will do both Day and Night settings), proper calibration will give you full detail with no artefacts in both the bright and dark areas of the picture. The result should be a more three-dimensional "immersive" viewing experience, with less eye fatigue as well as an extended lifespan for the display.
Watch this five minute video to hear Aaron Rigg clarify what ISF calibration is all about.