What you need to do to your new HDTV - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 10-29-2006, 03:33 PM
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Default What you need to do to your new HDTV

Here are some hints to get your HDTV in tip-top shape, to get the best possible picture, and to see the movies and shows as the directors intended.

Some people think this only applies to CRT-based RPTVs. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Every TV comes from the factory requiring adjustment to provide the best picture. Do not confuse convergence (required by CRT-based RPTVs) with callibration - required by all TVs.

  • There are specific standards on how to set up a TV so that it looks exactly like it should (like the studios and directors intended). Note however, that someone else' settings, even for the exact same TV will not be applicable for your TV. This is because of the variability of the components that go into TV manufacture, because of different lighting conditions in your home and because you may prefer a slightly different setting.
  • Your HDTV, as set up by the manufacturer, may not even be close to this reference standard. This is because they set up TVs to look good in brightly-lit stores and to attract your attention. Those settings make the TV much too bright and the colours much too vivid for use at home. We call this "Torch Mode".
  • This "torch mode" can even cause premature failure of your HDTV because the contrast, brightness, colour, etc are all set so high that they tax your "CRTs or light engine" and your TV's power supply. These settings need to be changed.
How To:
There are several setup DVDs available that can assist you in setting up your new HDTV by yourself. The main three are:
  1. AVIA Guide to Home Theater DVD
  2. Digital Video Essentials (DVE) DVD
  3. Sound & Vision Home Theater Tune-Up (co-developed by AVIA and S&V)

The latter two are the least expensive and have everything you need to set up your HDTV. AVIA has some test patterns that S&V does not, intended for the technophiles and professionals. These DVDs are available on-line from Amazon.com, DVD Empire, DeepdiscountDVD, etc. You can also get them from your local electronics stores (Best Buy). You may be able to borrow them from the library, or rent them from Blockbuster. Make sure that the 3 filters are in tha AVIA box and the one, blue I think, filter is in the S&V box.

If you are not technically inclined, you can pay someone, like an ISF technician, to set up your HDTV. He will do even more than is possible with the setup disk. Since you have just spent a fair bit of money for your HDTV, it is not a bad investment to get it properly set up. The cost may be around $300. This is called ISF calibration.

Here's a link to ISF Technicians
What an ISF Technician Does

If you are going to do the setup yourself, I'd suggest you watch the DVD first to get an idea of what needs to be done and then use the DVD later, or on another evening to do the actual setup. You can do this setup as soon as you get the TV home, but the TV will do a "burn in" over a period of time. After about a month or so (the burn in period), this "burn in" means that you will likely have to run the setup again. This should only take a few minutes since your settings will not have changed drastically. Note "Burn in" (the set "settling into its environment and the CRTs burning in" is not the same as "burn lines" which will be explained later.

Before you do the setup, you need to turn off all of the automatic settings on your TV that affect the picture, as these make the picture worse rather than better. They also hinder the setup process, so you need to turn them off. (For example turn off Auto-Colour, Black Level, Perfect Picture, SVM (if applicable), etc) You need to leave them off, do not turn these auto settings back on. Most HDTVs also have a "colour temperature" setting. You may have to experiment with these settings and pick the one that is not "too red" or "too blue". On Toshibas, I believe the best setting is "warm". On Hitachis, the best setting is "standard" (6500 degrees), but some people like the "warm" (7500 degrees). They are not that diffrerent. Try both and see which you prefer.

When doing your setup, do it on the "movie" mode. This mode usually contains the 2:3 automatic pulldown detection required for smooth film reproduction. In some sets, the setup will automatically "transfer over" to the other "modes". In others, it may not, and you can either do the setup again, or simply leave the TV in "movie mode". It may not, however, be the proper setup for all of your inputs. This may need to be handled by the ISF technician I mentioned earlier, but by doing the setup; you have gone a long ways towards tweaking your TV for optimum viewing. On Sony TVs, the best mode is usually "Pro".

You may need to repeat this setup every six-12 months or so, since the settings do tend to "drift" a bit.
Service Menu:
Do not go into the service menu unless you are a very technically capable individual. Even technophiles make mistakes in these menus and these can be very costly. Leave the service mode to the professionals. You have been warned.

OK, if you did not heed my warning, at least write down all the settings in the service menu or get a service manual that contains these settings so that if/when you screw up, you can put things right (the service menu settings are not always the same as the settings that came on your TV, so it's still best to check them against each other and use the TV ones). Unfortunately, some screwups in the service menu are not fixable, without a lot of effort or a service call in some cases... You have been warned - again.

For you technophiles, here's A great link for tweaking information

Burn Lines:
Burn lines are what you can get if you leave your TV in "Torch mode" and also if you watch a lot of static images on your TV. We recommend that you do not watch 4:3 images on a widescreen set, in their original 4:3 format if your TV is susceptible to burn lines. If you do, after several months, you can do irreversible damage to your TV with "burn lines". Also, playing video games or any other input that has a static image displayed on the screen for hours a night for months in a row may result in burn lines.

The setup described above will help to minimize the potential for burn lines, by turning down contrast, brightness, etc; however, it will not totally eliminate the possibility of burn lines.

We therefore recommend that you watch your widescreen TV in one of its stretch modes, to eliminate any chance of burn lines.

Many HDTVs have some form of automatic convergence (alignment of the CRTs). This automatic convergence is not usually adequate to align the CRTs well enough for a perfect picture because the automatic convergence usually only aligns the guns based on a few points on your screen. Your set may need a manual convergence.

Some sets allow you to do a manual convergence on many points ? 117 points for example ? without going into the service menu. If you feel comfortable doing this, go ahead. Otherwise call a technician to set up your HDTV for you.

If your set does not allow manual convergence of many points without going into the service menu, you should likely call a technician to do this for you. You know why, because you read my comments regarding "service menus" above.

Once you have done all of this, your HDTV will look as it was intended, will last longer and also will provide you with the best possible picture. At first you may not "like" the settings, because they will look "different" from what you have been used to. Give it at least a week and then you will never go back to watching a set in "torch mode" again.

Sometimes the settings may not be exactly to your liking, even after a week. Feel free to tweak the settings a bit by eye. Not all TV channels provide excellent quality images, so you can increase or decrease colour, contrast, brightness or sharpness a few percent either way, so that the set looks good to you. This can be a bit of a compromise between the various channels and inputs. For example some channels may look too "red" while others look "washed out", while DVDs look just fine ? again, you?ll need to compromise a bit.

Every TV, every person and every environment (home lighting etc) is different, therefore there are no "absolute" settings - the settings from other people may not work for you, and your TV because of this.

The screen will get fingerprinted and dirty. Do not use any solvents or Windex-type cleaning products on the screen. Use a soft warm damp cloth only. Vacuum dust and cobwebs from the back of the set periodically to ensure proper ventillation and to prevent dust buildup in the area that can get inside and on your guns or on the back of the screen.

Once a year, disconnect all your cables from your components, clean the contacts and reconnect the cables to ensure a good and proper connection. This will also allow you to clean these areas for proper ventillation. You, of course, have both ends of all of your cables labelled for easy reconnection...

People from Toronto may wish to see the following post.
Another good FAQ on the subject.

*Do you have updates for this FAQ? Post a note in our "Feedback" forum in the "Update for FAQ" and we will make the changes.*

(This FAQ was originally posted at HDTVoice and has been reprinted here with permission)

Last edited by JU1CYFRU1T; 11-13-2006 at 03:31 PM.
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