• The problem
Manufacturers typically preset their TVs to look as bright and colourful as possible so that their product stands out in the brightly lit show room. However, this does not make for an accurate picture. Whites can be blown out so that clouds, snow and other bright scenes lose detail, and blacks can be crushed so that you miss out on essential information in the shadows of your dark movies and TV programmes. There can also be significant colour shifts that give a distinct, usually blue, tint to your picture. Colours are also often pumped up so as to draw your eye in the store. You’ll also find that other typical out of the box settings which are designed to impress you in the showroom look poor when you get your new TV home. Resolution can be reduced by incorrect aspect ratio settings and inappropriate motion settings can make motion look unnatural.
In any case, it’s just not possible to manufacture TVs and projectors that are perfectly set up from the factory floor since every TV or projector is different (even those of the same make and model) and requires it’s own unique optimisation in relation to the surroundings it will be used in. This reflects the slight deviation in performance in the thousands of consumer grade components which go into every TV or projector.
Room environment also affects the displayed image. The colour of your walls, ceiling, floor and furniture, together with the amount of ambient light in a room, all have an effect on the picture and must be taken into account. That is why every TV or projector can and should benefit from a thorough professional calibration in the home.
The need to have your TV or projector calibrated becomes even more apparent when we consider that all movies and TVs are produced to a clear set of industry standards – Rec 709, D65 for high definition material. If your TV or projector isn’t precisely reflecting these standards then you aren’t seeing the picture ‘as the director intended’!