HDTV Calibration Wizard (2006)

by | Jun 21, 2006 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews | 0 comments

HDTV Calibration Wizard (2006)

Calibration Disc for HDTV
Produced by: Monster Cable & ISF
Narrated by: Jenna Drey, Noel Lee
Video: 16:9 widescreen
Audio: DD 5.1
Length: depends
Rating: ****

Monster’s calibration DVD is intended for use by those who would be completely nerded out by the accepted test discs – Video Essentials and the AVID disc.  The intent of Head Monster Noel Lee – who introduces some of the discs sections – was to provide a test disc that would be accessible and useable by a variety of ordinary consumers without any technical know-how. Sexy singer Drey is the presenter, and after getting the various video parameter settings improved over what your set came with, we get to view a complete music video featuring herself.

The DVD has nine chapters, and I think just listing them will give the best idea of the disc contents. There are, by the way, no audio settings whatever:

Introduction from Noel Lee
How The DVD Will Make Every Other DVD Better!
How Black are Your Blacks>
How Bright are Your Whites?
Are Your Pictures Colorful Enough or Way Too Colorful?
Is Your TV Sharp?
Am I Too Fat?
Time to Enjoy Your TV
Are You Well-Connected and Properly Powered?

While thoroughly basic and avoiding any jargon such as “pluge,” the Calibration Wizard DVD does come up with some ingenious alternatives to the usual text patterns for adjustments. The Am I Too Fat? section tries to solve the situations where a 4:3 image is being viewed at a 16:9 setting and stretched, or the reverse of that.  Rather than dealing with all the different terminologies of these options on different sets, the disc just has a loop of four people playing pool and advises that they are all “trim” of body.  If they appear fat, you are obviously wrongly stretching your image and you should fine-tune the options where you can correct that. Within the full-screen image of the four people playing pool is a small framed image of the four of them. the user is asked to look at and compare the border areas of both the small image and your actual large screen and notice if anything is being cropped off.  Most sets will crop quite a bit, but some can be adjust to pull back and display the entire provided image.

The explanations should be easily understood by the most greenhorn home theater enthusiasts and the disc should improve the picture quality many users are finding acceptable because they haven’t seen how much better the displays can look.  Those of us a bit more sophisticated about these settings will probably stay with the above-mentioned video test discs. And of course there will soon be a brand new one especially for Blu-ray and HD-DVD.

 – John Sunier

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