Perfect Your TV Viewing
This article is only directed toward individuals that own pretty good DVD players and flat screen displays using HDMI cables.
One of my jobs is to perform technical support for a state university department. I was asked to solve a problem with a large screen TV set in a department’s class room used to show movies. The complaint was that the TV screen looked pink. My research came up with a couple of DVD test disks. I was able to purchase the Disney WOW for blue ray players. I also purchased the standard definition disk but have not had time to examine it. Both disk types, high definition (blu-ray) and standard offer a pretty terrific package for improving the customer’s viewing experience. In fact, hidden within those disks is the capability of performing professional video setups. When using the disks, I recommend the advanced setup and not basic. The basic did not go into setup detail which I felt was needed and you will learn very little. The tutorials included with advanced were terrific. I learned a lot. The premium calibration tools are pretty impressive and you will better understand how to use them if you go through the advanced tutorials first. I will next list what these disks have help me solve and the surprise for me was not that the TV set needed calibration but that the DV deck was set up incorrectly and really dragging down the flat screen TV viewing conditions.
- Customer had the blu-ray DVD player set for incorrect output settings. The black and white levels were wrong. The color temperature was set incorrectly (Color temperature is a consumer choice. I tend to favor a blue shift because I like real “loud” whites).
- The state university viewing room was simply awful for viewing when I performed my evaluation. I could not read small text on the screen. I immediately knew something was drastically wrong. The TV was over scanning by five percent. Flat screen displays typically should not be over-scanned. We found that the DVD player was set for component output. We had a 1080P system and the DVD deck was wired with HDMI cables to the flat screen TV set. We then set the DVD deck HDMI output to 1080P and the focus snapped right in perfectly. The black, white levels were off and we set them according to the screen charts. The over scan we viewed in prior tests disappeared and came in perfectly. Focus star charts looked terrific as well as small text and the tests for detail correction. The customer chose a different color temperature which really made the whites look “loud” and perfect. I typically let the customer choose what they want for color temperature.
- A home PlayStation blu-ray player had an incorrect setting that kept us from adjusting white and black levels. Once we made the PlayStation changes, turned off auto modes, the flat screen TV looked vastly improved. The PlayStation menu now has a black background that the customer exclaimed they did not see before as it was washed out to a grey.
The next lesson learned was that we had to turn off some of the automatic features in the DVD player and TV video setup menu. We discovered that we had to do this when trying to make adjustments to white and black levels. They just would not adjust correctly so we had to go and find what auto function was turned on that kept us from making those changes.
TIP: As I mentioned earlier, we found that the DVD decks had the wrong settings. In each case, we found this out by not getting good results from the Disney WOW disks. In other words, we could not get the TV set to make changes we wished and suspected the source. Let me list those factors that led us to look at the DVD deck:
- Flat screen TV failed the over-scan test. It was over-scanned.
- Flat screen TV had terrible image clarity for black text.
- We could not get contrast or brightness to respond properly for those test patterns.
I did find the Disney program wrapper a bit over done. The Disney TV movie short clips included for viewing were pretty lame. They seemed to be used to sell their DVD movies. I wanted to see more humane beings to evaluate flesh tones but I found only one clip. I wanted to have a few more clips showing dark area details like night action shots but I found none. The separate Visions DVD, providing nature videos, was unnecessary in my opinion and a couple of the clips were utterly useless, told me nothing.
Recommendation: This product, for me, is well worth the money and adds a very nice educational component. I have to admit that this optimization system is professional if you take the time to learn to perform the adjustments properly. You just might vastly improve your TV viewing experience.
One warning should be included in this product evaluation. The user must understand that the TV settings you will perform with this Disney system optimization are from a DVD player source (or computer). We found that when we viewed our flat screen TV set from a cable box, even on “high definition channels” the image quality really suffered. I found TV flesh tones lacked real life detail and looked pasty on my office cable box. Many cable TV boxes are unable to provide improved user settings to optimize your viewing. You may be trapped within their inferior technology for cable show viewing.