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Professional Calibration

If you want the absolute best performance out of your new big-screen display, you need to call a pro. If you have an expensive HDTV display and a high-end audio system, there are only so many adjustments you can do on your own. For optimal performance, more accurate calibration is necessary.

The Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) certifies technicians to provide professional calibration of home theater systems. These technicians do more than tweak the user-accessible controls on your TV set; they work with hidden service menus and even go inside the set to provide the most comprehensive and accurate calibration available.

An ISF technician begins by connecting some sort of signal generator to your set. (This piece of equipment generates a series of test patterns.) Alternately, the technician might use a calibration DVD to generate the same test patterns. He then uses an analyzer probe to measure the light output of your display device. This probe analyzes the light output in various ways and then recommends appropriate changes to the settings on your TV. The technician's use of professional analysis and calibration equipment takes all the guesswork and subjectivity out of adjusting your set; your display will be configured to reproduce the exact brightness and color output, as recommended by the ISF.

Similar analysis and calibration is performed on the audio part of your system, using sound pressure level meters, spectrum analyzers, and other testing devices. Again, the use of professional equipment takes the guesswork out of setting up the system. The technician will help you set the correct speaker levels, adjust for time delays, properly position all the speakers, and even reconfigure your room to minimize reflections. It's a full-service calibration and configuration.

Most high-end audio/video retailers employ ISF-certified technicians. You can also find ISF technicians in your area at the Imaging Science Foundation website. The service isn't cheap (you'll pay around $300 to calibrate a typical consumer-level rear or front projection system), but the results are worth it.

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