Color calibration is the process of adjusting the color production of a device to match the standard color patterns. Generally, the colors on your TV are calibrated during the manufacturing process. However, the color intensity of your TV can fade over time requiring calibration.
Similarly, if the preset color adjustments do not suit your viewing preferences, manually calibrating the TV colors can be helpful. Although you can adjust a few color settings on your TV to calibrate it yourself, you may require a professional calibrator to reach a higher color precision.
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Using Manual Calibration Techniques
Before you begin the calibration process, make sure you are at an ideal distance from your TV. Adjust your sitting position and maintain the proper viewing angle. Also, adjust the lighting of your room that best suits your viewing.
Similarly, you need to turn off some eco solution features and graphic post-processing functions before starting the calibration process. Here we will be referencing Samsung TV for color calibration. You can do it accordingly on your TV.
- Press the Home button on your TV remote and go all the way to the lower left corner.
- Tap Settings.
- Move down to General and select it.
- Tap Eco Solution.
- Turn off Ambient Light Detection, Energy Saving Mode and Motion Lighting consecutively. Turning on these features will interfere with the calibration process by itself adjusting the brightness of the TV with respect to the luminance of the room.
- After that, open Picture settings to disable the graphic post-processing. If enabled, they can conflict with the color settings of your TV.
- Tap Expert Settings.
- Choose Picture Clarity Settings.
- Turn it Off.
Now, it’s time to start the calibration process. In an optimal operating environment, the settings discussed below should be able to properly calibrate your TV colors.
First things first. You should set the aspect ratio (picture size) of your TV appropriately. Improperly setting the aspect ratio will not only distort the images but also create problems with color accuracy.
For instance, setting the aspect ratio of 4:3 on a 16:9 standard display panel won’t exhibit the actual color precision. We recommend you set it to the standard value available on your TV.
There are generally 4 picture modes available on modern smart TVs — Standard, Dynamic, Natural, and Movie. Each mode offers a different color reproduction on your TV screen. You can change it to the one that best suits your viewing experience. Since TVs are more for streaming shows and movies, we recommend you set it to Movie or Cinema mode.
The color temperature defines how warm the images will appear on your TV screen. The more you increase the warm levels, the more the picture will appear yellowish. We suggest you set it to Cool or Standard.
Saturation defines the purity and intensity of colors in images. It should neither be set to too high nor too low. Either way, you will have problems perceiving the accurate colors. We suggest you set it to half levels.
The brightness level of your TV solely depends on your viewing preference and the luminance of the room. If you want optimal settings, we recommend you set it to 50%. It will yield the best result in the daytime as well as on the night lights. But, you must adjust it accordingly when you are watching it in a dark room with lights off.
This again depends upon the light intensity in your room. If you set it to higher levels, the LED strips behind your display panel will glow brighter and vice versa. Setting it too high will increase the power consumption of your TV. We recommend you adjust it according to the ambiance of your room.
While brightness deals with increasing the luminosity of darker parts of an image, contrast deals with the luminosity of brighter parts of images. It should neither be set too high nor too low. We ideally prefer a contrast ratio of 70%.
Sharpness defines the color depth in images. The higher you set the sharpness level, the higher the image pixelation (fuzzy and indistinct edges). We generally prefer setting it to 0%. However, you may go up to 10% if you want a bit of detailing in images.
Tint defines the intensity of red and green colors in images and should always be set to zero unless your TV has a green screen or red screen problems.
White balance defines the RGB color model on TVs. The gain and offset values of R, G, and B should always be zero. Setting it inappropriately will alter the white balance and the images appear more red, green or blue.
Contrast Enhancer is a function that automatically changes the contrast levels according to the lighting condition of your room. It is also a kind of eco solution feature. We suggest you turn it off.
Shadow detail function deals with increasing or decreasing the detailing in darker parts of images. It should not be set to complete zero. Neither should it be set to higher levels. We recommend you set it at about 30-40%.
The gamma value determines how bright or dull the shadow will appear in the images. We generally prefer a gamma value of 2.2, for the best streaming experience.
The color calibration is now complete. If you think you messed up with the color settings, you can reset the picture settings and use the default color values that came from the manufacturer.
- Open Settings > Picture.
- Tap Expert Settings.
- Choose Reset Picture.
Using Calibration Instruments
You may also hire a professional to calibrate colors on your TV if you are not satisfied with the manual calibration process. The professionals use advanced devices like colorimeter and X-Rite ColorMunki to get the best out of your display. They may also hook up your TV with a computer system and perform the calibration.
However, professional color calibration can cost you a few bucks, typically around $300. Therefore, we don’t recommend you go with this option unless you are going to do color-intensive tasks and need extreme color precision on your TV screen.