Q: As an AVS forum member, I have to tell you we really look forward to your reviews. They are often cited when discussing the various brands and models. I am writing to you however to make a suggestion on how to make your reviews even more effective for the videophiles and those thoroughly researching new TVs. I understand you at one time included service menu calibrations, but now you do not. There are those of us who would like you to access the service menu during reviews, enabling you (and us) to gauge what the real potential of what the TV being reviewed is capable of. Why don't you?
--Dean from Oregon
A: Thanks for writing Dean. I appreciate the suggestion, I understand your reasoning, and I agree that calibrating the service menu is often, depending on the model and its available user-menu controls, the only way to fully realize the potential of the TV.
For the uninitiated, the service menu contained on most TVs is typically only accessible by inputting a string of specific button-presses that aren't described in the manual. It usually contains advanced settings that control all aspects of the TV, from color points to grayscale controls to noise filter thresholds to bulb life countdowns. Some of these controls can be tweaked to improve the picture beyond the controls available in the TV's user menu. But for people unfamiliar with service menus, they can be a minefield of potential screw-ups, and in some cases an incorrect adjustment can completely disable a TV. Moreover, most service menus lack a "reset" button to take everything back to the default values.