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HDTV calibration settings--Ask the Editors

CNET editor David Katzmaier answers a reader's question regarding how to find HDTV calibration settings listed on CNET.

Picture settings on the LG 32LG30
Picture settings on today's HDTVs can be overwhelming, to say the least. CNET


I'm trying to find the calibration settings you used during your review of the Pioneer PDP-5080HD, but I couldn't locate the Tips section of the review. Can you please share those? I'd like to try your settings to see how they compare to my current calibration. Thanks, William.

Hi, William,

Here's the direct link to the settings for the Pioneer. For readers who don't know, I publish my post-calibration picture settings as a part of every HDTV review I write for CNET. Typically you can find a link to those settings in the body of the review, usually in the second paragraph of the Performance section. The settings are designed to create the best possible picture the television can provide in a darkened home theater. Before you ask, no, I don't publish settings for brighter rooms--for those situations, I suggest you use my color and color temperature settings in conjunction with a higher light output (i.e. increased "contrast," "backlight" etc) and see how it looks.

To find my post-calibration picture settings for your TV, the easiest way is to search CNET's Tips & Tricks database. Simply type your TV's manufacturer and model number into the search field, and if we've reviewed your TV and published our recommended settings, the tip should appear under the title "Dark Room Picture Settings." You can also browse HDTV recent tips. If you can't find your exact model, try searching for the manufacturer name and locating a similar model; the settings should translate fairly well, although you may need to make some tweaks. For more information, check out our picture settings FAQ.

If you can't find your TV listed in CNET's database, you may want to check out AVS Forum, which lists users' favorite picture settings for many more HDTV models. Also, CNET HDTV reviewer and ace professional calibrator Kevin Miller has set up another Web site devoted exclusively to publishing picture settings, called Tweak TV. It lists settings for hundreds of HDTV models and has an easy-to-use search form to help locate your TV, but it does not include settings for white balance controls (to fine-tune color temperature).

What do you think? Should CNET create a database of calibration settings similar to Tweak TV? Have you tried my settings and been happy (or otherwise) with the results? Or couldn't you care less about picture settings?