Make Your New HDTV Slightly More Awesome

Did you acquire a shiny, flat new HDTV in 2009’s end-of-the-year buying frenzy? If your new TV looks a little odd, you may need to calibrate it. Consumer Reports Electronics can help.

Most TVs have preset modes, but in order to get the best picture possible, you may need to roll up your sleeves and set things up yourself.

Adjust brightness and contrast first, then color. Ideally, detail in both dark and bright areas should be visible, and colors (especially skin tones) should look natural. A handy way to do this is to play a DVD or DVR recording and freeze on an image with people and a mix of dark and light areas.

It’s generally good to set attributes to a middle or neutral position, then adjust up or down until the image looks realistic. Although sharpness sounds like a plus, keep it at a bare minimum so details don’t look harsh and overly enhanced. The same holds true for brightness and color. In most cases, high settings look unnatural.

Of course, if you’re too lazy to calibrate the TV, you can always just put on your HD sunglasses.

Fine-tune your new HDTV for the best picture quality [Consumer Reports Electronics]