good setup DVD for new Plasma [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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01-23-2006, 10:10 PM
I was wondering if someone could recommend a good setup DVD to properly adjust my new Plasma? I went to Best Buy and Circuit City but they had no idea what I was talking about and I looked around but couldn't find one. Thanks

01-24-2006, 11:15 AM
I was wondering if someone could recommend a good setup DVD to properly adjust my new Plasma? I went to Best Buy and Circuit City but they had no idea what I was talking about and I looked around but couldn't find one. Thanks

Yeah, those places are useless for that purpose. Go with DVE: Digital Video Essentials. I got mine through

01-26-2006, 11:29 AM
Yeah, those places are useless for that purpose. Go with DVE: Digital Video Essentials. I got mine through

I am a complete novice. What do these calibration disks do? Is there an advantage of using these over the test screens built into my DVD player? Thanks, John

01-26-2006, 01:23 PM

What test screens does your DVD player incorporate? The calibration disks allow you to optimize your TV's user controls for color, hue (tint), contrast, brightness, and sharpness (picture), since they usually enter your home way out of whack, often in ways that detract from a more enlightened viewing experience (and sometimes even harm the TV). The disks also aid in setting up your surround-sound system, often more comprehensively than your receiver or processor can. They aren't expensive, and they are a good source of information. It takes only a little time to get a lot of benefit, but the disks also provide the option of going deeper and exploring other facets of display technology that may not be obvious to the naked eye or intellect. Some people get off on this stuff; other people just want to watch the movie.


01-26-2006, 02:47 PM
My DVD player, the Harman Kardon DVD 31 does have build in testing screen for some of the items you mentioned above.

Would I simply turn my DVD player on and use that setup screen to make setting changes to the TV? Would I be properly configuring for both satellite reception and DVD playback? My DVD player will allow me to adjust DVD settings, but I want to assure my TV is set as well.

But from what you are saying, a test DVD will provide for more thorough configuration. Which do you recommend and where can I purchase?

Thanks, John

01-26-2006, 03:28 PM
I'm afraid that I'm not familiar with the HK screens, but they sound like a hell of a good idea. The DVE or AVIA disks are bound to be more elaborate and informative, and maybe more accurate. Do we know where HK got their tests and models? I wouldn't necessarily be suspicious of them, but we know that DVE, AVIA, and Sound & Vision have professional origins.

When you use either a DVD or software from a DVD player, you're really just calibrating your DVD player/TV interface according to that disk. The hope is that everything else will more or less conform, but t'ain't likely. Even particular theatrical disks could be mastered eccentrically enough to cause a significant deviation in how things look--edge enhancement, for instance, being a particular culprit. Also, in many cases, you're just calibrating a particular input, and if you aren't, the calibration for the whole TV won't necessarily be appropriate for every input. In Sony's case, you'd have to do a calibration for every picture mode--vivid, normal, and pro--which you could apply to any input (grrrr). Furthermore, you're calibrating only according to NTSC standards, not HD standards. You may or may not want to adjust your HD broadcast input slightly differently from your DVD one by hand since it has a larger color gamut. But the disks are certainly better than nothing. DVE makes a calibration disk especially for D-VHS, an HD format that might be valuable to use on one of your inputs, but you need a Dream Theater player (almost extinct because of the impending hi def DVD formats). I personally have my two HDMI sources running through an video amp/switch into a single input on my TV. It works well enough for me, even though one's for HD.

Digital Video Essentials is available all over the web--Amazon, DVD Planet,, Ebay, you name it--and it isn't expensive.


01-26-2006, 06:37 PM
Thanks for the help. I found DVE at Circuit City (online only).

01-26-2006, 07:59 PM
I've seen DVE, Avia, and the Sound & Vision discs at Borders. Compared to a test screen, you will want to use a calibration disc because the video tests on those discs use color filters that allow you to make the adjustments with greater precision and consistency than if you just eyeballed the adjustments with the naked eye.

The Sound & Vision DVD is the simplest to use, the most user friendly, and costs less (I bought mine for $15 at Borders a few years ago). DVE is not very user-friendly, but it includes a more fine tuned set of video tests that use a three-color filter rather than the single-color blue filter that comes with the S&V disc, and it costs $25. Avia also uses three-color filter video tests and is more user-friendly than the DVE disc, but its audio tests are outdated compared to the other calibration discs (no DTS, no 6.1 formats) yet it still costs $40.

01-27-2006, 06:12 AM
I received all three test discs from an ISF class I took two years ago. EDTYCT is correct when stating the calibration discs correctly calibrate only the input where the DVD player is connected. You can make a general assumption that satellite and cable companies try to comply to some type of standard when engineering their hardware, so the discs will most often get you into the ballpark. Of course, since some DVD players have user adjustments you don't know if the initial output had been calibrated prior to shipment or not.

Calibrating all inputs you use with the calibration disc will at least get you out of "torch" or demo mode the TV/flat panel manufacturers set to before shipment. Usually the contrast, brightness, sharpness and color saturation are set very high so their TV doesn't look dull in comparison. These settings will usually give blooming reds (color oversaturation), cause loss of white detail (contrast blooming) and loss of grayscale (brightness too high). The settings will also shorten the life of the display/TV by causing shorter tube life, display burn in, shorter lamp life.

After seeing how bright and colorful TV/displays are before calibration, some people think proper calibration looks dull. They don't realize how much detail is lost by oversaturation or adding noise via sharpness or edge enhancement until shown by comparison between different modes. An ISF calibrator has standalone test generators to calibrate each input so whatever goes in is what you get out. It's still a good idea to use a test disc after proper calibration for the DVD input to compensate for a less than perfect player. ISF calibration makes the TV/display part of the solution instead of part of the problem.

01-28-2006, 01:31 AM
Digital Video Essentials is the way to go, but EEGADS! It is far from user-friendly, and took me a while to figure it out, but then again, I'm a little slow...