Quick Tip: Adjust your Picture using ONLY the "Video Level" Controls Found in your TV!

Brightness, Contrast, Color, Tint, and Sharpness:  These five controls establish your "Basic Video Levels", and are fundamental to achieving best Picture Quality in your Home Theater.  EVERY modern TV will feature these controls in its user-accessible settings -- although perhaps less prominently than in the past, as a whole bunch of other weird (and usually unexplained) settings like "Flesh Tone Correction", or "MPEG Noise Reduction" will also be clamoring for your attention.  "Contrast" might be called "Picture" in your particular TV, and "Color" might be called "Saturation" (Hey, Marketing guys LOVE to invent names!), but they are the same controls.

And as I move along in this Blog, I'll undoubtedly talk about each of them -- umm, at some point!  We've already covered Brightness in my post on Blacker Than Black Video, and Contrast in my post on Peak Whites Video.  And in my post on Extinguishing Torch Mode Settings I alerted you to the sad fact the Factory Default settings for these basic controls in your brand new TV are, almost certainly, flat out WRONG for best quality viewing!  So correcting THESE settings is something you'll want to tackle right up front when dialing-in your Home Theater.

But when you begin that task, you may be stymied by the discovery the SAME (apparently) controls are also offered in some or all of your Source devices -- and possibly even in your Audio Video Receiver (AVR)!  So, umm, WHICH set of controls should you use?  Or should you COMBINE the controls? For example, doing part of the necessary adjustment in each device?

In my post on Peak Whites Video, I revealed the basic Rule of Thumb for this:

Adjust your Picture using ONLY the “Video Level” Controls Found in your TV!

Let's explore this further.

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Digital Video, OR "Lost in Color Space!"

Few things cause as much confusion among Home Theater enthusiasts as the myriad details surrounding Digital Video formats. It is typical to run into settings choices, for example, which come with no useful explanation, nor even advice as to when or why you might prefer one over another. It is also typical to run into non-intuitive limitations: You can't do THIS because you are also trying to do THAT!

In this post, I will attempt to survey the entire topic of Digital Video formats as applied to Home Theater systems. There's way too much material here to cover everything in one post, but I will try to show you how the pieces fit together, and introduce the jargon you will see repeatedly in future posts as I get into more details.

So if you've ever wondered just what, "HDMI 4K/24 YCbCr 4:2:2 12-bit HDR10 BT.2020 with HDCP 2.2" actually MEANS (and why the heck you'd need to KNOW that), this post is for you!

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