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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Face Palm: Our HDMI Cables Produce Blacker Blacks!

This is the first of my Face Palm posts.  In these I'll discuss claims -- almost always Marketing claims -- so divorced from reality the only adequate response is a Face Palm.

Years ago a fun, parody publication, "The Journal of Irreproducible Results", featured a learned article on the recent invention of the Darkbulb.  The Darkbulb, in one practical implementation, looks exactly like a normal Lightbulb.  Except, when you screw it into the socket and turn it on, it ABSORBS light instead of emitting it.  With enough Darkbulbs, of sufficient wattage, you could plunge any size room into inky blackness!

I often think of the Darkbulb when I run into Marketing verbiage to the effect, "Our HDMI Cables Produce Blacker Blacks!"

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A Field Guide to HDMI Failures. Collect 'em all!

It's still early days in my Blog, but here I am already, typing up my THIRD post on that wondrous in its Byzantine splendor, steam and string powered world of HDMI cabling.

Truly, if you are looking for things to confound Home Theater owners, and exasperate even skilled installers, HDMI is the gift that keeps on giving!  And I say that as someone whose history with digital video long predates even HDMI version 1.0!

Not the least of the problems is recognizing whether something going wrong in your setup might even BE an HDMI failure.  And in light of that, I present this humble Field Guide to HDMI Failures.

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Yikes! All my Shows are Shocking Pink / Ghastly Green!

Does the world seem rather "off" to you today?  Does everything look like you are seeing it through rose colored glasses?  Or perhaps through a refreshing glass of limeade?  And you don't even LIKE limeade?  Is that what's bothering you, Bunky?

Well congratulations!  You've stumbled into the exciting, new, high tech world of HDMI Handshake Failures!  For a handle on what's really going on -- and what to DO about it -- read on!

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The Great Connector Conspiracy! OR, Why Won't My Cables Carry Some Audio / Video Formats?

One of the enduring mysteries of Home Theater is how to connect your gear together so that the audio and video you WANT to pass between devices will actually get there!  It sometimes seems like every path is strewn with potholes.

Restrictions can be technical, historical, and even legal (content licensing prohibitions).  In this post, I'll attempt to demystify the most common restrictions.

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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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