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    Using DisplayMate to Calibrate Your HDTV    

DisplayMate calibrating 11 HDTVs with a Laptop. Photograph by Dieter Michel, PROSOUND and Medientechnik & Systemintegration Magazines

To use DisplayMate to calibrate your HDTV you'll need to connect it to a Windows PC. Fortunately, that's now pretty easy. Once you do this your HDTV will show your Windows Desktop and can then function as a giant PC Monitor. This will allow you to view all of your Windows applications on your large screen HDTV and also allow DisplayMate to fine-tune the HDTV picture quality for each of the inputs. A permanent connection isn't necessary, so you can temporarily move one of your PCs or even borrow a Laptop to do a one-time calibration. Here's how:


Available Connections:
Both your HDTV and computer have many available inputs and outputs that can be used to connect them together. You can use any connection cable that is common to both of them and even calibrate all of them in turn with DisplayMate. Most newer HDTVs accept computer VGA in addition to digital DVI or HDMI, and analog Component Video, S-Video and Composite Video. Most newer computers have digital DVI or HDMI connectors in addition to analog VGA, and some have analog Component Video, S-Video, and Composite Video outputs, but you will probably need an adapter cable or dongle from the manufacturer to access them.

Start with the Best Connection:
You can use any combination of connections from your PC that will show your Windows desktop on the HDTV and you can calibrate each of them in turn with DisplayMate. Digital DVI or HDMI produces the highest quality connection. Next best is analog VGA, which is found on virtually all PCs and many HDTVs. Next best is analog Component Video. S-Video and Composite Video also work, but they are Standard Definition rather than High Definition, so the picture quality is not as good.

Digital DVI and HDMI Connections:
All digital connections are interchangeable, meaning if you calibrate an HDTV DVI or HDMI input using DisplayMate then the same calibration settings will apply to every digital component that is connected to that same input. Note that HDMI fully supports DVI, so you can connect a PC with a DVI output to an HDTV with HDMI inputs. In that case, you just need an HDMI to DVI adapter cable. Otherwise, buying an inexpensive graphics board for your computer may be the best way to go.

Analog Connections:
Every analog signal source is a bit different, but high quality components will always be very similar. So if you use DisplayMate to calibrate an analog signal input with a computer that has a high quality graphics/video card, then you are unlikely to need additional tweaking when you connect a different component to that input.

Plug and Play:
If you have a recent model computer and a recent model HDTV then Windows Plug and Play should automatically set up and activate the video output at the proper resolution and refresh rate. With some older computers the HDTV may need to be already connected when the computer is powered up. In other cases you may need to adjust the display output manually using Windows Display Properties or Advanced Display Properties, or if provided, a custom Control Panel supplied by the manufacturer of the graphics/video card.

Laptops:
For Laptops you will need to use one of the External Display or Video Output connectors. Most newer Laptops have digital DVI or HDMI outputs in addition to an analog VGA output. As described above Windows Plug and Play should take care of everything automatically when you plug in an external display or HDTV. In some cases you may need to press a special Function Key to manually activate the external display. Frequently there are many different possible output combinations so you many have to press the Function Key several times to obtain the outputs you want. While most Laptops will simultaneously support both the internal LCD display and an external display, if the Laptop screen has a resolution lower than your HDTV it will probably limit the output resolution. In that case, you will need to make the HDTV the primary display or the only active display by cyclically pressing the Function Key until you get the combination you want.


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
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