Essentials of Video"
A disc doctor for
your home theater
by Les Enser
been at your electronics dealer for over an hour now, debating which T.V./monitor
or big screen you're going to buy. You've done all your research, gone
through all of your agonizing, wondering if you are about to make the
you decide as the salesperson asks "Would you like that delivered?"
"Yes", you say. Out comes the plastic and all your agonizing
disappears into anticipation with a satisfying smile.
the set arrives at your home, you hook it up to audio/video system, connect
the cable and anxiously turn on the power button. As the monitor warms
up from blackness into an image you say, "But wait a minute! The
picture doesn't look as good as it did in the store!" And you're
right: it somehow looks grainy and the colours seems smeared.
the guru of video, Joe Kane, can pay you a private visit in your own living
room. All you need to do is buy or rent a copy of "Video Essentials,"
provided you have, or have access to, a DVD
trouble with purchasing a new set is that it's adjusted to all of the
which does not necessarily mean a proper picture. The primary reason for
these factory settings is to capture a customer's affention on the showroom
floor - so the colours, sharpness, contrast and brightness are boosted,
thus boosting noise in the picture.
leaving your TV set like this is like adding more salt to your fries without
tasting them first.
though, before doing the adjustments offered by Video Essentials, your
television has to be on for a least 20 minutes to warm up all of its circuits
so that adjustments can be made correctly.
beauty of the Video Essentials disc is that, if you haven't warmed up
your set, it has things to keep you occupied until the TV's ready. The
disc first includes an introduction to video seffings as well as testing
for your surround sound system to ensure proper set up and connections.
All of this easily takes twenty minutes, enough time to warm up the monitor.
are some excellent test tones used to test proper speaker phasing, surround,
subwoofer and center channel level adjustments. The disc also includes
setting adjustments for Dolby Digital configurations and an overview of
DVD player remote control features.
for the video adjustments.
stated on "Video Essentials", "Technology of T.V. production
has improved significantly over the years". "An artist can now
communicate ideas, without the system (Hence factory seffings) getting
in the way. Accurately reproducing those ideas, allowing you to experience
the intention of the artist, requires careful tuning of your A/V system."
is also pointed out that according to the manufacturer's instruction,
you should adjust your set until the picture "looks good". The
question is: what does "good" actually mean? As an example,
the "brightness" seffing has always meant oh... well, brightness.
Did you know, however, that it actually adjusts the level of black in
your set? Or that sharpness actually adds increased distortion as it is
turned up? That too much ambient or stray light can also be an enemy to
your T.V.? All of these factors can affect your picture quality.
gamut of test patterns is displayed to help you adjust for the proper
brightness, contrast colour, tint sharpness colour temperature, and more.
After using this disc you will truly see an improved picture as compared
with the factory settings. I found that, after the adjustments, the picture
tended to show more detail and a "film like" quality. Colour
noise was significantly decreased with the picture brightness more balanced.
too, you should make the adjustments again after several months.
features include an overview on video encoding/decoding. (i.e. the process
involved in changing a camera video signal to NTSC, NTSC to RGB etc.
The various scanning rates of a CRT are also discussed (such as interlaced
and progressive), as is CRT
design (from the familiar "delta" three gun configuration to
the "trinitron" single gun and more).
should also mention that this disc is very user friendly and is a breeze
to use. Also, it is not intimidating if you are not the most technically
inclined. However, if you feel that you're not up to the task, look up
someone in the "home theater installation" business and have
it done professionally. Ensure that he or she is qualified and stands
by their work; if they are "ISF"(Image Science Foundation) certified
you usually can't go wrong.
"Video Essentials" is a fine disc for anyone wanting the best
possible results from their T.V. investment. You will almost surely find
out what you have been missing from your set and, all in all, your home
viewing experience will be enhanced.
don't tell all your neighbours or you'll be spending your time tuning
their sets as well!
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