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Home Theater Hacks by Brett McLaughlin

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Hack #62.  Choose the Right Calibration DVD

Calibration DVDs are the most efficient and cost-effective way to optimize your audio and video components.

With the growing popularity of both DVD and home theater as a hobby, several calibration DVDs have appeared on the market, promising to improve your home theater experience by helping you with equipment setup. As many first-time buyers have realized, true enjoyment of home theater only begins with plugging in the various components.

By using a set of standard test patterns for audio and video, even a novice can adjust his equipment to conform to the recognized audio and video standards used in theaters and production facilities throughout the world. There are three common options in calibration discs, and each is covered in this hack. First, though, a word to those of you who think buying a DVD just to calibrate your system once or twice is a waste of money.

More than a Tool

First and foremost, it's silly to think you will use a calibration disc only once. I own three different discs and all of them get a spin a couple of times a year at my place—not to mention their usage for the half dozen pals I help out with basic calibration. These discs will be used every time you change equipment (and if you are into this hobby, the upgrade bug will bite as often as the wallet allows). You'll find yourself pulling it out every time you unplug or move your equipment. Don't be surprised if you throw in the disc a few hours before you have guests ...

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