Most HDTVs look perfectly fine straight out of the box these days, without any sort of professional or DIY calibration. But if you want to crank up the quality just a little bit more, it's much easier than you think.
Sound and Vision says it's best to start by letting your set warm up for a half hour or so, and setting the lighting in your room to the levels you'll typically use while parked on the couch. From there, all you'll need is a Blu-ray player and a $25 - $30 calibration disc that'll guide you through tinkering with your picture settings. Just don't start messing around without instruction—you might end up making your image worse than it was before you touched it. With a little patience, you'll end up with better color reproduction, contrast, and brightness.
Sound and Vision's full guide is easy to follow and worth a read—after dumping a grand or so into a new set (or less, if you lucked out this Black Friday), why not drop in a little extra investment to make 'er shine? [Sound + Vision]
Photo by Karl Baron