While it may look great in the store, your new flat screen is going to need to be calibrated once you get it home to deliver the best viewing experience. While hardcore videophiles will want to invest in a professional service, this new calibration app from THX covers the basic adjustments that the rest of us actually use.
Much like the conventional THX Optimizer calibration feature you find on Blu-Rays, the THX tune-up app walks users through six video setting calibrations—aspect ratio, brightness, contrast, color, and tint—as well as a pair of audio calibrations: speaker assignments and speaker phase. For each setting, an automated dialog talks you through the setting's function and how to adjust it (future iterations will have instructions tailored to your specific TV make) or you can read a transcript of the speech instead. Interestingly, the app utilizes not only a diagram for performing the actual adjustments but also a specific image for that setting as well, providing instant feedback on your last round of adjustments.
I got some hands-on time with the app earlier this week and was quite impressed. I mean, it's no S&M test pattern love-fest, but for basic calibration, it's solid. I dare say I even prefer it to the Optimizer—especially since it doesn't require blue filter glasses.
THX tune-up is available today on the App Store and will be hitting Google Play in March. If you're running the iOS version, you'll be able to pair your iPhone or iPad to your TV either with a HDMI/Component to 30-Pin adaptor or wirelessly either with Airplay or the Apple TV mirroring function. It's free for the first week (1/29-2/4) and bumps up to $2 after that. It's two dollars well spent.
The adjustments home screen.
The equipment selection screen.
The picture adjustments home screen.
The sound adjustments screen.
The color adjustment screen as seen through the iPhone's camera, which eliminates the need for the blue filter glasses.
These are the associated validation images for each calibration.