Originally Posted by trinifox
As someone who has a photo & print background let me describe my iterative frustrations before awareness in the digital realm.
In the beginning I took photos in jpg and edited on a 2nd hand (to me at the time, a fairly pricey, but unknowingly entry level business monitor). I got mad every time I was done editing and color correcting to have my prints (at the local discount store) show up so different than what I saw on the screen. Worse yet what I could print on the free printer I got with a camera. I sucked it up and went to a pro lab the results were worse. I was informed that without a doubt what was printed is exactly what was in my files.
So with an engineer's mind I took the problem apart.
Nothing I scanned looked like the original on the screen and nothing on my screen looked lik what was output at home or at the discount store.
Enter many nights of googling.
Eventually I got to the point where my scans, displayed images and at home prints looked roughly the same. Satisfactory to my eyes. Prints at the discount store look presentable.
By this time I was shooting raw on a full frame camera with great glass. I decided to do a photo book of a recent trip. To my horror my book's colors looked 'dead', accurate but lifeless.
Spoke at length with the printer and determined that the color range of my monitor was too limited, my workspace lighting was inadequate and too yellow, my printer's resolution for proofs was too low.
Enter more nights of googling, equipment changes and adds. Now I believe that I can capture an image on camera or scan, manipulate it and proof it with confidence ... At home.
The direct comparison is that the makers of video content had a certain vision in mind, their 'stuff' is akin to something you want want to scan or take a photo of.
To see their 'stuff' the way the creators see it, your settings would have to match theirs. Your white, red, blue, green, cyan, magenta, yellow, black needs to be the same as theirs. Just the same way your photos displayed on your monitor at home uses a standard for the definition of colors that is carried across to the lab for accurate reproduction.
So calibration of a tv (or your monitor, printer, scanner, pro lab imager) is simply getting all devices in a chain to agree on the definition of each reproducable color (amongst other things).