Originally Posted by Brandito
where might one buy a colorimeter? and also, is there free software to use with it? or do they generally come with software?
also, do they all do about the same job?
will it only help you calibrate your color settings? what about brightness and contrast?
You can find colorimeters online. I bought an X-Rite Eye-One Display LT on Amazon for $150. Of the more common/less expensive colorimeters the Eye-One is usually preferred to the Spyder, because the Spyder meters seem to not give consistently accurate readings.
The colorimeters do come with software bundled with the product, but the software is usually geared to calibrating the monitor connected to your computer. There is free calibration software specifically available for calibrating your TV; HCFR (http://www.homecinema-fr.com/colorimetre/index_en.php
) is the software I have used with this tutorial: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=852536
Basically, you'll need the colorimeter, the software to measure your readings, and a test disc to produce the images for the software to measure. I've found GetGray ($25 @ http://www.calibrate.tv/
) to work excellently because it was made solely for calibrating color/grayscale information. If you want to go a more commercial route, the test patterns you'll need are also available on the Avia and DVE discs.
Using all of the above, you'll be able to set the brightness and contrast, adjust the grayscale/color of your tv and, in the process, get an overall better image from your television.
As an aside, I'm a Mac guy and all the software for doing color calibration is geared to PC users, so if you don't have a PC laptop or can't borrow one, there aren't any software calibration options that I know of for Mac users.
I hope this helps.