This is my summary of calibrator Doug Blackburn's suggestions (plus a few tips of my own). There's a definite reason for each of his suggestions, but I won't go into it for brevity's sake. If you want answers, you can search the A550 thread
or search the A650 thread
for his posts (User Name: Doug Blackburn).
Use Movie mode. The default Color Tone will be Warm2, which is what you want.
Set Cell Light to 10.
Set Contrast to 84.
Set Brightness to around 53. To nail it down, you need to set it using a test pattern from a setup disc. There are some free alternatives: if you have a Blu-ray player, I suggest using the AVS HD 709 disc
; if you have a regular DVD player, I suggest using THX Optimizer that appears on THX-certified DVDs such as the Star Wars series and Pixar animated movies. If you're willing to spend a few bucks, I suggest Avia or Digital Video Essentials (search for them at Amazon)--they are both comprehensive, user-friendly guides.
Set Sharpness to 0.
Set Color to around 46 and Tint to 50/50. To fine-tune these settings, use a test pattern from a setup disc (the TV's Blue-Only Mode will come in handy for this).
All enhancements should be Off: Black Adjust, Dynamic Contrast, Edge Enhancement, and Flesh Tone at 0.
It's a guessing game where the Gamma should be, but it's usually
in the range of -2 to +1. Without a meter, all you can do is arbitrarily select what looks good to you in this range.
As for the Color Space and White Balance settings, there's just too much variability from set to set, so it's best to leave it at the defaults rather than using someone else's settings (Auto for Color Space and everything at 25 for the White Balance).
For the Size setting, Just Scan (if it isn't greyed out) will allow the entire image to fit the screen with no overscan. This is ideal for DVD and Blu-ray viewing.
Set Digital NR to Off. You can turn it on to reduce noise while watching, say, a fuzzy TV channel, but keep in mind that some material has grain due to the filmmaker's intent. (This is my suggestion. Doug hasn't said much about this.)
HDMI Black Level is adjustable only when there's a RGB signal present (most sources send out a YCbCr signal or default to it). There's usually no need to change this setting. If you've set the Brightness using a setup disc and it's lower than 42 or higher than 60, try switching this setting and recheck the Brightness with the setup disc (Brightness should fall in the range of 42 to 60).
If Film Mode isn't greyed out, switch it to Auto. (This is my suggestion.)
Please note that all of the above settings are ideal for a darkened room. If your room has some light and the image looks too dark after following these suggestions, try the following steps in order:
- Move the Gamma slider to the right
- Increase Contrast to 97 or so
- Try both of the above steps
- Use Standard mode instead of Movie mode (all of the above settings are for Movie mode, however)
That's it. That's pretty much the best you can do on your own without instrumentation. To set the Gamma, Color Space and White Balance properly, you need a professional calibrator, or you need to purchase and learn how to use a colorimeter.