Originally Posted by pkeegan
If I'm pleased with the image I've adjusted in, what will a calibration do that's worth $400?
Most important is whether you like your picture or not, but a good calibration will make a great TV's PQ look dramatically better. For a lot of people that's worth $400. If accuracy is important, then you will want to get it calibrated, or invest in the gear to DIY. Otherwise enjoy the PQ as is.
But keep this in mind: Most likely the colors and grey scale will be inaccurate and out of balance. The basic settings; i.e. color, tint, brightness, etc. will not correct that problem. For example, if the color red is running hot, when you lower the basic color or picture setting, it will reduce red output, but also reduce green and blue - which maybe were tracking close - but now red is better, but blue and green are off.
The only way to tell how well your TV is performing is to put a meter on it and run through all the various tests with specialized patterns. The software will tell you how close things are - or not. The human eye will detect if the errors are over 3%. Most TV's out of the box have errors exceeding 5%.
This is very simplified - but you basically go into the advanced adjustments where you have discrete grey scale and color controls and work on it until the scans indicate that the errors are under 3%. If you don't have a meter and appropriate software, you have no business messing with the advanced settings - but that's where the magic takes place.
That's why you get your TV calibrated - so that you get the best PQ that you display can muster.