IMHO, Avia (or something similar) is necessary to properly set black level (brightness), color, tint and sharpness. It's not as useful for setting white level (contrast). Avia does have some 16:9 test patterns, and you can use one of the stretch modes to fill the screen with the 4:3 patterns. It is also very useful for display size/overscan adjustments and setting up your sound system.
It may not be a "must have", but it is highly recommended.
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