The DVD player is somewhat easier. Select the "picture mode" that is described as doing the *LEAST* to the image -- probably called something like "normal" or "direct" or "movies". Use the player's factory defaults for that picture mode as regards white/black/colors/sharpness. Unlike display manufacturers, DVD player manufacturers generally select defaults that really do produce the image they are most proud of. If the display has optional features for noise reduction or automatic brightness or color correction, turn them off -- particularly anything that offers to automatically adjust flesh tones for you. Again, pick the settings that do the LEAST to the image. You want to calibrate for high quality material that won't need such processing. After calibrating, you can play with that stuff and see if you like any of it -- you probably won't. Select the output cabling and resolution that you actually intend to use for real viewing. If you change your mind on this down the road, re-calibrate. You may find no calibration changes are needed, but be sure to double-check.
Your DVD player may offer one or two settings that deal specifically with how "blacks" are handled. One such setting has to do with whether the signal level transmitted for whatever the DVD producer defined as "Black" will be the darker 0 IRE or the lighter 7.5 IRE. You can adjust your display to properly handle either setting, but some folks find it less confusing if you have all your source devices set the same way. Digital connections and high-res component (analog TV) connections often default to 0 IRE. Low res video connections often default to 7.5 IRE which is technically the "right" level for video standards. Some boxes don't offer a control for this and you may very well find that the the choice they make for you is different according to the particular output cables and resolution you choose. Another reason you have to double-check your calibration if you make a change.
The other such setting has to do with whether "Blacker than Black" data gets passed, which is most definitely something you want to have happen. Some players offer no control for this and either ALWAYS pass it correctly, or secretly stop passing it if you select certain other settings (for example 0 IRE Blacks or perhaps 480-interlaced resolution). You can't really know until you check. Clipping it secretly like this is just shoddy engineering. Other players offer a separate setting that might refer to "PC" mode or to "enhanced" blacks. That's the setting that's going to fix this or screw it up. Basically it is selecting PC standards which don't include "Blacker than Black" data. What such a setting actually does on your particular player is anybody's guess. You just have to check and see. Some players, for example, use the "Normal" setting to pass Blacker than Black if the black output level is set to 7.5 IRE ("Enhanced" would screw up that data), but then use the "Enhanced" setting to pass Blacker than Black if the black output level is set to 0 IRE ("Normal" would screw up that data)! And, unfortunately, there are some players that screw up this data no matter what you set.
You can check for the proper presence of Blacker than Black data using the DVE calibration DVD or the "THX Optimizer" present on some movie DVDs. The Avia calibration DVD has no check for this.
For the display, you are going to do basically the same thing but here you also have to out-think the marketing fools at the factory who have decided that deliberately mis-calibrating the set will attract more customers in the stores. These so-called "torch mode" settings are invariably too bright/contrasty, too red, and overly sharpness processed.
Marketing speak for "torch mode" is picture mode settings such as "dynamic", "vibrant", "sports" or their ilk. Marketing speak for the mode you want to use will be something like "movies". If in doubt, pick the picture mode that appears to give you the DARKEST and SOFTEST image to begin with. Some manufacturers use picture modes as just a way to offer pre-selected user mode settings. Others also make changes in the background that you can NOT alter with the user mode controls. Since you can't know for sure what your set is doing, it is always best to pick the picture mode that is closest to where you want to end up, just in case -- and that's the DARKEST/SOFTEST picture mode.
Now just as with the DVD player, turn off any optional features on the display that deal with noise reduction, special sharpness enhancement, or automatic adjustment of brightness or colors. Again you want to calibrate for high quality sources that won't need any such corrective processing.
Finally, double check to see if your display has any configuration options for the input you intend to use. Some displays, for example, offer the choice of computer or video standards for their digital input, which can affect whether the DISPLAY improperly clips Blacker than Black data. You want video standards. Often the user manuals do a poor job of describing these, so you may have to play around a bit to see what a setting does.
Some displays have problems only when fed certain types of data. A problem that has bit several people here is that their DISPLAY secretly clips Blacker than Black data if it is fed a signal where "Black" is transmitted as 0 IRE instead of 7.5 IRE. It is conceivable that your display also may have problems of one sort or another at one resolution and not another. If you have problems calibrating or don't like the results you get at 1080i resolution for example, rather than fight it you might want to see if the problems vanish if you select 720p resolution from your player or vice versa. Players and displays are not simple devices, and so you may see differences that simply reflect bugs in one or the other.