January 29, 2013 by Grant Clauser
While everyone wants their HDTVs and home theater systems to look and sound as good as possible, most people either don’t know how to fine tune their system or don’t want to pay for a professional calibration.
Just in time for the Super Bowl, THX has released a new app to help users properly adjust their surround sound audio and high-definition picture settings. Even better, for this week the app is free.
The iOS app (no Android at the moment) was designed for the average user—not AV pros. It includes tools and tutorials on setting things like brightness, contrast and color temperature for displays, and surround sound tests for audio. In addition to test patterns, sample photos are also included so users can see more “real-world” examples of what the adjustments are doing.
One of the neatest things about the app is the built-in color filter. Instead of the standard blue transparent film common in many calibration DVD/Blu-ray discs, the app uses the iPhone’s camera as a filter for setting TV color.
Related: Dos and Don’ts for Your Super Bowl Home Theater Party.
A feature of the app also allows for user feedback.
To use it, you’ll need an iPhone 4S or 5 or an iPad 2,3 or Mini. The app connects to the TV and sound system via an HDMI adapter (which you can purchase on your own for $20-$30) or via AirPlay on an Apple TV.
The app is free now, but after February 4th it will cost you $1.99.
THX app features:
• Aspect ratio – ensures your TV displays shapes and sizes correctly
• Brightness – makes certain shadow details and night scenes are clearly visible
• Contrast – ensures that white detail is distinct on your television
• Color – make sure colors are bright and vibrant but not overly saturated or cartoonish
• Tint – ensures skin tones appear natural and are not too green or red
• Speaker assignment – ensures that speakers are connected to the correct audio video receiver (AVR) output and intended sound is coming from the correct speaker
• Speaker phase – confirms that positive and negative speaker wires are connected correctly and all speakers are in phase
• “THX Deep Note” – the sound that made THX famous is available at the push of a button in 5.1 surround sound
• “THX Trailers” – extraordinary THX trailers (just like the ones in THX Certified Cinemas) are available in HD for users to show off their newly tuned TV and sound systems to friends and family
• “Moo Can” – users can tilt their iPhone or iPad to hear the classic “moo” sound from a popular THX cinema trailer
• “Ask Tex” – provides consumers with an easy way to get answers to any questions they might have for THX about their home theater equipment and setup process
More about THX and home theater design here.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.
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