Q. I am constantly struggling to get the right picture on my 4K TV. I can’t figure out if I am setting it right. The color. The brightness. Everything! I read about this new 4K calibration disc from Spears and Munsil. Should I get this? Will it help me? — Ronnie, Fresno, California.
Ronnie, you are referring to the Spears & Munsil UHD HDR Benchmark Disc, which was just launched for $39.99. (Available here at Amazon.)
The disc’s makers promise it will help both professionals and amateurs calibrate the settings on their 4K TVs so they will deliver the best picture possible.
“We believe this disc completely changes the game for test and evaluation discs, by making use of all of the features and range that HDR and wide-gamut standards can offer,” the Spears & Munsil press release says.
However, trust me on this, the disc is not for amateurs, unless those amateurs are highly skilled in the practice of calibrating televisions.
Past calibration discs for High-Definition TV, such as the Disney WOW disc, feature displays of people and common day objects with easy-to-understand, on-screen instructions on how to adjust your picture settings to get the perfect image.
But the Spears & Munsil 4K calibration disc features confusing and complicated test patterns and data images with absolutely zero on-screen instructions (or voice narration) to make picture setting adjustments. To make matters worse, the disc is not accompanied by any paper guide on how to use it. Basically, unless you have a degree in engineering, you’re lost.
Ronnie, I can not recommend this disc. Hopefully, in the near future, a different company will produce a 4K calibration disc for the average consumer. Considering that 4K is still too complicated for most people, it’s sorely needed.
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— Phillip Swann