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Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics [Blu-ray]

3.5 out of 5 stars 254 customer reviews

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(Mar 25, 2008)
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Editorial Reviews

Created by home theater industry legend Joe Kane, HD Basics is the
definitive High Definition home theater calibration tool. It promises to
improve your picture and give you an understanding of the concepts that
are vital to getting the most out of your HDTV.

Easy to use menu system
25 minute 'quick set-up" option including an in depth description and explanation of how to use specific test patterns to calibrate your display
Audio calibration test signals
Descriptive text in the menu to help navigate each option
A 90 minute overview of the basics of HDTV
Introduction to the world of creating HDTV programs
Audio commentary by Cinematographer Allen Daviau and Joe Kane.

Special Features

Audio commentary track recorded by Joe Kane and Allen Daviau

Product Details

  • Actors: Joe Kane
  • Directors: Joe Kane
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: DVD International
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008
  • Run Time: 120 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (254 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000V6LST0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,142 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I've been using the Digital Video Essentials DVD to calibrate my TVs for quite a few years and I've always loved the results, so when I heard that a Blu-Ray edition was coming, I was ecstatic.

Well, now that I've got it, it still does an excellent job, but for owners of the DVD edition, you're really not getting anything new. Almost everything on here is directly from the original DVD, only remastered in 1080p. There are a few things that have been added that pertain to LCD technology and explanation of the HD color standards, but the vast majority of content is exactly the same as the DVD.

The one thing that is a definite improvement over the DVD edition is the menu system. Instead of being forced to fast-forward through explanations to get to the test patterns, now you can bring up the pop-up menu and select a test pattern directly. So, once you've learned how to use the test patterns, you don't have to watch the explanations again in order to get to them.

So, if your Blu-Ray budget is a little short and you already own the DVD edition, then I'd say just stick with what you've got. After calibrating my TV again with the new Blu-Ray edition, I ended up with the exact same settings that I achieved with the DVD, so in that respect, you're not going to get a more enhanced calibration with the Blu-Ray edition. Apart from that, I'd say its worth it just for the improved menu system, if you don't mind re-purchasing basically the same thing over again.

If you don't own the DVD, I'd say buy this immediately, but don't let the "HD Basics" tagline fool you. This can be pretty technical if you've never used a disc like this before. Just take your time, watch all the intro videos (and there's a lot to the intros), and you should be fine.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
I've never owned a DVE calibration disc. Before this disc, I used to use AVIA to calibrate my TV. My TV is a Sony 32S3000, and it is connected via HDMI to a PS3, which I used as my BD player.

Opening the HD Basics case reveals three color filters all in one single item. This is great compared to AVIA. Lift the paper holder up and move you head up or down depending on the filter you want. And the paper holder itself is a tool to check the grayscale. AWSOME INCLUSION!

The HD Basics BD starts by giving you a crippled menu, but with a question: Where would you like to start? The question was a good start, but the execution reveals that they didn't even put thought into the menu:

COMPLETE PROGRAM MENU - Self explanatory.
HD IN DETAIL - Video shows how to setup Environment, Audio, and Video (more descriptions of Video things like scan-lines, color quality, etc).
SETTING UP MY HDTV - Video shows how to use Basic Test Patterns.
JUST THE TEST PATTERNS - Basic Test Patterns.

The three lower items act like short-cuts to items in the Complete Program Menu. I don't like this menu because it's so annoying to get back into it and because the title of each item is very vague. "HD In Detail" - How vague is that? "Setting Up My HDTV" - Do you mean how to connect the wires to it? Also, having the Complete Program Menu at the top sort of contradicts their efforts to make it simple. Instead it should have been last, and called Advanced Menu or some crap similar crap that would've kept the average Joe from venturing in there.

Once you enter an item you cannot return to this menu unless you press the Top Menu button on your controller, which shows a loading screen.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Some quick info that I'm basing my review on: The TV I have is the Samsung LN52A750 (a very popular higher end TV right now). My HD sources are: Blu-Ray = PS3, Comcast HD cable, and an XBOX 360 for games. All of these are via HDMI.

I almost always have my TV on in a dark room which is what I wanted the calibration optimized for. I tried my naked eye, then the THX test pattern on the Terminator 2 Blu-Ray but I noticed some noise/graininess in background images sometimes.


1. Makes the THX test pattern that is available with some Blu-Rays a waste of time. I used the one that came with Terminator 2 (but they're all the same). I did not like the results. But I tried it because renting T2 on Blu-Ray was faster and cheaper than buying DVE so I thought I'd give it a try. To me, the THX patterns are next to worthless. I hate to be so critical but they really are.

2. In-depth education about HD in general, some tricks and methods used by TV manufacturers as well as movie studios, mastering firms, etc. This information is interesting, educational, and useful for optimizing your set. Even though a setting like "color" in your menu might seem obvious, this disc explains how it works within your set which does help in the calibration process.

3. Comes with a color filter that you hold up to your eye to get the red/green/blue correct.

4. If you set aside a couple of hours (yes, a couple of hours) and pay attention to the information presented on this disc (may take watching the same section a few times) you will get your set calibrated as close as you can. Skipping right to the test patterns won't do you any good because you won't know what you're trying to achieve. Spending hundreds of dollars to have someone come out is just crazy.
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