TV Testing: How Do You Measure Brightness?

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Q How do you measure the brightness of a TV and convert that number to nits? —Gary Eickmeier, Lakeland, FL

A Sound & Vision’s TV reviewer Thomas J. Norton uses CalMAN (now Calman) professional video calibration software, along with a Photo Research PR-650 spectroradiometer and Klein K10 colorimeter to make color and brightness measurements on the TVs he tests.

You can use less fancy (and less expensive) measurement gear to obtain TV brightness measurements, which are typically cited in nits (cd/m2, or candela per square meter) or footlamberts (ft-L). So if the device that you use to measure light output delivers readings in cd/m2, then you will have your nits measurement. If it measures in footlamberts, you will need to multiply the result by 3.4263 (e.g., 25 ft-L equals 85.66 nits).

Portrait Displays, the California-based company behind Calman calibration software, also offers a less expensive consumer version of Calman Video Pro called Calman Home. The software is available in versions designed specifically for calibrating Samsung, LG, Sony, and Panasonic TVs.

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