Hands-On With the Apple TV's New Color Balance Calibration Feature
With the launch of tvOS 14.5, Apple introduced a new Color Balance calibration option that's available for the Apple TV 4K models and the Apple TV HD models. The feature was technically designed for and introduced alongside the new Apple TV 4K, but it works on existing Apple TV models too.
Available in the video section of the Apple TV settings app, Color Balance asks you to hold your iPhone
to the screen as the television set flashes through a series of colors. Your iPhone reads the colors and compares them to industry-standard color profiles, recommending optimizations.
In some situations, the changes that are recommended are going to be minor and may not look like a significant difference, but some people will see more dramatic and noticeable color profile adjustments. The color changes should help Apple TV content look more realistic, true to life, and as content creators intended it to look.
In the test that Dan shows in the video, for example, the color differences are minor, but others of us here at MacRumors have seen more noticeable results. Apple's demo is below.
The color balance feature is super simple and takes just a few minutes, and it's a much easier process than adjusting a television set's settings. For the feature to work, you need to have an iPhone with Face ID, which includes the iPhone X and later, and it's also worth noting that it can't be used with Dolby Vision.
If you haven't upgraded to tvOS 14.5 yet, it's worth doing so to check out the color balance feature. The update also adds a few other useful features like support for the latest PlayStation 5 DualSense and Xbox Series X controllers.
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Top Rated Comments
Each one error during the process. It never worked.
I finally got it to work. Prior to that, each time it would begin to calibrate, get halfway through and then fail.
I looked on Reddit for solutions. One guy said to turn off HDR+ on your TV set and then re-run the color calibration. I don't have that setting on my TV but in the video section of my TV settings there's one for "dynamic video" or "standard video". It was set to "dynamic" so I switched it to "standard" instead. Then I re-ran the color calibration and this time it worked!!
That's the good news.
The bad: totally not worth the time and effort. I ended up using the original (brighter) settings.
I like the fact it calibrates the Apple TV and not my 8-year-old Samsung (I have an extensive 3D BluRay collection and will not move to a 4K monitor until it dies), and I went down a rabbit hole last night watching scenes from favorite films just to see how much better they looked.
My TV has 4K Doby Vision which takes care of balancing things between the Apple TV and the TV. Seems to do a much better job of adjusting based on content on its own.
It's a bit like those that try to use Mac Fan Control to adjust the fans on their Mac. Pretty sure the engineers who designed it know how to better operate it than you do. I'll trust the pros.