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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.

apple-tv-color-balance.jpg

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.

Article Link: Hands-On With the Apple TV's New Color Balance Calibration Feature
 

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2009
3,186
3,866
Mine had a noticable change. I guess I have no idea what's accurate. Both of the pictures look good. Just different. Hard to guess what the sand is supposed to look like.

I'd love to see a similar feature for them to set contrast. I assume that's much more difficult and/or not possible with current hardware.
 

Ant2369

macrumors regular
Jul 20, 2011
156
133
Connecticut
So I tried to use it last night on my LGC9 OLED and it told me it was not required and wouldn’t let me
 

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wolfshades

macrumors 6502
Nov 1, 2007
470
609
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Tried mine about half a dozen times. Failed each time. I gave up.
_________________________________________________________-
UPDATE:
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.
 
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enigmatut

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2008
136
82
MA
Yeah, I got the message:
Your televisions color balance is accurate. It doesn't need to be calibrated right now.
In other words: nailed it 😄

[edit: on 2018 Samsung (Q9), who famously do not support Dolby Vision]
 
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mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
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I feel like most TVs bought within the last ~5 years have a pretty damn good "movie" setting. My guess is people using that setting on a newer TV will see almost no difference or get the "Your televisions color balance is accurate. It doesn't need to be calibrated right now" message.
 
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Macintosh IIvx

Suspended
Mar 19, 2021
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Just seems to crank up the warmth from everything I've seen from others.

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.
 

Dorv

macrumors 6502
Feb 11, 2008
311
253
So I tried to use it last night on my LGC9 OLED and it told me it was not required and wouldn’t let me
Same, but that scenario is specifically covered in the video. If you've got Dolby Vision on, it's already color accurate.
 

Phuz01

macrumors 6502
Oct 25, 2006
339
423
New York, NY
Am I the only person who had a surprisingly positive experience with this feature? Yes, it took two attempts to work; the first time, I wasn't holding the phone close enough to the screen. But the ability to toggle between the two options allowed me to see which one I found to be preferable, and the color balance was much richer and more realistic.

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.
 

mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
14,066
4,773
Am I the only person who had a surprisingly positive experience with this feature? Yes, it took two attempts to work; the first time, I wasn't holding the phone close enough to the screen. But the ability to toggle between the two options allowed me to see which one I found to be preferable, and the color balance was much richer and more realistic.

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.

This may be the reason why. Most new TVs have a pretty accurate "film/movie" mode. On a older TV it might not even have that option, or if it does, it might not be the most accurate.

Also, the Sony x900a (4k set) took 3D at home to a new level. It was incredible. The 3D image was actually 1080P vs 720p on a 1080P set.
 
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seinman

macrumors 6502a
Jun 15, 2011
574
697
Philadelphia
Unfortunately it doesn't support a projector... since to put your phone one inch from the screen the shadow blocks the image it's supposed to be looking at.
Did you try holding it by the screen, but flipping the phone around so the projector shines onto the front of the phone? I don't have an Apple TV to test if it works or not, but that's how I calibrate my Rock Band guitars (they use light sensors to calibrate video lag). You'll want the room as dark as possible if you try this method.
 
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aardwolf

macrumors 6502
May 30, 2007
374
177
Did you try holding it by the screen, but flipping the phone around so the projector shines onto the front of the phone? I don't have an Apple TV to test if it works or not, but that's how I calibrate my Rock Band guitars (they use light sensors to calibrate video lag). You'll want the room as dark as possible if you try this method.
I didn't, but that sounds like it MIGHT work. I'll give it a shot. I wonder if the fact that it would be a mirror image would mess it up.
 
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