Best Video Performance Evaluation Test Discs

Girl using touch screen television in living room

Robert Daly / Getty Images

You shelled out big bucks for that new HDTV, but how do you know if you are really getting the best performance from your purchase. Also, is that upscaling DVD player or Blu-ray Disc player really up to snuff? Will the addition of that expensive video scaler/processor really make a difference? With a good test DVD or Blu-ray test disc, even the average consumer can find out whether their HDTV, 4K UHD TV, Blu-ray/DVD player or video processor/scaler is delivering the performance that it claims to deliver.

of 06

Spears & Munsil HD Benchmark Disc 2nd Edition

What We Like
  • Setup patterns are state of the art in video reproduction.

  • The disc includes expanded help for home theater beginners.

  • Suitable for video enthusiasts and professionals alike.

What We Don't Like
  • Some sections are for advanced users with hardware measurement tools that most people don't have.

  • Disc contains much more material than most users ever need.

The 2nd Edition of the Spears and Munsil High Definition Benchmark Disc provides great tools for both the professional installer and average consumer for setting up and testing the audio and video performance of HDTVs, Blu-ray Disc players, or external video processor-scalers.

The disc features a variety of tests and video footage that check deinterlacing, scaling, noise reduction, and color accuracy, and,motion response of TVs that incorporate 120Hz and/or 240Hz screen refresh rates.

Also included are a series of tests that can evaluate 3D performance, including brightness and crosstalk factors. The included audio calibration tests check speaker phase, frequency response, and A/V sync.

The disc package includes both a Blu-ray Disc that contains the high-definition version of the 2D and 3D video tests and a DVD that provides 2D-only tests that can check video upscaling capabilities in DVD players, HDTVs and video projectors.

of 06

Spears and Munsil High Definition Benchmark Test Disc (Blu-ray Edition)

What We Like
  • Excellent calibration patterns yield spectacular results.

  • Instructions are both onscreen and printed.

  • The disc shines at setting brightness, contrast and sharpness.

What We Don't Like
  • Requires an HDTV with HDMI or HD-component cables in addition to a Blu-ray DVD player.

  • Explanations and examples are difficult to understand.

  • Learning curve for non-professionals.

With the Spears and Munsil High Definition Benchmark Disc, the average consumer has the ability, viewing a series of tests, to find out whether their HDTV, Blu-ray Disc player or an external video processor/scaler is delivering good performance.

The disc starts with scenes that contain complex shapes that test the limitations of your equipment. The disc also takes the user through a series of technical tests: Color Bars, Gray Scale display, Black Level, Image Geometry, Jagged Edge Tests, Film and video cadences, Video Title overlays, and even provides samples of Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and PCM audio codecs. For a detailed look and explanation of the tests, check out the Spears and Munsil User's Guide.

This test disc is out-of-print as of the release of the 2nd Edition, but it is still available through third-party sources.

of 06

QDEO by Marvell HD Evaluation Test Disc (Blu-ray)

The QDEO HD Evaluation test disk provides comprehensive testing of video processing in a Blu-ray Disc player, AV receiver, HDTV, or Video Scaler, such as noise reduction, format conversion, and image enhancement. The noise reduction test patterns check the ability to reduce analog and digital noise. The format conversion test patterns provide a comprehensive test of de-interlacing. The enhancement patterns check for the presence and performance of a variety of leading-edge types of enhancements including detail enhancement, adaptive contrast enhancement, intelligent color remapping, and bit-resolution-expansion. The disk also includes a set of test patterns for video setting calibration, as well as a demonstration section and video montage.

of 06

Digital Video Essentials HD Basics Blu-ray Edition

Joe Kane is a legendary expert in electronic imaging and video display technologies. As a result, he and his team have developed an extensive high definition video test disc that will enable you to get the most out of your video display device as well as providing audio test signals for fine-tuning your home theater audio system. Video tests include basic video calibration, such as brightness, contrast, color, resolution, and geometry, grayscale, and overscan, as well as more advanced tests and demonstration footage designed for getting the most out either a 720p or 1080p display. Digital Video Essentials is a very comprehensive reference test disc that will enable you to get the most out of your home theater. Very highly recommended.

of 06

Disney WOW (World of Wonder) DVD and Blu-ray Test Discs

The Disney WOW discs provide consumers with an easy way to set up and test their home theater systems. There is a "discovery" section that explains home theater basics for both novice and more advanced users, as well as a host of audio and video calibration tools to aid in getting out of a home theater system. There are also scaling, viewing angle, and grayscale tests to see if your DVD, Blu-ray Player, TV, or projector is as good as its specs say it is.

The DVD and Bu-ray also come with and nature film clips that can be used to show off your system.

of 06

Silicon Optix (IDT) HQV HD Benchmark Test Disc (Blu-ray Edition)

Building the foundation and popularity of the original HQV Benchmark DVD, the HD (Blu-ray Edition) focuses on additional tests that measure the video performance of HDTVs, HD Video Projectors, and Blu-ray Disc Players. The tests included in the HD HQV Benchmark are HD Color Bars, HD Noise Reduction, Video, and Film resolution loss tests test for "jaggies".