What is Apple TV color balance?

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Catherine Le Nevez
@catherinelenevez
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With the arrival of iOS 14.5, the new color calibration function (Color Balance) has arrived which allows us to adjust the image in order to obtain a more reliable and higher quality result via Apple TV.

Apple products are always trying to make life easier for their customers - they tend to have far fewer options, buttons and settings. Apple is responsible for putting the intelligence into devices to get the most out of it without the user having to be an industry professional.



We've all seen photographs taken by a friend or acquaintance, with a large SLR camera, but they are pretty ugly. The problem is when the user doesn't know how to adjust them.

The same can happen with a home stereo system, there are many adjustments to the sound, not only the equalization, but also the position of the speakers, the type of connection to them, etc. All of this means that if you're not an expert in the industry, chances are you're not making good use of your equipment, no matter how expensive or good quality it is. Here, for example, we can see that HomePods care about listening to the sound they emit and constantly recalibrate to make all those adjustments a professional would do, without the user having to worry about anything.

In the case of Apple TV, it is possible that we have adjusted the wrong TV, the contrast, the brightness, the color, the color temperature, the tint… and many adjustments that the TV has. This means that you have to be an industry professional to make a good adjustment or even have special devices to take screen measurements.

The regolation

What Apple wants with this new feature is to help us make all these adjustments for us and get the best image quality without having to be an industry expert.



For this we need to update our Apple TV to version 14.5 (no need to buy the new Apple TV model) and have an iPhone with Face ID. Then you have to go to the Settings> Video and Audio> Color Balance menu. When we activate this function, it will ask us to bring our iPhone closer, with the screen facing the TV screen, and to place it inside the box it shows us, separating it by about 2,5 cm.

When the iPhone sees the point cloud inside that box, the calibration begins showing the base colors and shades of white. It's just a few seconds, you don't need to wait a long time.

What the iPhone is doing is seeing how the image is displayed on the screen and what changes are observed when the source values ​​are changed. Let's say iPhone and Apple TV are learning what image the screen can give.

How do you improve the image?

Now that the Apple TV already knows our screen, it is able to modify the image so that it corrects the defects or bad adjustments of the same, compensating them and making the resulting image the best possible. Obviously the Apple TV cannot control the TV settings, but it can act on the signal it sends.

At the end of the process we will see the previous image on one side of the screen and the new image on the other side. We can choose to use the new settings or stay as we were if we don't like the result.


Of course, this image enhancement is only valid for Apple TV content. If we put the DTT, the console or a Bluray, the image will be displayed as always, without corrections.

To consider

The worse we have adjusted the TV, the more it will cost Apple TV to correct the image, so it may be preferable, if you are unsure, to leave the default TV settings, the ones that come from the factory, before starting the calibrated.


If after calibration you change the settings (brightness, contrast, color…) on the TV itself, the image will be altered, the calibration effect will be lost. If you want you can leave it like this or recalibrate.


If you are using Dolby Vision, there is no need to perform calibration.

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