I'd like to know if my LCD monitor is representing the contrast and colors accurately or if it needs to be calibrated. What are my options? I know there's hardware, but that is a bit pricey. I used to use adobe gamma that came bundled with Photoshop back in the day. However, today is there software that can help accomplish this? Is there a guide to do this manually with color bars?
Check here, may be helpful as some of their patterns work by eye. Just remember that they are NOT for computer video, but for HD television.