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?
The only sensible solution is getting a colorimeter like Spyder3Elite 4.02 or later. These are not expensive IMO, but far easier and more accurate than some visual inspection by the user.
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.
[Moved to Video Lounge]