In recent years we have already written various articles with tips and advice for the most optimal image quality, but in this article we again explain how you can do best settings for new TV.
If you have had a TV for a while, you can still get started with these tips.
Best settings for new TV
Calibrate your TV
Depending on your wishes and budget, you can have a TV professionally calibrated. This means that you do not get started with the tips below, but that you hire a professional to get the most out of the image reproduction of your TV. We have already described how this works, what you pay for it and what it brings you in our article about professional calibration of your TV .
Connecting your TV
Before a TV can be set up and adjusted, everything you want to connect must of course be correctly connected. You can read which connections you can best use and what you should pay attention to in our article about connecting and setting up your TV .
The basics: how do we start?
If you want to get started yourself to find out the most optimal settings for your TV, you can get started with the basics. Most TVs are set up in the store in such a way that this does not provide good picture quality in your living room, especially because there are so many TVs that all have to compete with each other and because there is so much lighting in a store that the brightness (and the contrast, and the colors, and the sharpness, etc.) is at an unnaturally high level. From the box, choosing a mode other than the shop mode can already give you a considerably better image quality, but you can take even more steps yourself to achieve the best settings.
To ‘calibrate’ your TV you can use a so-called calibration disc. This is a DVD or Blu-ray disc that contains, among other things, patterns that help you to adjust, for example, the contrast and brightness. Well-known discs are those from Digital Video Essentials and Disney World of Wonder. You can also use the THX Tune-up download from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, and then display images on TV via your tablet or smartphone. However, you can also just get started with the naked eye and your own favorite content, something that we prefer. Especially use different content; a series, an action movie and a comedy for example. In addition, make sure that this content is of the highest possible quality, for example in the form of a Blu-ray disc. Use the best source you have at your disposal, for example a Blu-ray player that is connected to your TV via HDMI. We want to send the best possible quality to your TV as a basis.
The picture mode
As mentioned above, shop mode, also called dynamic mode, is not the best mode for a home theater. However, manufacturers provide several modes (presets) that you can use. Most modes are only suitable for a specific form of content or can be completely ignored. In general, the modes that go under names like ‘cinema’, ‘cinema’, ‘true cinema’ or ‘standard’ are the best to use as a basis. You can read about the best picture mode for your TV in our article about the best picture mode for your TV . Then you go deeper into the settings to optimize the image quality based on your space and preferences.
Turn off: Motion, dynamic contrast, noise reduction, etc.
Each TV has hundreds of options and functions, many of which are also on as standard. The problem is that so many edits to the image often do not end up with the best image quality, especially when the source material is of high quality. That is why we immediately turn off certain options , also in our own reviews . If something is not quite correct later on in the image, you can always activate these options (usually in a low setting).
One of the best known and most used options is the motion option, which manufacturers call differently. At one manufacturer it is called Motion Plus or Motion Flow, at the other Intelligent Frame Creation or True Motion. However, it is all about the same thing; using software to make fast movements, objects on the screen or the camera itself run more smoothly. The problem with activating this option is that films and series quickly get a ‘fake’ home video effect because it is much too smooth and made. We almost always switch this option off or, in some cases, we use the lowest setting if the image really does not run smoothly enough.
However, the motion option is not the only option that you can turn off immediately. For example, we usually also turn off all noise reduction and mpeg reduction options, we rarely use the options that improve the black values or colors with software, and the dynamic contrast and the ambient sensor are almost always switched off. In our reviews you will find per brand (and model) which options we often switch off or not.
We will adjust this; Brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc.
Even though you have disabled various functions and options, there are still a lot of options left for you to tweak. However, we are not going to work with all options; only those options that directly affect the image display. Be sure to read the manual for what all other options and settings do with the image quality and test yourself whether this has a positive or negative effect.
One of the options that is set high in different modes and that many people also immediately throw open is the brightness. However, this is an option for which the right balance must be found. Too high a brightness will cause the deep black to be lost, but too low a brightness will not give enough gray gradations (shadow tones) in dark areas. There is a handy way to find the best balance. Set up a movie with black bars at the top and bottom. Pause the movie and then turn up the brightness all the way. Now screw it back until you end up with completely black bars. Then check whether there is enough detail in dark areas of the screen, for example in a dark action scene of a movie.
One option that is often confused with brightness is backlight. The backlight is the backlight of your LCD (or LCD LED) TV, the LEDs that illuminate the panel. However, this option partly depends on the room in which the TV is located. If you have a TV close to the window and you often watch TV during the day, the backlight can be adjusted a bit higher. If you often watch TV in a darkened room, this option may be set low. Determine the optimal setting at an ‘average’ time, when the sun is not fully up and when you probably watch TV most often. In terms of content, it is best to take a series or film with a lot of white, clear images. Take a look at this and determine whether the brightness is comfortable for the eyes and that dark parts remain dark enough (black).
This option ensures that the bright parts of an image can be distinguished from each other. Here too you have to look for the balance with which no details are lost, but the image is lively and dynamic. For the novice, a very high contrast will often seem best, but pay attention that with too high a contrast light images quickly lose a lot of detail. So use a slightly lighter scene for this setting, which takes place outside, for example. Detail in white / light objects must remain visible. You will see that the contrast also affects the brightness. Play with these two options until you find the optimal balance.
Color and shade
Many TVs have an option called ‘tint’. This is actually the only setting that you almost never have to adjust, and it is virtually impossible to adjust this setting on the eye. This is often already correctly adjusted so that you can proceed to the next step.
The color (temperature) setting is a bit more difficult than the previous settings because what you are going to do does not look right at first glance. But rest assured; Most mid-range and high-end TVs that you buy today offer excellent color reproduction from the box.
With the color (temperature) setting you can further draw the image to the color blue or to the color red, so to colder or warmer. Often you cannot play with this very much, but you can choose from a ‘low’, ‘medium / normal’ and ‘high’ option. The best setting is nine times out of ten the ‘high’ option or just a step lower, if there is this option. The problem is that you have already had the TV on and are therefore already “used” to the setting that was used. If the default setting was ‘low’ then even the ‘medium’ or ‘normal’ setting seems too warm. This is just a matter of getting used to. If after a few hours of watching TV the picture still seems too warm, you can take a step back. A good reference is a scene with many faces, since we now ‘know’ what the color of a face is. Open the color temperature here fully and screw it back until faces look healthy and natural. This option is best adjusted when using one of the calibration discs described above.
The sharpness is one of those options that many prefer to open completely, because a sharper image is better, right? That’s right, but an image must naturally be sharper. If an image is full HD (1080p) and is displayed on a full HD TV, then there is no way to actually make an image sharper. There are software adjustments that make the image look sharper, and you can find them under this option. The disadvantage of a lot of artificial sharpness is that so-called artefacts are introduced, small deviations in the image. It is best to look for a scene with many straight lines, for example of buildings. Open the sharpness all the way and you will see that the lines no longer look straight. Turn back the sharpness until you get really clean lines, without artifacts.
The beauty of an eco mode is of course that you save energy, but this does not always mean that you also get a better image quality. For example, the backlight is lowered or automatically adjusted and the contrast will decrease. For example, in reviews of various TVs, we noticed that the Eco option creates a restless image where the brightness changes drastically in a scene. That is of course not something you want and that is why we turn this option off in most cases.