Do you have a brand new and spectacular Smart TV in your living room and want to make the most of it? We will see the essential adjustments to make the television show the best possible image quality so that we can enjoy without losing detail.
Why do we have to adjust the image quality?
TVs are not ready to display the optimal image quality by default.
Until about a couple of years ago, televisions came with a ‘preset’ of bright colors, very spectacular, but unrealistic.
In addition, those excessively bright targets have unreal bluish tints that, in addition, strain our eyes.
Lately this has been improved with a ‘demo’ mode, but still, this mode is not the most suitable.
In order to obtain the best possible image quality, we must adjust the brightness, contrast and color taking into account the lighting of our living room or room where we install the TV and our personal tastes. We will only have to get used to more real (in more detail) and less ‘explosive’ images.
Step 1: Change your TV’s preset
As we said, most televisions come with several preconfigured settings: standard, cinema, etc.
The first thing we have to do is adjust the controls. We must take into account that we will be accustomed to the way we currently have and the changes we make may disappoint us in the beginning.
For example, the Cinema mode may seem at first too dark, but this is because the modes that come by default (Live, Dynamic, etc.) are too bright and have over-saturated colors. However, if, despite everything, it is too dark, we can always increase the brightness a bit, as we will see later.
So, we will go to the menu of our TV and choose the Cinema (or Movie or something similar) mode, which is more real than the preset, and will also force our view less, especially if we watch television in the dark.
The reason for choosing this mode is because in many brands it is the only one of the presets that gives us access to advanced configurations.
The brightness is related to blacks and therefore to the level of detail in dark areas.
That is why we have to adjust it and seek balance.
This setting is the opposite of brightness, as it conditions the white level and general illumination of the image.
If we have the contrast too high, the image will be more spectacular, but we will lose detail in the white saturation of the light zones.
If on the contrary, we have the contrast too low, we will lose impact in the image and little light colors. Again, balance is what we should look for.
Perhaps it is one of the most difficult adjustments, since ‘for tastes, colors’. In addition to adjusting the colors after the brightness and contrast, we should look for naturalness and not the spectacular.
At first, they may seem more subdued tones, but it is preferable because they are more real.
Step 2: Deactivate unnecessary functions
Most TVs come with a series of supposedly advanced settings, which aim to make the image look better. In reality, they are usually marketing tricks to differentiate yourself from the competition.
Some of these unnecessary features that we must deactivate are:
- Dynamic Contrast: This setting makes dark scenes darker and brighter. With this function on, you lose a lot of image detail.
- Highlight the blacks: with different names, this option makes the blacks darker. Again, this will reduce the detail of the image.
- Color temperature: what this does is ‘fake’ whites, giving them bluish tones.
- Skin Tone: When we properly calibrate our TV, this function will be unnecessary. If we cannot deactivate it, we will lower this level to 0.
- Noise Reduction (DNR): This could only be useful if we view low-quality videos. However, in high definition content, this setting will cause slightly blurred images.
- Game mode: we should only use it when we go to play with the console, as it serves to reduce the visual gap between it and the television.
- Motion interpolation: called differently by some brands (Auto Motion Plus or MotionFlow), aims to smooth the movement of images shot at 24 frames per second (fps) as movies versus others with fewer fps.
Step 3: Adjust the image with a calibration disk
The final and definitive step to adjust the image is to use a calibration disk created by us.
This program will adjust all parameters necessary image: brightness (do not confuse with backlight) and affects the black and dark parts, the overscan (fill the screen ‘stretching’ image), color saturation, etc.
The final result should be a very different image to the ‘bright colors’ mode: less brightness, slightly duller colors, etc. Remember that the difference can be abrupt to our eyes, accustomed to the previous adjustment.
If we leave a few hours to get used to it we will see that we have gained in details, that we will be able to see the television as close as we want and that, in addition, in this way, it is less damage to our sight.
Obviously, we should not forget the quality of the original material: it is not the same to watch a movie on DVD as on Blu-ray or for streaming services like Netflix, and this, of course, influences the quality of viewing.
That said, with a little work and adjustments we will optimize the image of our TV and enjoy much more of it, watching the contents as they were originally recorded and not with oversaturated colors or emphasizing gloss or black.