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TVs are cheap this time of year, but people tend to be disappointed when they buy a new set. The picture quality did not meet expectations. Fortunately, you can get a better picture with just a few tweaks.
Let’s say you hit a big buck on a fancy new TV. All you have to do is plug it in and start watching your favorite TV shows and movies. But once you start, you’ll notice that the colors are incorrect or too bright.
It’s not necessarily the TV’s fault. Any new TV is going to be a disappointment when you first get it home. This is usually because they are not always properly calibrated for the lighting in your home.
It’s even worse if you’re buying a floor model from a store. The floor-standing model has drastically adjusted saturation and hue, designed to catch your eye under fluorescent lighting. Once you put it in the standard lighting of your home, it looks terrible.
You can pay an expert to set up your new TV, or you can save a little money and get great results by doing it yourself. Let’s start with the basic setup.
1. Use display presets
Your TV may have several built-in presets for different purposes, such as movie watching or sports channels. You can find them in your TV’s picture settings menu. Check your TV manual to find them. If you do not have a manual, tap or click here to find it online.
Sometimes your new TV may have default presets like vivid Because that will make the color pop the most – usually too much. Many store mockups use this preset.
For general TV viewing, standard Presets — or whatever your TV calls it — are your best bet. Just making that switch can fix many image quality issues.
Try cycling through the other options to see which one you like best. You can also test the settings for different scenarios. Some TVs even have presets for specific types of sports, so load up a game or two and see how they do for you.
2. Use your eyes
If none of the presets are to your liking, gain more control over your picture settings. After all, you will be the one watching it. Settings you can adjust include contrast, tint, brightness, sharpness, and color temperature.
First, play some of your favorite movies with different scenes and lighting. Keep the following tips in mind:
- Be sure to set your room lighting to what you normally see when watching TV.
- Make sure the movie contains very dark scenes, very bright scenes, scenes full of people, and more colorful.
- In dark scenes, adjust the brightness setting to make shadows as dark as possible while still showing detail.
- Then go to a lighting scene and adjust the contrast to make the white space as white as possible without destroying all the details.
- Next, adjust the color temperature until skin tones and colors look natural. If your TV has a saturation control, you can fine-tune how vivid colors appear. You want that sweet spot between “faded” and “damaging to the eye”.
Once everything looks good, test your setup by playing a few more movies in the room at different lighting levels. You’ll also want to turn off the TV a few times and come back a few minutes later to see your changes with fresh eyes.
If you don’t quite trust your eyes, or need more help, there are other steps you can take.
3. Use the calibration disk
For a more precise calibration, you can use a calibration disc. This walks you through each setting and gives you carefully crafted visual images to help guide you through the adjustments. It works well for the most part, but don’t be afraid to change specific settings to your liking. This is your TV, so the best picture is your favourite.
There are several options for purchasing calibration discs. You can buy this blu-ray from Spears & Munsil for about $40.
Other Calibration Options
If you don’t want to buy discs, there are other options. First, check your TV manual, as you probably have a calibration procedure built in.
Also, if you have a smart TV, you can load up some calibration videos on YouTube. Search for “AVS HD 709” to get a bunch of them. Of course, they do require more work on your part.
If you want to get technical, Netflix has a calibration option.Log into your Netflix account and visit Netflix.com. Click my list Add this video to your list, then fire up Netflix on your TV and look for it in your list Short example 23.976.
Start the video and fast forward to 9:40 minute mark. You’ll see a color bar showing color saturation, a pattern of circles and boxes to ensure good aspect ratio and clarity (circles should be perfect circles, boxes should be perfect squares), and a grayscale pattern. (Adjust the brightness and contrast so that each box can be seen clearly, but the black and white should be as dark and bright as possible.)
The grayscale test can also tell you if the color temperature is off, as there will be a tint to the central gray box.
Performing any of the tricks discussed in this article should give you better picture quality than you’ll ever experience on your TV. Now you can watch the big game in style.
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