I have been in a situation whereby I saw a very wack picture quality from a television that cost about#400,000 $1000+ compare to the ones that cost $500 or less. Funny enough, what make the difference was not because of the brand name, it was actually due to the picture settings(you can also call it colour calibration. In this article, I will give you valuable clues that can enable you to get the most accurate picture quality on your LCD tv without hiring a professional or without spending a dime on special tools. I will also give you a picture of the setting am using on an LG TV that is very good for all situations except(Games)
Watching an expensive TV with the wrong settings enabled is like driving a Bugatti with bald tires: You’re not getting the full potential out of your purchase. You are
Any brand-name television that is around 300usd or more should have a satisfactory picture quality. All other things being equal, your television’s picture is poor because you did not calibrate the display settings due to ignorance, lack of time or nonchalance. I will motivate you with this article and you will realise that it is very much worth it.
IMPORTANT FACTORS TO NOTE
- No default / preset picture mode is good for every situation, you must work around your own settings that will be good enough for at least 95% of the situations you find yourself.
- The preset mode by most tv manufacturer is the worst setting for you.
- If you need a 100% best picture settings for your room/ situation, you will need a professional service or get the equipment. To get the absolute best image, your TV should be tuned or calibrated for a specific room. But calibration, in its strictest definition, requires professional testing equipment (such as a Klein K-10A colorimeter or an X-Rite i1 Basic Pro 2 spectrophotometer), proper training and, usually, access to special setup codes used by installers. It also entails setting up at least two custom viewing modes to accommodate specific lighting situations — for example, one that works for night viewing and another for the daytime
- You may need to turn off all image enhancers like “noise reduction, dynamic contrast, dynamic sharpness…”
- You should get a television that comes with an option for a custom picture mode. E.g Lg has “expert mode” which can allow you calibrate everything to your taste from the scratch.
SOME BASIC PRESET PICTURE MODES AND WHAT THEY ARE GOOD FOR
There are at least four different preset video modes or settings on most HD TVs: Movie, Sports, Game and Vivid. Confusingly, the terminology for these modes varies among manufacturers; for example, Vivid mode is sometimes called Dynamic mode or Standard mode.
Gamers will want to consider switching their 4K TV into Game mode before settling into an evening of fragging. Essentially, this setting eliminates some of the video processing to do things such as smooth the picture. The idea is that Game mode will reduce the input lag, which is the amount of time it takes the TV to process an image from a source such as a gaming console and get the image to the screen.
It’s relatively common for a TV to have an input lag of 60 or 100 milliseconds in, for example, Movie mode but to deliver a smaller 20-ms input lag with Game mode switched on. The difference is most apparent when you’re competing in multiplayer, first-person shooters. Samsung’s Oklu noted, however, that one trade-off of a Game mode is a little loss of picture detail.
The preset mode to avoid is Vivid mode or Dynamic mode (sometimes called Standard mode). This setting drives up brightness and color settings to their maximum output, blurring details and exaggerating bright colors.
So why is there a Vivid mode? It’s intended as an in-store demonstration mode to help a set stand out next to the dozens of other TVs in a brightly lit big-box store. Beware: Your set may be left in Vivid mode by default.
Movie mode is the most accurate mode out of the box,” That means the TV is set in the factory to reproduce the official picture specifications (for example, Rec. 709 and a 2.2 gamma for HD) as closely as possible to the picture that the director or filmmaker originally intended.
Other manufacturers may refer to the same mode as Cinema mode (LG and Sony) or Calibrated or Calibrated Dark mode (Vizio). As the nomenclature suggests, it’s the ideal mode for watching movies, with one caveat: Movie modes tend to reduce overall brightness to improve contrast, but in a brightly lit room, the subdued hues may look washed-out to some viewers.
Picture preferences are still subjective, however, and “not everybody wants a strictly accurate picture,” Consequently, many manufacturers offer a variety of other stored presets in the Picture or Video menus of their TVs. Samsung, for example, also offers a Standard mode and a Natural mode; the former senses the ambient light in the room to automatically adjust brightness and contrast; in Natural mode, the sensor is turned off.
MY LG TV EXPERT PRESET
My room is not too dark or too bright. This is not for a well sitting room. Eve at that, if you migrate the television to a brighter environment, all you need to do is to increase slightly the brightness, contrast and backlight no more, no less. I will also want to say that this is for a LG TV applying the settings without any modification any other brand make give a slightly different result. For example, most Samsung comes with the over-saturated display so you might need to reduce the colour and contrast for a Samsung. As you can see below, I practically switched off any enhancement like motion eyecare, edge enhancer and all. I selected “expert mode” as against tweaking any of the preset modes like APS, CINEMA, GAME and so on. The only time ever has reason to change this is when am trying to play a video game. My settings took me 1 month to get right, ever since then, I have not had any reason to change or tweak it. If you have an LG tv, you can copy my settings. If you use other brands, you should retweak
OTHER FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED
The basic rule of thumb is Cinema or Movie mode is going make the TV look it’s most “accurate.” This means it will make the image look as close to what the director or content producer intended.
Sports, Vivid, or Dynamic might create a “punchier” image at first glance, but these change and add “enhancements” to the image the director didn’t intend to be there, which can actually make the picture worse. You might like one or the other better, but it’s good to know what’s going on, and why certain modes and settings may not allow your TV perform its best.
There are five main settings that get adjusted by changing the picture mode: Color temperature, backlight, motion interpolation, gamma/contrast enhancers, and edge enhancement. Each changes a different aspect of the picture.
Colour temperature is the “color” of white in an image. Know how some light bulbs look bluish, while others look reddish or “warmer”? Same thing. The Sports and Vivid modes go for a cooler, bluish white that appears to “pop” more to the eye. Cinema and Movie go for a warmer color temperature. Technically, the warmer color temperature is the correct one, as it’s the one used by the people who made the TV show or movie you’re watching. However in my own situation, i selected the cooll colour temperature because warm tends to make the picture reddish
The backlight is the easiest one to explain, and to see the result when adjusting. The backlight increases the overall brightness of the TV, from “too dim” to “ouch, that’s bright.” It’s key to know where this control is, separate from the picture modes, so you can turn it down at night
Gamma tweaks and other contrast enhancers are difficult processes to describe. Essentially they adjust the dark and bright areas of the image on the fly to make the TV seem like it has a better contrast ratio. These typically don’t do much, and can cause some scenes to look too bright or too dark. Sports/Dynamic/Vivd modes will adjust these to make a “punchier” image, perhaps to an unnatural extent.
Edge enhancement is what you see if you turn the Sharpness control on your TV all the way up. See how everything has a sort of artificial edge? Not ideal. In fact, most TVs look their best with the Sharpness control nearly off. It might take away that artificial edge sharpness, but that edge is actually masking true fine detail. Again, Sports/Dynamic will have sharpness and edge enhancement set high, Movie/Cinema, low. There are also a lot of other brand-specific settings that get adjusted too but we can not cover everthing here.
Gamma tweaks and other contrast enhancers are difficult processes to describe. Essentially they adjust the dark and bright areas of the image on the fly to make the TV seem like it has a better contrast ratio. These typically don’t do much, and can cause some scenes to look too bright or too dark. Sports/Dynamic/Vivd modes will adjust these to make a “punchier” image, perhaps to an unnatural extent. We turn these features off when reviewing a TV. Movie/Cinema modes usually turn these “enhancements” off or set them low.
Edge enhancement is what you see if you turn the Sharpness control on your TV all the way up. See how everything has a sort of artificial edge? Not ideal. In fact, most TVs look their best with the Sharpness control nearly off. It might take away that artificial edge sharpness, but that edge is actually masking true fine detail. Again, Sports/Dynamic will have sharpness and edge enhancement set high, Movie/Cinema, low. There are also a lot of other brand-specific settings that get adjusted too but i can not cover all here.
CONCLUSION AND ADVICE
Most TVs let you adjust each preset to your liking. So if you prefer Movie mode but find it too subtle for your brightly lit living room, you can increase the brightness or contrast and save the settings. The same goes for other presets. But which settings should you focus on?
if the picture displeases you, you should look first to the set’s gamma control. This affects the contrast and is usually set to a number such as 2.2. Lowering the number will make the picture brighter, but it will also make it more difficult to see details in highlights of the image. Raising the gamma setting to 2.4, for example, will do the opposite.
some settings have somewhat misleading names. Brightness, for example, typically adjusts the black level of the picture. Backlight will raise the set’s overall lighting system.
Colour controls in the picture settings generally affect the colour saturation. Be warned that pushing these settings can make some image elements, such as a red shirt, bloom or bleed into the surrounding picture.
Digging deeper into picture adjustments can be a risky proposition. Expert settings that you’ll see — such as smooth motion, auto motion, noise reduction and judder reduction — refer to unique algorithms in the set’s video processing. Some of these settings add extra frames (interpolation) to smooth out the picture, but these visual tricks can also make the image look flat and lifeless. Unfortunately, many of these settings are not well documented by TV manufacturers, so changing them can either solve problems (like eliminating odd picture artefacts) or create new ones by adding distortion. If you do go down this rabbit hole, remember that there’s usually a factory reset option to get you out of trouble.