One of the things I am also passionate about(apart from satellite TV) is the quality of images on screens. Since I was young, I have always been critical of TV picture quality. I have always tweaked the settings with every TV I have owned to get the best TV picture calibration. Suffice it to say that you can get a very wack/poor picture quality from television that costs about $1000+ compared to the ones that cost $500 or less. All this boils down to picture settings.
In this article, I will give you valuable clues that can enable you to get the most accurate picture quality on your LCD/LED/0LED/QLED TV without hiring a professional or spending a dime on special tools. I will also give you a picture of the setting I use on my Samsung and LG TV, which is very good for all situations. You can, however, apply this to other TV brands, and it will work just fine.
Watching an expensive TV with the wrong settings enabled is like driving a Bugatti with bad tires: You’re not getting the full potential out of your purchase. You are
What is Television Color Calibration/Setting?
When you try to calibrate a television’s color, you aim to measure, tweak, and adjust the color response of a device (input or output) to a known state.
Any brand-name television worth around $300 or more should have a satisfactory picture quality by default. Unfortunately, your television’s picture can appear poor because you did not calibrate the display settings due to ignorance or lack of time. I will motivate you with this article, and you will realize it is worth it.
The Best TV picture Quality Calibration: Important things to note
- No default/preset picture mode is good for every viewing situation. You should work around your settings that will be good enough for at least 95% of the situations you find yourself in.
- As a result, after applying someone else’s settings, you may need to tweak the following elements to suit your viewing environment. Such options include Sharpness, brightness, eco-lightening, backlight, and color temperature. Avoid activating excessive enhancements. Turn them off.
- The preset mode by most TV manufacturers is the worst setting for you. They set it to the brightest and most saturated picture to get attention in the shops/showrooms.
- If you need 100% best picture settings for your room/ situation, you will need professional service or get the equipment.
- Your TV should be tuned or calibrated for a specific room to get the absolute best image. 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 — 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 with an option for a custom picture mode. For LG as “expert mode”, Samsung calls this “expert settings,” allowing you to calibrate everything to your taste from scratch.
Some Basic TV Preset Picture Modes and Their Interpretations
There are at least four different preset video modes or settings on most HD TVs and 4K TVs. We have Movie/Cinema, dynamic/Vivid standard, natural, Sports, and Game modes.
Confusingly, the terminology for these modes varies among manufacturers; for example, the Vivid mode is sometimes called Dynamic mode or Standard mode.
Gamers will want to consider switching their 4K TV into Game mode before gaming. 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 time the TV takes 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. For example, Movie mode delivers a smaller 20-ms input lag with Game mode switched on. The difference is most apparent when competing in multiplayer, first-person shooters. However, one trade-off of a Game mode is a little loss of picture detail.
The only 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 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.
The Movie Mode(Recommended)
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 their TVs’ Picture or Video menus. 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.
Best TV picture quality Settings Applicable to Most LED Televisions
Basically, all you need to do is locate the major manual picture modes on your particular TV set and tweak them accordingly. Most modern television sets allow this manual tweaking or adjustment to a very large degree. In this article, I have made provisions for the best picture quality settings for Samsung and LG LED televisions. Don’t forget to adjust some parameters to fit your viewing condition.
Samsung UN49MU800DF 4K UHD TV Best Colour Calibration Settings
I own a 49MU800DF. However, these settings are valid for the Samsung 55-inch UN55MU8000, the 49-inch version (UN49MU8000), the 65-inch version (UN65MU8000), and the 75-inch version (UN75MU8000). I can confidently say if your target is accurate colors that are not washed out or over-saturated, this setting is what you need. In short, these are suitable for any content, from watching movies to TV shows and gaming.
Samsung All-in-one Smart Remote Control; button layout and functions)
You sure need the remote to set up the tv effectively. The multipurpose switch on the TV only offers limited functions. Below is the image of the typical Samsung smart remote with labels of the functions of the important keys.
Samsung Smart Remote button layout, labels, and their functions
Just so it might interest you, the Samsung smart remote comes with a voice activation feature. You can control your TV with your voice once you set this up. Now, let’s briefly explain the functions of the limited buttons on the smart remote.
- Power/standby button: The location is at the top left corner
- Remote sensor light
- Voice activation button
- Numbers key
- color/number code key
- dial pad-like Navigation button: You will need this to scroll up/down, left/right, and select your option
- Back/exit button: very important in canceling your selection or going back a step
- Home/Menu: you enter the main settings with this button
- Play/pause button for smart TV apps
Articles for Further Reading:
Samsung 4K TV General Settings Adjustment
first, you must turn off most of the ‘Eco Solution‘ settings. It is very safe to turn everything off, though. The reason for doing this is to prevent the backlight level from changing during our calibration. This is recommended if you don’t want the luminance of the TV to change automatically depending on the room’s brightness. Note: if you can’t ensure uniform lighting in the room, please don’t use the ambient light detection in the Samsung 4K TV(2017/2018). Therefore, to toggle this off/on, press the home button on your smart remote, then press settings>>general>eco solution>>ambient light detection
Samsung’s 4K TV Picture Mode Settings/Calibration
In the ‘Picture Mode‘, select “Movie” since it is the picture mode that offers the closest result to our calibration goal, and it should bring the image quality closest to the content creator’s intention. Select a movie as the picture mode, and press the home/menu button on yourremote>>settings>>picture>>movie. See the image below for more clarification.
Samsung MU800DF, MU8000 4K UHD TV Expert Settings
If you are conservative, merely selecting the movie mode should be enough. However, the default movie mode settings add a yellowish/reddish tint to your picture. Hence, you may want to go my path and change some parameters in the expert settings of your movie picture mode. To go to the expert picture setting, press the menu/home button on your remore>>picture>>then scroll two steps to the “expert settings>>then click the ok button.
The settings I work with gave their recommendation. However, I had to modify this to fit my viewing environment. Especially since I will be mainly viewing standard-definition images, my settings can be copied or modified to suit your specific needs. I will represent this with an image for a better understanding.
Analysis & Description of the Expert Picture Settings Calibration on Samsung TV
- Backlight: 5 (Max) I selected 3 because I love viewing in a dark room. No one setting fits all here. Change to match your lighting. But don’t let it be higher than 5 of 20.
- Brightness: 0(default value and the best. don’t change)
- Contrast: 95(default value)
- Sharpness: 0(I changed mine to 25 because zero felt too dull for me). Change this to anything not higher than 45.
- Colour: 50
- Tint (G/R): G50 / R50
- Apply Picture Settings: All Sources(highly recommended)
Digital Clean View: unticked(I turned this on because I watch some older low-resolution content most of the time
- Auto Motion Plus Settings: Off( It makes no difference to me, so I set it to Auto)
- Local Dimming: Low (This is also relative and with little difference, so I chose standard in my setting. It is very cool to select “LOW,” though.)
- Contrast Enhancer: Off
- HDR+ Mode: unticked
- Film Mode: Off
- Color Tone: Warm2(Warm2 is too red for me, so I selected cool as my color temperature. This is also a relative option)
- White Balance
- Gamma: BT.1868
- BT.BT.1868: 0
- RGB Only Mode: Off
- Color Space Settings: Auto
Final note: If you want to go hardcore on the setting, for example, tweak individual colors like green, yellow, and so on, you may need to read the full calibration here. However, always remember to reset your picture settings whenever you run into trouble,
LG FHD Led/Oled TV EXPERT Colour/Picture Calibration
Similarly, I have my calibration for LD LED TVs. I will also want to re-emphasize that this is for an LG TV. Applying the settings without modifying any other brand gives a slightly different result.
For example, most Samsung comes with an over-saturated display. So, you might need to reduce the color and contrast for a Samsung. As you can see below, I practically switched off every enhancement, like motion eyecare edge enhancer.
Like with Samsung above, I selected the “expert mode” against tweaking any preset modes like APS, CINEMA, GAME, and so on. The only time I ever have a reason to change this is when playing a video game. My settings took me 1 month to get right. If you have an LG tv, you can copy my settings. If you use other brands, you should retweak
Tips on Setting up an LG LED TV for the best TV picture calibration
First, Cinema or Movie mode will make the TV look its most “accurate.” This means it will make the image look as close to what the director or content producer intended.
Secondly, 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 create, which can make the picture worse.
Five main settings 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.
Color 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 correct, as it’s used by the people who made the TV show or movie you’re watching. However, I selected the cool color temperature in my situation because warm tends to make the picture reddish.
The backlight is the easiest to explain and see the result when adjusting. The backlight increases the overall brightness of the TV from “too dim” to “ouch, that’s bright.” It’s vital to know where this control is, separate from the picture modes so that you can turn it down at night
Gamma tweaks and other contrast enhancers are complex 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/Vivid 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 up. See how everything has a sort of artificial edge? Not ideal. Most TVs look their best with the Sharpness control nearly off. It might take away that artificial edge sharpness, but that edge is masking true fine detail. Again, Sports/Dynamic will have the 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 everything here.
Trusted Site where you can get the picture/Display Calibration Settings for All TV
rTINGS is a site with the best authority and trust regarding television picture calibration settings. Although, they now tend to lean towards popular brands. I got the settings for My LG FHD LED 43LF5400 best picture settings. Also, when I upgraded to Samsung UN49MU800DF 4K UHD TV, I turned to rTings for the best settings.
Now, I don’t think I would need any special assistance to get the most desirable color for any LED that is in my possession because I have come to learn a lot. If you are new to manual TV calibration, please visit rtings. Just don’t forget to adjust the backlight, brightness, sharpness, and color temperature to fit your viewing condition.
CONCLUSION AND ADVICE
Finally, most television manufacturers 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, backlight, 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.
Also, some settings have somewhat misleading names. Brightness, for example, typically adjusts the black level of the picture. The backlight will raise the set’s overall lighting system.
Furthermore, Colour controls in the picture settings generally affect the color saturation. Be warned that pushing these settings can make some image elements, such as a redshirt, bloom or bleed into the surrounding picture.
In conclusion, digging too deep into picture adjustments can be a risky proposition. Expert settings 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 poorly documented by TV manufacturers, so changing them can either solve problems (like eliminating odd picture artifacts) or create new ones by adding distortion.