This post was most recently updated on March 5th, 2019
One of the things am also passionate about(apart from satellite tv) is the quality of images on screens. Right from when I was young, i have always been very critical of TV picture quality. With every TV I have own, I have always tweaked the settings to get the Best tv picture calibration. Suffice to say that you can get a very wack/poor picture quality from television that cost 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 without spending a dime on special tools. I will also give you a picture of the setting am using on my Samsung and LG TV that 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 are aiming to measure, tweak and/or adjust the color response of a device (input or output) to a known state.
Any brand-name television that is around 300usd 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 realise that it is very much worth it.
Best tv picture quality calibration: Important things to note
- No default/preset picture mode is good for every viewing situation. You shoud work around your own settings that will be good enough for at least 95% of the situations you find yourself.
- As a result, after applying someone else’s settings, you may need to tweak the following elements to suit your own viewing environment. Such options include; Sharpness, brightness, eco lightening, backlight and colour temperature. Avoid activating excessive enhancements. In fact, turn them off.
- The preset mode by most tv manufacturer is the worst setting for you. I mean, they set it to the brightest and most saturated picture to get attention in the shops/showrooms.
- If you need a 100% best picture settings for your room/ situation, you will need 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 as “expert mode”, Samsung calls this “expert settings” which can allow you to calibrate everything to your taste from scratch.
Some Basic TV Preset Picture Modes & Their Functions/Features
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, 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 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. 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. However, one trade-off of a Game mode is a little loss of picture detail.
Honestly, 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 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.
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 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.
Best tv picture quality Settings Applicable to most LED Televisions(Case study; Samsung & LG TV)
Basically, all you need to do is to locate the major manual picture modes on your particular TV set and tweak accordingly. Most modern televisions 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 Samsung 55 inch UN55MU8000, the 49-inch version (UN49MU8000), 65-inch version (UN65MU8000) and 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.
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 voice activation feature. meaning, you can control your tv with your voice once you set this up. Now, lets briefly explain the functions of the limited buttons on the smart remote.
- Power/standby button: 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 to select your option
- Back/exit button: very important in cancelling 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 off, you need to 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 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 what the content creator’s intention. to select a movie as the picture mode, press the home/menu button on yourremote>>settings>>picture>>movie. See image below for more clarification.
Samsung MU800DF, MU8000 4K UHD TV Expert Settings
If you are the conservative type, merely selecting the movie mode should be enough. However, the default movie mode settings add a yellowish/reddish color 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 2 steps to the “expert settings>>then click the ok button
The settings I work with gave their own recommendation, however, i had to modify this to fit my viewing environment. Especially since I will be viewing mostly standard definition images. My settings can be copied or modified to suit your specific need. I will represent this with an image for better understanding
Analysis & Description of the Expert Picture Settings Calibration on Samsung TV
- Backlight: 5 (Max) I selected 3 because I love viewing in dark room no one setting fits all here. change to match your own 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(However, I change 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 contents 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 diffrence, 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, you want to 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 own calibration for LD LED TV. I will also want to re-emphasise that this is for an LG TV applying the settings without any modification any other brand make give a slightly different result.
For example, most Samsung comes with an 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 every enhancement like motion eyecare, edge enhancer and all.
Just like with Samsung above, I selected the “expert mode” as against tweaking any of the preset modes like APS, CINEMA, GAME and so on. The only time I ever have a reason to change this is when am 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 off, Cinema or Movie mode is going to 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.
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 be there, which can actually make the picture worse.
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 colour temperature. Technically, the warmer colour 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 cool 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/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 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 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 when it comes to television pictures 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 also turned to rTings for the best settings.
Now, I don’t think I would need any special assistance to get the most desirable colour 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
On a final note, 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 colour 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 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.