9 settings that can spoil the picture quality on your TV


Getting lost in the maze of modern TV settings is a breeze. Manufacturers add an insane amount of individual parameters and complex presets even to mid-range models. This is a “merciless” marketing ploy that increases the significance of each such device in the eyes of potential users. However, it is important to understand that many of these parameters are not only useless, but also significantly reduce the quality of the image on the TV screen. The HDR effect looks especially strange for a regular image, but it is not only that that spoils the picture.

1. HDR effect for normal image

HDR is an extremely understandable technique, especially in static. To achieve this, the photographer takes three frames with different levels of exposure and combines them into one image, changing the transparency of different parts of each layer. The output is a picture without overexposure and too dark areas – it may be impossible to achieve a similar result without HDR due to hardware limitations. Shooting video in HDR usually means using a wide range of colors – from 10 bits or more. To display such content, the TV must, at a minimum, have an appropriate matrix. But in reality, a panel without HDR support usually displays low-quality content with twisted brightness and contrast – this is what marketers call the HDR effect. Obviously, it only spoils the picture.

2. Too high or too low brightness

By the brightness of a television screen, manufacturers usually mean the intensity of the dark areas of the image. If the panel itself is correctly adjusted from the factory, touching this parameter is highly undesirable. The fact is that too high brightness can make the picture flat or blurry, and an excessively low value of this indicator will lead to loss of detail in the shadows and just dark parts of the video. Yes, in most TVs, the brightness slider does not control this indicator at all. Moreover, the line between too high and too low “brightness” is barely perceptible. However, if you still want to adjust it, turn on a movie with an abundance of dark scenes, lower the parameter to the minimum value and raise it until the details conceived by the author are visible in the darkest corners of the picture.

3. Too much or too little contrast

With contrast on the TV screen, the situation is approximately the same as with brightness. The only difference is that this particular parameter controls the intensity of the light areas of the picture. An excessively high level of this indicator will lead to loss of detail in clouds, snow and other bright areas. Too low a brightness level will make the picture dull and even flat. If the TV screen is correctly calibrated, it is better not to touch the contrast at all. However, if your hands are itchy, you can select the brightest clip, increase the corresponding value to the limit, and then lower it until the details in the bright areas are the most distinguishable. It is better to do this several times and with different videos.

4. Incorrect backlight intensity

It is the intensity of the backlight of the TV that can be considered its brightness in the usual sense. When it comes to a quality branded TV, this indicator is not always worth touching. Too high a backlight level can strain your eyes and even cause headaches. A low value will make the image too dim. Typically, modern TVs adjust the intensity of the backlight to the surrounding conditions of the device indoors. If this is not provided, it is better to adjust the corresponding value only within reason and only with significant changes in the environment.

5. Using sharpening

Sharpness is another useless control that is ready to instantly spoil the image on the TV screen. It artificially highlights the edges of objects. At a very high value, it adds a clearly extra halo to all the thin lines in the picture, and also actually erases important details. The sharpness level is best kept at the base value. However, it is important to understand that not all TVs have its value equal to zero. Sometimes the sharpness below a certain number is artificially lowered, making the image too soapy. In order for the picture to be as clear as possible, the content itself must be of really high quality. If you have a 4K TV, run a video in native resolution on it, and any additional adjustments will make no sense.

6. Change the balance of colors and shades

The TV screen must be adjusted for colors and shades at the factory, so there is no point in doing it manually. Yes, and such parameters, as practice shows, are far from being on all modern models – they are considered a relic of analog television broadcasting. The balance of shades should be as neutral as possible so as not to break the color scheme invented by the content creators.

7. Correction of white balance or temperature

White balance, sometimes also referred to as temperature by some TV manufacturers, is another setting that is best kept at its base setting. The fact is that a deviation in any direction can add either a blue tint or a red tint to the picture. The color temperature of the image is generally a very difficult question. The fact is that the brain usually gets used to the specific settings of the TV, so any deviation can seem very strange for quite a long period of time. It is better to keep this indicator within standard limits – then the videos will not look somehow wrong even for your guests with whom you decide to watch an interesting movie on the big screen of your home TV.

8. Incorrect interpolation or smoothing

With the help of anti-aliasing or interpolation, some models of modern TVs create extra frames for the video, which, in theory, should make the picture smoother. In fact, with an increase in this indicator, the picture often becomes quite soapy and unnatural. Fans of modern cinema will obviously not be pleased with this effect, so they are likely to turn it off immediately after purchase.

9. Game mode in intense performance

Recently, the game mode has been increasingly appearing on TVs. It is designed to reduce latency in the most dynamic entertainment – especially multiplayer shooters. With the help of the game mode, it will be possible to reduce this indicator by a few milliseconds, which is unlikely to be noticeable in everyday life, but in online competitions it can play a primary role. To reduce latency, any image processing on the TV is turned off – even quite useful and efficient. Therefore, outside of virtual entertainment, it is better not to use the game mode – especially in high-quality modern films.

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