Everyone loves their big screen HDTV. If you don’t have one..you should buy one…prices are dropping especially this holiday season (more on this later).
Your HDTV no matter how good poor calibration can ruin your picture. Out of the box TV manufacturers have the settings way to high. They commonly call this “torch mode” where everything is really bright. So if you haven’t touched your settings since you purchased your TV follow these tips to do so.
- Make sure to let your TV warm for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Temperature: Use either the warm or low setting, this will produce the most natural looking colors.
- Sharpness: This control can be bad in either direction so be careful. When it is set to high it adds artificial edges and extra shadows; too low and details appear fuzzy. Turn the sharpness all the way down and watch a crisp shot and inch it up if needed.
- Brightness: This setting manages the overall black level of the picture. Adjust the picture so that the dark part of the pictures is a dark as it can be without losing detail. Play a DVD like 300, Batman, or I Am and Legend, and pause it during a scene that’s equal parts light and dark. Crank the brightness all the way up and then start backing it down. When the letterbox bars start turning from gray to black, you’re almost there. Continue lowering until details being to fade into the background. Finally, take it up a notch or two until those details reappear with distinguishable definition.
- Contrast/Picture: This is the measure of white on the picture and is likely to be set too high out of the box. To adjust choose and image with dominant whites and turn the contrast all the way up – James Bond in a tuxedo is perfect – Now slowly bring it back down till details (like shirt buttons) appear clearly.
- Color: This can be called saturation and it is the measure of color intensity. This was probably also set too high out of the box. For the most accurate color, pause a shot with someone with fair skin, turn the color all the way up (giving the subject a sunburned effect) and then back it down till the subject looks normal.
I love to play video games but sometimes I get a pixelated effect when the objects move too fast on the screen. On my TV there is a video game mode where it will help combat this. Also your TV may have other helpful settings, just take a look through your menu and see what is available. Remember if you don’t like it you can always change it back. So that should leave you enough to get your TV looking beautiful, so sit down with family and friends to enjoy a movie on your brand new “looking” HDTV.
I consulted an article in Men’s Health when writing this.