When you get a new TV, it comes with default picture settings that might not be optimized for you. If you want the best picture quality, you can tweak several picture settings. This way, you will be able to enjoy your movies and TV shows exactly how the director intended. Here are the best TV picture settings and other important technical details that you should know about your TV.
What are the Best TV Picture Settings?
If you find yourself dissatisfied with your TV’s picture quality, you can change it yourself. However, the best picture settings will depend on what kind of TV you have, how much light is in the room, and your personal preference. In the end, it comes down to what you like best. That being said, here are the settings you can use to achieve the best TV picture:
How to Change Your Picture Mode
Most modern flat screen TVs come with several preset “picture modes.” These picture modes are drastically different from one another because they all use different settings for color temperature, backlight, and more.
While every TV is different, most models come with the following picture mode presets: Standard, Dynamic/Vivid, Cinema/Movie, Game, Natural, and Sports. Depending on your TV model, these picture modes can have different names.
You can find and change your picture mode by clicking the “Menu” button on most remotes. Then go to settings or TV, and find “Picture Settings.” In order to find the best picture mode, you should try all of them out, and choose which one looks best to you.
Use the Movie/Cinema Picture Mode
Movie/Cinema Mode: For the majority of TVs, this setting will give you the most accurate colors and a better overall viewing experience. With some TV models, this mode might be called Standard, Warm, or Pro picture mode.
If your TV is in a dark room, then movie/cinema mode will give you the most accurate color representation. However, this means that the colors will often have a soft or even red hue.
While it is recommended that you switch to Cinema or Movie mode, this might not be the case with your TV. If you watch TV during the day, or in a room with a lot of light, you might want to consider one of the other picture modes.
Dynamic/Vivid Mode: This mode is the brightest, and it might make the colors look too saturated. For example, a warm red shirt might look too bright and sharp on Dynamic or Vivid mode.
You might want to switch to this mode if your TV is in a very bright room, since it gives you the most light output. However, this comes at the expense of lower color accuracy.
Standard: This is the default picture setting that many TVs will have out of the box. This mode will have moderate contrast, sharpness, and brightness. However, this mode will often have a blue hue.
You might want to switch to this mode if your TV is in a room with a lot of windows, and you watch TV during the day and at night. It is a good balance between movie/cinema mode and vivid/dynamic mode, and it is suitable for most light environments.
Change the Sharpness to Zero
Of course, you want the images on your TV to be sharp, but most movies and TV shows are already sharp enough. So, you want to set the sharpness value to be very low. You should set it at 0% and no greater than 30%. Anything higher will cause the images to have unnaturally sharp edges.
If you notice a halo appear around objects or if the image is too “grainy,” it’s a sign that your sharpness setting is too high.
Set Contrast to 100%
For the best quality, you want to set the contrast as high as possible, even up to 100%. Contrast refers to how bright the whitest parts of the image are. To find the best setting, pause a movie on a scene that has a large white area. For example, find a scene that has a sky full of clouds. Then adjust the contrast setting until the white parts of the clouds look realistically white; not too bright that the clouds become giant white blobs, but bright enough to see their details.
Set Brightness Level to 50%
If you can tweak the contrast, you will be able to set the darkness with the brightness setting. But, unlike brightness, you don’t want contrast to be too high. To find the perfect balance, pause a movie on a dark scene, and adjust the slider or brightness levels. You don’t want the black areas to be so dark that you start missing details. You also don’t want your blacks to be washed out. For this setting, 50% is usually the sweet spot.
Set Color to 50%
This setting will often be affected by the TV mode you pick. If you choose Cinema, you will likely already have great colors that come with the mode’s factory settings. Leave this at 50% for the best results.
Set Your Hue to 0% and Tint to 50%
Hue or Tint usually refers to how green or red the images are. This setting will likely be set to a good level by default, especially if you pick the Cinema or Standard TV mode. Make sure that the hue setting is set to 0% and the Tint level is at 50%.
Set Your Gamma to 2.2 (or 0)
The Gamma setting refers to the level of “grayness” of the dark areas, shadows, midtones, and highlights of the images on your TV. When this is set too high, dark parts appear darker, which means you will miss certain details. When it is set too low, shadows will appear light, and images will look flat and washed out.
This setting is represented in numbers, between 1.8 to 2.4 (or 2.9). The ideal Gamma setting is 2.2, but you might need to consider where you install your TV. Whether your TV is in a dark or bright room, you will need to adjust your Gamma settings according and not follow the 2.2 setting strictly.
If your TV only lets you set your gamma by whole numbers, you should set it at zero.
Set Backlight Depending on How Bright Your Room is
For this particular setting, it all depends on how bright it is around your TV. Backlight basically refers to the overall brightness of the picture on your TV. You can set this according to your personal preference. However, to prevent eye fatigue, you will want to turn this down in a dark room, and turn it up in a bright room.
Make Sure Your Picture Size is Correct
The Picture Size setting (also called the Aspect Ratio or Overscan on some models) refers to the shape of your screen. Older TV sets are square and have a 4:3 aspect ratio. But for new HDTVs, the shape has become rectangular, and, as such, you should adjust your aspect ratio to 16:9. But to be sure, set the screen to Full.
One way to check if your aspect ratio is correct is to pause on a scene showcasing something round, such as a planet or a ball. If your aspect ratio is correct, the object should look round or circular. If your aspect ratio is not set correctly, the planet or ball will look stretched or squeezed.
In order to make things easy for you, here are the best picture settings for major TV brands:
Best TV Picture Settings for Samsung
If you have a Samsung TV, make sure that you turn the following OFF:
- Dynamic Contrast
- Black Tone
- Motion Lighting
- Digital Clean View
- Smart LED
Flesh Tone and Gamma should be set to zero on a Samsung flat screen, too.
LG TV Settings for Best Picture
If you have an LG flat screen, you will want to make sure that the following modes are turned OFF:
- Super Resolution
- Dynamic Color
- Clear White
- Motion Eye Care
- Real Cinema
Best Picture Settings for Vizio TV:
If you have a Vizio flat screen, tweak the Gamma level to 2.2. Be sure to turn OFF Black Detail, Active LED Zones, and Clear Action, too.
Sony TV Settings for Best Picture:
On a Sony TV, the list of settings to turn OFF is quite sizable. But for the best movie experience, make sure the following aren’t switched on:
- Noise Reduction
- MPEG Noise Reduction
- Dot Noise Reduction
- Reality Creation
- Smooth Gradation
- Black Corrector
- Auto Light Limiter
- Clear White
- Live Color
- Detail Enhancer
- Edge Enhancer
For the most part, these settings are merely suggestions. How you set yours will generally be according to your personal preferences. However, you can use these settings as guides so that you will be able to enjoy your home theater setup to the fullest.
If you are looking to buy a new TV, check out our list of the best smart TVs here.