Nowadays, TV sets come with hundreds of modes, options, adjustments, and features. These can get overwhelming for someone who’s not tech-savvy. You may be tempted to leave the default settings in their store-bought format, but then you won’t be able to make the most out of your new high-definition TV. To get a real taste of HD, you need to calibrate the picture in a way that suits your style and amplifies the content that you’re playing. It is expensive to hire a professional for picture calibration. If you can afford it, that’s great! But, if you’re like me, then you’d roll up your sleeves and get ready to dive into a world of technicalities, made easy for you in this post. Learn how to set up your TV and optimize the picture settings to enjoy all your favorite channels from silver package Spectrum in premium quality. Ready? Let’s jump right in.
Before You Begin…
Make sure that the sources are broadcasting content in the highest definition that your TV is capable of displaying. By sources, I mean the media streaming devices, cable or satellite boxes, gaming consoles, or Blu-ray players that you connect with a TV set via an HDMI cable for receiving your subscribed programming. To check this, simply head to the respective input’s menu or press the Info button on your remote control. Toggle the picture settings to 1080p (if you have an HD television set and source) or 2160p (if your TV set and source are both 4K-enabled). Once you make these adjustments, play an HD station for accurate results, rather than sticking to an SD channel. While you’re at it, inspect the wiring and connections, and see if everything is plugged in properly and running as it should be.
Set the Best Picture Mode
Picture mode is an all-in-one option for acquiring an ideal image quality. It lets you hit 99% calibration in a single go. Different brands come with different picture mode settings, but nearly all of them ask you to choose either a ‘home’ or a ‘store’ environment, before prompting you to select a mode. I’d recommend you to go for the ‘Movie’ mode if you have a Samsung TV set, ‘Calibrated’ if you have a Vizio set, or the ‘Cinema’ mode if you have purchased an LG or Sony TV. Avoid the ‘Vivid’, ‘Dynamic’ or ‘Standard’ modes at all costs. Why the ‘Movie’ mode, you ask? Because most of the TV sets are already set to a cooler temperature than what an average viewer needs. The ‘Cinema’ mode turns the picture warmer and redder, making it dim enough to suit the indoor ambiance. Once you set the picture mode, chances are that you won’t have to do anything else. It will automatically adjust the color temperature and tweak other settings too, bringing you close to the perfect picture.
Adjust the Bright & Dark Parts
Every picture is an interplay of light and shadows. If the balance between the bright and dark parts is disturbed, your picture will lose its quality and realistic aesthetic. To control the lightness of the picture, use the ‘contrast’ setting. Take a bright image, like a sky with lots of clouds. Turn the contrast option up enough to the point where the curvatures in the clouds and other subtle details become prominent, and the image has visible depth. Make sure not to set it too high, so much so that the clouds appear featureless, or too low, whereby the image shows up flat.
On the other hand, to control the darkness of the picture, use the ‘brightness’ setting. For this, choose an image with a night view, such as the New York skyline against a violet sky. Turn the brightness option down enough for the shadows in the picture to appear pronounced. Make sure not to set it too high, otherwise, your image will look washed up, or set it too low, whereby everything appears drowned in ink. So, adjust the brightness and contrast settings of your picture according to the content you’re watching to get the best view.
Determine the Sharpness, Motion, and Backlight
Sharpness means how edgy your picture looks on the TV screen. If this feature is set too high, it can create fake white lines and other overly enhanced details around the subjects, making the picture look super-artificial. So, for the most optimum results and a natural look, turn the sharpness control down to zero. If you choose the ‘Movie’ or ‘Cinema’ picture mode, chances are that it’ll already be calibrated close to zero, so you won’t have to do anything.
Similarly, motion interpolation is something you need to turn off to get rid of the soap opera effect. It is enabled by default in a majority of TV sets. Though disabling this control might lead to ‘motion blur’ in a fast-moving video, but it’ll save you from experiencing an over-smoothened image, which is frustrating for most people. Moreover, you should adjust the backlight of your LCD or OLED TV according to the environment. Crank it to the max if there are many windows in the room and the day is a particularly sunny one. Conversely, dial it down at night to avoid eyestrain and headaches.
If the aforementioned picture calibration hacks sound difficult, you can easily hire a professional to optimize the TV settings on your behalf. However, if you are looking to save up several hundred bucks, then follow the tricks mentioned in this post to set up your TV the right way and get the best picture possible.