Friday, September 11, 2015


Getting a new TV is pretty exciting especially with all the choices there are today for 4K TVs and Curved TVs and HDTVs and the various operating systems they now are using, for example Android TV. But at the heart of things, no matter whether you get a moderate sized TV or a big screen TV, its all about the picture and how good it looks to you when you sit down to watch it.

There are two ways in which the TVs picture can be improved: the physical way which takes into account where and how its placed relative to the people watching, and the controls that the TV set itself has and which can be adjusted/fine tuned to suit the viewers preferences.

The physical way in which the TV is set up for watching is a topic for another time, but for those looking for the simplest and most productive means for this (including wall mounting of the TV, proper lighting, etc.), turning to a professional installer, for example Just One Touch, will not only be the easiest means to accomplish this but also the most efficient.

Now why should you bother in changing what the TV is displaying? Why not leave the picture as is? One reason is that there is always the chance that the TV has been set to its store display setting which can be an actual mode or just a setting that applies to this. This setting assumes the TV is on display in a store or a location where the lighting is fluorescent or overhead or with lots of glare and so drives up the contrast to compensate. Since excessive contrast can destroy detail, we dont want itor any of the factory settings that the TV has when its taken out of the box. The settings need to reflect the wishes of the owner.

So here we will concentrate on improving the TVs picture ourselves through judicious use of the controls that the TV itself provides (avoiding calibration devices which, again, are more useful when used by a professional, not to mention being costly). And theres no need to be alarmed that what you do might cause damage to the TV: check out the manual or on-display manual and you will find that theres a simple press or two to restore the TV to its factory default settings.

So set yourself up with the remote, sit down in front of the TV with the lighting of the room the way that it will normally be (i.e., some lighting or none, an open window reflecting light into the room or covered) and here we go.

There are basic controls that, while simple and far from complex to execute, can make a huge difference in what the overall picture will look like. These consist of brightness and contrast, to give two examples that will definitely affect the picture. Setting a brightness level that doesnt cause eyestrain is a good first step, one where the image isnt being dwarfed by a nearby window, for example. Of course if you watch in low light or even a darkened room, then the level of brightness needed to be effective and efficient will be different.  Contrast also needs to be taken into account with care as noted above too much of it is deadly to the image. But the opposite is true also. All of this is true of the Sharpness and Motion features too theyre ones to use gingerly. Remember, youre the boss here

TVs provide a variety of modes that affect the overall picture and have varied names: Cinema, Dynamic are among those found but a TV manufacturer might use its own name or add types of display altering modes that arent found on other TVs. In general, the Normal mode is a good place to start by looking at how rich (saturated) the colors appear when watching a TV show, and then looking more deeply into how the blacks look here too. There should also be a Black related mode setting that will affect the quality of the black this and other views are perceived and not technically measurable, so keeping a record of what you are changing and how (i.e., moving a measurement up 2 points or 10 or down 4) will help. All this doesnt really apply to playing games on the TV, where a gaming preset is most likely present to remove all digital processing that could cause slowdown onscreen.

Also try and use the same source material for your tests an example being to use a Blu-ray disc in a Blu-ray player of a TV show you are particularly found of or an action movie and so stay within the same boundaries of what is being seen. Since most TVs provide not only for saving changes you make (giving them a name or number so you can return to them at will), as well as letting you create your own, this means that you can differentiate between the best setting for watching TV shows versus watching movies (where black can play a huge difference in the overall quality as compared to a sitcom, etc.).
Theres a wealth of digital features designed to enhance the picture some are turned on by default while others are not. Start by turning off all of these to get a baseline for how the picture looks, then add them back in one at a time while viewing how they are affecting the picture. Remember, if you dont like the results, you dont have to put up with it. Should the TV have built-in sensors that take ambient light into account, it might be wise to turn this off too so that the display wont change as you move through the various modes and enhancements. It can always be turned on afterwards and then checked to see how it now appears when compared to the settings that were in effect before.

Getting a new TV is exciting, but watching a great TV picture is even more so. Spend a few minutes with your new TV so that it reflects the best picture that you can enjoy, its a proven path to happiness!


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