The settings you should change immediately after buying a new TV


What a wonderful time to be alive! TV prices have come down, there are loads of options to choose from and HDR is on point. I recently got myself a brand new 4k TV so that I can enjoy my Spectrum TV Packages plans to the fullest. However once I had it set up, I faced a host of new features and quirks I hadn’t seen before.

As TVs get smarter, manufacturers tend to load them up with extra features and settings.

Knowing what to change will give you the entertainment TV experience you might otherwise not get.

So what settings do I need to change?

With a lot of experimentation and Googling, I managed to finally get the optimum image quality out of my TV. Unlike you guys reading this, I couldn’t find a proper guide to play around with. This got me in the mood to create a short list of features you may need to toggle. The most pressing features that require some changes are as follows:

  1. Edge Enhancement
  2. Black Tone
  3. Dynamic Contrast
  4. Live Color/Flesh Tone/HDR+
  5. Black Level/Color Space
  6. Game Mode
  7. 24p Playback

Let’s discuss what happens when you play around with these features.

1.    Edge Enhancement

The Edge Enhancement feature is present on most TV’s and is intended to sharpen the image quality. In theory, this sounds exciting but in practice it causes artefacts to appear when over-sharpened. You may see halo effects and other artifacts that will interfere with your viewing experience. In most cases, unless you are calibrating your TV, this feature is best turned off.

Also Read: 5 Netflix Tips to Boost Your Binge Watching

2.    Black Tone

Black Tone is an interesting feature that attempts to make black areas look even darker. However, in reality, it is not possible to make your TV’s black areas any darker. What this feature actually does is make gray areas blacker. This will cause you to lose some details in the image display. To keep your viewing experience as natural as possible, keep Black Tone switched off.

3.    Dynamic Contrast

Dynamic Contrast is a feature intended to make bright areas brighter and dark areas darker. This makes the picture seem more vivid. But in the process, it compromises on whites and blacks in the picture, which results in reduced detail. It can also cause color banding or, simply put, show inaccurate colors as compared to the natural image colors. To make sure you get the most amount of detail in the display its best to switch this feature off.

4.    Live Color/Flesh Tone/HDR+

All three of these features employ post-processing techniques to enhance the color in the image. Live Color saturates the colors, while Flesh tone is intended to make skin look vibrant. HDR+ modes make regular content look more like HD resolution. This sounds pretty fun when you don’t have a good cable service. These are all great features to have, but unnecessary when you’re watching a movie that has been mastered correctly. Most Cable TV providers like Spectrum TV already show well-mastered content so the features are somewhat redundant. It’s best to switch off these post-processing features for images as close to natural as possible.

5.    Black Level/Color Space

Also known as RGB Range or HDMI Range, this feature decides how colors signals are processed in your TV. Ideally, if your TV has an auto setting for this feature, you should leave it there. In case your TV does not allow you to set this to auto, set it to “Low” or “Limited” for the best image results. If you have devices like gaming consoles or Spectrum TV set-top units, you should ensure they are also set to “Limited”.

It bears notice that the “Full” setting is only to be used when using your TV as a PC monitor screen.

6.    Game Mode

As the name suggests, Game Mode is intended for use when playing video games on your TV. What this feature does is lower the input lag between the time you press buttons and your presses registering on-screen. On certain TV’s, reducing input lag can somewhat compromise image quality. Try out this mode on your specific TV and see if the image quality is substantially reduced. If this happens, then only use Game Mode for when you’re gaming. Otherwise, you should keep it switched off.

7.    24p Playback

24p Playback is more commonly known as Pure Cinema or Real Cinema depending on your TV. Instead of using the conventional 3:2 pulldown technique, this feature makes your TV play movies at 24fps. The mechanics behind these different techniques are complicated but the end result is very visible. 24p Playback reduces stutter when playing TV shows or movies. Many TV’s do this automatically, so there is no need to toggle the setting. However, on the other hand, some TV’s can do it at all. Check your TV’s setting menu, and if the feature exists, you should turn it on.

There are so many different TV manufacturers and brands it is almost impossible to cover all their different settings. My method of getting the best out of my Spectrum TV and internet service took me a few days of careful experimentation. However, this blog will have given you the basics to adjust your TV to optimum image quality. Hopefully, this will save you the time and effort to calibrate your TV or hire a calibrator. Let us know if there are any settings on your TV that should be on this list.

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