Why Do Your TV’s Settings Matter?
Your television’s picture needs to be perfect. Too often, clients plunk down money and get a gorgeous new home theater system only to have it ruined by improper settings. While your staff at AllWire USA can and will help you out as much as possible, we still think it needs to be addressed.
That’s why we’ve compiled a thorough list of the things you need to adjust on your television for optimal visual settings. The people that make TV shows intend viewers to watch their programs in a certain way. Many preset televisions prevent the shows from being seen as originally intended. By going through this list, you’ll be getting the most out of your entire home theater.
Turn Off “Smoothing”
This one was made famous by Star Wars director Rian Johnson, who would go into television settings and fix them, then post #TVninja on his Twitter account. You might not know exactly what we’re talking about, but you know the look if you’ve watched TV and seen people moving a bit weird.
But the way of the ninja is simple: go through every menu & sub-menu in your tv picture settings. Turn everything with an on/off switch OFF.
— Rian Johnson (@rianjohnson) August 2, 2014
That’s your television trying to create more visual data where there is none. It tries to “smooth” movement as much as possible. Television and movies are exhibited at a certain “frame rate,” or however many pictures might appear on the screen per second. For instance, a typical episode of NCIS will probably have about 24 frames, or pictures, per second. This creates the illusion of movement.
Smoothing tries to create more pictures per second. This might be good for video games, which operate at a higher frame rate. Sometimes, video games get glitchy, which requires a television to step in. However, with television shows and movies, you don’t need the extra pictures. Turning off smoothing will make the people on the screen move the way they’re supposed to. It will also make the video look closer to the way it should.
Set the Correct Aspect Ratio
Have you ever been watching a TV show and thought the screen looked smooshed or scrunched down? Chances are the TV is at the incorrect aspect ratio. While a lot of people might not notice it, it’s still important to get the exact right picture the way it was meant to be seen.
Most television nowaways is shown in widescreen. The picture should completely fill up the television without any black bars on the top or bottom. Some movies and TV shows were shot in different aspect ratios. For instance, I Love Lucy has a square picture. That’s because televisions until about 2000 were all completely square. They made I Love Lucy to fill up the entire TV with picture.
If you’re watching an episode of I Love Lucy (or almost any television show made before 2000), you should be watching it correctly. If you have a widescreen television, you should be watching your show with a black bar on either side. This means you’re getting the perfect, unadulterated picture.
Turn Off the Over Scanning
Do characters on your television ever look like the top of their head has been chopped off? This is because of over scanning. Over scanning is a fancy word for zooming in too much on a picture. Sometimes television sets have this as the default setting.
Over scanning can help when you are trying to eliminate unnecessary picture information. For instance, if you’re watching a standard definition (square) broadcast of a widescreen movie, it might have black bars on the top and bottom. This might be good for square TVs, but not necessary for your widescreen behemoth. Over scanning lets you zoom in and eliminate that information.
However, many people just leave over scanning on all the time. In order to get the picture the way it was intended, it’s important to end over scanning on your TV screen. Simply go into the settings and pick “wide” or “normal.” This will take the picture out a bit, leaving you with the appropriate video.
Reduce Sharpness to 0
High definition televisions are great because of their enhanced resolution. This gives you a sharper picture with more details. You see a lot more things that would have been missed even ten years ago. Ten years ago, your picture might have been dull and smoothed over. In order to combat this, television manufacturers built in image sharpeners.
Now the sharpness setting is largely unnecessary. While sharpness on standard definition TVs might have brought an old-fashioned signal into focus, sharpness on digital televisions can create the illusion of sharpness. In reality, it’s creating enhancements around details that were plenty sharp to begin with. This can draw attention to pixels and details not meant to be seen at all. While you might be dissatisfied with the resolution of the picture, the truth is that the video is oversharp.
Setting the sharpness to 0 gets rid of unnecessary detail and gives you the picture the way it was intended. Since all broadcasts are digital, this means you are getting the signal in the clearest possible way. Enhancing it with extra sharpness does nothing, so turn it off.
Set Color Temperature to “Normal”
Colors on a TV can sometimes look off. That is due to a factory setting known as “color temperature,” which can make an entire video look orange or blue. The reason it’s called color temperature is because it can make the picture look warm (orange) or cold (blue). If you watch an episode of CSI: Miami, you’ll notice it looks very warm.
Again, since all broadcasts are digital, the video does not need to be adjusted any further. All color temperature should be set at a neutral setting, or “normal.” This gives you the right colors to look at. For instance, if you’re looking at a show with a cold color temperature, some skin tones might be a variation of purple. Setting the temperature to neutral will fix this and give you the correct skin tones.