hdtv settings

laurenjayJuly 5, 2011

I have a Samsung LED TV. My question has to be with the settings. The contrast is way too high so I turned it down but I really don't know how far I should turn it down. What is a recommended setting for contrast, lighting, etc.

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What you are seeing are the settings the marketing department chooses to compete in-store with the other television manufactures - "brighter is better and more color is even better!"

Unfortunately, there are no standards to the arbitrary numbers displayed on the on-screen setup. Sometimes you can find reviews on CNET.com or other websites that give you setup numbers they found in their reviews of television products.

Unless you have a color-bar test pattern, find a scene on a DVD with both low light (black) and high light (white) levels in it, and pause it.

First, make sure you are on the "custom" setup options on the television and not on one of the pre-programmed settings.

On LCD televisions, reduce the "back-light" control to between 60 to 80% of the maximum range. LED back-lighting tends to be more towards 80% while traditional LCDs with fluorescent back-lighting are more towards 60%.

Also, turn off any dynamic back-lighting controls, that are only there to support "contrast ratio" numbers and then only create very irritating varying brightness levels!

Turn the contrast down some (which is actually the brightness of the peak white in the scene) and adjust the brightness (which is actually the black level) to create a black which appears black, but still differentiates other varying degrees in the black region.

After that, increase contrast to bring up the whites but not create "blooming" or excessively bright whites. You may need to go back and forth a couple times to get it right.

Next, reduce the color level to look more natural. Adjust sharpness to make it look sharp but not overly emphasized.

Keep noise reduction, and other processing, to either off or minimum, unless you see an improvement in picture quality.

While this does not create a "calibration" which is done using a light sensor mounted to, or in front of, the television with a PC, and using hidden "service menus", it will get you in the ballpark... which is all you may want or need. Usually, unless you have a fairly expensive television, it is hard to justify the cost of professional calibration.

By the way, along with engineering and design work, I also actually do perform professional calibrations of video displays. So, I'm just trying to give you sound advice!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 11:54PM
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