How to calibrate your TV to get the best picture quality
Do you remember when you got your first flat screen TV and you spent a long time trying to tweak the settings because the colours looked weird and all the action on screen looked fake? We used to call that the ‘Soap Opera Effect’ and it was all due to something called motion-smoothing. These days TV picture quality looks a lot more natural and often comes pre-set. But, there are a few tweaks you can make to some settings to make the picture quality and brightness sing. Now it’s never been easier to calibrate TV.
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How do I calibrate my TV?
Luckily, most TVs come fully loaded with pre-configured calibration settings that will do the heavy lifting for you. You should be able to easily find these under the Basic Settings menu on your TV, which you can access via the gear wheel icon on your remote. Or if your TV is a little older, find the button labelled Settings. From there, you’ll find the pre-sets under Picture or Picture mode or something similar. They’re usually quite similar across brands but on your Hisense TV they are:
Standard and Natural are quite similar and choosing between the two mostly comes down to personal choice.
Theatre (or Cinema or Movie) is what will usually get you the most accurate picture in terms of what the director was aiming for.
The colours on Dynamic (sometimes called Vivid or Sport) will look a little ‘punchier’ than normal but it’s a great mode for watching fast action in brighter lighting — like a footy game in the afternoon.
But of course, you don’t have to use the pre-set functions. You can achieve the perfect TV picture by tweaking certain settings for personal taste.
Power use after calibration
Energy Rating Labels are an Australian Government requirement on new appliances, making it easy for you to compare the running costs of your new appliance or TV. When you buy a new TV in Australia the ‘Out of the box’/’Standard’ picture setting matches the Energy Star Rating of the model. If you change the picture settings from ‘Standard’ it will affect the Energy Star Rating performance of your TV.
Use this handy calculator to check how much power your TV uses.
How to tweak the picture quality on my TV for a more personalised approach?
If you’re going to play around with settings you need to know a little about what you’re playing with. Most of what we’re about to describe will require you delving a little deeper into the Setting menu. Look for advanced or full settings as an option when you’re in the basic picture settings menu. There are multiple areas to look at but the big two are contrast and brightness.
Contrast is basically how much difference there is between the brightest colour and blackest black. To adjust contrast, find a nice bright picture and jump into basic settings. You want the image to be bright and clear, but with good detail, not washed out.
Brightness is where you can make sure your blacks are as dark as possible. To change the brightness on your TV, find a dark movie and play around until you get good detail in the image, without dark areas looking grey.
On some TVs you can also move the backlight up and down. You may find that a lower setting on this can reduce eye fatigue. Or, if you have a well-lit lounge room, you might like a brighter image.
Another setting that may make a difference is colour saturation. You can set this right back to black and white if you like, or hike it until everything looks like a clown costume. You’ll most likely prefer it somewhere in the middle.
The Colour Temperature control adjusts the red and blue colours in your TV. Choose more blue for a cooler feel, more red for warmth. I prefer smack bang in the middle, but it always comes down to personal preference.
Now remember when I mentioned the ‘Soap Opera Effect’ and said it was motion-smoothing to blame? Well you can tweak that as well. Motion-smoothing also lives in the advanced settings and is supposed to remove the blur that older flat screen TVs used to have when the action got too fast (and/or furious depending on what you’re watching). Quicker refresh rates and faster processors make this less of an issue, but you can go in and play to calibrate a TV if you need to.
At the end of the day, remember that the option to jump back to default settings is always there, so don’t be afraid to experiment if you feel your TV image needs some improvement.
#HisenseHack: Pre-set picture modes can make a big difference when you switch between gaming, movies and sport. Check these out before you start playing around with the complex settings.
How to change the aspect ratio?
You may need to play around with aspect ratio as well. Usually it should auto-detect and adjust itself, but if not, you’ll find the adjustment settings in the same list as contrast and brightness – just pick the one that makes the image look natural and not stretched or squashed.
How to maximise the picture of DVDs that aren’t 4K?
Your TV is just one part of the equation. If you’ve got a great 4K TV at home and you’re watching DVDs on an eight-year-old DVD player then you can muck around with picture settings all you want. But it won’t help. At the very least, grab a Blu-ray and make sure it’s got upscaling. Upscaling fills in the missing info to make older lower-resolution content look better. But it can’t work miracles. Of course, if your TV is getting old, it might be time to upgrade to today’s technology.
Check out Hisense latest range of 4K ULED TVs here.
Big, Bigger, Biggest?
If you want to nerd out on Hisense premium 4K ULED Series 8 and Series 9 range (soon to be released) check out what Trevor Long had to say on EFTM.
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