How To Calibrate Your TV

Find out how to calibrate your TV the quickest and simplest way without purchasing any calibration discs or professional services.


The quickest and most straightforward way to calibrate your TV is to select the Movie/Cinema or Filmmaker picture preset, which has the most accurate image settings.

Then, you should disable all image manipulation features, such as Motion Smoothing, Dynamic Contrast Ratio, Energy Saving and Noise Removal/Reduction.

The truth is that the TV you’re watching could most likely have a better and more immersive image quality with some tweaks here and there.

Now, there are professional services that can calibrate your TV and certain calibration discs or devices you can buy, but in this guide, we’ll focus on what basic and free alterations you can make to enhance the picture quality on your TV right away.

Picture Presets

First of all, after opening your TV settings, you should either select ‘User Mode’/’Custom’ preset or ‘Movie’/’Cinema’ preset. The latter usually has the best color settings right out of the box, which is why we recommend it. These include proper color accuracy, color temperature (6500K) and gamma.

Modern TVs also have a ‘Filmmaker’ mode, which usually offers the most accurate settings.

Image Manipulation Features

TV features, such as Framerate Interpolation (Soap Opera effect) and Black Frame Insertion, implement additional frames generated by the TV’s processor to increase motion clarity.

However, unless you are watching sports or playing fast-paced games, these features have negative effects on image quality.

Some people prefer to disable it even when playing games/watching sports, while others like to use this feature to watch almost everything.

Different TV brands will have different names for these features, for instance – LG TruMotion, Sony MotionFlow, etc. You can learn more about motion smoothing here.

Other features that manipulate the image quality are Dynamic Contrast Ratio and Energy Saving, all of which you should disable.

Afterward, when you are finished with the calibration, you can enable these features and see how they affect the image quality.

Naturally, if you are using your TV as a monitor or for console gaming, you should leave ‘Game Mode’/’PC Mode’ on. Furthermore, the ‘Noise Removal/Reduction’ feature should only be used with low-quality content and disabled otherwise.

Brightness & Contrast

You should adjust the contrast and brightness according to the picture below. Click on the image to enlarge it.

best tv picture settings


If you want your image to be brighter, you should adjust the TV’s ‘Backlight’ setting.

You can set it to whatever you want – if you are watching the TV in a bright room, you should increase the backlight and decrease it if you are viewing it in a dim room.

Generally, setting it to between 50% – 75% will work most of the time.

Color Settings

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to calibrate the colors of a TV perfectly without a dedicated colorimeter.

Since every TV is a different machine, even when two identical models are in question, you cannot simply copy the ideal color values (for instance, red, green and blue color channel values for color temperature).

This is why we recommend using the Movie/Cinema or Filmmaker picture preset, which usually has the most accurate color settings.

And that’s it. That is as much as you can do to make your TV’s picture better without purchasing any professional calibration CDs or services.

In case you have a colorimeter and your TV is connected to a PC, you can check out our monitor calibration guide.

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Rob Shafer

Rob is a software engineer with a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Denver. He now works full-time managing DisplayNinja while coding his own projects on the side.