As Fast As Possible
The quickest and simplest way to calibrate your TV is to select the Movie/Cinema picture preset which has the best color settings. Then, you should disable all image manipulation features such as Motion Smoothing, Dynamic Contrast Ratio, and Noise Removal/Reduction. Finally, correctly adjust the brightness and contrast settings using the test images. After that, fine-tune other settings to your preference if needed.
The truth is that the TV you’re watching could most likely have a better and more immersive image quality with some adjustments here and there.
Now, there are professional services that can calibrate your TV and certain calibration discs you can buy but in this guide, we’ll focus on what basic adjustments you can do to improve the picture quality on your TV right now.
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.
Image Manipulation Features
TV features such as Framerate Interpolation ( Soap Opera effect) and Black Frame Insertion, etc 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 a negative effect on the image quality. Some people prefer to disable it even when playing games/watching sports while others like to use this feature for watching 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‘, ‘Color Temperature‘, and ‘Local Dimming‘ all of which you should also 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, ‘Noise Removal/Reduction’ feature should only be used with low-quality content and disabled otherwise.
Brightness & Contrast
You should adjust contrast and brightness according to the picture below. Click on the image to enlarge it.
If you want your image to be brighter, you should adjust 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 watching it in a dim room. Generally, setting it to between 50% – 75% will work most of the time.
Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to perfectly calibrate the colors of a TV. Since every TV is different, even when two identical models are in question, you cannot simply copy the ideal color values.
This is why we recommend using the Movie or Cinema 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.
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.