Top 5 ways to optimize your new TV

Today’s TV’s are like race cars – beautiful pieces of machinery that run optimally only when configured properly. So, have you optimized your new TV for the best picture quality? This post will outline 5 key tweaks you can make to maximize your TV’s potential.

NOTE: This post is not for videophiles (those with an ultra fine eye determined to configure their TV’s with exact color and picture quality reproduction to that of the original film). This post is for the average person out to maximize their TV investment.

1. Software Updates
Modern TV’s are like mini computers, running an operating system that requires updating.  These updates can contain anything from fixing problems or adding new featured.  Consult your TV’s owner’s manual on how to update your TV regularly.

2. Picture Mode
Your TV should include a number of preset picture modes that control a variety of settings like color, brightness, sharpness, etc.  Dynamic or Vivid has produced the best in my experience.  Navigate through your TV’s presets on different videos (ex. sports, cartoons, TV shows, movies) to find the best option for you.

3. Motion Interpolation
Motion Interpolation smoothes video by creating artificial frames between actual frames.  For sports, this can make the picture come alive.  For movie and TV shows this will produce a horrible “soap opera” effect and make the best special effects look like cartoons (ex. Avatar).  See the following for more information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motion_interpolation

Consult your TV’s owner’s manual on how to turn off or at least minimize motion interpolation.

4. Backlight and Brightness
Backlight controls bulb intensity while brightness controls black levels.  Too much backlight can produce problems like the flashlight effect (where you can see where light is emitting).  Too much brightness can turn blacks grey and wash out colors.  Typical optimal settings are 100% backlight and 50% brightness and you may not be able to adjust these settings based on your selected picture mode.  This varies by TV so trial and error is your best bet (outside of professional calibration).

5. Noise Filters
 Your TV may include several noise filters to eliminate artifacts like flickering, static, and jagged edges.  These noise filters can also introduce noise if set too high.  I recommend leaving these set to auto and adjusting them if you suspect the filters creating more harm then good.