Ever purchase a TV because you thought it looked fantastic on the show floor? Do you use the out of box settings?

If so then these tips are for you.


Consistently I’ve found myself in a friend or family members house only to sit down and watch TV while thinking “what’s up with those colors?”, “why does everything look fake?” etc.  Most people are not interested in full color calibration or just don’t know about it. But with the following options that most TV’s (some options may vary)  have you can at least get the best out of box settings while possibly saving some power, especially if it’s a plasma. Now I am no master on this subject but I do fancy quality picture. No matter the panel I find these settings are usually pretty helpful.



NOTE: It takes a bit of time to adjust to a new picture image. Allow some time to get used to it, if you don’t like what you see you can revert to defaults.

NOTE: I will not being going into the advanced color settings in this post.




-Turn off all unnecessary enhancements 

Like in the photo above, disable everything. Things will look a lot more realistic. If you are truly a fan of “motion smoothing” it is okay to have it on a weak setting, if you must.


TV options that you should always calibrate for the best experience

-Note the default picture mode on your TV

Defaults can vary and very often are set on the wrong choice for having the best picture out of box.  The default settings that I found most TV’s will offer has similar to what is shown above. If yours has multiple choice that seem similar I.E cinema and THX cinema then peek at each and find what you think looks the best and choose that one. After all, personal preference should definitely factor as your choice may not be mine.  Usually the options using the term cinema will be your best bet for the best default colors unless you have your own calibration gear.


TV options that you should always calibrate for the best experience

-Color temperature

Most TV’s nowadays has implemented this option. If you happen to have it within your picture settings then go ahead and try out warm 2 or warm 1. As these are normally the most akin to real life. However if your options does not match that or you feel the color is far too much of a darkened tint than cool 1 should be okay. Mess with the setting in combination the picture mode chosen.


– Sharpness

This is a option in which I personally prefer to be off for a plasma TV and generally most others. As it adds a outline/halo effect to add edge enhancement. Some people prefer the look of higher sharpness and my take is depending on the panel your TV is ; LED, LCD etc, then it may look more natural or less natural. In most cases less. So again shoot for what you think looks good as this is another option best weighed by personal preference.


-Brightness and Contrast

These are important for a lot of reasons. Black level detail is a big one. Without proper calibration tools these options can be a bit tricky. So what I would recommend is starting off from the default selection of whatever picture mode you have chosen and do not stray too far. Not all screens produce deep blacks or dazzling whites and you need to tread carefully without having any black crush (loss of detail) due to over exaggerating contrasts or having brightness too low.


-Gamma, Game Modes, Pure DirectTV options that you should always calibrate for the best experience

For gamma the general rule is to stay around 2.2 – 2.4 if the option is available. There is a lot of debate to which is the better one and just like brightness and contrast its a bit of a tough call without proper equipment. So with that, again, go with what is most pleasing to your eyes and what best matches up with all the previous settings we have went through. Game modes are common and unless you are using a plasma or panel that has a slow response time is pretty much useless as is Pure Direct.



Always make sure this is off as it makes sure you are seeing the original picture size.




-SoundTV options that you should always calibrate for the best experience

Best to have enhancements turned off for this as well for the most natural sound.





And there you have it. Some general settings to go through as you set up your new, or old television for the best out of box experience.


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Being a techie all of my life, nearly all of my off and on time is spent working on and with computers.

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