Five ways to get the best out of your TV pictures

Do you want to watch TV programmes and broadcasted movies as the director and programme maker intended? Here are five tips for setting up your TV.

The experts at AVForums.com, who recently launched theirPicturePerfect campaign, can help you to get the best performance and value for money out of your TV in these 5 easy steps:
Set the correct picture mode
Obvious? You’d think. But a recent Ipsos MORI poll showed that over50 per cent of us don’t bother to make any changes after purchasing – a huge mistake if you want to get the best TV pictures. Manufacturers set up their TVs so that they are very bright and colourful. This is to take advantage of the fact that the human eye is always drawn to the brightest and most colourful image in a room.
This is fine in a shop, but not necessarily ideal for your home. That's why it's worth spending a little time setting up the picture on your TV. The simplest thing people can do to improve their TV picture is to select the correct picture mode in the Picture Menu. Choose Movie, Cinema or THX (depending on what TV you have) as this sets your TV up with a better picture and saves energy.
Don't go ECO
Research by THX (the standards organisation founded by George Lucas) shows that setting up your TV with a picture mode such as Movie, Cinema or THX, uses less energy than the default Vivid or Dynamic mode. The approximate savings were measured to be as low as 15 per cent and as high as 50 per cent between the two different picture modes. Since you've already selected the best picture mode in step one, you're already saving energy. Therefore, if your TV has an energy saving or Eco mode, turn it OFF! The Eco feature adjusts the brightness of the entire image on screen, dimming or brightening the picture in a way that is distracting. By switching this off, the image is better and you are still saving energy.
Change your aspect
You need to select the correct picture size (also known as the aspect ratio) on your TV. If the aspect ratio selection is wrong then people on screen can either look fat (horizontally stretched) or tall (vertically stretched). Some picture size settings zoom the picture and lose detail in the image, so it is important that we select the correct picture size for all material we watch. There will be a button on your remote control, specifically for changing the picture size. The name of the button varies depending on the make of your TV, but the most common are P. Size, Aspect or Ratio. You need to visit the Picture Perfect step 1 page to check the correct setting for your particular TV, but it will be called something like Just Scan, Dot by Dot or 16:9.
Go ‘au naturel’
For our next step we are going to suggest you switch off ALL the picture processing features on your TV and allow the signal through in its natural state. Modern TVs come with a whole host of features that sound nice on paper but often create more problems than they solve. Features such as Dynamic ContrastGlobal DimmingEdge Enhancer, Super Resolution, Noise Reduction, Motion Plus, TruMotion andIntelligent Frame Creation, should all be turned off. By all means have a play with the features to see what effect they have, but if in doubt, leave them out.
Get calibrated
Want to squeeze even more quality out of your TV’s picture? You should consider calibration. If you own a THX-certified DVD or Blu-ray, you will find a feature called THX Optimizer. This is a basic calibration tool that will guide you through the set up of the various picture controls such as brightness, contrast and colour with the aid of test patterns. Alternatively you can buy a calibration DVD or Blu-ray, which is a good idea since these controls should not be set without a test pattern for reference. If you would rather get a professional in to set up your TV, look for ISF or THX certified video calibrator – easily searched online. It will normally cost from about £200, but can be well worth it when you think about how much you watch your TV.


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