Buying a television is always a very engaging act. Indeed, many parameters must be taken into account during the purchase: image quality, features, interface, design, sound ... If our complete tests already allow you to find a model to your liking, the installation and the settings should not be neglected before you can enjoy your television in peace.
Very often, the default rendering of your television is far from offering a faithful rendering, this in order to capture the attention of buyers on the shelves of stores, with for example colors that are too bright and saturated. Here are some explanations in order to demystify the settings menu and allow you to better take control of your brand new new television, because as the saying goes, "you are never so well served as by yourself."
During each TV test, we offer a box "Our settings and measurements". In the latter, you will find the settings we recommend for each model tested. Basically, we recommend an image brightness of 150 cd / m² on white. The idea behind this particular setting is to promote the use of the television in a relatively dark environment, in order to best restore a cinema atmosphere at home. The other settings are related to the performance of the television in terms of color fidelity, color temperature, gamma correction and various image processing. If you want to simplify your life, do not hesitate to apply them as they are.
In recent years, manufacturers have been careful with their color settings and offer a much more faithful rendering in cinema mode. This mode is often the first option available with the choice between Dynamic, Standard, Game, Cinema, ISF Expert, etc. We could quite honestly end this article by advising you to switch to cinema mode and adjust the backlight to your preference, but it might be useful to know the impact of each option in your TV's picture menu if you ever wanted to optimize. display at your convenience.
This parameter will condition the light generated by the lighting system of the television (the backlighting of the LCD panel or the intensity of the sub-pixels of the OLED). The brighter your surroundings, the more you will have to push the backlighting for the image to be visible. Conversely, an image that is too bright in the dark will be aggressive to your eyes. If we usually recommend 150 cd / m², it is for use in a dark environment, even with the lights off. If your device is ever placed in a very bright living room during the day, do not hesitate to adapt accordingly.
Be careful, finally, not to confuse brightness and contrast. On most TVs today these are two different settings, but on older TVs the brightness is actually the backlight. It also happens that on some TVs, this setting cannot be changed, at Philips for example. The only way to touch the backlight is then through the different image profiles; in this case, again choose cinema mode.
When it is not the backlight, lowering the brightness enhances the black tones in the image to artificially improve the contrast of the image. Just like the previous option, overdoing it is not a good thing. Blacks become blocked and the image loses all of its detail in dark areas. It is very rarely necessary to touch it.
Unlike brightness, contrast allows you to play on the light tones of the image to make it brighter. However, we must admit that the result is never very flattering if we reduce this parameter too much, often with a bleached image when it is abused. We advise not to touch it at all.
Gamma is a feature that corrects too dark luminance in images using a non-linear curve. In fact, on a default image, most of the image from dark tones to light tones is too dark; the TV therefore applies a progressive correction to harmonize all that. Too high a gamma will cause clogged blacks, while too low a gamma will result in burnt whites, in both cases the loss of detail is obvious. It is often unnecessary to change this setting and if it is, your television is poor. Then try to see if a gamma option at 2,2 exists, otherwise you can find test charts on the Internet to adjust by following the instructions.
On this test chart, if you can slightly distinguish "Itopdroid" on a black background and a white background and all the gradations are distinct, then your contrast, brightness and gamma settings are correct.
The color temperature determines the reference color for white and therefore logically for all shades of gray. It is measured in Kelvin (K). Our reference is always the value 6500 K, which corresponds to the temperature of the light in broad daylight and gives a truly white white. When the color temperature is too low, the image appears more and more reddish, therefore warm; if it is too high, the image will be too blue, therefore cold. The adjustment is relatively easy: apart from the cinema mode, the image is systematically too cold; therefore prefer the Heating mode.
In the center, an image with a color temperature of 6500 K. On the left, an image too cold, on the right, an image too hot.
Here are two parameters that are more or less related, since they will make an image sharper by processing it on the fly in order to refine the lines and contours of objects. Too high, the emphasis will distort the image and we will see too many details disappear, but a little bit without exaggerating too much can improve a Full HD image on an Ultra HD TV for example. Just be careful not to overdo it. For the adjustment, display an FHD image via your multimedia player in your television and try to adjust little by little until you find a setting that suits you.
sometimes referred to as an MPEG noise filter, this feature aims to reduce the tingling that can be found on SD sources, but not only. In practice, this filter can be relatively effective, but it can also remove grain on films where the effect is desired. We recommend that you activate it on a case-by-case basis.
We were talking about this recently, this is the option that's supposed to bring the fluidity back into those dissenting films at 24fps. This feature allows your eyes to enjoy perfectly decomposed tracking shots. In fact, this option adds images between those already existing in order to allow better fluidity for the eye. Not all manufacturer technologies are created equal, but be aware that as a general rule, maximum degrees of motion compensation should be avoided. Indeed, the processing has its limits and during very animated scenes, one sees artefacts (defects in the image) appearing due to the complexity of analyzing the sudden movements in the scenes. We therefore advise, as a general rule, to change the settings to medium or even manual in order to fine-tune them according to your preferences.
In addition, on mid-range models, a BFI mode is also present to considerably improve the sharpness of moving objects. Be careful, however, its activation causes flickering which can sometimes be a nuisance, on 50/60 H TVs for example. Likewise, if the reactivity of the screen is poor, the BFI will highlight ghosting, ghost trails of the image during movements. Finally, activating the BFI causes a loss of backlight luminance, and on some TVs the image then becomes much too dark. Take a test with or without, it's really a matter of personal preference.
It is a television algorithm that theoretically allows you to accentuate the depth of blacks and the brightness of whites in the image. In theory, it starts from a good feeling, but in reality this option will sometimes block the blacks, sometimes burn the whites and we lose all of a sudden in detail without really seeing any advantage whatsoever. Disable this option from the start.
This is another feature that is proving formidable on paper: the TV analyzes the image and turns off the backlighting on the black areas of the image, accentuating the depth of the black. In theory, it is quite possible to have an efficient local backlighting, but this requires having enough LEDs at the back of the panel to be able to turn them off in a localized way. Unfortunately, in fact, the generalization of TVs with Edge Led backlighting no longer allows efficient local backlighting. And for the rare direct LED models, it is rare that they now have more than 150 individual zones, when at one time we went up to 512 on the top of the range. This therefore results in a blooming effect: we see a glow around an object on a black background, and this is a failure for the effect. As you can imagine, in 99% of cases we advise you to deactivate it.
Some TVs may display a larger color space than others. They are more and more numerous with the appearance of Quantum Dots technology. Except that for now, no video source is exploiting this large space and activating it causes a noticeable loss of color fidelity. So leave it off, with a little hope that it will eventually be used with HD Blu-rays scheduled for the end of the year.