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A new TV may not come with optimal picture settings by default. In order to achieve the finest picture quality, you need to make a few changes to the settings. By doing so, you will be able to watch shows and films in the way they were meant to be seen. 

By adjusting the picture mode, you can instantly improve the appearance of your TV. How do you determine which mode is most suitable? You can choose between Cinema, Sports, Movies, etc. By switching between them, you will see how television looks dramatically different. So how do you decide which one to use?

There are many steps involved in creating these different looks. The right way to pick the suitable picture mode for you is to understand what's happening. It may even vary depending on what you are watching and when you are watching it.

Choosing the Best Picture Mode

To simplify things, we will group Movie and Cinema in one group, and Sports, Dynamic, and Vivid in another. Even though the exact names and settings will differ, overall, Movies/Cinemas, operate in a similar way and so does Sports/Dynamic/Vivid.

As a general rule, a TV in Movie or Cinema mode looks the most “accurate.” In other words, the image will appear as the content creator intended it to look.

The Five Main Picture Settings

Sports, Vivid, or Dynamic may create a more vibrant image. However, they actually enhance the image in ways the director did not intend, resulting in an unfavorable effect. Although you might prefer one picture mode over the other, you should be aware of how they function, and why some modes and settings may not work optimally.

By changing the picture mode, you can change five main picture settings: Color temperature, motion interpolation, backlight, edge enhancement, and gamma/contrast enhancers. These settings affect various aspects of the image.

Color Temperature

Color temperature refers to how white an image appears. Have you ever noticed that some light bulbs are blue and others are red? The same thing applies here. In the Vivid and Sports modes, the color white appears bluer, cooler, and more noticeable.

While in the Movie and Cinema modes, the hue of white is warmer. Since warm is the color temperature used in the making of the TV show or movie you are watching, the warmer temperature is the correct one. Although it appears extremely red at first glance, the picture will appear more accurate in Movie/Cinema mode.

Because your brain gets accustomed to a certain color temperature, “cool” appears correct while “warm” appears red. Once you view a TV show or a movie in a more temperature-accurate way, (warm), cool will appear blue. 

Motion Interpolation

The TV uses motion interpolation to minimize motion blur. LCDs and OLEDs are the most common screen technologies. Both are capable of blurring images that move quickly. By increasing the refresh rate of the content to match that of the TV, you can reduce this blurring.

If you use Sports or Vivid mode, the processing is probably set quite high, resulting in the notorious visual effects caused by motion interpolation. In Cinema and Movie modes, motion interpolation is reduced (or none is used) giving movies a more cinematic look.

Backlight

When it comes to explaining and seeing the results of picture modes, the backlight is the most straightforward one. The backlight adjusts the brightness of your TV, from “too dark” to “too bright.” Make sure you locate this control separately from the picture setting, so you can lower it when you deem it necessary.

Edge Enhancement

The sharpness of an image does not actually add any detail. Instead, it emphasizes the edges of objects at the expense of fine details. This process is referred to as edge enhancement. Sharpness and edge enhancement for Sports/Dynamic will be set to high, while for Movie/Cinema it will be set to low.

Gamma/Contrast Enhancers

Gamma is a bit more challenging to explain, but it significantly influences image brightness. Basically, it is the darkness of the dark spots and the brightness of the bright spots in an image. Similar to how you adjust the contrast and brightness in your picture settings.

Generally, Sports, Dynamic, and Vivid modes will brighten the image. The effect is achieved by turning almost-white objects completely white and making shadow details gray. This is suitable for live TV, such as sports. On the other hand, TV shows and movies may appear washed-out with this setting. In the Movie/Cinema mode, images will appear darker, but will still retain more realistic shadows and brighter details. 

How Does TV Calibration Work?

Another way to optimize your TV is calibration. In this case, a skilled technician comes to your home to correct settings such as color accuracy and color temperature.

There might be a slight improvement or a large improvement depending on your TV, but you should keep in mind that if your TV's settings are set using a disc, the calibrator will only check these, and tweak color accuracy or color temperature. It won't make a bad TV better, but it will improve its appearance. However, be mindful of the cost of these services, as it will be at least a few hundred dollars.

Final Note

Our recommendation is to start with Movie or Cinema mode since it is almost always the most accurate. If your TV has been on Sports or Vivid mode, you’ll likely find the Movie or Cinema mode too red or warm. This is just because you got used to the Sports or Vivid mode, which is quite bluish and hyper-edge enhanced. After setting your TV to movie and cinema mode, you will be watching the content the way it was meant to be watched.

Although, the cable TV service you have subscribed to has little to no impact on your picture setting, make sure your provider is offering you popular TV channels in HD quality. 

To determine which cable TV provider offers cable TV bundles with popular HD channels, call 1-844-343-1374 and speak to an expert.  

Frequently Asked Question

How to Set the Picture Mode on an Android TV?

Picture mode is a quality setting for images that is adjusted based on the type of image and the genre of the program. Depending on what mode you choose, the basic settings are automatically selected.

You can find the Picture mode settings on an Android TV by:

How to Get the Best Picture Quality from 4K TV?

The following are the steps necessary to achieve 4K TV excellence: