How to Optimize your TVs Picture Settings for the Best Picture
by Jack Burden
A properly calibrated TV may not always look the best with every single scene to the human eye, but will trump all other picture setting variations over a group of scenes in realism, color accuracy, rendition and contrast.
Why don't manufacturer's just include the best picture settings already in the TV? Answer: We're not sure why it's not an option. One reason could be that it would put thousands of ISF calibration installer specialists out of a job. In a few cases, the movie setting does come fairly close to D6500K. Regardless, we can say confidently that the impetus for the vibrant standard and vivid picture settings is an impressive showing on the showroom floor at your local retailer. A TV needs to be particularly bright and colorful to catch your attention among all the options. However, these settings introduce unrealistic uninteded colors, edge enhancement, and light which washes out the correct color information intended by the producer of the program or movie. Edge enhancement often produces a nasty glowing halo effect around images.
Using our recommended picture settings:
Our calibrations are designed to produce maximum realism and color. The only variation needed is the backlight in LED/LCD TVs, and the contrast setting in plasma TVs. The recommended picture settings are set for a darker room lighting with just one room lamp. In medium light rooms, we recommend tuning the backlight up to halfway between our recommended setting and the maximum backlight setting. In brighter rooms we recommend 95% of backlight. Use the same formula for the contrast setting in plasma TVs.
You may find our recommended calibrated picture settings for any given TV series that we have reviewed by clicking on the calibration tab at the top of the review or product page.
Below is an example of various picture calibrations of a scene from Braveheart on the new LG LE8500 series LED TV. While the Standard setting also looks impressive in the red scene with Sophie Marceau, the following scene with Mel Gibson shows how the Standard setting introduces far too much blue push into the scene – causing an unrealistic effect.
THX Bright Room Picture Setting
THX Cinema Picture Setting Setting
Standard Picture Setting
Vivid Picture Setting (while it looks good here, it washes out natural colors)
The Intelligent sensor technology picture setting (senses room light)
Expert 1 our ISF calibration to D6500K with backlight at 90
Expert 1 our ISF calibration
Standard Picture Setting. Notice the strong unintended blue push into the scene.