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PicturePerfect – TV picture processing set up for Euros

Show a red card to unnecessary settings

by Mark Hodgkinson May 12, 2016


  • In the first two stages of our Euro 2016 TV set-up guides, we covered getting your television in to the best picture mode and the correct picture size.
    Those aren’t the only factors affecting the pictures you’re seeing, however, as there are plenty of other settings that can potentially make quite a difference to what you are seeing. In this guide we’re going to take a look at some of the video/picture processing controls that affect the image brightness and energy use but please take note that they might not be present in your TV, although most if not all manufactured in the last few years will have energy saving settings, at least.

    Energy Saving

    On your TV these settings are likely called Eco or Energy Saving. This is where it gets counter intuitive as we want you to switch these features off. Why? Well they can affect your image quality by altering the brightness of the screen in a noticeable way; without getting overly technical the image could become washed out and bright one minute and dark and dim the next.

    Most modern TVs do not use that much power and if you have followed our guide and put the TV in movie mode, it will be saving energy already so there's no real need for the Eco feature.



    Dynamic Brightness/Contrast

    This control, if featured on your TV, will be called Dynamic Contrast, Black Enhancer, Dynamic Backlight or similar. Again we want you to switch these features off. They attempt to enhance the black and white areas of the image by boosting the output or switching off the backlight to deepen the black level. However all they really succeed in doing is masking detail in the black and white areas of the image and can cause the screen brightness to fluctuate. With them switched off you can enjoy a stable, detailed image.


    Dimming Features

    The dimming features are only present on modern LCD LED TVs. On your TV these will be called Local dimming, global dimming, adaptive backlight control or something similar. If you’re having problems locating the option, pop a comment below with your make and model and we should be able to tell you if you have one and where it is located in the menus.
    These features work as you would expect given their name. They dim the backlight of an LCD TV to try and enhance the black level and make the blacks appear darker than they are. In LED LCD TVs there are two types that can be used, edge lighting or back lighting. There are also variations on those with different dimming zones used to further enhance the black level.

    If you have a full backlit LED TV, then the best setting for local or global dimming is likely to be Low. Not sure whether you have full backlit TV or not? Again post in the comments and we’ll endeavour to help you out.

    If you don't have a full backlit LED TV, switch global and local dimming off.



    Now we’ll start looking at the various sharpness and noise reduction setting present in most televisions.

    Edge Enhancement

    The first settings we need to look at are those which add sharpening to the image. There are a number of different names such as Edge Enhancer, Detail Enhancer, Reality Creation, Resolution+, Super Resolution and similar.
    As you can see all these names seem to suggest that they will enhance detail or add resolution to the image which is never the case. All they do is add a false edge to images which actually covers up the detail within the picture and falsely makes the image look sharper. There is no extra detail to pull out of an image on a TV. All these features add false edges and false sharpening and are best left in the off position.

    Noise Reduction

    These features are named MPEG Noise Reduction or Digital Noise Reduction or just plain Noise Reduction . Not all TVs will have these controls.

    When you watch TV you are more than likely watching a digitally compressed image. There are just too many bits of information to broadcast or even fit on a DVD or Blu-ray in the original files. So, they are compressed by throwing away elements that are not essential to the image, like a static background, thus you only need to refresh any pixels that are moving in front of it and, as a result, there is no need to keep them all.

    However not all compression technology is the same or equal in quality, so you will get instances where there is blocking or fizzing seen in poor images and this is where the noise reduction features can come in handy. Remember that these features cause smoothing of the image so if needed, they should be used sparingly.

    However, as we are talking about HD broadcasts of the Euros in these tutorials there is no need for these features and they can be left switched off.



    Motion Processing

    The subject of motion enhancement features is definitely the most subjective area of all the picture processing features present in televisions.

    Normally when we discuss these video processing features, we recommend that you switch them off entirely as they ruin the look of film. But we are not talking about films with these tutorials, we are looking at the Football and in this instance we may actually leave the motion enhancement switched on.

    Why?

    Because fast moving action such as sports and motion enhancement features can go hand in hand.

    Not all TVs will have motion enhancing features, but those that do will have features called Motion Plus, Motion Flow, TruMotion, Intelligent Frame Creation, Active motion or similar.

    Our PicturePerfect guide contains all the information relating to the Motion Features and why they exist, so in this tutorial we are going to decide if you need to use it or not with your TV and football content.

    When watching football or any fast moving sport with the motion features switched off you may notice the ball judder across the screen. This is because there are not enough ‘frames’ or pictures every second to capture the ball moving smoothly across the screen.

    By using the Motion enhancement features on your TV and experimenting with them you should be able to find a setting that makes the ball seem smoother and that doesn’t add any unwanted picture break ups or other odd issues. If you find a setting that suits you and the TV then great! If not then we would always switch off the feature for the best all round viewing experience with a mixture of content.


    So that's it, your TV has been trained to within an inch of its life and it couldn't be in better shape for a major tournament. It's only the team(s) that can let us down now but they wouldn't do that, surely?

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