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World Cup Countdown - Setting the correct TV picture size

Not all 16:9 settings are actually 16:9

by Phil Hinton Jun 3, 2014

  • In the first of our new PicturePerfect World Cup setup guides we looked the best picture mode to use.
    In this article we are going to look at Picture Size, or as it is better known, Aspect Ratio. This can be a very confusing subject matter as there are a number of variables to take into account when we look at the correct aspect ratio for content, and then how we set the TV so it is displayed correctly.

    For this guide we are going to look at watching the best possible quality of World Cup broadcast and that is in HD. Both the BBC and ITV will be showing all the games in HD and as such we want to make sure we are seeing all the detail on our TVs. As we should all know, broadcast TV is in the 16:9 aspect ratio or picture size.

    It might however surprise you to know that not all TVs which have a 16:9 ratio selection in the menus actually show the full image in that mode. Almost all TVs have an overscan feature which slightly zooms the incoming image before displaying it on screen.

    This feature is there to hide digital junk, noise or sync signals that are sometimes broadcast along with the image with Standard Definition material. If there was no overscan implemented on most new TVs then manufacturers would get a steady stream of phone calls to their customer services department saying their TV is broken.

    However, when we are watching HD broadcast material we want to make sure that we see every bit of detail. We need to find the correct picture size or aspect ratio setting that turns off overscan and displays the picture in all its glory.

    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 know need to find the mode on your make of TV that switches overscan off and displays a 16:9 HD image with all the picture detail.

    There is a full list of all manufacturers and settings on the Free to use PicturePerfect page.

    Here is a helpful video to take you through the process of selecting the correct picture size (aspect ratio).

    The first two PicturePerfect World Cup guides have covered the very basic, but highly important steps to making sure your TV is displaying the very best images without losing any detail. We will have further articles as the finals gets closer looking at setting brightness and contrast and much more…

    If you want to get stuck into the full PicturePerfect guide you can do so by visiting the pages here.

    If you would like more details on professionally calibrating your TV or Projector you can read our guide here.

    To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.

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