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Should You Set Your TV to Vivid Or Cinema?

Q. I want to make sure I have the best possible picture on my TV but I’m confused about the Picture Mode setting. My choices include Cinema, Vivid, Standard and there’s even one for Gaming and Sports! What’s the best setting for my TV, to get the best picture? — Joe, Boston Massachusetts.

That’s a great question. Too often, people never adjust the Picture Mode after bringing their sets home from the store. But depending upon which room your TV is in — and the room’s lighting — the Picture Mode setting can go a long way to giving you the best possible image.

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Generally, the Cinema (sometimes called Movie) setting will give your picture the greatest detail and most accurate representation of the original image. This setting will also look good in a room that is somewhat dimly lit because Cinema tends to soften the screen’s brightness. It creates a more soothing feel.

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However, that said, some people prefer the Vivid (also called Dynamic) setting because it tends to make the picture “pop.” With Vivid, you’ll find that the screen is brighter and more, well, dynamic.  (Most in-store TVs are set on Vivid because TV shoppers are attracted to the bright picture. See our article, Why Did My TV Look Better In the Store, for more information.) But Vivid also tends to wash out the colors and some picture detail.

Bottom line, it’s your call. Play around with the two settings and see which one you prefer. In a bright room, the Vivid setting just might wind up as your preference. But most picture snobs — and I say ‘snobs’ in a nice way — would recommend Cinema.

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— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (1244 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

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