News Ticker

Why Your TV Looked ‘Better’ In the Store

Q. I went shopping for a TV the other day and was amazed at how bright some sets looked in the store. The picture just seemed to jump out of the set. Why doesn’t my set look like that in my living room? =- Robert, Richmond, Virginia.

Robert, it could look like that in your living room, but I’m not so sure you want it to. Let me explain.

Click Amazon: See Today’s Best-Selling TVs!

Retail stores purposely tune some sets on the floor to look as bright as possible to get your attention. It’s easy to do. Just raise the Brightness level of the set and set the picture mode to Vivid. At a glance, the TV’s picture will then look so bright and sharp that you will want to grab it and bring it home.

But here’s the problem: If you look at the in-store set more than a minute or so, you will start to notice that the detail is a little fuzzy. That’s what happens when you turn up the Brightness level too high. (Some argue that the Vivid setting can also reduce detail.)

See today’s best-selling TVs at

You may also notice that excessive brightness starts to wear on your eyes, making them tired or worse. It’s like staring at a bright lamp. At first, you appreciate the added light that the lamp provides, but stare too long and you start to see spots before your eyes.

Click Amazon: Today’s 1-Day-Only Deals!

Retailers understand this, of course, but they have concluded that the Brightness/Vivid trick works quite well. Few consumers spend more than a few minutes looking at the in-store set. If they are in the buying mood — and they are attracted to the picture — they will go to the salesman to make a deal.

(Some retailers are even crafty enough to raise the Brightness level only on the sets that produce the highest profit margin; have you ever noticed that some sets in the store look more bright than others? It’s rarely a coincidence.)

So what can you do to avoid this little tomfoolery?

Do your research before you go to the store. Check out some solid TV review sites, such as, and find out what they say about a particular set you might be interested in. If CNET or Consumer Reports (or another reputable site) gives the set the thumbs-up, then go to the store.

Then, when you go to the store, don’t be swayed by how the set’s picture looks. Just keep in mind what the reviewers said and keep your eye on the set’s price. Make sure you get a good deal.

Of course, you could just buy the TV online and not worry about the salesman trying to sell you how Bright the set looks — or an extended warranty, for that matter. But that’s your call.

Need to buy something today? Please buy it using this link. This site receives a small portion of each purchase, which helps us continue to provide these articles.

Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at Please include your first name and hometown in your message.

— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (1684 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.

8 Comments on Why Your TV Looked ‘Better’ In the Store

  1. Most Retail display are on a private satellite network. Remember if the source is bad the picture will be bad. You can adjust your TV to your room with a little work by trying difference settings also look for bad cable wires.

  2. Most common known as a PVN is a program that only certain people can view. If you go to Target or Best Buy the display on their TV wall is a PVN also companies us them for private training.

  3. Thanks for the info.
    How do they access it ?
    Cable TV Internet, a Private Satellite Dish, T-1 Line, or ?

  4. Rick Hall // June 4, 2018 at 3:50 am // Reply

    You can’t. That is why it is called “Private”.

  5. NO, not me. I asked how “THEY” access it

  6. Rick, I asked how “THEY” access it. Not me.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: