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.
However, choosing the right setting can be very confusing, particularly considering that some TV makers have different names for each one!
For instance, 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.
However, that said, some people prefer the Vivid (also called Dynamic or even Sports on some sets) setting because it tends to make the picture “pop.” It also can look more pleasing to some in a well lit room.
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.
The Standard mode is often the default mode on new TVs. You might be tempted to keep this setting when you first turn on a new TV because you believe you don’t have the expertise to adjust your set. But you’ll soon discover Standard is a bit dull-looking so I encourage you to make a change.
And that’s really the point of this column. It’s your TV, and your call for which Picture Mode looks best to you. Play around with all the settings to see which one you prefer. If you don’t like one, just go to another. Changing a Picture Mode setting is not permanent, and frequently adjusting them won’t hurt your TV. Trust me.
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, which is what I use.
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— Phillip Swann
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