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Your TV Picture: When ‘Vivid’ Doesn’t Mean Clear

Q. I want the picture on my TV to be bright, like it was in the store. It seems the only setting that will make it that bright is Vivid. But a friend tells me that’s the wrong setting. He says it should be Cinema. So, what’s the deal here? Vivid or Cinema? — Marcus, Des Moines.

Marcus, 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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Some people, such as yourself, 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. If you closely examine the screen, you may notice that you can’t see the texture in clothing, or the wrinkles or other imperfections in an actor’s face. The picture is not quite as realistic as would expect from HD or 4K.

In contrast, 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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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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Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at swann@tvpredictions.com. Please include your first name and hometown in your message.

— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (1612 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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