By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –Follow on Facebook & X.
Former Sony employee. Former editor of 4 TV magazines.

TV Answer Man, I watch college football in 4K every weekend on Fox. Do you know if there should be different picture settings for sports on TV? Should the TV’s settings be different because of the fast motion, for example? Or because of the HDR (High Dynamic Range) — Carl, Cleveland.
Carl, watching sports, and specifically football, is different than watching a movie or sitcom on your favorite TV. The live images are transmitted and displayed differently which factors in to how you calibrate your set. Here are five things you can do to get the best picture possible while watching football, or any sport, whether it’s 4K or HD.

1. Choose the Right Picture Mode

Most modern TVs come with various preset picture modes like “Standard,” “Cinema,” “Sports,” and more. But for watching football, the “Sports” or “Game” mode is often the best setting. Sports and Game are optimized to reduce motion blur.

2. Manage the Motion Settings

Motion settings play a vital role in ensuring smooth and clear visuals during a game. Features like “Motion Smoothing” or “Motion Interpolation” can sometimes make the image look unnatural by creating the “soap opera effect.” It’s best to disable these features as they can blur the ball and players during motion.

3. Tweak the Color Setting

Colors can greatly influence the overall mood of the viewing experience. While many TVs offer vibrant and vivid color presets, it’s recommended to choose a more neutral color setting for sports. This will ensure that team colors look accurate, and the grass field appears natural.

4. Enable HDR

If your TV supports High Dynamic Range (HDR), make sure it’s enabled for football broadcasts that utilize HDR technology. (Both Fox and Peacock broadcast college football games in 4K HDR.) This will enhance the contrast and color range, making the image more lifelike.

5. Arrange the Ambient Lighting

Keep in mind the lighting conditions in your viewing environment. If there’s a lot of ambient light, it could affect the perception of the TV’s image. Consider adjusting curtains or blinds to minimize glare and improve contrast.

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The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than three 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. See the bio for Phillip Swann here.