The default settings on any new television are not necessarily the ones that will produce the best picture at home in the living room. Settings that are too high or too low can result in an early demise of the screen or simply provide a poor picture. Ideally the picture settings on the television should be adjusted to coincide with the lighting conditions in the room where it will be viewed. Settings on all televisions can be adjusted and some even allow resetting the controls for the various input devices.
Picture control settings can be accessed through the television set up menu. It is easiest to make the appropriate adjustments by purchasing or renting a test pattern DVD although it is possible to use other pictures on the screen with known colors to determine the new settings. An example of a known color would be a scene with a snow covered landscape when adjusting contrast or the white within a picture.
The following guidelines are common:
o Contrast: Contrast is the intensity of white within the picture on the television. If the intensity of white is too high there can be a loss of detail in the picture or increased deterioration of the phosphors in a plasma or CRT screen. By adjusting the contrast to the lowest setting, white will become somewhat gray. From here the contrast is advanced gradually up until the point when the gray just becomes white.
o Brightness: Brightness is the intensity of black within the picture on the television. With brightness turned up to maximum, blacks will become gray. The level should then be slowly reduced until it first becomes black again.
o Sharpness: A television with the sharpness set too low can have a blurry picture while having it set too high can result in a "grainy" picture.
o Color / Saturation: Adjusting the color is important to achieve a realistic picture. Many automatic settings are insufficient. When unable to use a test pattern, many experts advise using skin tone as a good guide in adjusting color to the optimal level.
Basically, the important thing to remember is that factory set controls on a television are not set up for the viewing conditions in most homes and to get the outstanding picture consumers pay for and to insure the longevity of the television, some adjustment is necessary. Video Essentials and AVIA are two test pattern tools that are available to assist in adjusting setting on the television for clear, vivid, color accurate images.