Well, technology has made our lives easier right? Sure, there are many benefits, but to fix annoying problems even little ones can take superhuman levels of patience. Most manuals for TV’s have the “quick reference guide” to get started and an accompanying “user’s manual” has many hundreds of pages long in some cases. It’s the longer one that contains the details for troubleshooting and fixing and fine-tuning your TV. Complicating things nowadays is the various video sources (gaming system, media streamer, set-top boxes and Blu-ray player), each having their own ideal settings. So, we must adjust it manually to get the best picture quality. Quick Spark has listed some quick fixes to common TV problems.
Incorrect Colour Format
Your TV is looking a bit funny, or at least the picture colours are. The actor’s skin tone is off, or the background colours are hues you don’t quite recognize. Sky colour is a bit pale or even a little green looking, sea and mountain hues are looking similarly a bit weird. We’ll guide you through a few simple settings to restore the accuracy of the colour tones and hues.
Without getting a full-colour calibration, which is complex, time-consuming and costly, the best and fastest outcome is to set the white balance to the warmest setting you possibly can. Select white balance or colour temperature from picture options on the TVs main menu. You can see a few options like cool, normal, and warm in this setting. We recommend you choose warm as we feel this gives the most accurate colours you can expect from your TV. If you can’t find this setting, then try and make the picture more red-pink and less blue-green. Because it’s in stark contrast to the setting you are used to it may look a bit funny at first, but it’s more natural, so give it a go.
Stretched, Squeezed or Trimmed Picture
Another main problem you may experience with tv display is stretched, squeezed or trimmed picture. Have you ever been puzzled when the picture looks a little squashed or seems to fall off the screen? Does it look out of shape and the scene is distorted? It’s actually a common problem that has an easy fix.
Picture size is a setting in your TV and is known in different names as the manufacturers get clever with the titles they choose to use. What you are looking to achieve is to marry up the signal and the display geometry to get the truest looking picture. The ideal setting picture is mapped pixel to pixel across the TV frame, but this isn’t always the case. If the aspect ratio is off, it can stretch and/or crop the picture. In other cases, your TV trims to picture to fit different broadcast formats. At this point, you need to adjust the size of the picture.
Just to highlight again, the picture size setting has various options as Wide, Zoom, Aspect Ratio or simply as normal. Have a look at your TV Settings menu for a name that looks like one of these. Dive into one of these and see what options are available. This is another good way to know you’re on the right track. Look for option titles such as 16:9, Wide, Stretch and Zoom. It means you’re in the right setting but looking at the wrong options to get the best picture geometry for your TV.
Back to the pixel for pixel display, which is optimal for any media hub, gaming system, broadband box or computer. Go to the Picture Size menu and select ‘Direct’ or ‘Just Fit’. This tells your TV to show video images from your connected device as it is received. The TV won’t stretch or crop or try to do anything “smart” with the image.
Soap Opera Effect
A smart TV will simulate 60 or more frames per second. However, most movies are filmed at 24 frames per second and production TV shows at slightly more 30 frames per second. The difference in the speed between the source data (film or TV) and what your TV is trying to simulate causes an unnatural effect called the “soap opera effect”.
Some newer smart TV’s are showing up to 120 frames per second. To fix the problem the TV manufacturers have incorporated into the image processing, features to smooth the difference in the frame rates.
Problem with this technology is that it looks too smooth. Leaving the picture unnatural and seemingly also jarring to the eye – this is the soap opera effect. If all you watch is sport or play video games, then you will not notice it. These data sources have high frame rates so the difference in the smoothing is not so substantial. However, for movies and TV shows, the picture will look strange and in fact, it can look like you’re standing behind the camera itself, seeing what the cameraman sees.
Anyway – you guessed it – the solution is simple; just turn off motion smoothing. The effect of switching this function off is to restore the natural look of movies and TV shows. There are some short cuts like putting your television in the theatre or cinema mode may disable those features automatically. If not, then you’ll need to read your TV’s manual to find out where the setting is in the menu system.
Overscan is another common problem while connecting to digital devices. Sometimes more of the picture signal is transmitted than what is meant to be displayed on the TV while broadcasting digital pictures. But televisions are designed to trim off this overscan issue. However, this is less of a problem these days, but some TV’s will trim the rightsized picture. If the picture looks like it has been trimmed at the edges, you’re dealing with overscan.
Go through the settings menu until you find an option called Overscan (possibly near the Picture Size option but could be in Advanced Settings too). Set it to off and you’ll see the full picture.
If you have noticed that the brightness (and dimness) of your TV changes during the day this is because it’s fitted with an ambient light sensor. What this feature does is adjust the brightness of the picture based on how light or dark the room is. Sounds pretty clever right? Well, it can be a curse as well because it means you have no control over the brightness of your TV. It adjusts as it sees fit resulting in this inconsistent picture brightness.
To wrestle back control of the light sensor and brightness of your TV you’ll need to find the setting buried in the menu system of your TV. In an older android TV, it’s a setting found in the backlight menu of the picture settings. On the newer LG TVs with web OS, it’s in the Energy Saving menu. When in here if you disable any setting that reads ambient light or intelligent sensor it will turn the feature off. There are one or two other little quirks to be careful of. Many features now overlap in their complexity and if the brightness remains erratic it could also be the automatic power-saving mode or the picture mode (cinema, sport, game etc). You may have to shut off the power saving mode and play around with the picture mode as well to get the best picture brightness for you.
What the power saving mode does is to fiddle around with the backlight to save electricity. This you may want, in truth, it does keep the TV running sub-optimally, but it does keep it cooler and therefore saves electricity costs. Look for the power-saving mode or eco mode and turn it to low or off. These features don’t necessarily use the light sensor, they simply dim the backlight to save on the running costs. Some of the bigger TVs today can consume the equivalent of up to 300 watts under normal conditions. Our advice is to take back control of the brightness, by switching off the auto light sensor, and leave the backlight in a low power mode to save electricity but adjust the brightness to suit and the picture mode.
Just a word of warning
If you dive into some of the submenus you might find specific colour calibrations. Don’t change any of these numbers you can badly alter the colour calibration of the picture. These submenus are for the calibration experts and you can warp the colour accuracy if you don’t know what you’re doing. If you do accidentally muck these up simply restore the default or factory settings in the main menu settings and have another go.
We think it’s fun to have a go at getting the best out of your TV and we never assume that the factory settings are optimal when you unpack and set up your new TV. We recommend having a go-to see if you can get more from your TV, but if you want some help please don’t hesitate to contact the QuickTech experts on 1300 857 575