Consumer Alert: Perfecting Your TV Picture

In stores, televisions are adjusted so that they look great in a brightly lighted showroom. But Consumer Reports says those settings, called "dynamic" or sometimes "vivid," can make your TV look bad when you get it home.

The image is very harsh looking and unnatural. Your first move is to switch the setting to "movie" or "standard." Then put in a DVD movie. Search for a scene with lots of white and freeze it. Use it to adjust the contrast. Raise the contrast to the point where you start losing the detail in the white areas and then back off to the point where you can see all the details.

For brightness you do the same thing, but using a dark scene. You want the black as black as possible, while still showing detail in the dark areas.

Finally, color. Set the color temperature or color tone to "low" or "warm." Then adjust the tint or hue so that the flesh tones look natural. Make a similar adjustment to the color level or saturation setting.

Consumer Reports says room lighting can significantly affect your TV picture. So make any adjustments to your television settings under the lighting conditions you normally have when you watch TV.

You can get more free information on optimizing your TV picture quality at

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Copyright © 2002-2006 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.

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