Is your TV optimized for football games and other sports? Or for soap operas? Here’s how and why you should change the settings before the big game.

  Today’s 4K televisions are incredible. But straight out of the box, they need tweaking. Especially before you watch the big game. So grab your remote, hit the ‘gear’ icon, and tweak.

    When you buy a television, many times they’re set up to be displayed in the store under those bright fluorescent lights. Not what in the room you have at home. That can or does make a difference in how it looks watching a movie or sports. Those two things are quite different. Let’s take a look at settings on your TV and how to optimize the picture for sports.

First of all: do not put the TV in sport mode even if you’re watching sports. This is not a good setting, primarily because it often turns on something called “motion smoothing”. It’s a setting TV manufacturers offer to make fast-paced action appear smooth but it also boosts the brightness, contrast, and colors. And if you forget to change the setting back for movies, the sports mode will give a “soap opera” effect so movies won’t look like movies at all. 

Don’t use Vivid, which boosts contrast and brightness. The caveat to using “vivid” is if you’re watching the TV outside at a home tailgate party. The brightness and contrast will make the game easier to see.

If you’re watching the game inside, choose cinema or movie mode. It may appear darker, especially if your TV is in a brightly lit room, but it’s the optimal setting for anything you watch, especially movies. And no one remembers to change the setting between movie and sports mode. Stick with cinema or if your 4K TV has HDR, put it HDR mode to get a bigger range of dynamic colors.

By the way, if you see a setting labeled as “game”, that is not good for sports, it is for video games. 

If you’re looking to buy a new TV for football season, it’s a good time to find great deals on 4K smart TVs. If you are buying one, pay attention to the “refresh rate” and look for one that’s 60 Hz or higher. If you watch a lot of sports, the higher the hertz, or refresh rate, the better the picture for ball games.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you may very well decide to use sport or vivid or even game mode. That’s up to you and the room you have the TV set up to watch. Or, you may choose to set the picture mode manually using the settings for brightness, tone, contrast, and color to find the setting you like best. If you’re in a hurry to make kickoff, you can use the cinema or movie mode and get the best picture.

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