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Best TV Settings for the Big Game & Olympics

With some major sporting events like the Super Bowl and the Winter Olympic Games right around the corner, you’ll want to get your TV in picture perfect shape.

And, believe it or not, Consumer Reports says that means avoiding the “sports mode” setting.

“It tends to artificially boost contrast, brightness and colors. And that makes the picture look unnatural, said Consumer Reports Electronics Editor Jim Wilcox. "Instead, we suggest using either the movie or cinema mode, which will give you the most natural-looking picture."

Another factory preset mode to avoid if your TV has it: dynamic or vivid.

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"The vivid mode works a lot like the sports mode where it overly brightens the image," Wilcox said.

One more trick from the Consumer Reports playbook: turn off noise reduction and motion smoothing. Noise reduction can reduce detail and fine texture in your picture.

"Motion smoothing can cause film to look like video. Sometimes it’s called the soap opera effect where film starts to look like a daytime TV program,” explained Wilcox. 

If you’re looking to adjust your set beyond the factory preset modes, Consumer Reports says take it easy with the sharpness by keeping it near zero. Turning it up too much can make the picture detail look less natural. And for color temperature as well as color and tint, here’s what CR says you should be looking for.

“Typically you should choose the low or warm setting so that whites don’t look too blue. And with tint what you’re really trying to do is get the most natural-looking flesh tones,” Wilcox explained.

For those of you wanting to adjust your TV even more precisely, Consumer Reports offers specific settings for each TV they test to online subscribers. 

Online: Specific TV Settings

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