Consumer Reports

Easy Super Bowl TV Tweaks to Improve Picture, Audio

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Are you getting ready for the big game? Chips and dip? Check. A perfect picture and superb sound from your big-screen TV? If you don’t have the last two, Consumer Reports can help. Taking just a few minutes to tweak some settings can score a big win for your TV viewing.

First up, sack the obvious preset mode. It may sound odd, but you shouldn’t use the sports mode for watching sports. It can artificially boost the color, contrast and brightness too much.

Consumer Reports says the presets that look best for sports include natural, cinema and movie mode. But if you want to take it a step further, adjust your TV settings individually before the game begins.

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To change the brightness or black level, CR says to find a nighttime scene from a TV show or movie, then get to work tweaking it. Basically, you’re turning up the brightness or black level as high as you can to show all the details in the images. But then you want to turn it down so the black areas look as dark as they can while still preserving some of the detail.

Then there’s contrast or white level, which will affect how bright the field will look come game day. To adjust it, CR says to use an image with a lot of white. Lower the contrast so you can see all the detail. Then raise it until you get the picture looking as bright as you can without losing those details.

Next, adjust the color temperature to make sure your team’s jerseys are the right shade. Choose the warm or low setting so the white yard lines don’t appear too blue. Then adjust the tint so the players’ flesh tones look natural, usually somewhere in the middle of the range.

Now that you have your picture looking its best, consider boosting your TV’s sound quality with the help of a soundbar. A basic option is one from Creative Stage 2.1, for $80. It has good sound quality and it comes with a wired subwoofer and Bluetooth.

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, you can also check its exclusive TV Screen Optimizer, which provides the best settings for TVs dating back to 2013. You can find the link on our website.

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