TV settings problems and how to fix them

Sometimes TVs don’t do exactly what we’d like! Here’s how to get it right for you.

04 Mar 2021

You’ve just bought a TV. It’s installed, your favourite drama from the Beeb is about to come on, it’s TV time. But what’s this? You turn it on and the TV picture isn’t right. What do you do?

Sometimes TVs need a bit of a tweak straight out the box. Don’t worry though- the fixes are usually easy ones. Here’s how to find what tv settings are the best for you and fix all those common picture problems.


How to fix a stretched picture

What if your tv picture looks stretched? Or maybe squashed? The issue here is the Picture Size. The settings on your TV don’t have the screen’s ratio quite right. It’s trying to make the picture fit and distorting the picture in the process.

  1. The first step is to go into your TV settings menu. Now, there are a few different names for Picture Size depending on your TV’s model. Look out for options that say things like ‘Zoom’, ‘Stretch’, ‘Wide’ or ’16:9’. These are all different picture size settings.
  2. Do you see an option that says ‘Direct Fit’ or ‘Just Fit’? This should tell the TV to automatically adjust the picture size based on what device it’s connected to.

Hopefully, that should have fixed the problem. But, if it hasn’t, try this…

  1. Test out the 16:9 or 4:3 options. Some older machines might work better with these.

And that’s how to change picture size!


How to fix the Soap Opera Effect

It might sound a bit odd. But often when people get a new TV, they’ll complain that the tv settings look like a soap opera! The image on screen looks like it’s filmed on a low budget camera.

What causes the Soap Opera Effect? Newer TVs have higher frames per second (fps). These help the picture look smooth and seamless. So to show off what it can do, the TV’s default picture setting might be 60 fps or higher.

While having a higher fps is good for gaming and sports, it doesn’t work so well with other content. Most movies and shows don’t display at such a high fps. More like 24 or 30 fps. Your TV compensates by smoothing the content too much- enough that it looks odd.

Here’s the fix:

  1. Open up your TV settings
  2. Find ‘Motion Smoothing’ and turn it off. Simple as that!

You can always turn it back on to get the best tv settings for gaming or the best tv settings for sports.



How to fix TV brightness

Squinting to look at your TV? Having difficulty making out darker shapes? It could be because your TV is too dim.

Some TVs now have light sensors that adjust the TV’s brightness depending on how light or dark it is in the room. Billed as a power saving feature, this can be pretty useful… if it gets it right every time.

But sometimes TV brightness is just down to personal preference. Here’s how to take back control:

  1. Check your TV menu for the ‘ambient light sensor’ or ‘intelligent sensor’ option. It could be in the Backlight or Energy Saving menu depending on what TV you have.
  2. Turn this feature off.
  3. Also check for any Automatic Power Saving or APS modes and turn these off too.
  4. Now you can choose and adjust your TV brightness settings to what suits you!


How to reduce blue light

If you’re getting eye strain from watching the TV, blue light could be the culprit. Blue light has a wavelength that’s close to UV rays. That makes it a bit harsher on your eyes. Here’s some ways to change your picture settings to reduce eye strain:

  1. Find the backlight control in your picture settings menu.
  2. At night time, try and reduce this. This will stop help your eyes adjusting to a very bright screen while the light around you is darker.
  3. If your TV is a plasma, rather than an LCD, try lowering the Contrast Control. This will make the plasma TV dimmer to help with eye strain and reduce the light output.


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