How to Set Contrast on a TV

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Updated January 22, 2023

Most TV owners don’t know this, but the default picture settings might not be optimized to your satisfaction when you get a new TV. This can happen whether you buy a top-tier TV or an average one. For example, picture sharpness, contrast, and brightness might be off, and you might want to change your settings.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • The default picture settings might not be optimized to your satisfaction when you get an out-of-the-box new TV.
  • At TV showrooms, you’ll notice that most TVs on display will have an almost painfully flashy, bright look. Ideally, these TVs are set this way to grab a potential buyer’s attention.
  • To find the proper contrast setting of your new TV, owners are advised to pause their shows on a scene with a lot of bright areas like snow and clouds.

Once you have adjusted the TV backlight to suit your television room, your contrast setting is the next logical step. For most modern TVs, the contrast will control the intensity of the whitest area of your television screen. For optimal contrast, it’s important to know the TV refresh rate to reduce motion blur. Additionally, to ensure you are getting the best picture possible, you need to learn how to get rid of black bars on the top and bottom of your TV if you are experiencing that. It should be noted that this will occur when you are watching content not designed for your TV’s aspect ratio. For instance, if you are watching old movies or shows on a 1080p TV, there will be black bars.

Adjusting your contrast setting is pretty straightforward. Also, remember to keep your TV updated to prevent possible software issues. If you don’t know how to do this, we have a guide on how to update a smart TV. Continue reading for an outline of a step-by-step guide on how to set the contrast on a TV.

Understanding TV Contrast Setting

In TV showrooms, you’ll notice that most TVs on display will have an almost painfully flashy, bright look. Ideally, these TVs are set this way to grab a potential buyer’s attention. However, when you get this unit at home, you’ll want to adjust the backlight and contrast settings to suit your entertainment room.

Usually, calibrating the contrast setting will work to change the white level. This is essentially how bright the whitest parts of your images are. If you set the contrast too high, you’ll lose the details in the bright scenes.

Setting it low, on the other hand, will make the images look flat or drained. Therefore, you will want to set the contrast setting on your TV as high as possible for the best picture quality.

To find the proper contrast setting of your new TV, owners are advised to pause their shows on a scene with a lot of bright areas like snow and clouds. They should then turn the contrast to the maximum level and then reduce it until they can see detail in the bright areas of the screen.

Avoid setting your TV contrast setting too low since it will force the bright sections of the screen not to be bright enough.

And don’t forget that contrast is not the only thing you can adjust. You can also install a TV safety strap to protect your home and young family members. Additionally, if you aren’t the only one to use the TV, you may encounter a time when the audio is in a different language than usual. You can read our article on why your TV is in Spanish for this simple fix. However, if there is something unfixable about your TV and you need a new one, you can read some of our many reviews to help you decide on a new TV, like our Samsung NU6900 Series review.

Setting the Contrast Control on your TV

The contrast settings help to balance the white section of the screen. However, it needs to be set correctly to see the fine details in the bright areas of the picture. Unfortunately, this can’t be judged by the naked eye alone.

  1. First, turn the contrast up to a level where the picture has depth and realism. Don’t turn it up to the point you can’t see any detail, for instance, on clouds or snow.
  2. Next, check other shows to make sure that the brightness level looks detailed. Then, once you have the settings close enough, reduce the contrast level a bit.
  3. Having the TV contrast levels too high can add a tint to white backgrounds. Ideally, if the picture looks great at the 80% setting, adjust it to 78% instead.

F.A.Q.S

Is adjusting your TV contrast important?

Your contrast setting is critical. Once you have adjusted the TV backlight to suit your television room, your contrast setting is the next logical step. For most modern TVs, the contrast will control the intensity of the whitest area of your television screen.


Why do I need to adjust my new TV contrast levels?

At TV showrooms, you’ll notice that most TVs on display will have an almost painfully striking, bright look. Ideally, these TVs are set this way to grab a potential buyer’s attention. However, when you get this unit at home, you’ll want to adjust the backlight and contrast settings to suit your entertainment room.


Will setting the TV contrast too high affect the picture?

If you set the contrast too high, you’ll lose the details in the bright scenes.


How can I set the right contrast balance on a TV?

Having the contrast levels too high can add a tint to white backgrounds. Ideally, if the picture looks great at 80% setting, adjust it to 78% instead.

Why is it advisable not to set the contrast level too low?

Setting the contrast levels too low will make the images look flat or drained.



STAT: According to 2020 Surveys, Samsung was the most popular Smart TV in American households with a 32% market share. On the other hand, Alcatel and Vizio had 14% and 13% market share, respectively (source)

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