Consumer Reports

Tips to Make Any TV Better for the Super Bowl

Consumer Reports explains how to get the best picture possible from your TV

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Getting ready for the Big Game? Whether you bought a brand-new big-screen TV or you’re trying to make the most of the one you’ve got, Consumer Reports says there are three features you should turn off for better picture quality.

The first setting you want to turn off is Noise Reduction. Noise or snow was a bigger concern with older analog TVs. Today, we’re getting cleaner, higher-quality digital signals. The problem is that when you engage noise reduction, it comes at the expense of fine detail and texture, so images look a lot softer. When you turn off noise reduction, you’ll get more detailed-looking pictures and more natural-looking images.

Next: Sharpness Control. It artificially boosts fine detail and texture, and it can exaggerate the edges of objects in the picture. It may seem like you’re getting greater detail, but sharpness control is actually masking fine detail, and it can create halos around objects in the picture. So turn it way down or completely off.

The third — and some say the most hated — TV setting you should turn off is Motion Smoothing. Some movies and a lot of TV shows are shot at 24 frames per second, or 24Hz. Video, on the other hand, is shot at 60Hz, which is why some programs, like game shows, sports, and reality shows, have motion that’s a lot smoother. The problem is that when you turn on motion smoothing, it makes images look a lot like they do in video, something people call “the soap opera effect.” The good news is that a lot of TVs allow you to turn off motion smoothing.

A final bit of advice: CR says don't worry about straying too far with any of these adjustments, because most TVs have a reset option to restore factory settings.

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