Set up your HDTV for watching sports

We have three tips for optimising your big screen

You have your pizza, your beer, and your brand-new, beautiful HDTV. But is that HDTV giving your favorite sport everything it's capable of giving?

Even if your set is already perfectly calibrated, three extra adjustments can help your new plasma or LCD present sports in their best light.

Here's why--and here's how.

Fix Your HDTV for Daytime Viewing

Sports events often happen during the day, and if you prefer watching them live, that means viewing them with the sun shining through your windows. Even if you've placed your HDTV where sunlight won't hit the screen directly (and you should), you must compensate for the presence of any window in the room by making the picture brighter.

Simply turning up the brightness won't help. The Brightness setting on most HDTVs doesn't actually control brightness, but black level; turning it up makes the image brighter, but more washed out. To fix that, you have to increase the Contrast (called Picture on some sets), which controls the white level. You'll probably have to fiddle with both controls, going back and forth between them, until you're pleased with the result. Then fiddle with them again the next time you watch TV at night.

You have other options. If you own an LCD set, for instance, the Backlight control changes the picture's brightness without throwing any other settings out of whack--so if sunlight is making the game hard to see, just turn up the backlight. (If you have a rear-projection set, the Iris setting will do the same thing.)

Plasma sets offer no such convenience, so your best bet in this case is to set up separately calibrated modes for day and night viewing. Most HDTVs offer various modes, some preset and some user-configurable. In some HDTVs, even the presets are configurable. If your set has two or more configurable modes, calibrate one at night and one during the day. (How do you know if a preset mode is configurable? Select it and start trying to configure the TV. If the mode name changes to something like 'User', that's the only configurable mode.)

If your plasma HDTV doesn't allow you to configure more than one mode, or if the above steps sound like too much trouble, experiment with the preset modes and hope that you find a good one. The Sports mode, if your TV has one, is an obvious choice, although it might not actually be appropriate for your situation. Vivid mode may also work well during daylight hours.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags lcd tvshome entertainment

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Lincoln Spector

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?