What’s the best picture mode?

(Credit: CNET) Open the picture menu of any modern TV at right at the top there is Picture Mode. These presets have names like Sports, Dynamic, Cinema, Movie, and so on. If you’ve ever cycled through these you can see the image change quite dramatically.

There is potentially a lot going on between these modes, and learning what they’re doing can help you find what the best mode is for you.

Before we start, if you’re new to all this, I recommend checking out HDTV Settings Explained so you get the lingo.

The basic rule of thumb is that the Cinema or Movie mode is going to put the TV’s settings as close to what the director or content producer intended. Sports, Vivid, or Dynamic might create a “punchier” image at first glance, but this actually “adds” things to the image the director didn’t intend to be there. You might like one or the other better, but it’s good to know what’s going on, and why certain settings may not allow your TV perform its best.

There are five main settings that get adjusted by changing the picture mode: Color temperature, backlight, motion interpolation, gamma/contrast enhancers, and edge enhancement. Each changes a different aspect of the picture.

Color temperature is the “color” of white in an image. Know how some lightbulbs look bluish, while others look war… [Read more]

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