Consumer Reports: Best TV picture settings

Getting ready for the big game? Whether you bought a brand new big screen TV, or you're just 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.

Maybe you dropped big bucks for a brand new TV with all the bells and whistles, but now that it's in your home, it just doesn't look picture perfect.

Newer TVs come with lots of features and settings and while many sound like performance-boosters, Consumer Reports says that there are three specific settings that will actually make the picture look worse, no matter what brand TV you own.

The first setting you want to turn off is noise reduction.

"Noise, or "snow," was a bigger issue 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," said Consumer Reports Tech Editor Jim Willcox.

Next is sharpness control.

"Sharpness Control artificially boosts fine detail and texture, and it can exaggerate the edges of objects in the picture," Willcox said. "Now the problem is it may seem like at first that 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 down or completely off.

And 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 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 a lot smoother motion than films. The problem is, when you turn on motion smoothing, it makes movies look a lot like video, something people call 'the soap opera effect.' The good news is that a lot of TVs allow you to turn off motion smoothing," Willcox said.

Consumer Reports says, don't worry about straying too far with any of these adjustments, most TVs have a reset option to restore factory settings.

To get all the optimal picture settings for your TV, you can check out Consumer Reports TV Screen Optimizer. Plug-in the make and model of your TV and they'll give you step-by-step instructions on how to set it for the best picture quality.

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