The best TV settings for watching football

Make your new TV picture-perfect for watching the European football this summer with our simple set-up guide…

Tweak your picture settings

Your new TV has different picture modes that you can change using your remote control and the TV’s menus.

The best option is the Standard or Normal setting. This should give you natural blacks and bright colours. Avoid Dynamic or Cinema mode when setting up a TV for watching football.

If you do want to tweak the settings manually, try experimenting with:

  • Contrast ratio: The difference between how bright and dark a picture your TV can create. When watching a football match, turn up the contrast ‘til the pitch blurs, then turn it back down slowly ‘til the detail shows again.
  • Brightness: The correct brightness level will show detail in the dark parts of the picture. Tweak this when watching a shadowy movie. Turn down until you can’t make out the picture, and everything looks dark. Then slowly turn back up.  


Watch matches in Full HD

The BBC and Sky are among those that show football in high-definition through dedicated HD channels. Any matches watched in Full HD will be crisper and brighter compared to standard definition.

If you’re watching on a 4K UHD TV the picture will be even better. To get the best from a 4K TV you need content that’s broadcast or recorded in 4K, called ‘native’. But 4K TVs make HD content look sharper thanks to their built-in upscaling engines.

To watch in Full HD you need:

  • an HD (or 4K UHD) TV
  • an HD channel like BBC One HD or Sky Sports HD
  • an HD receiver box like a Sky or Virgin Media set-top box
  • HDMI cables
  • an aerial, satellite dish or cable connection (from an HD service provider)


Can’t I watch football in proper 4K resolution?

BT Sport Ultra HD shows football in native 4K content – from European club to top-flight domestic football.

More dedicated 4K channels are likely to come later this year. So you’ll only benefit more from a 4K UHD TV as time goes on… Enjoy football in 4K UHD with BT Sport Ultra HD.


Get the right connections/cables

The cables you choose to connect your TV to your set-top box or Blu-ray player can affect picture quality. 

And if you want to watch the football in HD you’ll need an HDMI cable to connect your TV to your Sky box. Of course you’ll also need an HD or (4K UHD) TV, an HD channel and box.

But HDMI is the only way to send HD content from a set-top box/Blu-ray player to your TV. You can’t do it with SCART.

What about HDMI 2.0? If you’re buying a 4K UHD TV then consider an HDMI 2.0 cable for streaming Netflix in 4K and watching Ultra HD Blu-ray.

What cables do I need for my TV?


Smoothen out motion blur with a high processing rate

From a thunderous free kick in the football to a bullet-like serve in the tennis - sport moves fast. Very fast. This can lead to juddering and blurry images.

TVs with high processing rates are perfect for football and other fast-moving sports. Your TV’s picture works like a flip-book – it’s a series of images shown in quick succession.

The processing rate, measured in hertz (Hz), tells you how fast the images are appearing. The higher the number, the smoother and less blurry your picture will be. Processing rates explained.


Switch on your TV’s motion interpolation (easier than it sounds)

We’ve already explained that TV works like a flipbook, with lots of individual images being shown at high speed to make up a TV picture.

Motion interpolation sees TVs fill the gaps between frames with artificial frames. This smoothens out the picture and reduces blur. It’s a neat feature found on TVs with high processing rates.

Look out for features like Sony MotionFlow, Samsung Auto Motion Plus and LG TruMotion. Switch it on from your TV’s on-screen menu.

Don’t forget to turn it off: Motion interpolation is great for fast-moving sports – but not so great for watching movies and TV shows. When the game’s over, switch it off.

Picture Perfect Plus

When you first get your new TV, there are a couple of steps you need to take to ensure you get the best possible picture quality. Most TVs arrive set up for the bright fluorescent conditions of a shop, so you’ll need to adjust the settings to see all the fine detail your TV is capable of.

You can learn how to make the most of your TV with the Picture Perfect video guide created by our Knowhow experts.

In simple steps, the guide will show you what to do, talk you through the settings to change and even give you a whole suite of professional quality tools to use if you want to take your viewing to the next level. Picture Perfect Plus includes test patterns for 4K UHD TVs, as well as audio setup tones for optimum speaker placement.