The best TV settings for watching football
The new football season is here. Here’s how to set up your TV for picture-perfect viewing…
Picture settings are key
Most modern TV sets let you alter the picture settings – you can do this via the remote control and TV’s menu.
Standard and Normal settings are the best – giving you natural blacks and bright colours.
Avoid Dynamic or Cinema mode when setting up a TV for watching football. The brightness of Dynamic may look great on the shop floor but won’t be so great in your lounge. While Cinema mode is perfect for movies but not the right format for sport.
Want to make your picture even better? The try tweaking it manually. You can experiment with:
- Contrast ratio: The difference between how bright and dark a picture your TV can create. Depending on when you watch the match – and how much light is entering the room – you may have to fiddle with the contrast to get it just right. While watching the football, turn up the contrast until the pitch blurs and then turn it back down slowly until 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 – or if the weather at the footie pitch is particularly bleak. Turn down until you can’t make out the picture, and everything looks dark. Then slowly turn back up.
Enjoy the benefits of Ultra HD
Premier League football has been filmed in Ultra High Definition for several seasons now. And both Sky’s Q 2TB box and BT’s TV now offer the Premier League in 4K.
To enjoy the best view – without being pitch side – you’ll need to go the full monty with:
- a HD (or 4K UHD HDR) TV
- a HD channel like BBC One HD or Sky Sports HD
- a 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)
Viewing the games on a 4K TV? Then you’re in for a treat – 4K TV makes HD content look even sharper thanks to built-in upscaling engines.
But the ‘native’ content for 4K viewing must be shot in 4K to see the benefits.
However, HD TV or not – even on a non-HD TV the matches will be sharper and brighter than in standard definition.
Can I watch the rest of the footie season in 4K?
BT Sport Ultra HD shows football in native 4K content – from European club to top-flight domestic football – so if you're signed up to a package with them you can enjoy the benefits of 4K all season long.
Make the right connection
Don’t underestimate the power of the cables that link up your home entertainment system – they can make a massive difference to picture quality.
You’ll need a HDMI cable to connect your TV to your set-top box if you want to watch the games in HD. (As well as a HD or 4K UHD TV, HD channel and box – but we’re probably stating the obvious!)
HDMI is the only way to send HD content from a set-top box/Blu-ray player to your TV. The old-fashioned SCART just won’t cut it.
Got a 4K UHD HDR TV? Then consider a HDMI 2.0 cable. It’ll let you stream from Netflix and watch Ultra HD Blu-ray too.
Check out your processing rate
If you’ve done all the above and the game is still a little blurry then check out your TV’s processing rate.
Measured in hertz (Hz) the processing rate tells you how fast the images are appearing. The higher it is the smoother the picture will be – perfect for watching action-packed footie matches and other fast-moving sports.
Discover your TV’s motion interpolation
Easier to do than it is to say, switching on your TV’s motion interpolation smooths the picture and further reduces blur.
Your TV’s picture works like a flip-book – a series of images shown in quick succession. Motion interpolation fills the gaps between these pictures with artificial frames. A neat feature found on TV sets with high processing rates that can be switched on from your TV’s on-screen menu.
If you’re investing in a new TV for the new football season, then look out for features like Sony MotionFlow, Samsung Auto Motion Plus and LG TruMotion.
But don’t forget to turn it off – motion interpolation is great for fast-moving sports – but not so great for movies and TV shows. When the game’s over, switch it off.