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Fine-Tuning Your New HDTV Is Game Plan for Super Bowl Viewing

Posted January 29, 2007
Updated February 1, 2007

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— By kickoff time of the Super Bowl on Sunday, one in five households is expected to have at least one high-definition TV, but Consumer Reports says not to expect your new set to look great right of the box.

The magazine’s TV testers found the best ways to perfect your picture.

Why do you need to make any adjustments?

In stores, televisions are adjusted so they look great in a brightly lit showroom. Those settings are called "dynamic," or sometimes "vivid." Consumer Reports says they can make your TV look bad when you get it home.

“The image is very harsh looking and unnatural" said Consumer Reports Claudio Ciacci.

Your first move is to go to the "menu" on your television and switch the setting to "movie" or "standard."

Then, put in a DVD. Search for a scene with lots of white and freeze it. Use it to adjust the contrast.

“You want to raise the contrast to the point where you start losing the detail in the white areas and then back off to the point where you can see all your details," Ciacci said.

For brightness, do the same thing, but use a dark scene. You want the black as black as possible, while still showing detail in the dark areas.

Finally, adjust color. Set the color temperature or color tone to "low" or warm. Then adjust the tint or hue so the flesh tones look natural. Make a similar adjustment to the color level, or saturation, setting. That will give you the best picture possible.

Consumer Reports says room lighting can significantly affect your TV picture, so make any adjustments to your television settings under the lighting conditions you normally have when you watch TV.

Consumer Reports has more information about how to get the best possible picture quality.

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