You might be slightly missing out on the overall picture quality of OLEDs, but QLED TVs are probably the next best option out there. And as an added bonus, you won’t likely have to deal with that pesky image retention or burn-in issue.
If you have already unboxed your QLED TV, the next logical step is to make your panel shine with the best picture possible. To achieve this, here are five ways to calibrate your brand-new QLED TV.
When you turn on your TV for the first time, make sure to immediately head over to the settings for picture presets. You might be tempted to go with the Dynamic mode, but this only works best in incredibly bright, showroom-type settings. As for the Movie mode, you will only see the benefits in a room that’s perfectly dark at all times. So, your best bet is the Standard/Natural option, and that should get you primed for more detailed calibration efforts later on.
Next up is your brightness level. Because of the powerful backlighting, keep in mind that your QLED TV can get brighter than any OLED model, which can be a particular advantage in brighter rooms. You may have to use your eyes to gauge if this setting is working out well when you’re watching movies at night. If the Eco mode is on by default, it’s best to disable it to prevent your TV from automatically adjusting the brightness level. The Color Tone setting is up to your preference, as some people may want to have a warmer or cooler picture.
No. 3 on the list may seem counterintuitive but give it a try—and that is turning down your TV’s sharpness. Many people think that if you raise the sharpness control, you’ll receive a sharper picture, but that is far from the truth. The problem lies in the fact that the sharpness control itself doesn't do anything to boost detail. Instead, that detail is often masked by an artificial-looking enhancement. Just turn the sharpness level all the way down, and you should see a noticeable difference.
On many Samsung QLED TVs, HDR+ has the ability to replicate an HDR viewing experience for content that doesn't natively support HDR. If you find that your HDR content is too dim, try increasing the brightness a bit and set the Contrast Enhancer to high. Also keep in mind that HDR is automatically enabled for native apps. So, when you begin playing HDR content, some of the settings, like the backlight’s brightness, will change automatically. If it’s too bright or dark for your liking, adjust accordingly.
Lastly, if you’re a die-hard gamer, make sure to enable Game mode from the General settings tab, which will provide the lowest input lag. Some QLED models now boast Game Enhancer and Dynamic Black Equalizer modes, which can give today’s games a new and exciting layer, such as making it relatively easier to spot objects or players hiding in shadows.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek and Arirang TV. He currently resides in Minneapolis.