Improve Your HDTV Picture Quality in 4 Easy Steps

Final adjustments

Set the TV's picture size

If you're watching HD content or a Blu-ray disc, the aspect ratio will match that of your television screen. However, if you revisit the classics in your DVD library — old TV shows or pre-1953 movies — your HDTV may be trying to stretch the narrow video to match the 16:9 aspect ratio of the screen. For such videos, change your TV's setting to show the video in the squarish 4:3 aspect ratio. This places black bars on either side of the image, but it means people won't look like they're in a fun-house mirror.

MORE: How to Edit Video Using Free Software

Change the TV's motion settings

Standard LCD and LED-LCD TVs have a 60Hz refresh rate, meaning they show 60 images per second. But some models take that to 120Hz, 240Hz or higher. The settings vary in name (Samsung, for example, calls it Auto Motion Plus), but the idea is the same. The display reduces motion blur and jittery effects by increasing the refresh rate and generating additional video frames. Some TVs' default settings add too much detail, which can cause motion that looks hyperreal and unnatural. Check to see if your TV lets you turn off or make custom adjustments to the motion settings. Not all TVs have this adjustment, but if yours does, it may come in handy.

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Melissa Perenson is a freelance writer. She has reviewed the best tax software for Tom's Guide for several years, and has also tested out fax software, among other things. She spent more than a decade at PC World and TechHive, and she has freelanced for numerous publications including Computer Shopper, TechRadar and Consumers Digest.