Best picture settings for Samsung 4K TVs

Samsung 4K Ultra HD TVs offer excellent video quality right out of the box, but they also feature additional settings to further improve picture quality for TV shows, sports, movies and games. Here are the best picture settings for Samsung 4K TVs.

The following applies to most Samsung LED/LCD and QLED TVs. On-screen menu appearance, setup labels, and options may vary by model series and year.

Before using the picture settings of your Samsung 4K UHD TV for the best viewing experience, please check the following:

  • TV placement : Place the TV so you can watch it directly. Avoid placing it where it needs to be pointed up, down, or at an angle to the screen. The further away you look from the center angle, the more the colors fade and the contrast narrows.
  • Room lighting . Light from windows or lights to the sides and opposite the TV will reflect onto the screen. Even on models that may have "anti-glare" or "anti-reflective" screen coatings, the picture won't look very good if light hits the screen. Curved screen models further distort reflections. Lights that can be dimmed or turned off, or curtains and curtains that can be closed can help improve the TV picture.
  • Select the TV's Family mode . During initial setup, you may be prompted to select Home or Retail or Store Demo mode. Retail/Store Demonstration Mode sets the picture settings to maximum, resulting in pictures that are too bright, with strong colors and contrast, and are more suitable for a dealer showroom.

If you're making adjustments after the initial setup, you can check whether Family Mode is turned on by going to Settings > System > Expert Settings > Usage Mode .

If you have a Samsung 4K QLED, Frame or Serif series TV, there may be two options in the General Settings menu to automatically adjust the picture quality.

The TV can identify and analyze room, content and TV usage patterns to provide the best viewing experience. This mode is optional.

The TV uses an ambient light sensor to analyze room light levels and automatically adjust LED backlight output.

Certain modes or apps, such as Ambient Mode and Game Mode (discussed later), may not support adaptive brightness.

In addition to Smart Mode (or if your TV doesn't include these options), you can improve the picture quality of video and movie sources using the other picture mode presets available on all Samsung 4K TVs.

Picture preset options may vary depending on your Samsung TV model and input source selected (HDMI vs analog).

  1. Select Settings from Smart Center.

  2. Select Image .

  3. Select picture mode .

  4. Samsung preset image modes include:

    • Dynamic : Apply higher levels of contrast, brightness, and sharpness. Only use this setting in natural light or a bright room.
    • Standard : This setting provides acceptable viewing results for video and movie source content, and is usually turned on when you first turn on the TV. The standard is suitable for most viewing environments and is EnergyStar compliant.
    • Natural : A softer look than the Dynamic and Standard modes mentioned above, which reduces eye strain.
    • Movie : This preset provides appropriate brightness, contrast, and color temperature levels for movies. It's darker than Dynamic or Standard and offers a warmer color temperature. It is the best picture preset for use in a dark room (similar to a movie theater). Movie mode also disables any additional processing, so movies retain their film-like action.

Samsung offers unique viewing modes on its 4K Ultra HD TVs. In the picture settings menu, select Special Viewing Mode .

In the Special Viewing Modes category, options include:

  • Sports Mode : This setting provides the best picture preset for sports and fast-moving content. It displays brighter images, cooler color temperature and faster motion response. Sport mode also enables stadium sound mode.
  • Game Mode : This preset option sets the TV into a low-latency mode for gamers. However, you may notice a slight decrease in video graphics quality. Game mode requires a connected game controller or console. After turning on Game Mode, you may need to unplug your game console from the TV to switch to another device.
  • HDR+ mode : Only available on 4K TV models with HDR capabilities. HDR-encoded content from compatible sources, such as Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs and select streaming content, automatically activates the TV's HDR capabilities. If you also activate HDR+, the TV will adjust the brightness and contrast of HDR-encoded content to make objects clearer.

HDR+ also provides the ability to add HDR effects to SDR content. Because this process involves conversion, it's not as accurate as true HDR content. The results from different scenes may look washed out or uneven. If you find that HDR+ settings are ineffective, turn them off.

While Samsung's preset and select viewing mode picture settings provide a quick way to get better picture quality, there are some additional manually adjusted picture settings available in Expert Picture Settings that can correct specific viewing issues.

Before adjusting options in the Expert Picture Settings, you should use a standardized test image tailored for TV picture "calibration" as a reference for your settings. You can obtain these images from the application or from disc as follows:

  • THX Tune-Up App (Android and iOS)
  • Disney WOW: World of Wonders (Blu-ray Disc Edition)
  • Spears and Munsil UHD HDR (requires 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc player) and HD Benchmark (requires Blu-ray Disc player) test discs.

In the Picture Menu, go to Expert Settings to further customize the picture settings - see the results of test images.

You should keep a written or printed record of the changes for ongoing reference.

Here are the settings you'll be able to use.

Since everyone perceives color and contrast differently, the "best" setting point may vary slightly.

  • Backlight : Set backlight intensity. A setting of 15 (range 0 - 20) works well in most cases.
  • Brightness : Make dark areas of the image lighter or darker. In most cases, a setting range of 45 to 55 works well.
  • Contrast : Make bright areas of the image lighter or darker. Settings of 80 to 85 are ideal for movies; 90 to 100 are suitable for video sources.
  • Sharpness : The Sharpness setting increases edge contrast, making objects clearer, but the resolution remains the same. Too low a sharpness will cause the image to look soft, while too high a sharpness will make the image look harsh. If you use this setting, apply it as little as possible (25% or less).
  • Color : Adjust color intensity (saturation). Too much color will appear strong, too little color will appear too soft or even "gray". Settings between 45 and 55 work well.
  • Tint : This option adjusts the amount of yellow/green and red/magenta (you'll primarily use this option to improve skin tones). You should set this control to "0" unless the color of the input source is too green or too red.
  • Apply image settings : You can apply all of the above settings to each input individually or to all inputs.

Under the "Apply image settings" option, additional settings are available.

While helpful in resolving the specific picture quality issues outlined, the following setup options may affect other TV features, such as audio-to-video synchronization.

  • Digital Clean View : This setting is Samsung’s designation for video noise reduction . It works best with analog cable, VHS or DVD signals using an analog connection. One application is processing older films that may have excessive film grain. You generally don't need it to watch HD or Ultra HD content. If the results are not to your taste, set it lower or off.
  • Auto Motion Enhancement : This setting optimizes the look of fast-moving images and includes sub-settings for judder reduction and LED-clear motion . This feature, often called motion smoothing or frame interpolation, increases video frame rates and screen refresh rates. While this setting makes the action smoother, it can cause a "soap opera effect" on the movie source, making the movie look more like live or recorded video. Auto Motion Plus is best suited for sporting events and live/recorded TV broadcasts, and should be turned off when watching DVD, Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc or other movie sources.
  • Smart LED : Controls the brightness of LED dimming zones to maximize contrast and minimize blooming between bright and dark objects.
  • Movie Mode : Movie mode smoothes frame transitions from older video sources. This feature is commonly known as de-interlacing and is only available when the input signal is TV, AV, Component (480i, 1080i) or HDMI (1080i).
  • HDMI UHD Color : Allows specified HDMI inputs to access 4k@60Hz signals encoded using 4:4:4, 4:2:2, or 4:2:0 chroma subsampling. However, if your source device is unable to send these signals, it's best to turn this feature off.
  • HDMI Black Level : Adjust the black level of the incoming HDMI source signal to adjust brightness and contrast.
  • Dynamic contrast : This setting adjusts the contrast of the display based on the quality of the video input source content. It helps make whites whiter and blacks darker, but it also tends to reduce detail in the lighter and darker parts of the image. In most cases, there is no need to activate this setting.
  • Hue (aka color temperature) : Adjust the “warmth” (redder) or “cooler” (bluer) color range. Warmer color temperatures are best for watching movies. Cooler color temperatures are better suited for TV broadcasts, sporting events and games. Options include Cool (blueish), Standard (neutral), Warm1 (light pink), and Warm2 (pink to red).
  • White Balance : This setting allows you to further fine-tune the white portion of the picture's color temperature so that it doesn't bias toward other colors, making whites appear brighter if necessary.
  • Gamma : Use this slider to adjust the TV's mid-contrast range to better match the grayscale range of the source signal. The ideal gamma setting for a TV is 2.2.
  • RGB mode only : Fine-tune the saturation and hue of the red, green, and blue channels.
  • Color Space Settings : Configure color space settings to refine the color spectrum on your screen.
  • Reset Picture : This option returns the above picture settings to factory defaults. This is great if you're too far gone and want to keep the default settings or start over with new ones.

What if you're not satisfied with the results of your picture settings or find some settings options confusing? Another option is to hire a certified technician to use other equipment to evaluate and calibrate your TV's picture settings. Please consult your Samsung TV dealer or find an ISF (Imaging Science Foundation) certified TV calibrator near you through the ISF website.

  • If your picture is blurry while streaming, it may have something to do with your internet signal, or the content you're watching doesn't support 4K. If you're watching content upscaled from 1080p to 4K, you may notice some blurring. Make sure you have everything you need to watch 4K TV.

  • If your Samsung TV doesn't save your picture settings, it may be in store (or demo) mode. On the TV, press the Volume Up button once, then press and hold the Menu button on the remote for 10 seconds. A menu will pop up where you can change the TV mode to Home . If that doesn't work, turn off the TV and then press and hold the volume down button on the TV until "SHOP OFF" appears on the screen.

  • To connect your smart TV to the internet, go to the home screen and find Settings . Under General, select Network . From here, you can set up a Wi-Fi or wired connection.