What Color Temperature Should I Set My TV To? (Explained)
What Color Temperature Should I Set My TV To? (Explained)
What color temperature should you set your TV to?
To me it feels like TVs nowadays have all kinds of settings that affect picture quality.
From things like contrast enhancements to motion settings, there’s lots of ways to customize your picture quality.
The thing is, often times a television may not be set to its most optimal settings, especially if it’s never been adjusted.
One setting you may have noticed on your TV is the color temperature setting.
What does it do and more importantly, what color temperature should you set your TV to?
Let’s find out!
What Color Temperature Should I Set My TV To?
The color temperature you should set your TV to depends on a few things including the television itself, room lighting, whether you prefer complete accuracy, whether you’d rather adjust the picture according to personal preference instead, and your current settings. Generally though, I’ve found the warmest color setting is often closest in accuracy to the visual industry standard of 6500Kelvin.
What Color Temperature Is Both In General & On Your TV
Like your ears when it comes to your home theater & sounds, the eyes are very complex when it comes to the things we actually see around us.
In order for us to actually see something, the object has to reflect or emit light in some kind of way.
This light that’s emitted has a range, that’s measured in what’s called Kelvins, and it’s within this range that affects how we see something.
The more yellow, orange, or even red something looks, the lower the Kelvins which you may see being referred to as warm.
Whereas something that appears more whiteish or even bluer color has a higher Kelvin number and can be often called cool or something similar.
This is a simplification since it can become complex, but that’s just the basic premise with understanding color temperature in general.
Like as an example, if you had a dimly lit camp fire, it could be said that its light has a lower Kelvin number and a warmer temperature.
Where if you had a high powered flashlight, it would likely be on the higher & cooler side.
The thing is though, one person’s take on how a color looks to them may be different to another person’s even if the light source is technically the same since we can perceive things visually differently.
So when it comes to the TV side of things, when it says things like warm, cool, or even standard, all it’s basically conveying is the Kelvins number and the way each preset affects the way the picture looks.
What Color Temperature Should You Set Your Television To?
By now you might be asking well what should the color temperature be on my tv?
Since not everybody may view colors, and subsequently, color temperature on a TV in the same way, the answer to the original question of what color temperature you should actually set your television to is a bit of a multifaceted one.
That’s because both personal preference and overall accuracy play a role in how things ultimately look.
That’s not even to mention room lighting or that the TV itself may display things differently — meaning the color temperature setting of one TV doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll look the same way on another display.
Plus there’s sometimes variance within the panels of TVs even within the same line so there’s that.
So I’ll answer the question from both standpoints so you have a better understanding of what works for you.
Starting with the accuracy perspective, 6500Kelvin (often called D65) is the standard that film makers create content in, and is the current agreed upon industry standard in that respect.
So with that said, the best color temperature setting is often the warmest setting since it’s often closest to that standard as far as accuracy goes.
However for those who may not be accustomed to the way that content looks, it might appear really reddish or yellow, and can be a bit different visually despite it potentially being more accurate.
I’ve found that adjusting the color temperature in steps over time tends to be a easier way to adjust to it if your concern is your picture quality being more cinematically accurate, but find it too big of a difference initially.
The picture mode also makes a difference, and if you’re concerned with accuracy, then you’ll likely want to use a mode that has the word standard, movie, or cinema in it.
Adjusting the backlight can help with your perception of the picture quality too in that way.
Some people may take longer to adjust to the shift in color temperature than others, and some might prefer it.
Then there might be some that never really adjust to it and/or just don’t like the warmer setting.
That’s where preference comes in.
You may not want a technically accurate picture quality, and may prefer a cooler one or something more vivid.
In that sense, use what looks right to your eyes ultimately, but keep in mind that a warmer setting is closer to that 6500Kelvin number that’s considered the standard.
Do note though that unless the TV is professionally calibrated, it might not be completely accurate as far as white levels go — though you may be able to achieve more accurate white levels than the default with some tinkering (even then it also depends on what settings your TV has too)
Also keep in mind that rest of your settings like black levels and contrast not being properly might affect the way you perceive the image fidelity too.
Having Your Television Professionally Calibrated
I briefly mentioned having your TV professionally calibrated, and if accuracy is your focus, having it calibrated would be the way to achieve that.
It can technically be done if you have the tools and comprehensive understanding of light levels, color temperature, etc, but it can be a very lengthy and in depth process often needing access to the deeper menus in the TV and that sort of thing.
Having it calibrated professionally can be a way to skip that.
That said, that’s where preference also comes in because I’ve had friends who’ve have had their TVs professionally calibrated that actually preferred the picture quality before.
On the other hand, I’ve also had friends who much preferred the way it looked after the calibration, so it seems like things can be somewhat subjective in that way from what I’ve noticed.
Does Room Lighting Affect Things?
Another thing that can suprisingly affect how your tv’s color temperature looks to you is both the color of the lighting in the room, as well as how bright that lighting actually is.
Preventing external light from reflecting on to the screen is ideal, but that might not always be possible depending on your setup.
One thing that can help in that aspect though are light blocking curtains which can help with sunlight coming through windows.
Bias lighting, which basically is some sort of ambient lighting that goes around or under your TV, can also help with your perception of picture quality if you tend to watch your content in dimmer environments.
Can You Optimize Your Picture Quality Further?
You can optimize your picture quality further by having the basic settings adjusted correctly.
Things like not having your sharpness set to the maximum, having your color and tint values optimized, adjusting your brightness and contrast so there’s proper depth to the image, the right hdr setting, etc. can go a long way in improving your image settings in general.
One thing I’ve found helpful in that aspect is using some sort of optimization disc that gives a better idea of what your TV should be set at since you’ll be able to adjust your settings according to patterns and reference visual content.
In my opinion, the Spears & Munsil Blu-ray disc is awesome in that regard since it has patterns for black levels, contrast and things like that.
Also while not directly related to the settings, the amount of time you actually have your TV on daily could have an influence on its lifespan which could affect when it’d need to be replaced so that’s something to keep in mind too.
Hopefully you’ve found this helpful and now understand a little more in terms of color temperature and which one may work for you.
While the warmest color temperature setting can often be closest in accuracy to the visual standard of 6500Kelvin, some may simply prefer a cooler setting or what looks best to their eyes which can be subjective.
Just keep in mind that having the other settings adjusted properly can be helpful in that aspect too.
Until next time, make it easy, keep it simple!
Hey everyone it’s nice to meet you. I’m Jay & I’ve been with this hobby for many years now. I decided to create this site to share everything that I’ve learned from personal experience with you. I also happen to be a huge gamer, lover of all things tech related, and a major fitness buff (love weightlifting)