Why Does My TV Look Blurry? (7 Potential Reasons Why)

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Why Does My TV Look Blurry? (7 Potential Reasons Why)

Why Does My TV Look Blurry

Why does my TV look blurry?

It’s a good question, and one you might be wondering if you recently got a new TV and noticed this — or if your picture quality suddenly changed out of the blue on your current TV.

There’s a few possible reasons why this could be happening from a sharpness setting that’s too low, to an HDMI port that’s become faulty.

Though not related to clarity directly, even something as simple the color temperature mode can affect the way things look on screen from what I’ve noticed.

So with that said, lets go over why your picture quality might not be looking the way it should be, along with the various ways you can potentially fix it!

Why Does My TV Look Blurry?

Your TV may look blurry or fuzzy because you might be using an incorrect aspect ratio, a lower resolution setting, a smaller bitrate setting, a sharpness setting that’s too low, using an older HDMI cable that isn’t high speed, a blur reduction/motion setting that should/shouldn’t be toggled on, or the possibility that the TV’s panel itself could be failing.


Reasons Why Your TV Might Appear Blurry

The Aspect Ratio Somehow Changed

The first thing that could have potentially happened is the aspect ratio could have changed somehow.

Without getting too complicated, aspect ratio is basically a comparison between the height and width of the TV represented as a ratio, and this ratio helps to standardize content creation for those screens.

Modern televisions have an aspect ratio of 16:9 however movies are often filmed at a 21:9 ratio which means in order that movie to work with that screen, there needs to be black boxes at the top and bottom to accommodate this (known as letter boxes)

Older shows were created through a 4:3 aspect ratio, so in order for those shows to work on a modern screen, vertical black bars are placed on each side which are called pillar boxes.

The reason I’m explaining this is because some cable boxes and even TVs allow you to adjust the image by using a number of different aspect ratios.

However if it somehow got changed, or your current aspect ratio wasn’t compatible with the content you were watching, then it could have an unwanted effect on your picture quality.

This could be in the form of the content itself looking stretched out or the opposite; the content appearing too small for your display.

There’s no way for me to recommend a specific one that works best since every piece of content and even television is different; however if you notice your image quality looking blurry or stretched, then using a different aspect ratio may help with this.


The Resolution Might Be Set Low, Or The Birate Might Be Too Low If You’re Streaming

The next thing I would think could be the issue is there’s a resolution issue somewhere.

An HD television has a maximum resolution of 1080×1920 pixels, while a modern 4K TV has a maximum resolution of 2160×3840 – however the devices that you connect to your TV may or may not be capable of those very same resolutions.

So when they can’t support those resolutions, your TV and/or those devices connected will simply upscale the image to properly fit your display.

However if the original resolution is set below the TVs full capability, then the upscaled image might appear blurry when made to fit your screen.

For example if the TV or device is set to 480p in the resolution settings, then the upscaled image is going to look blurry on a larger display up close.

While a fuzzy TV screen/picture could have something to do with the HDMI cable, the display being set on the wrong input, or even a failing panel; there’s also the possibility that it’s set at a lower resolution in the settings.

So be sure that the highest resolution settings are always applied with whatever device you’re using for the best clarity.

Then there’s always the fact that the quality of the upscaling technology itself plays a sizeable factor in the picture quality you experience since that can vary from each device.

Something else you’ll also want to be sure of is that you’re using the highest bitrate that your internet can handle while streaming content.

The higher the bitrate, the more clarity your screen might seem to show, even at the same resolution.

So if you notice that your content doesn’t look as clear as you think it should, this could be a potential reason why.

Also keep in mind that different apps have different bitrate settings — so one streaming app could by default, be set on a lower setting compared to another.


Your Sharpness Setting Could Be Set Too Low

Something I’ve recently talked about that has a pretty big effect on your picture quality is the sharpness setting.

The proper sharpness setting can definitely add to the depth of an image however if it’s set too low or too high, this can diminish image fidelity.

In fact, it’s often recommended that setting this to 0 is best; however from my experience, this isn’t always the case.

Occasionally some TVs will actually introduce some element of blurring to the image when sharpness is turned off, so my recommendation is setting it at 20 percent of the sharpness range and going 1 click above or below that point.

So for example if the sharpness on your TV goes to 20, setting it at 4 and turning the sharpness up to 5 or down to 3 would likely provide the best result.

I’ll of course caveat that by saying every TV is different so that setting could be different in your case — but I’ve personally found that starting at a click above or below 20 percent of the sharpness range always gave me a good balance between granularity and clarity in my TV’s picture quality.

As a sidenote, something else that can affect your perception of how sharp the image seems is sitting too close to the screen.

If your home theater seating is too close, then things might also seem a little fuzzy, (especially if sat too close to a larger screen) so you could also try moving your seating back a bit to see if that helps.


Using A High Speed HDMI Connection For The Best Clarity

Now there’s the possibility that the HDMI cable or port itself could be faulty, which could result in your picture quality not looking so great — so switching the port or cable in that case could help.

But it could be the kind of connection you’re using too.

If you’re using an older cable like an analog or component cable in your setup, you could be limiting your resolution capabilities.

HDMI will give the best clarity due to its much higher bandwidth, and using an older cable will likely result in a less clear image, especially on larger televisions.

The HDMI itself also matters because if you use a lower bandwidth HDMI cable on a 4K TV, you’re going to be limited to a lower resolution (1080P at the max)

A cable labeled high speed will have a 18 gigabytes per second bandwidth meaning it can do 4k resolution at 60 frames per second at the highest in content.

Ultra high speed, or HDMI 2.1, allows for 48 gigabytes per second or 8K resolutions at 60 frames which is a lot more information comparatively.

To put it simply, using a high speed HDMI cable is an awesome option since you’ll get the highest resolution for your TV, and they’re backwards compatible — meaning they can still be used with lower resolution displays.

Check Availability Of Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable



Check If Any Motion Or Specialized Image Settings Are Enabled

TVs will often come enabled with all sorts of settings for image quality, however sometimes they can have the opposite effect.

Check if any settings with motion, film grain, blur reduction, or something similar in the name are enabled/disabled and try toggling them on or off.

Some of these settings may make a TV’s picture look realistic and might be something some prefer, in other instances this sometimes may not be the case.

I keep saying every display is different but it’s something I’ve certainly found to be true over the years especially when it comes to settings.

I’ve seen displays where these settings sometimes help, and others where they don’t, so try toggling them on or off to see if they help with image clarity.


The TV Display Could Be Experiencing Interference Somehow

Something that may be happening is your TV could be experiencing electrical interference somehow.

This could be causing your television’s picture to distort or lose clarity, and could be caused by any number of things including the outlet itself.

Try changing the where the TV is plugged into to see if that might help the issue somewhat — and if changing where the TV is plugged in helps, then you’ll know there was some element of interference happening or whatever it was plugged into could have been faulty.

If you’re using satellite TV, then also make sure that the dish itself doesn’t have debris or stuff on it, as that can directly impact the image quality of your content due to the signal possibly not being as strong.

Check Availability Of Surge Protector Power Strip



The TV Itself Could Be Failing

Finally, depending on the television’s age, it could be possible that the TV itself is failing and it could be time to replace the panel.

How long a TV lasts depends on a number of factors including usage, humidity, quality, etc however I’ve found picture quality start to diminish after year 8 typically.

This time period could always be longer or shorter, but if you notice things aren’t looking how they use to, this could be a reason.

It also depends on the backlighting approach the TV uses itself, otherwise known as local dimming.

This allows it to adjust the image based on what’s on screen, and the more zones it has, the more accurate it tends to be I’ve found.

If you find yourself asking why does my TV picture look cloudy, it’s always possible that the TV’s local dimming zones aren’t functioning properly or have become more pronounced over time.

If you do think it might be time to replace your display though, these two are awesome TVs in my opinion.

Check Availability Of LG B2 Series 55 inch OLED TV


Check Availability Of Samsung Q60A Series QLED TV


They do a great job with color vibrancy, picture quality, and have some pretty amazing HDR too.

Here are other TVs I’ve found to be pretty incredible with regard to image clarity too.

The Best TVs



Final Thoughts

Those are some of the reasons why your TV might look blurry, so hopefully the information talked about helps remedy the issue.

I know how important getting a good picture quality is, however there’s things we unknowingly do that can dramatically affect the clarity we ultimately experience.

Luckily, unless the TV panel itself is degrading, there’s usually a way to improve the way your content looks.

That’s about it for this one though.

Until next time, make it easy, keep it simple!

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