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The UEFA Champions League is in full swing and the group stages are coming to an end soon. Not to mention, we’re just over a month away from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where top teams like Argentina, Brazil and France will compete in the first-ever World Cup tournament to be held at the end of the year during the holiday season.
While some people may see this as an opportunity to buy the premium smart TV they’ve been eyeing for months, others may choose to stick with their existing TVs and watch all the upcoming football and other sports. Regardless of which side of the line you fall on, there are some basic configurations you can do to get the most out of your sports TV, allowing you to enhance the visual experience of fast-moving sports like football.
Turn on MEMC only if you want it
Unless you have a premium TV like the TCL C825 that comes with a 120Hz panel, most TVs come with a 60Hz panel. This means that most of the content we watch and stream on these TVs can simply be locked at 30 frames per second. Some TVs (both 60 Hz and 120 Hz) are equipped with something called MEMC.
MEMC, which can also be found on TVs under the label ‘Motion Smoothing’, is a frame interpolation technology that inserts AI-generated pseudo-frames between your actual frames to deliver a smooth, fluid video output. However, not all MEMCs are created equal.
On TVs with good MEMC, watching sports can look a lot better and feel a lot more alive, especially if the rest of your setup is focused on immersion. However, it may not look as good on poorly implemented MEMC TVs, and fake images can simply look unnatural.
The best way to get the most out of MEMC TV is to watch a match with the feature on and off and experience it yourself. Some TVs also offer different degrees of motion smoothing (low, medium, high). Play around with the settings until you find something you like and stick with it.
Pay attention to the resolution
A big TV doesn’t always mean better picture quality. To fully enjoy the match, you’ll need a large screen that also supports higher resolutions and a TV/streaming plan that offers HD streaming. If you’re planning to watch sports at 720p on anything bigger than your phone, or at 1080p on anything larger than 43 inches, you can be prepared for the disappointment of low-res outputs and therefore pixelation.
If you also plan to watch sports through one of the streaming apps like Sony LIV or Voot, get a matching plan that will stream your chosen sport in high enough resolution to balance the larger screen.
Don’t fall into the sports mode trap
Most modern TVs will have a pre-set Sport mode that you can switch to from Settings. However, you may not always want to select Sport mode. For some TVs, this setting will usually mean very high contrast levels and oversaturated colors, which can result in your picture looking very artificial and inconsistent.
In such TVs it is better to stick to the standard picture mode and then fine-tune the settings until you get to the level you want.
Use manual color control and tuning to your advantage
Some high-end TVs allow users to not only change picture elements such as backlight, contrast and saturation, but also manually adjust RGB levels. If your TV has all or even some of these options, I’d recommend ditching the preset picture modes entirely in favor of custom settings that work best for you, your TV, and your home setup.
To configure the same, set the ambient lighting to the desired level, be it bright or dark when you usually watch sports. Start by adjusting the brightness/backlight level until you reach a setting that is bright enough to enjoy all parts of the display without glare and stress on your eyeballs.
Once the brightness is set, move on to other aspects like contrast and colors and adjust everything one by one. Remember, the goal is to get bold colors, but not unrealistic ones. If the grass on the football field looks too green to be true, you’re exaggerating. Don’t mess around with settings like tint and sharpness unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing.
Also, don’t be afraid to look for and turn off dynamic contrast settings and other elements that some people don’t enjoy with sports due to the constant changes in the appearance of your image output.
Set your immersion sound
For the ultimate sports experience, you’ll need to hook up a home theater system, as your TV’s unique directional input may not cut it. However, if this is not possible, configuring your TV’s sound may help a bit.
Yes, you can always turn up the volume, but if you want something more immersive, make sure you enable any immersive audio settings your TV may have, such as DTS Surround Virtualiser. These will help you feel more like you are in the stadium. If you are using a soundbar connected wirelessly and facing latency issues, switch to HDMI ARC/eARC port or Aux port to get rid of it.