The UEFA Champions League is in full swing with the group stages soon coming to an end. Not to mention, we’re just over a month away from the FIFA 2022 World Cup, where top teams like Argentina, Brazil and France will go head-to-head in the first-ever World Cup tournament to take part towards the end of the year in the holiday season.
While some people may look at this as an opportunity to buy the premium Smart TV they’ve been eyeing for months, others may choose to stick to their existing TVs to watch all the upcoming football, among other sports. No matter which side of the line you fall on, however, there are some basic configurations you can do to make the most of your TV while watching sports, allowing you to enhance the visual experience of fast-moving sports like Football.
Turn on MEMC, only if you prefer it
Unless you have a premium TV like the TCL C825 which comes with a 120Hz panel, most TVs will come with a 60Hz panel. That said, most content we view and stream on these TVs may be simply locked at 30 frames per second. To give the effect of extra frames, resulting in smoother visual transitions, some TVs (both 60Hz and 120Hz) come with something called MEMC
MEMC, which can also be found on TVs under the label ‘Motion Smoothing’ is a frame interpolation technology that slips in AI-generated pseudo-frames between your actual frames to give off a smoothly flowing video output. However, not all MEMC is made equal.
On TVs with good MEMC, watching sports can look a whole lot better, and can feel much more-life like, especially if the rest of your setup is geared towards immersion. On poorly implemented MEMC TVs however, this may not look as good, and the false frames may simply feel unnatural.
The best way to make the most of a MEMC TV is to watch a match with the feature on and off and checking out for yourself. Some TVs will also offer a varying scale of Motion Smoothing (Low, Medium, High). Play around the settings till you find something you like, and stick to it.
Pay attention to the resolution
A big TV does not always mean better picture quality. To enjoy a match to its fullest, you will need a large screen that also supports higher resolutions and a TV/streaming plan that offers HD streaming. If you plan on watching sports at 720p on anything bigger than your phone or 1080p on anything bigger than 43-inches, you may be set for disappointment in the form of low-resolution outputs and hence, pixelation.
Also, if you plan on watching sports via one of the streaming apps like Sony LIV or Voot, get an adequate plan that will stream your sport of choice at high enough resolutions to make up for a larger screen.
Don’t fall for the Sports Mode trap
Most modern TVs will have a Sports Mode preset that you can switch over to from Settings. However, you may not always want to choose Sports Mode. On some TVs, the setting will usually mean very high contrast levels and oversaturated colours, which may lead to your image looking very artificial and inconsistent.
In such TVs, you’re better off sticking to the Standard picture mode and then fine-tuning your settings till you get to a level you like.
Use manual colour control and tuning to your advantage
Some high-end TVs will let users not just change their image elements like backlight, contrast and saturation, but also manually adjust the RGB levels. If your TV has all these options or even some of them, I’d recommend you ditch the preset picture modes entirely in favour of a custom setting that suits you, your TV and your home setting the best.
To configure the same, set your ambient lighting to the desired levels, as light or dark as it is when you usually watch sports. Start by adjusting your brightness/backlight levels till you reach a setting that is bright enough to enjoy all parts of the display without any glare and stress on your eyeballs.
Once your brightness is set, move on to other aspects like contrast and colour, tweaking everything one at a time. Remember, the goal is to get punchy colours, but not unrealistic ones. If the Football pitch grass looks too green to be true, you’re overdoing the saturation. Don’t mess with settings like Hue and Sharpness unless you’re sure you know what you’re doing.
Also feel free to look for and turn off dynamic settings for contrast and other elements, which some people don’t enjoy in sports due to the constant change in how your image output looks.
Set up your sound for immersion
For the ultimate immersion experience during sports, you will have to plug in a home theatre system as your TV’s singular directional input may just not cut it. However, if that isn’t an option, your TV’s sound configurations may help a little.
Yes, you can always turn up the volume, but for something more immersive, make sure you enable any immersive audio settings your TV may have like DTS Surround Virtualiser. These will help you feel more like you’re in the stadium. If you use a soundbar connected wirelessly and face latency issues, switch to the HDMI ARC/eARC port or an Aux port to get rid of the same.