The Best Picture Settings for Samsung 4K TV

Get the best experience when gaming, watching sports, or taking in a movie

Samsung 4K UHD TVs provide excellent video quality out-of-the-box, but there are additional settings that can improve picture quality further for TV shows, sports, movies, and gameplay. Here are the best picture settings for a Samsung 4K TV.

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

Before You Get Started

Before using a Samsung 4K UHD TV's picture settings to get the best viewing experience, check the following:

  • TV Placement: Position the TV so you can view it straight on. Avoid placing it where you need to look up, down, or at an angle to the screen. The farther you view off-angle from the center, the colors will fade, and the contrast will narrow.
  • Room Lighting. Light from windows or lamps located to the side and across from the TV reflects off the screen. Even models that may have an "anti-glare" or "anti-reflective" screen coating, the picture won't look good if the light hits the screen. Curved Screen models distort reflections further. Lamps that you can dim or turn off or drapes and shades that you can close help improve a TV picture.
  • Select the TV's Home Mode. During the initial setup, you may be prompted to choose Home or Retail or Store Demo Mode. The Retail/Store Demo mode has picture settings set to the max, resulting in an overly bright picture with intense color and contrast that is better for dealer showrooms. 

You can also access the Samsung TV's Home Mode via the TV's System Settings using the following steps.

  1. On the Samsung TV Smart Hub, select Settings.

  2. In Settings, select System.

    Samsung 4K UHD TV System Settings
  3. In System, select Expert Settings.

    Samsung 4K UHD TV System Settings – Expert Settings
  4. In Expert Settings, select Usage Mode, and choose Home Mode.

    Samsung 4K UHD TV Home Use Mode

Intelligent Picture Settings

If you own a Samsung 4K QLED, Frame, or Serif series TV, you might have two options in the General Settings menu that adjust picture quality automatically.

Intelligent Mode

The TV can recognize and analyze the room, content, and TV usage patterns to provide the best viewing experience. Intelligent Mode can be turned On or Off. 

Adaptive Brightness

The TV automatically adjusts the LED backlight output using ambient light sensors to analyze room light levels.

Some modes or apps, such as the Ambient and Game (discussed later) Modes, might not support Adaptive Brightness.

Picture Mode Presets

In addition to the Intelligent modes (or if your TV doesn't include those options), there are additional Picture Mode Presets available on all Samsung 4K TVs that can improve your picture quality for both video and movie sources.

Picture preset choices may vary by the Samsung TV model and input source selected (HDMI vs. analog).

  1. As illustrated previously, select Settings from the smart hub.

  2. In Settings, select Picture.

    Samsung 4K UHD TV Settings Menu – Picture Settings Selected
  3. In Picture, select Picture Mode.

    Samsung 4K UHD TV Picture Settings – Picture Mode Category
  4. The Samsung Preset Picture modes include:

    • Dynamic: Elevated levels of contrast, brightness, and sharpness are applied. Only use this setting for natural light or a bright room.
    • Standard: This provides acceptable viewing for video and movie source content and is usually enabled when you first turn on the TV. Standard is suitable for most viewing environments and is also EnergyStar compliant.
    • Natural: A more subdued look than both the Dynamic and Standard modes above, which reduces eye strain.
    • Movie: This preset provides appropriate brightness, contrast, and color temperature level for movies. It is dimmer than Dynamic or Standard and provides a warmer color temperature. It is the best picture preset to use in a darkened room, similar to a movie theater. Movie mode also disables any added processing, so movies retain film-like motion.

Check Out Samsung's Special Viewing Modes

Samsung provides unique viewing modes on its 4K UHD TVs.

In the Picture Settings Menu, select Special Viewing Mode.

Within the Special Viewing Mode category, the selections are:

  • Sports Mode: This setting provides the best picture preset for sports and other fast-moving content. A brighter image with cooler color temperature is displayed, and faster motion response is also activated. Sports Mode also enables the Stadium Sound Mode.
  • Game Mode: This mode is the best picture preset option for gamers as it sets the TV in low latency mode. However, there may be a slight reduction in video graphics quality. The game mode requires a connected game controller or console to be activated. Once Game Mode is activated, to switch to other devices connected to the TV, you might need to unplug the game console from the TV.
  • HDR+ Mode: Available only on 4K TV models that include HDR capability. HDR-encoded content from compatible sources (such as Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs and select streaming content) activates the TV's HDR ability automatically. If you also activate HDR+, the TV will adjust the brightness and contrast ratio of HDR-encoded content so that objects are more distinct.

HDR+ also provides the ability to add an HDR effect to SDR content. Since this process involves conversion, it's not as accurate as it is with true HDR content. The result may look washed out or uneven from scene to scene. If you find the HDR+ setting ineffective, leave it off. 




Customize Your Picture Settings

Although Samsung's preset and select viewing mode picture settings provide a quick way to get better picture quality, there are several additional manually-adjustable picture settings available in Expert Picture Settings that correct specific viewing problems.

Find and Use Test Images

Before adjusting the options in Expert Picture Settings, it is advisable to use standardized test images tailored for TV picture "calibration" as setting references. You can obtain these images from an app or disc such as the following:

Below is an example of one of many standardized test patterns that might be on a test app or disc.

Using Expert Picture Settings

In the Picture Menu, go to Expert Settings to customize your picture settings further—view results on the test images.

You should maintain a written or typed record of changes for ongoing reference.

Here are the settings you will have available. 

The "best" setting points may vary slightly due to differences in how each person perceives color and contrast.

  • Backlight: This sets the amount of backlight intensity. A setting of 15 (on a scale of 0 - 20) works well in most cases.
  • Brightness: This makes dark areas of the image brighter or darker. A setting range of 45 to 55 works well in most cases.
  • Contrast: This makes bright areas of the image brighter or darker. A setting of 80 to 85 works well for movies, 90 to 100 works well for video sources.
  • Sharpness: This setting increases edge contrast to make objects more distinct, but resolution remains the same. Too little sharpness results in a soft-looking picture, while too much sharpness makes the image look harsh. If you use this setting, apply it as minimally as possible (25% or less).  
  • Color: Adjusts color intensity (saturation). Too much color will look intense, too little color look too subdued or even "grayish." A setting between 45 to 55 works well.
  • Tint: This adjusts the amount of yellow/green and red/magenta (used primarily to improve skin tones). Youshouldsetthis control to "0" unless the color of the input source is too green or too red. 
  • Apply Picture Settings: All of the above settings can be applied to each input individually or applied to all inputs.

Below the Apply Picture Settings option, there are additional settings available.

The following setting options, although useful in addressing the specific picture quality issues outlined, may affect other TV functions, such as Audio/Video Sync.

  • Digital Clean View: This is Samsung's designation for video noise reduction. It works best with analog cable TV, VHS, or DVD signals using analog connections. One application is with older movies that may have excessive film grain. You won't usually need it for HD or UHD content. If the results are not to your taste, set it to low or off.  
  • Auto Motion Plus: This optimizes the picture for fast-moving images and includes sub-settings for Judder Reduction and LED Clear Motion. This feature is commonly called Motion Smoothing or Frame Interpolation. Although this setting makes motion smoother, it may result in a "Soap Opera Effect" on film sources which make movies look more like live or taped video. Auto Motion Plus is best used for sports and live/taped TV broadcasts and should be off when watching DVD, Blu-ray, Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, or other film sources.
  • Smart LED: Control the brightness of LED dimming zones to maximize contrast and minimize blooming between bright and dark objects.
  • Film mode: Film mode makes frame transitions from older video sources smoother. This function, commonly called deinterlacing is only available when the input signal is TV, AV, Component (480i, 1080i), or HDMI (1080i).
  • HDMI UHD Color: This allows a designated HDMI input to access 4k@60Hz signals encoded with 4:4:4, 4:2:2, or 4:2:0 chroma subsampling. However, if your source device(s) aren't capable of sending these signals, it is best to turn this feature off. 
  • HDMI Black Level: Adjust the black level for incoming HDMI source signal to brightness and contrast. 
  • Dynamic Contrast: This setting adjusts displayed contrast based on the quality of the video input source content. It helps to make whites whiter and blacks blacker, but it also tends to reduce the detail that may be present in the brighter and darker parts of the image. In most cases, this setting does not need to be activated.
  • Color Tone (aka Color Temperature): Adjusts the "warmth" (reddish) or "coolness" (bluish cast) of the color range displayed. Warmer color temperatures are best for movies. Cooler color temperatures are better for TV broadcasts, sports, and games. The options include Cool (bluish), Standard (Neutral), Warm 1 (slight pink), Warm 2 (pink towards red).
  • White Balance: This setting allows the fine-tuning the white portion of the color temperature of the picture further so that it isn't tinted towards other colors, making whites appear brighter, if necessary.
  • Gamma: This adjusts the mid-contrast range of the TV, so it better matches the grayscale range of the source signal. The ideal Gamma setting for TVs is 2.2. 
  • RGB Only Mode: Fine-tune the saturation and tint of the red, green, and blue color channels.
  • Color Space Settings: Configure color space settings to refine the spectrum of colors on your screen.
  • Reset Picture: This returns the above picture settings to factory defaults. This feature is excellent if you get too far off and want to stay with the defaults or start over with new settings.

Still Not Satisfied?

If you're not satisfied with the picture setting results or find some of the setting options confusing, another course of action is to enlist a certified technician to assess and calibrate your TV's picture settings using additional equipment. Consult your Samsung TV dealer or find an ISF (Imaging Science Foundation)-certified TV calibrator near you via the ISF website.