How to Tweak Your Plasma TV for Stunning Images & Power Bill Savings

Getting the best picture from your plasma TV requires some adjustment once you’ve taken your baby home. The settings that worked well in the showroom will not work well in your living room. TVs out of the box often have similar settings to the showroom TVs, and that’s not a good thing for your picture quality at home. Understanding why your plasma TV picture settings out of the box are not suitable for your living room is easy: it’s the difference between Billy Mays shouting about Oxyclean on TV — he gets your attention unfalliby — and Billy Mays sitting at home with you over a beer. You wouldn’t want him shouting then. And you don’t want your new plasma TV picture on “showroom” settings either.

In the showroom, plasma TV picture settings are designed to out-shine the competitors. The brightness levels are far too high. The contrast levels are too high. If you leave your plasma TV brightness settings and contrast settings alone, you’ll not only consume more power than necessary, you’ll also likely shorten the length of your plasma TV’s lifespan.

“But wait,” you may object, “Didn’t I buy a new plasma TV in order to be blown away by watching it? Why turn down its dazzle?”

Ambient lighting in the showroom is bright. Ambient lighting in your home is almost certainly much less bright. A plasma TV’s brightness setting should be suited to the ambient lighting conditions. If you have a laptop computer, you have probably experienced the necessity of turning up the display brightness at an outdoor cafe, and then turning it down again once you are indoors in dim light.

Here are steps to take:

First, set yourself down at the time you’re likely to watch your new plasma TV, and with the ambient light matching the conditions in which you expect to watch your new plasma TV.

Second, choose your viewing mode. You’ll want to stay away from sports mode, vivid mode, unless you’re watching TV with a lot of ambient light — say, with two uncovered windows at one o’clock in the afternoon. You can change the settings to sports mode or vivid mode for weekend football games. But your default mode should not be sports mode or vivid mode.

Third, choose a mode such as movie mode, or cinema mode. You’re done.

You can do many more tweaks of such a mode. I’ll write about how to do that in later articles.

It’s a simple change of plasma TV picture settings. It is a “baby step” in getting the best experience from you new plasma TV. But it’s a giant baby step. You’ve saved a few dollars a year on your power bill, extended the life of your new plasma TV, saved yourself a little eyestrain, and enhanced your viewing experience.

David Wimberley is a copywriter specializing in tech, email marketing and sales copy at