Watching TVs ‘as purchased’ could cause eye strain and damage the environment

Technology Uncategorized

Viewing a television without adjusting its picture settings could lead to eyestrain, waste energy and shorten the product’s life, according to, the leading online destination for AV enthusiasts with over 2.5 million unique visitors a month (source: Google Analytics) and 295,000 members.

AVForums asked leading image specialists SpectraCal to look into the effects of viewing TVs ‘as purchased’ without adjusting picture settings, following the launch of the website’s PicturePerfect campaign last month, which champions the importance of adjusting TV pictures after purchasing.

According to SpectraCal, a worldwide leader in image fidelity solutions, watching a TV with its default shop demonstration settings – intended to catch the eye in store with oversaturated or high contrast images – can cause eyestrain. To avoid this, television owners should select the correct picture mode or reduce brightness and contrast levels manually, or, preferably, get the TV professionally calibrated.

TV factory settings – designed for bright, shop-floor conditions – also use more energy than is necessary, and can also shorten a product’s life, says SpectraCal. TV settings are often defaulted to auto settings such as Vivid and Dynamic, designed to catch consumers’ eyes in store and to counteract the unnaturally bright conditions in most retail outlets.

“The default settings of most TVs are optimised for shop conditions and not for viewing content at home,” says AVForums Editor Phil Hinton. “These settings compromise picture detail and colour – which is why we launched our PicturePerfect campaign – but they could also shorten a TVs life, could use excess energy and, potentially, cause eyestrain. However, a simple adjustment to the correct preset will allow owners to experience improved pictures and help to avoid other potential problems.”

Derek Smith, Founder and CTO of SpectraCal Inc., adds: “It’s amazing that so many people watch their new flat panels straight out of the box in these store modes. And it’s perhaps no surprise that after watching a display once it has been properly adjusted, people say they could never go back to ‘torch mode’ because it ‘hurts their eyes’ or ‘it’s too blue and processed looking’.”

AVForums announced the start of the PicturePerfect campaign last month. Intended to show consumers how to make big improvements to TV pictures in a few simple steps, the campaign was promoted by an Ipsos MORI Study revealing that half (51%) of Britain’s television owners don’t make any adjustments to their TV picture after purchasing their set, potentially compromising image quality.

Commissioned by AVForums to discover if Britain’s TV owners know how to get the best out of their displays, the Ipsos MORI survey also shows that of those who adjusted their TV pictures, only one in five (21%) followed manufacturer guidelines and only 5%used either professional services (3%), or test card patterns (2%).

The PicturePerfect campaign is supported and endorsed by leading TV manufacturers including Panasonic, Sony, LG, Sharp, Loewe and Toshiba, plus image fidelity experts SpectraCal, display calibration organisation the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Hollywood sound and image optimisation experts THX. Other supporters include JVC, Argos, Genesis Technologies, Channel 5’s The Gadget Show and movie director Michael J Bassett.

AVForums has setup a dedicated URL ( to provide consumers with all the information they need to get the best out of their TV sets. Specially commissioned videos offer compelling visual evidence as to where improvements can easily be made, with AVForums advice, research, manufacturer comments and a3-step guide.

The Ipsos MORI survey topline is currently available online here:

You can view the first of the PicturePerfect videos here: