Tweaking the display on a Samsung TV for use as a computer monitor
A few weeks ago, I bought my first flat screen TV. The old (c1998) Sony Trinitron still works, but it was starting to lose the colour a little around the edges and was, frankly, taking up a huge chunk of living room so I splashed out and bought a Samsung UE37ES6300 from John Lewis.
I’m not bothered about 3D pictures but the Smart TV (Internet-connected) functionality is a huge bonus. Meanwhile, the availability of HDMI ports (no VGA on this year’s model) led me to hook up my old Mac Mini as a permanently connected place for Internet access in the living room (although the requirement is rapidly dropping as more and more Samsung Apps become available – Spotify appeared last night!).
Using a DVI to HDMI cable, the Mac was able to detect the 1080p display but it did enable overscan which meant I was losing the edge of the picture. Turning off overscan helped, but didn’t use the whole display (and was also a bit fuzzy). With a bit of help from a friend (who, conincidentally, had come over and hooked his Linux machine up to the display), I worked out that the solution is to leave overscan enabled on the computer but to set the TV Picture Size to Screen Fit. I’m not sure if I can see much difference betwen 50Hz PAL and 60Hz NTSC but, seeing as this is a European model, I left the computer set to 50Hz PAL.
This resolved the display size but it was still not as sharp as I would expect for a native resolution display. Switching the Picture Mode from Standard to Movie made a big difference (although the colours were a little muted and there was a slight magenta cast) so I started to look at the differences between the two profiles. Now I’ve tweaked the Standard profile to bring down the sharpness from the default of 50 to 20 and turned off the Dynamic Contrast in the TV’s Advanced Settings and I think I’m pretty much there.
So, there you have it. I haven’t tried a Windows PC yet, but those settings seem to work well with the Mac – and the result is a much improved digital display output.