It’s the era of ultra-sharp ultra-high definition TVs, so why is your TV picture so fuzzy or fuzzy?
You may need a new prescription for your glasses. But if there’s nothing wrong with your eyes, you’ll need to troubleshoot to get the best picture.
1. Remove sources of interference
Some blurring or ghosting issues on the LCD screen are the result of electrical interference or faulty surge protectors. To rule this out as a cause, try plugging your TV directly into the outlet without any power strips or surge suppressors in the chain. If that fixes the problem, you can try using another power strip.
You should also try turning off appliances on the same circuit as the TV. Any appliance with an AC motor, such as a refrigerator, air conditioner, or fan, can cause electrical interference. It’s unlikely that these devices are on the same circuit as your TV’s outlet, but it’s worth checking.
If you have fluctuating power coming directly from your mains, a UPS that filters out those spikes may be the answer, but you’ll need an electrician to check your power.
2. Is your source in low resolution?
One of the most common causes of a blurry image on a flat panel LCD TV (or monitor) is a mismatch between the resolution of the content and the native resolution capability of the screen.
LCD, Mini-LED, microLED, Plasma, OLED or QD-OLED all use different types of technology to create moving images. However, one thing they all have in common is “native” resolution. This is the TV’s physical pixel grid (picture elements). A 4K UHD TV has a pixel grid of 3840 x 2160 pixels. That’s four times as many pixels as a Full HD TV at 1920×1080. So for every pixel of information in a Full HD picture source, the TV must fill four physical pixels with data.
There are different methods of “upscaling” low resolution images to high resolution displays, and they all have varying levels of success. Going from FHD to UHD is simple since it involves making groups of four pixels act like a single pixel. Whenever the source image resolution divides evenly into the target screen resolution, you will get a softer image, but it will still look good.
If the source does not split perfectly into the target, you may get an unpleasant result. Most of the fixes listed below can help fix fuzzy or blurry scaling results.
3. Change your scaling settings (or your upscaler)
Various TVs and set-top boxes offer different options for how they should scale lower resolution sources onto a higher resolution screen. We can’t be very specific here because different devices and TVs have different names and menu systems. So you better search your manual or online for anything related to “scaling” and your devices.
An important tip we can give you is to avoid the TV doing the scaling itself. High-end TVs may have superior upscaling technology, but mid-range and low-end TVs usually don’t have the processing power to perform upscaling with good results.
Instead, if you’re using a connected device like a cable box, game console, Android TV, Apple TV, or other similar source, set its output resolution to match your TV’s native resolution. Any scaling will happen on this device before it hits the TV.
4. Change your streaming image quality settings
If you’re watching a streaming video source (such as the Netflix or Hulu app on a smart TV), the blurry picture may have nothing to do with your TV and everything to do with your bandwidth or quality settings. .
Access the image settings of your streaming app of choice and set your preferences for quality and bandwidth usage. With some streaming apps (e.g. Disney Plus), you can select the preferred quality while watching your content. Change the quality setting from automatic to a setting that matches what your TV was designed to display.
Keep in mind that your internet connection may simply be too slow to stream at your TV’s sharpest quality. It may also take a few seconds for the stream to switch to high quality mode. There are also different quality “bitrates” in each resolution level. So while you can stream at (say) 4K, if it’s at the lower end of the bitrate for that resolution, there may still be blurring, blurring, or other artifacts in the picture.
5. Is the source digital or analog?
HDMI is a digital picture standard, ensuring you get source quality without degradation. If you are using an analog source, such as a DVD player connected using RCA connectors, there may be a significant amount of interference or signal loss depending on several factors.
If possible, switch to HDMI instead. Going back to our DVD player example, some models provide HDMI output and have internal upscalers designed to make DVD footage look crisper on modern HDTVs.
6. Try another HDMI cable or port
HDMI is digital, and usually it works fine or not at all. We’ve seen situations, however, where bad ports or cables can cause snow or other image artifacts. HDMI is designed to have some level of digital error correction. However, if the amount of electrical interference or damage to a cable or port exceeds a certain threshold, it may degrade the picture.
A solution for fuzzy or fuzzy video is to turn off the HDMI cable or move it to another input on the TV to check if there is a problem with the cable or the port.
7. Change sharpness settings
Virtually all modern HDTVs offer some form of digital sharpness. This is usually listed under the TV settings alongside contrast, brightness, etc. Use your TV’s remote control to access these menus, usually by first pressing the menu button.
Lowering the sharpness level will soften the image. Your sharpness setting may have softened things so much that the display looks fuzzy or fuzzy. The answer, of course, is to increase the sharpness until you’re happy with the result.
Increasing the sharpen filter is also an effective way to manage blur in source footage. Still, there’s not much you can do before the image looks too sharp and unattractive.
8. Enable Blur Reduction Features
Unlike CRT (cathode ray tube) televisions, all modern flat panel televisions exhibit a type of motion blur known as sample-and-hold motion blur. Additionally, low-end TVs can have inherent blurring because individual pixels change state too slowly.
Companies like Samsung and Sony have worked tirelessly to create new panel technologies to combat these issues. If you have an older TV, it may not benefit from the fast pixel response times that newer models can achieve.
When it comes to motion blur caused by the sample-and-hold nature of flat-panel technology, there are two main features you can enable to combat it. The first is motion smoothing, also known as frame interpolation. Different TV brands have other names, so you’ll need to search for something that refers to motion, smoothness, or do a web search for your TV model with the term “motion smoothing.”
This feature creates new frames from existing frames in the video to provide smooth, blur-free motion. This is the much-derided ‘soap opera effect’, but you may prefer the sharpness of this mode for certain content, such as HD sports broadcasts.
The second feature is known as Black Frame Insertion (BFI). This inserts a black frame between each frame displayed on the screen. This brings the motion of the TV offer closer to a pulsating CRT display, eliminating sample-and-hold blur. However, this comes at the expense of brightness and vibrancy. Newer TVs don’t suffer as much as older models, but either way, you can enable the feature and decide which picture you prefer.
9. Disable image post-processing
Post-processing functions are all the things the TV does to the picture before displaying it. TV makers have a “secret sauce” of algorithms that help make pictures look better, but too much post-processing can leave a soft, fuzzy picture.
Disable as many post-processing effects as possible, using your TV’s manual as a guide, then experiment with which ones offer the best picture without causing too much blur. Noise reduction can be one of the most important settings to adjust if you experience a snowy or speckled image.
10. Get a professional appraisal
If nothing you’ve tried above seems to fix your fuzzy and fuzzy TV, it’s probably time to get a professional technician to look at your TV. In some cases, it may be as simple as replacing a relatively inexpensive component. But if there’s something wrong with the TV’s basic components, it’s often not worth replacing those major parts. If your TV is still under warranty, you should refrain from letting anyone work on it, even if it is a minor issue. Instead, have it repaired and replaced under warranty.