Originally Posted by MattS71
Hey all - been browsing this section; have the Xvt553Sv and only thing I have wondered about: backlight setting; some have it at 20, some 40 - to me, my tv looks good around 75
I've noticed the color settings are all pretty similar to each other, but that backlight option is all over the place. What causes that? I am a total noob, so keep that in mind!
It might be due to the fact that the backlight setting is the setting that has the least effect on every other setting. What I mean by that is that it is the only setting that will allow brightness, contrast, gamma, tint-hue, chroma, etc track without changing much. Every other setting can take you way off track in a hurry if adjusted improperly.
It may also be that it is somewhat duplicative of brightness and contrast. IOW, you can set B&C to the bright side and attenuate that somewhat with the BL, or set B&C to the dark side and lift it back up somewhat with the BL. The differences are then somewhat subtle.
It is also non-intuitive; its difficult to make adjustments to it that can be easily judged too high or too low, partly because it is subtle, and partly because other settings can offset it. There do not seem to be any particular instructions either expert or colloquial on how to set the BL.
I think it also depends on the environment. A low BL setting might be acceptable in a dark home theatre, while not acceptable in a family room with lots of ambient light.
But in my experience, I think it is good to try various backlight settings and then adjust the other settings to compensate, and see what you like best. At some point, having the BL too low and the B&C too high may cause the other settings to crush or go non-linear, and likewise setting it too high may do the same thing. In fact, I think there might be a point where setting the BL too high or too low may put the BL response itself into a non-linear state. Typically that is not a good thing, but it can be used to creatively set a knee on a gamma curve, if crudely.
The other thing to consider is energy efficiency. While I would never compromise PQ by having the BL too low, I try to use the lowest setting that is acceptable, because the BL is the primary controllable element in energy efficiency for a LCD or LED TV.
I set mine at 10-13. I think there is a natural human tendency to equate brighter with better, immediately without thinking, the same way speaker manufacturers used to tweak efficiency because in listening tests louder sounds better, at least at first. And that is your first natural instinct, that raising the overall image brightness seems, just at first, an improvement over a lower brightness level, and that lowering the brightness seems, just at first, a detriment to PQ. A similar thing happens with chroma levels; turning that up seems proper at the moment you first do that, and turning that down seems to be counter to what looks best at the moment that you first do that, but living with it for a moment reveals that a lower chroma level might also be more realistic than what most folks normally set their TVs to, and what they have grown used to.
That original tendency to overdo color and brightness is a human-nature rush to judgement based on first instinct, and is exactly the quality of human perception that has lead to "torch" mode on the showroom floor. And "acquired taste" is what separates us from the primates; we have the ability to judge critically based on more than just first blush. Our "reptile" brain probably lights up at a bright, colorful, ridiculously-unrealistic image, but the prefrontal cortex and exclusive higher human brain functions physically wrapped around our reptile brainstem can override that instinct by eventually appreciating color and brightness levels that are more like real life, if only given half a chance.
Here's a little experiment: Rise above, evolve beyond the first-instinct tendency. Ignore that first subconscious gut-instinct that whispers to you that less color or brightness is not as good as more color or brightness. If you are patient and take just a moment to savor a lower brightness level, it quickly begins to appear more realistic than a brighter level might. It just takes a moment to get accustomed to. It is a learned behavior instead of a reactive behavior, and that leads to better judgment and overall better PQ, IMHO. Then, savor just how much smarter we humans are than what we evolved from. The real bonus in all of that is that your TV will then not look like it was calibrated by a chimpanzee.
The good thing is that smart dimming still works with the BL down all the way, so "down all the way" is not really "off", just the lowest setting available (you can still see the BL through the vent holes in the back).
So the short advice is "pick what works best for you". I don't think there is a "wrong" setting for BL.