TUTORIAL: Get the best picture quality on our TV with an Android TV-Box or mini PC


Today we want to collect in a simple way in this article how to configure our TV or monitor, whether Smart TV or not to get the most out of our Android TV-Box or mini PC. We will see how to make the resolution, refresh rate and color mode synchronize with the content we are going to reproduce. We will also review different technical concepts and solve visualization or connection problems between classics to avoid conflicts. We hope you find it useful and get the most out of your hardware.

GENERAL CONCEPTS

Before configuring our devices to get the maximum performance you have to take several points into account.

  1. There are countless names for the same settings on different TV brands.
  2. Always consult the manual of our TV and AV receiver to know what limits or capacities they have.
  3. There are options that can be controlled by the TV or by our connected device, we must assess that we are interested.
  4. Depending on the software we use we will also have more options or less in configuration.
  5. As a basis for Android TV-Box we will use the NVIDIA Shield TV 2019 which is the most complete.

CONFIGURE TELEVISION IMAGE

Set HDMI output correctly

In order for our TV to reach all the color modes and options offered by our connected device, we must first document a bit and know what options we have available. I recommend downloading the manuals online to search for terms.

  • Check the documentation of our HDMI ports, select an HDMI 2.0.
  • Do not use the HDMI-ARC port, that output is ideal for connecting an AV receiver, read our multi channel audio manual.

Configure HDMI UHD Color mode

  • Sony = Settings> External Inputs> HDMI signal format> Select port> Enhanced format.
  • LG = Settings> Image> Additional Settings> HDMI Ultra HD Deep Color> Select port.
  • Samsung = Settings> Image> Expert Settings> Activate HDR+ Mode in the current HDMI.
  • Restart the TV to apply the changes completely.

Set color space mode

  • Activate the HDMI input where we have connected our device to change the settings.
  • Sony = Settings> Display> Image> Advanced settings> Color space> Auto.
  • LG = Settings> Image> Additional Settings> Expert control> Color Space> Auto.
  • Samsung = Settings> Image> Expert settings> Color space settings> Auto.
  • Restart the TV to apply the changes completely.

TV calibration general tips

All factory TVs come with very striking default modes with exaggerated colors, image processing and smoothing of movements that make you lose a lot of quality compared to the original image with which the content has been recorded. We recommend below some basic practices.

  • Read our Guide to calibrate and test our TV image in detail
  • Disable any AUTOMATIC image quality mode.
  • Disable MOTION FLOW, MOTION MOTION, MOTION PLUS or similar modes.
  • Disable improvements for BLACK, WHITE, CONTRAST, SKIN, FILM or similar.
  • Set the color mode to NEUTRAL.
  • Increase BRIGHTNESS and CONTRAST to the maximum and then adjust to lower if it bothers us at night.

CONFIGURE ANDROID TV-BOX OR MINI PC IMAGE

We have an infinite number of TV-Box or mini-PC models but in almost all of them we can manually configure the basic image quality settings, in any case we will explain what most of them mean.

Default resolution

This is the resolution at which the system works by default and at which the system is rendered, the internal resolution of the android environment may be lower, usually 1080p and it is not something that affects the video playback that will be native.

  • Adjust screen resolution 4K 60/59,940Hz or optionally 1080p 60/59,940Hz if we want the better performance in the UI environment.

Set color space mode

This option can be set automatically in the NVIDIA Shield TV, Zidoo or Himedia models, in other simpler TV-Boxes, this mode will be changed automatically when HDR is detected or we will have to change it manually.

  • Rec.2020 or BT.2020 = The color space for 4K UHD HDR content.
  • Rec.709 or BT.709 = The classic color space, compatible with all contents.

In the NVIDIA Shield TV for example we will have to set it to automatic so that it changes according to the detected mode.

  • Image settings> Advanced controls> Match color space> Auto.

Screen modes

Each device manages the screen mode differently but the base is always the same.

  • Resolution + screen refresh = 4K 60 / 59,940Hz is normal on a 4K screen.
  • Color depth = 8bit is 99% of the content / 10bit or 12bit for UHD content (more defined blacks).
  • Color space = REC.709 for 99% of content / REC.2020 for HDR content.
  • Color gamut = YCbCr or YUV/RGB
    – 4: 2: 0 = Correct for Cinema / Sports / TV / Standard films and media industry.
    – 4: 2: 2 = Similar to 4: 2: 0 little gain and can generate unnecessary extra load.
    – 4: 4: 4 = For PC / Text / Image professionals.

By default on devices such as NVIDIA Shield TV it is best to deactivate the default mode and filter the modes manually, then with the previous settings in automatic the correct settings will be selected with respect to the content that we are going to play.

  • Disable: Settings> Display> Default screen mode> Set Default Value
  • Filter by color gamut/space: YUV 420/422 at 8/10/12bit Rec. 709 (will jump to 10/12bit + Rec. 2020 HDR10 or Dolby Vision in Auto mode)
  • Filter by screen mode: Resolution 3840×2160 60Hz / YUV 422 12bit Rec.709 or YUV 420 8bit Rec.709

With much basic TV-Boxes we will not have so many configuration options and we will have to select the mode that most closely matches the optimal configuration of our TV manually or letting it manage them automatically.

  • The most compatible option would be YUV 420 8bit for 4K content or lower, if we have the possibility of REC.709.
  • We will select YUV 420 10bit if we are going to watch 4K HDR, if we have possibility REC.2020.
  • If the TV-Box detects the HDR or Dolby Vision mode by default it should jump to REC.2020.

Automatic refresh rate switch

With this function the frame rate per second of the medium we are playing is adjusted to that of the screen and the annoying Judder effect is avoided, this can be achieved in different ways as explained in the manual that we leave below. Basically if we play content using KODI we can adjust the automatic refresh rate if our Android TV-Box allows that option in the firmware, in the mini PCs we can do it without limitations. In streaming applications like Netflix on Android it depends entirely on the system.

Video quality setting on Windows mini PC

The PC color modes, HDR formats, BT.2020 / 709 and color bits can be controlled in detail but normally we will have to select them manually since the hardware is not so oriented to multimedia playback, we can still automate certain aspects.

  • If we are going to watch 4K videos or less switch to YUV 420 8bit or limited RGB.
  • If we are going to watch 4K HDR videos switch to YUV 420 10bit, manually activate HDR mode to have REC.2020.
  • If we are going to play games or work with text in YUV 444 8/10bit or RGB 444 desktop mode.
  • The color modes and ranges can be adjusted with madVR with the next manual.
  • Automatic soda change configurable easily on PC.

PROBLEMS WITH IMAGE AND SOUND

We are going to list in a simple way what problems are common in the configuration of systems.

  • Colors look muted or washed:
    – This is because we have the REC profile. 2020 in REC.709 content or vice versa.
  • I can’t activate HDR modes or specific resolutions:
    – Review documentation of our TV.
    – If our device is connected to an AV receiver, it may not support those modes, try without it.
    – Change HDMI cable, we recommend one type HDMI 2.0 Ethernet.
    – Check if our TV’s HDMI ports are compatible with the resolution, Hz and color bit modes we want to use.
  • No sound in certain videos.
    – Possibly the sound in that file is multichannel and we do not have a decoder, see Multichannel Audio manual.

OTHER MEDIA TUTORIALS

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