On previous occasions we have talked about calibrating TVs and monitors, how to do it accurately and in detail or how to do a quick adjustment using a series of calibration templates.

In either case, we recommended starting from a previous viewing mode (cinema, sports, games, filmmaker mode, etc.) and making adjustments for day or night TV use, a situation which will significantly change the way we perceive the image on screen.

Because? Well, because the light in the room will compete with the light emitted by the TV, which is why it is worth taking into account an additional parameter: the intensity of the backlight of the TV, both in LCD-LED models and in the OLED.

What is “backlight” and how is it different from “brightness”

In LCD-LED TVs and all their variants such as QLED, as well as in OLED models, there is one setting in the picture adjustment menu to keep in mind: the light emitted by the screen, a feature that directly controls the light intensity the panel is able to provide.

In models based on OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) or Organic Light Emitting Diode technology, each pixel is able to generate its own light when it comes into contact with an electrical charge, lighting up independently.

Currently the OLED models that we can find in stores are of the WRGB type, which means that the light is emitted from a white pixel (W) which then passes through a series of RGB color filters, generating the corresponding final color tone. Therefore, in these TVs, the “backlight” or “OLED light” setting in the TV menu controls the intensity of the light produced by this OLED emitter.

If our television is based on LCD-LED technology, there will be a rear light source, now of the LED type, which must illuminate the LCD section to produce the image. This LCD section is a series of liquid crystals that block or let light through, essentially offering different colors and levels of brightness.

This LED light source can be emitted and controlled in very different ways (for example with Edge LED, Direct LED and FALD technologies), achieving, depending on the case, more or less effective stops in areas where it is not necessary, to get black ones. .

How are backlight and brightness different then? Well, as we mentioned, the backlight directly controls the light output of the OLED diodes or the LED backlight of the LCD panel, while the “brightness” is the parameter in charge of managing the depth of blacks and the details in the dark areas. for a selected backlight value.

In other words, they are two independent parameters although it may seem that they are identical and even some manufacturers mislead by naming the backlight value as “OLED brightness” or “panel brightness”, being two completely different things.

how to adjust tv backlight

To adjust the backlight value of an OLED or LCD-LED TV, we just have to go to the corresponding image configuration menu and look for said option among those available, trying not to get confused in case our model would call it with the term “brightness” as we have already said.

There is no optimal value when adjusting this parameter, since each TV model, room and viewing conditions will force us to choose one or another value. However, we can give some general recommendations and advice.

To begin with, in very bright rooms and for daytime TV use, it is advisable to increase this parameter “as much as possible” to show the maximum potential that the panel is able to offer us, especially if we want to use content at high dynamic range or HDR.

This “all we can” in quotation marks has several counterparts. For starters, higher power consumption, since we’re going to force LEDs and OLEDs to use more electrical power. But also, in the event that our TV is OLED, we would shorten the life of its pixels and increase the risk of retention and burns.

Therefore, we have to assess in which situations and for which content this extra pixel effort is worth it. For example, if we are going to watch the news or a game show full of logos, it can be enough for us to put the OLED light between a third and half of its maximum power, reserving resources for when we want to watch a series or movie in HDR at its finest.

As with LCD TVs, if we select a too high value for the backlight, we will see that the image is weak, with colors like washed out, whitish, with blacks that look gray and dark colors that look like faded.

If, on the other hand, we lower the value of the backlight excessively, we will lose details in the dark areas and in the shades of gray, which will make it difficult to appreciate the detail of the image in bright rooms.

And if our thing is to watch TV in the evening, practically in the dark, then we can opt for lower backlight values ​​with which we will save energy and extend the life of the panels. We can reproduce some calibration models with dark areas, starting with a very low value of the light level of the panel and going up until we can appreciate the details that correspond in each case and with which we feel comfortable.

If we exceed the selected backlight value in low ambient light conditions, then the TV image will be too bright, we will lose detail in dark areas and it can even become annoying, causing visual fatigue if we spend many hours in front of the screen. screen.