Displays and Projectors : Black looks gray on my LCD Television.

Black looks gray on my LCD Television.

I just recently got a Vizio M42ONV LCD LED HDTV. I think it's a 2010 model, but I'm not sure. Before, I had a regular 19-inch CRT television. My new HDTV looks great when everything in the picture is light, but dark scenes or black objects in the picture are a different matter. Anything black looks gray. Dark scenes that looked great on my old CRT suddenly look like muddled gray messes. Even in blightly-lit scenes, anything black looks distractingly gray. At first, I thought is was simply that the brightness or contrast levels were set wrong. But no matter how low I turned them, black still looked gray. I fiddled around with the backlight settings, the backlight control, the adaptive luma, and the ambient light sensor. I even tried turning the backlight down to zero. Some settings were a slight improvement, but nothing helped very much.

To make sure it wasn't just a problem caused by low resolution video, I tested out my Blu-Ray of "Spider-Man" (2002) (I've had a Blu-Ray player for quite a while, even though I had a regular 19-inch television). Brightly-lit scenes like the World Unity Day scene looked wonderful. The colors were great, every little detail and texture could be seen, etc. But in dark scenes, like the fight with the Green Goblin at the end, everything was a muddled, blurry-looking (although I'm not sure if they were actually blurry or just seemed that way) mess. And even in brightly-lit scenes where a character was wearing a black shirt or there was a black object in the background, the black object looked distractingly gray, and more like part of the screen itself than an image of an object. Any and all areas of the screen with shadows looked like a gray mess as well. It's the same with everything, whether it's a DVD, Blu-Ray disc, or television broadcast.

Does anyone know if there's a way to make dark scenes and objects look tolerable? Or is it pretty much unfixable?

Courage, men! We've not sunk before, and we'll not sink now!

Re: Black looks gray on my LCD Television.

I've heard that LCD displays with addressable LED backlighting are better; those can locally dim the backlighting so blacks are blacker.

All I can think of is to try wearing sunglasses or covering the screen with a tinted film, or turning up the room lights, so gray looks more like black. Or returning or selling it, and getting a plasma display, or an LCD with better blacks.