Poor HDMI picture quality: why and how to fix it?

Poor HDMI picture quality: why and how to fix it?

When you connect your computer or laptop to your monitor or television via HDMI, you may notice that the image quality has deteriorated in one way or another, such as washed out colors, blurry fonts and a globally blurry image, strange jitters, lack of fluidity in the interface of the operating system and others.

This tutorial details what can cause a poor HDMI picture and what action you can take in each case. The situation where the video card driver is the culprit is not considered, I assume you manually downloaded and installed the latest official driver (note that the Device Manager message that the driver does not need to be updated does not indicate you have the correct driver installed). How to connect laptop to TV, No sound on HDMI.

Dull and washed-out colors when connected via HDMI

The first, very common and easy to remedy: after connecting the monitor to the computer or laptop with an HDMI cable, all colors fade and become desaturated.

The reason is that most video cards set a limited sampling range (dynamic range) when a new HDMI display is connected. To change this, follow the steps below:

  1. Right click on the blank space on the desktop and select your video card utility to adjust the image, for example: "NVIDIA Control Panel", "Intel Graphics Settings", " Radeon ».
  2. In the properties of the connected displays, find the items responsible for the color settings. For example, in the NVIDIA control panel this option will be Display - Change resolution - Apply the following settings - Use NVIDIA color settings. The item "Output dynamic range" must be set to "Full".
  3. In the Intel HD Graphics Control Panel, the same is found under "Main Settings" under "Sample Rate Range."
  4. In the AMD Radeon settings, the setting is found in the display properties, where you have to select "Advanced settings" - "Pixel format" - 4: 4: 4 RGB format (Full RGB).
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The following points must also be taken into account:

  • If you are using a TV connected via HDMI instead of a monitor, turning on the YCbCr 4: 4: 4 color format may give better results.
  • If an adapter or converter is used, that is, a connection other than HDMI, this setting may not appear in the list.

Blurred fonts, blurred image

There are several possible causes for blurry images when outputting from HDMI and other interfaces.

The most important cause of blurry images on a monitor, regardless of the type of connection, is that the screen is not adjusted to its physical resolution. Often when buying a monitor or laptop with a high-resolution screen, users change the resolution so that everything does not seem small - everything becomes larger, but blurry. The solution for this situation:

  1. Select the screen resolution that your monitor or television physically has. It is usually detected automatically and appears in the "Recommended" list; If not, you can check the monitor's specifications on the Internet. See How to change the screen resolution in Windows 10.
  2. If you have installed an old OS without scaling support on a laptop with a high screen resolution and the only way to achieve an acceptable size of the system elements is to lower the resolution, I cannot help you. Fonts will remain blurry. The solution is to use Windows 10, the latest versions are relatively good with scaling.
  3. Keep in mind that even when the resolution is changed by multiples: for example, you put Full HD on a 4k monitor, the blur will also be present (although it is not so noticeable).
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If the resolution is set correctly, you are using a TV instead of a monitor, but the fonts are still blurry, see the separate tutorial How to fix blurry fonts in Windows 10 (some of the solutions apply to older versions of the operating system as well) .

In a situation where you find the image fuzzy after connecting a PC or laptop to the television as a monitor, while not sitting close to it, carefully examine the settings of the television: often the cause is turned on. Image "enhancement" functions implemented on the television.

Mouse pointer jerks, picture jerks when connected via HDMI

If, after connecting your monitor or TV via HDMI, you notice that the system interface does not behave as smoothly as before, it is usually due to the refresh rate, which you can change in the settings.

However, keep in mind that an acceptable refresh rate may not be available and often does not depend on the display:

  • For example, when connecting a laptop or PC with Intel integrated graphics to a 4k UHD display, you will typically not be able to get a refresh rate higher than 30 Hz (for adapters that are current at the time of writing this article).
  • If both the video card and the monitor support high HDMI refresh rates, but you got the cable itself in the "cable drawer" or you bought it without paying attention to the HDMI version (and it happens that the information about Chinese cables cheap 100-200 rubles is wrong), the width of the Bands of the cable may not be enough for the desired refresh rate.

Details on how to change the refresh rate of your monitor screen, there are also other reasons why you cannot set the correct refresh rate.

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Other reasons for a bad HDMI picture

In closing, a few more things that can affect image quality when connected with an HDMI cable (I'll repeat some of the aforementioned for your attention):

  • Use of adapters / converters, especially when outputting an image from an analog output (such as VGA).
  • Hardware specificities: For example, in the case of some integrated graphics adapters still present in notebooks, there are HDMI resolution limitations. Additionally, some monitors may also have resolution limitations for individual inputs (for example, on DisplayPort everything works in full resolution, but on HDMI only in FullHD). Take a good look at the specifications of your video card and your monitor. In some cases, creating a custom resolution in the video card manufacturer's application works.
  • Various image enhancement functions. They are usually the cause of distortion on television (especially with OS and text), but they are also present on some monitors - look in the settings.
  • Bad or "wrong" standard HDMI cable. You can temporarily take that cable from another device to check it (nowadays there are usually more than one on the floors).
  • "Matrix Overclocking": set the screen refresh rate above that indicated in the device specifications. Sometimes it causes the appearance of various bands, dots, and image artifacts.
  • In rare cases, but sometimes it makes sense to install a monitor driver, if such is present on the manufacturer's official website (for many monitor models there is none and it is not necessary).
  • An even less common case is the need to update the monitor firmware: available only for some expensive monitor models. The update process is usually started with special software from the manufacturer when the monitor is connected via USB. I strongly recommend that you carefully read the manufacturer's instructions on this matter before doing so.

Hopefully one of the suggested options is viable in your situation. However, if you can share other cases where it has been possible to fix the image quality via HDMI, I would like to hear your comment.