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Dynamic vs. Static Contrast Ratio

Read “Contrast Ratio” article first to have more background on this article.

Manufacturers have been rolling out new parameter for their flat panel TV’s. It is called dynamic contrast ratio. This type of contrast ratio is designed to “boost” the color difference between the light and dark color. It does that effectively, but at cost. Look at the picture below. Dynamic contrast ratio gave you deeper black color and more saturated green, however it did a little number on the light colors. Look closely and compare the whites and the purples/pinks on the flower to the original image. They do not look as nice as on the Static contrast ratio image. This difference will be seen more if you have extremely dark movie scene with area of very bright light. Like someone walking in the dark forest with a flash light. The flash light will be way too bright.

dynamic vs static contrast  ratio

So, what is the lesson in all of this? Know what static contrast ratio you HDTV has before you buy it. Some people might buy one TV over other because one has 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and other one has 50,000:1 contrast ratio. However, 2,000,000:1 is a DYNAMIC contrast ratio and not static. If you would look closely at the specs of that TV you might see that the actual STATIC contrast ratio is 30:000:1. So, the buyer has made a wrong/in informed decision. But, now that won’t happen to you, right?

Personal Observations:

I have watched Harry Potter in 1080p with dynamic ratio on during the entire movie. (My TV has 2,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio with option to turn it on or off.) During scenes of equal or close light brightness, like during a day, the dynamic contrast ratio did make my picture look a lot better. However, as every Harry Potter movie there are scenes of extreme darkness and bright lights within, I have noticed imperfections in the image and badly balanced colors. When I turned off the dynamic contrast the picture looked better.

Also if you are watching standard broadcast, either through cable or antenna, that is not in HD and you turn the dynamic contrast ratio on it will look even worse than with static contrast ratio.

Also keep in mind that smaller your TV is the less visible are the imperfections.

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