Are you asking why does my 4K TV look bad? You’re not alone. We have the solution you’re looking for!
Your experience can range from blurry or grainy pictures. The kind that you can’t make out any detail in the content you’re watching.
Whether you’re dealing with incredibly slow internet speeds or set your TV with the wrong settings, these can result in bad picture quality.
If the picture quality of the content you’re watching looks bad, you’re using a low-resolution file or stream. Make sure you’re playing content that’s available in 4K resolution. You also want to check that your TV uses optimum upscaling settings to display lower resolution content properly.
Let’s take a closer look at the causes of why your TV displays bad pictures before we move on to the steps to fix it.
There are several reasons why you are experiencing this particular issue.
You want to investigate the content source as it might be on a significantly lower resolution than what your TV can handle. Certain settings can also cause pictures to become grainy or blurry.
Here are the problems that can cause your 4K TV to look bad:
1. Low-Resolution Source
If you’re watching a video from a storage device like a USB, make sure that it’s at least 1080p or 4K in resolution.
Playing a video with 720p or lower resolution on your 4K TV will only appear blurred and grainy.
2. HDMI Incompatibility
Using a non-4K compatible HDMI cable can cause this issue. If you used one from an older TV, you would likely face this problem.
3. Device Does Not Support 4K
Streaming devices, and game consoles can display videos on your TV. However, if they are not capable of 4K resolution, they will downscale the videos and cause them to appear blurred.
4. Wrong Configuration
Even though you have a 4K TV, not setting it properly can cause bad picture quality.
5. Internet Speeds
Streaming content is convenient. Slow internet can cause your 4K content to be downscaled. Get it slow enough, and it should look like a bunch of jumbled pixels.
Now that you have a good idea of what causes your TV to display bad pictures, we can now move forward and start to fix it.
Before you try anything, we recommend checking if you have slow internet.
Run a speed test and make sure you have at least 25 Mbps. Restart your router to refresh your connection if your speeds are well below that.
In case this does not work, we can move on to the rest of these troubleshooting steps so you can get your 4K TV to display crisp and detailed content.
You may have a 4K TV, but the streaming device is not 4K-capable. These two devices must match in terms of resolution.
Using a streaming tool that does not support 4K will get your TV to work double-time, upscaling the content you’re watching.
The same is true if you have a non-4K TV and a 4K-capable device since you will not be able to enjoy all the pixels.
Now, there are a ton of streaming options. However, not all of them do support 4K resolution.
Here are the devices that you can get that will allow you to watch 4K in all its glory:
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K
- Apple TV 4K
- Google Chromecast with Google TV
- Nvidia Shield TV Pro
- Roku Streaming Stick 4K+
Note: You can be sure that they all support 4K. Some devices come with better features, thus the difference in prices.
Apart from streaming devices, you will also need to look for streaming services.
Why does Netflix look bad on my 4K TV, or why does HBO look so bad on my 4K TV?
It’s possible that your account does not support 4K resolution and only offers 1080p.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a 1080p resolution. However, using the incorrect settings on a 4K TV can affect the overall picture quality and display bad or blurry video.
Here are the streaming service tiers you need to get for 4K content:
- Netflix: Get the plan that supports UHD.
- HBO Max: Get their ads-free plan.
- Prime Video: No extra charge. If buying content, get the 4K option.
- Disney Plus: No extra charge. Select from the Ultra HD section.
- Peacock TV: No 4K UHD plan yet.
Pro Tip: Make sure you have internet speeds of at least 15 to 20 Mbps for a seamless streaming experience.
Note: Some services can charge more, so you watch 4K. Only upgrade to these tiers if you have a TV than can handle 4K.
The connection between your streaming device and TV also matters. Not all HDMI cables are the same. If you have a cable at least 3 to 5 years old, you might want to upgrade it and get the latest ones.
HDMI is not just your ordinary data cable since it can transfer high-bandwidth video at high speeds.
Even though you have a 4K-capable streaming device and TV, if your HDMI cable falls short, you will experience bad picture quality.
Here’s how to change your HDMI cable to one with the latest protocol:
- Replace your current cable with one that’s at least HDMI 2.0.
- Go to your device’s settings.
- Find the setting for HDMI signal format.
- Set to Enhanced.
Note: The latest HDMI cables should readily support 4K content.
One of the ways to improve the picture quality of your TV is to switch on HDR. It provides better contrast and highlights, making them appear brighter.
It works well with 4K content as the added detail and pixels can give your picture more depth.
If you want to instantly improve the picture quality of the videos you’re watching, turn this setting on.
Here’s how to do it:
- Go to your TV’s settings.
- Navigate to the Picture or Display option.
- Select Picture Adjustments.
- Click on HDR to turn it ON.
If you own a 4K TV, you have to remember that not all content can match that resolution.
This is not a cause for concern since modern TVs are smart enough to add extra lines so your picture will not appear grainy or blurred.
However, there are instances when this can malfunction, and some content can be difficult to upscale.
You will need to go into your TV’s settings and look for the most optimum configuration, so your lower resolution content is displayed in the best way possible.
Here’s how to change your TV’s upscaling settings:
- Go to your TV’s settings.
- Select the Picture or Display option.
- Look for Advanced or Expert settings.
- Go to Picture Clarity or Motion Settings.
- Turn it ON.
Tip: This setting is set to Auto by default. Check if it’s not changed or put it in the ON position.
By reset, we mean performing a factory reset so you can refresh all of the settings of your TV. Do this if you have tried everything, and nothing seems to work.
It can resolve many problems, but the downside is that you will have to reconfigure your TV again. It does give you a chance to set it up fresh.
Here’s how to reset your TV:
- Go to your TV’s settings.
- Select the Device or Support option.
- Choose Reset.
- Click on Factory Reset.
Tip: Most smart TVs will need you to enter a PIN code to confirm your choice of resetting the device.
Note: The menu option path to reset function can differ among brands and models. You can find them under the Device, Support, or Advanced menu.
If you’re still experiencing the issue even after your factory reset your TV, you must consider hardware problems. Contact your TV’s customer support for more advanced help.
Read Next: How Long Do Roku TVs Last?
Now that you know the reasons and answer to the question why does my 4K TV look bad, you can get to work to fix the problem.
These steps are not difficult to perform and will be able to resolve the issue even if you don’t have any technical expertise.
Kevin has over five years of experience working in various Tech startups and providing Technical solutions. He has contributed to many Tech publications and websites.