Proper RGB setup is important

Video settings have gotten more complicated in the recent years. To be more precise, since HD TVs started to appear, there’s been more settings to configure.

The easiest part to configure is the resolution, as that’s pretty much done automatically and in the right way. The real confusion comes with another setting in the video, the RGB Range. Setting this part correctly is as important as the resolution, specially if you are going to take screenshots, record video, or stream. It’s even more important if you’re going to do any kind of graphic comparison.

As explained by this guide from the OBS site, when you don’t set the RGB properly, you’ll get either of the following  effects on your image:

What happens when your source is using the full RGB range, but the capture card or OBS Studio is set to limited RGB range. The colors past 16 and 235 are crushed into one color, created the effect of high contrast but losing image detail and clarity.

What happens when the source is limited range, often the default for PCs and consoles, and the capture card or OBS Studio is set to capture full range. Since there is no information to work with between 0-16 and 235-255, a white hue effect is added.

The same applies when you have your console and TV have different settings. And while some of them may have an Auto setting for the RGB, it’s honestly better not to trust them as that configuration may not always work well.

To show the effects of an incorrect RGB setting, here are three screenshots I took from Splatoon 2’s title screen. They show the two possible incorrect settings and how the game should really look like.

As you can notice the image with the correct settings is the only one that displays good color and detail.

Here’s another set of pictures from the Switch menu which show a few common game icons.

Again, you can easily notice the difference in each picture and that the one with the right settings is the one with the best color and detail. This is why setting this up correctly is also really important when configuring your console. It’s a setting that exists on any of the three consoles. (As an additional note, the NES Classic and SNES Classic only output in the limited range.)

For more information, I would also suggest checking out this video by My Life in Gaming. The part where they talk about modern consoles is in the 2nd half of the video, but, IMO, the whole video is interesting and quite useful.

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