What are PC and AV modes in monitor settings. Better choose PC or AV for monitor

In short, in PC mode, the signal is subjected to minimal signal processing, which preserves natural colors and faster response times. In AV mode, the picture is processed to be richer and more beautiful, as well as to fill the entire monitor screen, which in turn increases the monitor's response time.

That is, for study and work, especially if you are a professional photographer and a high-quality calibrated monitor is important to you, then use the PC mode.

What is PC mode and AV mode?

Modern monitors (for example, Samsung ViewFinity S6 LS34A65 *) allow you to choose between two PC or AV modes. How do these modes differ, which one is better? Which mode to use for work and for watching movies?

This article will answer all these questions.

As an example, I will use the Samsung ViewFinity S6 LS34A650UBEXXT monitor model.

Note: Some Smart TVs have a PC function. This feature means the ability to connect to Microsoft 365 and work with documents on your TV (similar to a remote connection to a PC). This article is about a different function.

PC mode is more clear-cut and easier to read texts, but images look flat and lack depth. Whereas AV mode, the same mode on TVs when you plug in a PlayStation or Xbox, gives the picture more life and color, but at the same time introduces some overlay.

PC Mode generally works the same as Game Mode. It removes most of the video processing that causes lag and adjusts the image quality. All TVs are slightly different, but this usually means your TV turns off the zoom and adjusts the sharpness setting to make text more readable.

AV: This mode enlarges the image displayed on the device and is suitable for watching movies.

PC is probably the more accurate mode. AV mode likely weights/shifts colors for broadcast (movies/TV), which narrows black and white (possibly via gamma ramp or LUT), broadens midtones by increasing contrast and saturation, and may also change color temperature (usually warmer, more yellow/orange/red instead of blue/cyan; this makes skin tones look better, more vibrant) and probably sharpens the image. All of this would be very bad for a photographer or graphic artist who needs a well calibrated display to ensure accuracy between different devices as well as for printing.

It's a bit like listening to music without any EQ or excessive DSP. It might be “boring” but more accurate/truthful.

How to check and select PC or AV mode

Go to Monitor Menu → System → PC/AV Mode

Here you will see a list of signal sources:

  • DisplayPort
  • HDMI
  • USB Type-C

For each of these sources, you can select a mode:

  • PC
  • AV

That is, for HDMI you can choose AV mode for example, and for USB Type-C you can choose PC mode for example.

PC or AV mode settings may be offset by other settings

Please note that in addition to selecting the PC or AV mode, the picture may be processed when other settings are enabled.

For example, a similar image enhancement effect can be achieved:

  • when PC mode is selected and when Picture → Picture Mode → Cinema is enabled
  • when AV mode is selected and when Picture → Picture Mode → Dynamic Contrast is turned on

That is, if you are working with photographs and correct color reproduction and good monitor calibration are important to you, then switch to PC mode and disable other image enhancement algorithms.

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