Xbox 360 ‘Reference Levels’

If you’ve got an Xbox 360, chances are you’ve seen the ‘Reference Levels’ setting in display settings. This is a really badly named setting since it’s all to do with the black level the console outputs. ‘Standard’ is the setting you want if you have a quality HDTV, since standard outputs the full range without clipping. If you have a Samsung TV, set the black level to ‘lower’. The ‘Expanded’ setting clips blacks below 16 to 0, and anything above 235 to 255. This is great if your TV doesn’t work properly with HDMI signals, or you’re using VGA. Otherwise it’s actually reducing the range of colour values the console is outputting. In short use ‘standard’ and tell your TV that the black levels are really black. Otherwise if you have a ‘cheaper’ TV use the ‘Expanded’ setting.

2 comments

reallynotnick

You have this backwards expanded is 0-255 and normal is 16-235.

Expanded treats 16 or less as BLACK, 240 or more as WHITE
Intermediate treats 8 or less as BLACK, 248 or more as WHITE
Standard is: 0 = BLACK, 255 = WHITE, so it’s full range RGB
BUT!
Majority of games on the 360 use limited RGB range (16-240),
so you’re not gonna see true blacks or whites if you use Standard Level (Except if your TV also has limited RGB range).
That’s why you need Expanded,

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