House of the Dragon: How to adjust your TV when the show literally gets too dark

HBO claimed the lighting in episode seven was ‘an intentional creative decision’

Tom Murray
Saturday 08 October 2022 22:32 BST
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House of the Dragon viewers squinted their way through the dramatic seventh episode earlier this week.

Upon its broadcast, fans on social media complained that the lighting on the show was too dark – a similar quandary they had with the show’s predecessor, Game of Thrones.

After numerous fans expressed their frustrations on Twitter, a response was shared from the official HBO Help account, which read: “We appreciate you reaching out about a night scene in House of the Dragon Episode 7 appearing dark on your screen.

“The dimmed lighting of this scene was an intentional creative decision.”

Intentional or not, many people had trouble viewing the scene – and there may be more to come in the final few episodes.

The Independent has put together a handy guide for the factors you can control in order to make the show’s dark scenes as visible as possible.

Watch in a dark room

Brightness can make a difference, but don’t push it too far (HBO/The Independent)

The easiest and most obvious thing to do is just to make sure that you're watching in the dark.

Shutting the curtains and turning off any nearby lighting will allow you to look a little more easily at the darkness on your screen (and will stop you appearing in the reflection of your mostly dark TV).

Turn off motion/action smoothing

According to Film School Rejects publisher Neil Miller’s handy guide, turning off your TV’s “smoothing” setting is one of the most important things you should do to improve your viewing experience.

Smoothing adds fake frames into a film or TV show in order to artificially increase the frame rate. While this may work for some slow, panning shots, it can lead to some errors and discrepancies in action shots.

In 2018, Tom Cruise and Mission Impossible: Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie released a public statement asking viewers to turn off the setting while watching their film at home.

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Increase your screen brightness

This should be found relatively easily in the settings, but be very moderate with it as there is such a thing as too much brightness.

What you're really doing here is making the darkness more grey, which can cause the whole thing to be washed out and appear overly bright. So, test it with something light as well as something dark, and ensure that you're getting the best view of both.

Turn up contrast

While brightness will make the darkness more grey, contrast will separate the lightness from the darkness. This will accentuate the details on dark objects and colours.

We also recommend searching for your specific make and model of television, as well as something akin to “recommended picture settings”, as each TV will have its own custom features when it comes to the picture.

You can find the biggest talking points from episode seven here.

House of the Dragon continues every Sunday in the US on HBO at 9pm. The episode is shown simultaneously on Monday at 2am in the UK and again at 9pm on Sky Atlantic.

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