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Image: HBO
For countless viewers tuning into Game of Thrones critical night, what was supposed to be among the show’s most remarkable and also momentous scenes ever before was marred by, well, darkness. The battle of Winterfell, play out in the season 8 episode “The long Night,” take it an arduous 55 nights come shoot, and was the largest-scale battle sequence in Thrones history. The was intended to be a final-season flex of epos proportions.

You are watching: Game of thrones too dark to see

But Miguel Sapochnik’s close-up directing choices and also the battle’s nighttime setting were a perfect combination to reveal the weakness of the streaming people we live in today. Countless fans required to Twitter to complain about constant pixelation and an extreme challenge following what was transpiring on-screen. A dozen variations on “who passed away on Game that Thrones?” surfaced together the top internet searches of critical night and this morning, together viewers tried to make feeling of the visually muddy action. Jokes and also memes abounded.

Tried come watch video game Of Thrones tonight however the illustration was as well dark to watch anything. It sounded an extremely exciting though!

— Colleen Ballinger (
ColleenB123) April 29, 2019

Why’d that look for this reason bad? Well, yes sir no getting around dark points being an overwhelming to see, yet the main included issue here is compression. By the moment Game that Thrones reaches your TV or mobile an equipment each Sunday night, it has been extensively compressed — both by HBO and by your cable / satellite / streaming provider of choice. This is a requirement to make the show available to a wide selection of civilization with different internet link speeds. Compression is also applied ~ above the paris for anyone tuning in end cable, where the downsides can be an ext severe and also noticeable:

i rewatched last nights obtained in ideal HD, it to be still dark yet looked pretty great and the dark feeling deliberate and artful. I thnk the prob on very first viewing to be the destructive terrible quality of
verizonfios damaging TERRIBLE quality OF Verizon Fios.

— Casey Neistat (
CaseyNeistat) April 29, 2019

It"s insane that it"s 2019 and I pay monthly for skies TV to watch video game of Thrones, yet a 1080p torrent is still better bitrate quality and also audio than what ns pay for. How is this also possible

— Tom Warren (
tomwarren) April 16, 2019

Here space some methods you can try addressing the problem:

Find the best-quality stream

Video bandwidth is king once finding the best stream or download the a TV show. You want the show yielded to your machine at the highest-possible quality. No cable or streaming crate will be able to fix up a noisy, pixelated video clip stream if that"s the resource material it’s offered from the start.

I’ve seen reports the Amazon, i m sorry sells HBO service for $15 every month with Prime Video, tends to stream Game the Thrones at about 10Mbps, while HBO Now and also HBO Go output the present at closer come 5Mbps. The difference might seem small, however it’s significant. Amazon’s version of Game that Thrones is much less likely to present distracting pixelation or macro-blocking. I’ve asked both companies for specifics about their Game the Thrones presentation. Yet there’s a consensus among cord-cutting nerds top top Reddit the Amazon is tops right now.

HBO Now and HBO go aren’t cut out because that scenes favor this. Image: HBO apple has additionally promised best-in-class video presentation for its upcoming apologize TV Channels, which will encompass HBO. Unfortunately, those no slated come be easily accessible until sometime in May, at which allude the agency will have already missed several Game the Thrones illustration — probably the entire rest the the season.

In general, HBO is badly lagging behind Netflix once it comes to presentation. Among these service providers is delivering numerous shows in 4K HDR, and the various other is struggling to make a 1080p video clip stream look at satisfactory on her living room television.

For most shows, the problems aren’t therefore glaring. But with Game of Thrones running such a dimly lit sequence for such a large percentage that the episode, it was tough to neglect the noticeable compression and lackluster quality that struck throughout the battle of Winterfell.

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Check her TV’s brightness settings

The default photo mode of countless TVs shipping this particular day is often too bright and also hard top top the eyes. Your organic inclination might be to drop the brightness down so the darks look at blacker and also less gray. However that will only make things harder to discern, since you’ll it is in losing information in shadows together you drop the brightness slider down. If her TV has a movie, cinema, or calibrated mode, this is most likely the best option because that Game that Thrones, together it need to limit brightness while maintaining things that can be harder come make out on-screen.

Beric Dondarrion is the battle of Winterfell"s true MVP, since he tote a flaming sword all over he goes, so you have the right to actually check out who"s fighting in his scenes, and what"s in reality going on. #GameOfThrones

— Tasha Robinson (
Bump increase the backlight level

Maybe girlfriend care much more about see what the hell is happening than the realism of one evening fight being key black. In that case, girlfriend should adjust the backlight of her LCD TV to a higher level to carry up something that’s hard to make out. Friend can always lower it back down because that scenes through normal lighting.

Turn off surrounding lights

It’s rare that you"re going to see expanded scenes that room as unforgivingly dark together the fight of Winterfell, but when you do, pull the end all the stops. Turn off adjacent lamps or any kind of other light sources that might cause reflections or a flat external glare on your TV screen. It’s likely that you currently do this routine come Sunday nights, yet if girlfriend don’t, offer it a shoot for her rewatch that this week’s episode.


OLED TVs from LG and Sony can achieve perfect blacks, since each pixel is self-illuminating; LCD TVs have actually backlights the light up bigger sections the the panel, which have the right to make dark scene a tiny hazy and also overly gray.

That said, when OLEDs excel at black color level and contrast, they periodically tend to crush details in dark scenes prefer Winterfell’s substantial battle — especially if her TV hasn"t to be calibrated.

There room a many of components that influence all this, and also you don’t have control over all of them

Is anyone in ~ your ar using the net for gaming or streaming when you’re the town hall Game that Thrones? That will limit exactly how much of your net bandwidth can be specialized to the show. Also keep in mind that HBO is under a serious resource crunch once streaming each week’s brand-new episode live together it happens. Streaming episodes on HBO Now might look significantly far better the next day, as soon as fewer world are trying come stream in ~ the same time.

Just buy the on Blu-ray after that if you require perfect visuals

When friend buy game of Thrones top top Blu-ray, HBO have the right to take benefit of all the storage space on every disc and also go easier on the lossy video compression — v no pixelation or ugly artifacting to speak of. For part people, the quick-moving scene in “The long Night” got negative enough the it practically felt prefer they were watching a GIF, but that’s no a issue with house media.

That said, Blu-ray is completely irrelevant if you trying to clock this last season that Game of Thrones together it airs week come week.

I’d choose to think that HBO exam streaming on a range of TVs — in the same means that music designers often take it rides in old cars come make sure their audio mastering holds up in different environments. If there’s not a wall filled v $500 Roku TVs mixed with pricey OLEDs somewhere at HBO HQ, possibly last night’s uproar will certainly warrant simply that.