No matter how long you've had your TV, chances are it can look better than it does. If you've never adjusted your TV's picture settings, you're missing out on peak performance.
This handy guide will lead you through every step to get your TV looking its absolute best.
Placement and connections
If you've just bought a TV, consider checking for don't mount it above a fireplace.. It might not be the most obvious place. For example,
Next, make sure you have the right cables., so we recommend checking places like .
You probably don't need new HDMI cables to do HDR nor do you need to worry about .
Generally, HDMI is the best choice, though sometimes are options.
Very rarely, spending a little more on certain cables is worth it.
Here's what you need. Though keep in mind that .
For audio, if you're connecting to a sound bar or other sound system, generally it's either you might need to upgrade it as well. There are also certain steps you may need to take to get the sound from your TV's apps (Netflix, etc) to your sound bar or receiver. Many new movies are , which you can also get at home.. There are pros and cons to each. If you purchased a 4K TV and you have an A/V receiver,
Now, with a general idea of what's going on, but before you start tinkering with your TV's settings, it's best to, like Sports, Vivid, Cinema or Movie.
With that set, an easy place to start is "How to set a TV up by eye." Using just TV shows (or your own images), you should be able to get your TV's contrast and brightness controls pretty close.
An easy improvement is turning down the sharpness control. No, really. Here's why.
You don't need an external converter to watch 4K on your 4K TV..
Digging deeper: Advanced adjustments
Ready to go a bit further? First brush up on "Beyond basic TV settings." This covers things such as , , , and more.
You might not be seeing the entire image either, thanks to a thing called Overscan. Here's how to fix it.
If you're a gamer, you'll definitely want to learn about there are some special considerations to consider when connecting one to a PC., which can potentially improve your online gaming scores with just a simple click of a setting. If you've bought a 4K TV,
Don't sweat it if you're watching a movie and there are black bars at the top and bottom of the screen; this is normal and actually correct.
If you want to go even further, it's time to get a setup disc for Blu-ray. These will help you find the best settings for your specific TV.
And for the last step, to get wring every bit of accuracy and performance from your TV, you may want to consider.
If the voices you hear are not matching the motions of the actor's lips, that's called a, and sometimes you can do something about it.
If you're annoyed by reflections on your TV, check out "How to rid your HDTV of reflections."
There are different HDR formats, you can find more about them here:
If you notice that objects blur when they move, or if everything you watch is super-smooth and looks like it's on a cheap soap opera, check out "." If you don't like motion blurring, but also don't like the Soap Opera Effect, some TVs have a feature called , which can help eliminate motion blur (but occasionally cause its own side effects).
? Not your TV's fault, actually. Because sometimes .
And don't forget, to get the most out of your new 4K TV, you need to watch 4K content. Here's where to find all the latest and here's where to find HDR content (and here's why 4K TVs can help old HD programs, but only a little).
So there you have it: pretty much every article I've published on how to optimize and understand your TV. Now it's time to put your feet up and enjoy.
Editors' note, December 2017: This article was originally published in 2014 but has been updated to include additional relevant links and more setup info.
Got a question for Geoff? First, check out all the other articles he's written on topics such as why all HDMI cables are the same, LED LCD vs. OLED vs. Plasma,why 4K TVs aren't worth it and more. Still have a question? Send him an email! He won't tell you what TV to buy, but he might use your letter in a future article. You can also send him a message on Twitter @TechWriterGeoff or Google+ and check out his travel photography on Instagram.