This story is part of, helping you make the most of your tech, home and health during the holiday season.
Did you get afor the holidays? Maybe it was a Black Friday deal you couldn't pass up, or maybe there was a really big box under the tree. Regardless, I hope it's better than your old TV. With all that new TV potential, are you sure it's set up to look its best? A few tweaks can go a long way to ensuring it's performing at its peak. Fortunately, these setup tips are as easy as they are important.
Why do you need to do this at all? Out of the box, TVs don't look their best. The stock settings might be OK for that entire product line, but might not be the precise settings for your exact TV. Even just changing the picture mode can make a huge difference. It's possible you might need a new cable, or you might not. You might need a new source, or you might not. You almost certainly need to change the picture mode. It's worth learning about the different options and why they're important so you can get the most out of your new purchase.
Most TVs have an initial setup routine where you connect to Wi-Fi, download software updates and agree to license and, but after that you're on your own. Here's what to consider next.
Nearly everything you might want to connect to a TV these days uses the same connection: HDMI.
HDMI cables carry high-resolution images and sound over one small cable. Thankfully, HDMI cables are quite cheap. There are expensive HDMI cables, but they offer no additional performance over most cheaper options. Generally speaking, you should be able to get a cable that works perfect for you.
It's possible your current HDMI cables will work fine, though. Many older HDMI cables can handle 4K resolutions. If you're not getting the resolution you want, or if the image flickers or cuts out, some new cables might solve the issue. But if what you have works, getting more expensive cables won't make the the image or sound any better.
Check out our list of thefor more info.
If you're getting aor , you still probably don't need new cables. The exception is if you want to run them at 4K/120, . In that case it's worth learning about , which don't cost that much more than noncertified cables.
Sources, from cable to streaming to games to sound
Most TVs have built-in smart TV suites for streaming, but in many cases you'll want to connect other stuff too. If you bought a a newer streaming box or game console, it will probably autodetect what your TV wants (1080p or 2160p) and send it whichever is appropriate. The same is true for 4K or regular Blu-ray players. For older devices, namely a cable or satellite box, make sure that it's set for widescreen 16:9 video and set to output HD.
Just because the cable box is capable of high definition Netflix and other streaming services. For example, with Netflix you can only get 4K if you're paying for a more expensive streaming tier.. Sometimes you need to pay your provider extra and/or tune to the specific HD channel to watch. For example, with my provider, channel 2 is SD, whereas channel 1002 is HD. This is also true for
You can also, and .
If you're trying to get sound from your TV to your soundbar or receiver, . This has to do with , which is easily the most common question topic I get about modern TVs and home theater setups. Regardless, if you bought a 4K TV, anyway.
If you're looking to connect your 4K TV to a computer,. You can also .
Once you have everything plugged in, take a moment to check your TVs will ask upon initial startup if the TV is being used in a home or a store. Pick the one most appropriate to your environment (hopefully "home"; I'm not sure why you'd be living in a Best Buy).. Most modern
After you run through the TV's setup routine, you'll want to choose thefor everyday viewing. Even if you don't want to adjust anything else, selecting the right picture mode will go a long way in getting your TV to look its best. The CliffsNotes version? The TV will be its most accurate (in other words, most realistic) in its Movie or Cinema picture mode. It will appear brighter in its Sports or Vivid mode.
If you're into finer adjustments, you can dive into. The Backlight and Contrast controls usually adjust how bright the image appears, while Brightness controls how dark the dark parts of the image look. Turning down your TV's Sharpness control actually . A similar simple fix is to . Yep, your TV might be cropping off the edges!
If you want to dive even deeper, check out our articles onand by using a . And if you want to get every possible ounce of performance out of your higher-end TV, consider having it .
TVs are also susceptible to reflections so if you're having an issue with light washing out the picture, check out. Lastly, if you're putting your TV on a stand, make sure you know .
Your new TV probably has even more settings and adjustments we don't cover here, but this should get you started. And if you're looking for something to watch, check out.
As well as covering TV and other display tech, Geoff does photo tours of cool museums and locations around the world, including nuclear submarines, massive aircraft carriers, medieval castles, epic 10,000 mile road trips, and more. Check out Tech Treks for all his tours and adventures.