Follow this simple, three-step guide to make sure you get the best television viewing experience, starting with picking the right television, setting up your surround sound correctly, and preparing to stream your favorite movies and online programs.
Choose a High-Quality Television
Pick a television that is sufficiently large, yet still fits comfortably within your home theater space or living room. 4K and OLED technology screens like those offered by LG and Samsung will offer the best picture quality while LCD screens work well if you’re on a budget. Once you’ve picked a television, you can play around with the settings, but keep in mind that generally, keeping your set on standard or normal settings usually will offer the best picture quality. Cinema mode is for use in low light only.
Set Up Your Surround Sound
Surround sound systems typically come in either 5.1 or 7.1 formats, meaning five speakers and a subwoofer or seven speakers and a subwoofer, respectively. Larger systems are available, like the 11.2; however, nearly all Blu-Ray movies come in 7.1 or lower format.
First, set up the subwoofer in the front of the room, below and to one side of the television screen. Be sure not to place it close to walls or in semi-enclosed spaces. Then, place the center channel directly below the middle of the screen, at about ear level.
Next, place the front left and right speakers about 3.5 to 5 feet away from the screen on either side. With a very large screen, you may need to cut this distance. Distribute the surround speakers to the rear corners of the viewing area. Make sure both the front and surround speakers are at about ear height and angled towards the center seat of the viewing area.
In a 7.1 set-up, place the back right and left speakers behind the viewing area just above head level and angled towards the center of the viewing area. Never place them in a forward position or below this height. If you have to adjust their positions, move them up higher, farther back, or closer together.
Get Ready to Stream
Whether you buy a Smart TV or alternative streaming devices, you’ll need a broadband Internet connection with a reliable download speed of at least 1 to 2 megabits per second (Mbps) for regular video, 5 Mbps for HD video, and 25 Mbps for UHD.
Devices that can connect to the Internet, either through a wired Ethernet or wireless connection, include Blu-Ray players, game consoles, or a Smart TV. You can also connect using digital media adapters (DMAs) like Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, and Roku box. DMA sticks are also affordable alternatives, but function using Wi-Fi only. These include Google Chromecast, Fire TV Stick, and Roku Streaming Stick. Lastly, combine free streaming services like YouTube and paid subscriptions such as Netflix and Hulu Plus to get the most out of your television viewing experience.
Once you’ve followed these steps, you’ll have all the basics covered for kicking back, watching just about anything you’d like, and enjoying a lifelike television viewing experience.
These turn off most processing. If your set doesn’t have a Game preset, it will probably be worth manually deactivating as much picture processing as you can for your gaming input.