Published on April 20th, 2013 | by Gary Johnson0
Improving the HDTV experience
The majority of people now own a flat screen HDTV in at least one room in their house, but many won’t know how to make the most of this technology which sometimes won’t be helped by some of the high street stores they are purchased from. So today we are having a brief look on getting the most from that HDTV.
Many will just get the TV out of the box plug it all in and after the it has set itself up by tuning into all the digital stations that are available will just then get on with watching the TV. Trouble is they could be missing out on what the TV can really offer them especially if they have purchased something a bit more high end than the cheaply made Vestel panels that will have a number of other companies badges on them ranging from the likes of Hitachi, Goodman’s, Tesco, Toshiba, and many more.
To start with the screen needs to be properly calibrated that can be achieved by calling in someone and paying for a service, but there are some cheaper alternatives such as the Digital Video Essentials DVDs that can probably be picked up for next to nothing via popular auction websites. Some Star Wars DVDs have sections that include THX picture calibration that can help improve the image that is displayed.
Some thought also has to be made about the positioning of the TV as too much light can seriously affect some Plasma TVs, while the viewing angles are more restricted on LCD sets with all TVs ideally placed at eye level. Now that TVs are much slimmer than the old CRT sets the sound from them can be very tiny, so if you have the room and extra money some kind of extra audio system can be purchased.
Many audiophiles will prefer to use an AV receiver that will offer a system that can provide at least 5.1 surround sound, but these can prove costly and take up a lot of room with wires travelling around the room to the various speakers. Other solutions are all in one systems that offer a Blu-ray or DVD player with all the speakers connecting to the unit, but the trouble with these can be in the future if you add more equipment such as games consoles and other tech while not having enough connections.
There are also some good quality sound bars available now that will offer a much improved audio experience over the speakers on the actual TV itself and takes up much less room. A highly controversial topic with HDTVs is the cost of HDMI leads, and many unknowing soles have been ripped off buying that £80 lead from popular high street retailers.
These leads are carrying a digital signal that is basically lots of 1s and 0s and over short distances a cheap cable will be no different from the most expensive, and believe me there are some seriously expensive HDMI cables out there. Sometimes when there are a lot of cables together the cheaper ones may pick up a little interference, but this is mostly unnoticeable while the build quality of the cheaper cables will also be inferior but not many people will keep unplugging and plugging it back in anyway so it won’t be an issue.
One area that cables will make a difference is the speaker wire used for the surround sound speakers, but not much money is needed to improve on the cheap bell wire that is supplied with certain systems.
If you have a full surround sound system placement of these speakers is also important. Ideally the centre speaker will be beneath the TV with the front surround speakers either side at ear level, while the rear speakers should be slightly higher and to either side of where you will be sitting.
Obviously this is not always possible but many AV receivers have a special microphone that is placed around the room while it picks up a signal from the speakers to help calibrate the settings. Placing these speakers on quality stands will also improve on how they sound with some having the option of filling with sand or spiking directly to the floor that all aid the sound quality of the speakers.
Have you done any of these things to get more out of your HDTV or have you something else to add?