Last Updated on October 2, 2021 by Sean Donlevy
Have you bought a new TV? Are you looking to optimize your TV experience?
Here are our best tips for a better TV experience to get the most out of it when watching movies, tv shows, and series.
Many people probably just unpack the new TV and get it up and started. After a quick channel setup, you lean back in the armchair and feel quite happy with yourself. But stop for a while! There is a lot you can do to further enhance the experience.
If you have bought a new TV, most commonly, you will probably place it in the same place as the old TV. But are you really getting the most out of your TV and make your experience as good as possible?
How do you know that it is the most optimal solution in terms of image quality and for the best TV experience?
Modern TVs build up the image with pixels tightly packed next to each other which is clearly visible only when you walk close enough to the panel. If you then slowly move farther away from the image area, you will eventually reach a point where the pixels form together and compose an image. It is in this position that you perceive the maximum number of details in the image. If you move a little further away, several pixels will appear to clump together and the smallest details will disappear from the field of view.
In order to calculate an optimal distance, the following three factors should be taken into account: the size of the TV, the resolution of the TV, and the resolution of the image signal. On the web, you can find various charts that indicate optimal distance with regard to these factors but these are quite debated and the conditions can vary quite a lot between different individuals.
A good rule of thumb is that 1080 material presented on a full-HD screen is best viewed from about 1.5 times the panel size. So on a 46-inch, it would mean about 175 centimeters which must be considered pretty close considering how a living room is normally furnished. If you are farther away then it is not likely that you can make use of the full-HD resolution and an equivalent result could be achieved with a far cheaper TV with standard resolution. If you are unsure, test different distances from the TV to see what you find is optimal.
A simple tip is to make sure you have the perfect position in the TV couch which means sitting in front of the screen. Sit in front of the screen so you get a perfect viewing angle. Test yourself by looking at the screen a little from the side – you will probably see that the image loses some contrast and color rendering.
No home theater experience is, of course, complete without the accompaniment of a powerful sound system. Home cinema systems come in a variety of designs and price levels so it is important to investigate their needs before striking.
Proper surround requires at least one 5.1 system with rear speakers for best results. However, one should not stare blindly at the power output as that figure says very little about how good a system really sounds. If you can, try different sound systems and also read reviews online.
Most importantly for the perfect TV quality and experience is the image source. Televisions with full-HD resolution naturally present 1080 footage in an exceptionally good way, but often have problems when it comes to scaling up standard low-resolution digital TV to 2 million pixels.
Thus, the best experience comes from a high-resolution image source. If you are a little technically savvy you are investing in a media center computer or a small hard drive-based media player that can deliver high-resolution material to the TV. Then you can enjoy all the high resolution you can find out on the net (which is a great deal) with the small caveat that it is usually not a legal way to go.
To make your TV experience as good as possible, you should watch TV in complete darkness.
Especially when it comes to plasma, bright LCD panels do a little better. However, a darkened room is almost mandatory when it comes to projectors. A good tip is to place a weak lamp behind the TV, it highlights the image and improves contrast and blackness.
The question of the ultimate TV settings for the best quality and experience is subject to a lot of debate. Some argue that “good image” by definition requires calibration according to established standards, while others believe that it is about subjective appearance and taste. A piece of general advice is at least to test for yourself in the menus to see if you find an attitude you like better.
Many new TV owners do absolutely nothing but leave the TV in factory-set “dynamic” settings, which is not a good fit in the home environment. Many devices have a preset that is often called something like “Film” or “Natural” which gives a much more pleasant image than “Dynamic”.
Those who want to go a step further invest in a calibration DVD that, step by step, guides you to as good a picture as possible. The goal is for the image to be as close to the original as possible, as it looks on expensive calibrated monitors used by film companies.
The ultimate in the field is a so-called ISF calibration, which means that a technician comes to your home with advanced measuring equipment. The calibration not only takes into account which TV you have but also what signal the image source gives and how your lighting conditions look at home. The result is optimal but it costs. ISF calibration of television and individual connection to, for example, DVD players costs a few thousand dollars, which probably feels difficult to defend if you do not happen to have enough money.
Cables are available in all price ranges and just as with calibration, there is sometimes a lively debate about how much expensive cables really “give” in relation to the slightly cheaper ones. The cable is, in any case, a critical part of the system and it is unnecessary to risk it becoming the weakest link. In other words, avoid the very cheapest variants.