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How to set up your new TV

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Do you have a new tv for the holidays? Congratulations! Now you may be wondering how best to set it up. Relax, despite all the jargon like HDR, Ultra HD 4K, 8K, OLED, QLED, 120Hz and HDMI 2.1, setting up a new TV isn̵

7;t difficult, and if you do it right you can make sure you’re getting the best you can. image. There may be a lot of cables to hook up and make adjustments, but after taking all this time to find the right TV, plus drive / carry / tow it home, it’s worth a little extra time to make sure it is properly installed.

After following the instructions to place the TV on its stand or mount it on the wall (if not already), the real setup will begin. Photo settings abound, along with other options and potential issues between box and beautiful photo.

This how-to guide should help you navigate the waters of TV technology.

HDMI cables

Almost everything you want to connect to a TV these days uses the same connection: HDMI.

An HDMI cable

An HDMI cable.


HDMI cables transfer high-resolution images and sound via one small cable. If you bought your TV from a store, you may have been forced to buy expensive HDMI cables to go with your TV.

Expensive HDMI cables do not benefit the average consumer. If you paid more than $ 1 per foot for your HDMI cables, consider returning them. If you’ve bought HDMI cables in recent years, chances are they will still work. If not, you can get new cables cheaply.

Virtually all video sources, from game consoles to Blu-ray players to media streamers, use HDMI cables. If you have older equipment such as a DVD player, Nintendo Wii, or VHS deck, there are some older cables to consider. But given that many newer TVs can’t connect to those older devices at all, we’re not covering them here. If your gear has HDMI then use that instead, it’s better and easier.

If you have a new one 4K TV, you probably no need for new HDMI cablesdespite what the seller has told you. It’s important to understand that it’s not about the HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 cables themselves, but the connection (ie in your TV or media streamer). The latest version of the compound is HDMI 2.1, but you don’t have to worry about that for now.

If you PlayStation 5 or Xbox series Xyou probably still don’t need new cables. The exception is if you want to use them on 4K120, something that few TVs can handle. In that case, it’s worth learning about it Premium certified cables, which cost little more than non-certified cables.


Sarah Tew / CNET


If you’ve bought a 4K or regular Blu-ray player that matches your new TV, it will likely automatically detect what your TV wants (1080p or 2160p) and send it to whatever applies. The same goes for a newer streaming box or game console. For older devices, whether a cable or satellite box, make sure it is set for 16: 9 video and set to HD output.

Simply because the cable box is capable of HD doesn’t mean you get HD. You have to pay your provider for HD channels (unless they are included in your current package), and sometimes you have to tune in to the specific HD channels. For example, at my provider channel 2 is SD, while channel 1002 is HD. This also applies to Netflix and other streaming services. For example, with Netflix, you can only get 4K if you pay for the most expensive streaming tier.

Amazon Fire TV 2017

Streaming sticks and boxes are easy to connect to TVs and usually set the resolution and other details automatically.

Sarah Tew / CNET

You can also get free HDTV with an antenna, and 4K over-the-air is already being rolled out in many cities.

If you are trying to get sound from your TV to your soundbar or receiver, there are some specific steps to take. This has to do with it Audio Return Channel (ARC), which is easily the most common question I get about modern TVs and home theater setups. If you bought a 4K TV, you May need a new receiver anyway.

If you want to connect your 4K TV to a computer, here are some things to think about. You can also connect your laptop to your TV wirelessly.

Photo settings

Once you’ve connected everything, take a moment to check your TV’s settings. Most modern TVs will ask if the TV is being used at home or in a store upon initial start-up. Choose the one that is most suitable for your environment (hopefully “home”; I’m not sure why you’d live in a Best Buy).

After going through the TV setup routine, you want it best picture mode for everyday viewing. Even if you don’t want to adjust anything else, selecting the right picture mode is going to be one thing long way to make your TV look its best. The CliffsNotes version? The TV will be most accurate (in other words, most realistic) in movie or cinema display mode. It is displayed brighter in Sports or Vivid mode.


Sarah Tew / CNET

If you like finer adjustments you can dive into it TV settings. The backlight and contrast controls usually adjust how bright the image appears, while brightness controls how dark the dark areas of the image look. To turn down the sharpness control of your TV actually improves its image. A similar simple solution is to adjust the TV’s overscan so you can see the whole picture. Yes, your TV may be cutting the edges!

If you want to dive even deeper, check out our articles on how to visually set up your TV and by a Set up Blu-ray disc. And if you want to get all the possible performance out of your more expensive TV, consider having it calibrated.

TVs are also prone to reflections, so if you have a problem with light washing out, check it out how to remove reflections on your TV screen. Finally, if you put your TV on a stand, check it out how to prevent your TV from falling over.

Your new TV probably has even more settings and tweaks that we won’t cover here, but here’s how to get started. And if you’re looking for something to watch, check it out CNET’s streaming TV insider. To enjoy!

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