As Televisions have evolved over the years so have the techniques for getting the most out of the systems. The variations of TV’s on the market at the moment sometimes means its difficult gauge what you need to optimise your experience. We’re going to run through what a TV comes with out of the box and what you can do to get the most out of your fancy new system.
Unlike older TV’s, modern digital televisions require a little setup from the box. Most of the tuning is automatic but you need to be there to press buttons and insert the odd password.
Every TV now comes with a Digital Tuner– That’s Freeview to you and me. All you need to do is plug the TV into your wall aerial or portable antenna and allow the system to auto-tune your stations. Many auto tuners will ask for your region, e.g. UK-Yorkshire, so that your signal is the strongest, it’s sometimes possible for your digital region to be outside your geographical region. So if you find yourself losing out on channels try the next strongest signal and re-scan.
If you’re buying a larger TV, the likelihood is that it will be SMART or at least SMART enabled. This means it will be able to connect to the internet so you can steam Movies, Music and Games. To do it you need to connect the TV to the internet and for this you need a WIFI Receiver or Ethernet connection.
Some TV’s have In-Built WiFi receivers like a laptop does- In this case all you need to do is go into the network setting and input your passcode to pair with the WiFi router.
Other TV’s have ‘Internet capabilities’ meaning you need to add an External WiFi Receiver like this Netgear Adapter or this LG Adapter. It’s important to note that not every adapter/receiver is universal. You need to make sure your wireless chipset in the TV is compatible with the adapter. Your TV’s manual will tell you what format you can use.
The third option is via an Ethernet Cable-Hard Wired. This is a direct link between you router and TV that carries the signal without WiFi. You can do this by simply running an Ethernet cable directly to your TV from the router or by using the Powerline system to carry the signal over further distances. [What is Powerline]
Large TV’s don’t come with built in DVD players so you may need to look at what’s available on the market so you can watch your favourite movies.
If your TV is 1080p enabled it may be worth looking at Blu-Ray Players. This is currently the highest standard format available for viewing external media and the quality is spectacular. Blue-Ray Players have the ability to play standard DVD’s so no need to throw your old collection away. It’s also worth noting many Blu-Ray Players are SMART-enabled so you can access various online video streaming services even if your TV is a standard model.
Media Players & TV Streaming
The rise of TV streaming services like Netflix, LoveFilm and iPlayer has seen consumers move away from rigid TV scheduling. Many SMART TV’s are contractually tied to one service or another, so to get all these options on one device you need a streaming player like the Roku box. This system broadcasts over 450 channels via a WiFi connection so you can flick between iPlayer, 4OD, LoveFilm and many more.
If you want to play your own films, pictures and music on your TV it’s worth looking at a Media Player. These little boxes work as a go between from your storage drive to TV. Simply add all your files to your library and the Media player will convert them into a TV friendly format. Everything is done via WiFi so you can access you files with ease without rooting around for DVD’s.
If you are more Apple product inclined, Apple TV works on a similar premise by using files from your iCloud account to broadcast wirelessly to your TV, the device is then wired via a HDMI cable into your TV for a high quality connection.
With all these devices plugged into your sockets its worth considering a Surge Protected socket adapter. Turning these devices on and off at various times can cause power fluctuations in standard sockets, these surges in power can be lethal to certain devices. Surge Protectors are designed to manage power variations and individualise each application, making sure everything is safely managed.
Cables & Connections
HDMI is the standard connection used between TV and device as, unlike RBG, it carries both Video and Audio- Cutting down the need for many cables.
Cabling from device to TV has long been a contentious issue. The cost of something like a HDMI cable can vary from £2 to over £100. There is undoubtedly a difference in quality between high and low end cables, however as to what difference you will see on your own TV is where the debate will rise. To get the best out of a BLU-RAY disk or games console on a high quality TV’s it may be worth investing in a Higher End HDMI Cable as the signal will be more responsive and clear. However for other use with standard devices that will not broadcast at such high standards there are some great value Standard HDMI Cables out there.
TV’s tend to come with 1-2 HDMI inputs, but with so many devices vying for the input how do you chose which one get priority? Well, you don’t have too- If you have a number of devices that all require a HDMI port simply get a HDMI Switch. Like a socket adapter the switch simply splits your HDMI signal, meaning you don’t spend half you TV time faffing with cables everything you flick between a DVD player and games console.
Apps and Control
Universal remote controls have had their fair share of criticism, unreliability and occasional incompatibly has given them a bad name. Universal controls are good if they are programmed correctly, if the setup is rushed the remotes ability will be sketchy. Advice is to follow the instructions directly and don’t give up programming half way.
With smartphones and tablets becoming more popular Universal Remote Applications are on the rise and are becoming integrated with a lot of tech. Big brand TV’s firms like Sony & Samsung have their own remote apps for TV and some tablets have built in programmable universal remotes. As WiFi is developed further expect to see more WiFi remotes and apps hit the market.