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The Quick Do’s and Don’ts When Setting Up a New Flat Screen TV

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Successful Minneapolis Flat Screen Home Theater Installation

Congratulations, you just purchased a brand new, shiny flat screen! Feels good, right? Before you pull it out of the box, plug it in, and start channel surfing, there are a few things to consider if you really want to maximize your home entertainment experience. That is why you got a new TV, isn’t it?

Things to Do...

home theater installation tipsGet the right connection Chances are you purchased your new TV for the promise of awesome high definition (HD) picture quality. What you may not know is that while most sets still allow you to connect to your DVD player, Blu-Ray, or other device using the traditional red, white, and yellow cables (composite cables), if you want to experience true HD you’ll need to buy an HDMI cable. This cable allows for high definition 720p and 1080p picture quality. Without it, you’ll still be viewing standard definition (SD). Most flat screens today have at least two HDMI slots for hooking up HDMI compatible devices. The cables typically range from $10-$80, depending on manufacturer and quality. You’ll need one for each HD device you plan to use. Pick a good spot At first glance, the space above the mantle may seem like a good place to mount the TV. Put it there if you want to see a chiropractor every week for the eternal kink in your neck. For ideal viewing in the long run, you want to position your TV at eye level and away from lighting sources that will interfere with picture quality. You should also keep an optimal viewing distance between where you’ll sit and the TV. This varies depending on the size of your TV. Experts typically recommend between 4-6.5 ft for a 42” TV, and 5-7.5ft for a 50”. Remember, just because it’s a flat screen doesn’t mean it has to be mounted on the wall. There are plenty of TV stands and entertainment centers that are just as good for your room’s feng-shui. They can also help hide cables (more on that later)! Calibrate to your needs Most flat screens today come preconfigured with fairly good picture settings. However, your viewing experience can vary drastically between watching a movie with dark backgrounds and playing bright, color intensive video games. The key is to calibrate your TV’s settings—color, brightness, contrast, and refresh rate—to the input you are using, and to set them to levels that look best to you. Most TVs today let you save these configurations, so you do not have to reset them each and every time you use a particular input.

Things you DON’T Do...

Use the wrong cleaning products You just spent a pretty penny on your new TV. Don’t damage it by using the wrong cleaning products. Flat screens are not windows. That means Windex is out. Don’t use any glass cleaners that contain alcohol or ammonia. Instead, purchase a solution that is specifically made for flat screens. Most electronic stores and many supermarkets carry them. When you apply the cleaner, don’t spray it directly onto the screen. Instead, lightly dampen a microfiber cloth with it and gently wipe the screen. Try to avoid using any wiping materials, such as brushes, that may scratch the screen. Tip: Wipe a soft, used dryer sheet over the screen’s surface to help repel dust particles! Leave your wiring everywhere The last thing you want to do after a hard day’s work mounting the TV to the wall is trip over the power cord and have the thing come crashing to the ground (it was in studs, wasn’t it?). Cords can be tricky, as they aren’t always cooperative. What’s more, you may have multiple cables popping out from all sides of the TV. Fear not, there are things you can do to help control the chaos. First, try to run your cables either parallel or perpendicular to your TV. Keeping them against the wall in straight lines is less distracting and more aesthetically pleasing. Second, try to run them inconspicuously on the floorboard or in corners when connecting to power outlets. This will help prevent people from tripping on them. Lastly, use ties to bind them together. Consider enclosing them in a tube or wire-hider. You can even paint the enclosure to further camouflage the wires – ninja style. Do it all by yourself Carrying a TV into your home or mounting to a wall are not easy tasks with larger TVs. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend for help. Your back will thank you for it. If no one is around to lend a hand, consider having the TV professionally delivered, installed, and set up. There you have it! With these fundamental tips in your back pocket, you are well on your way to fully enjoying what your new flat screen TV has to offer. Check back for more tips and tricks to take your home entertainment experience even further. Jay Sarkin is a TV and entertainment blogger for cable.tv. Look to him for the scoop on hit movies and TV shows, tech reviews, how-to’s, and more. [sc:insertbutton]

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