Pretty much every new TV on sale is ‘smart’. This means they don’t just provide the ability to pick up a TV signal from an airplane on a rooftop and somewhere to plug in a DVD player. They have facilities for watching online services including YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and NowTV, and can let you view your photo library, stream videos from your phone, listen to music, and watch shows. from local TV providers such as BBC iPlayer.
They can save you from having to buy a separate media player like Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV.
Getting all of these features up and running is easier than you think. Just follow our simple guide below and you’ll soon feel a lot smarter about your TV.
Since there are quite a few different makes and models, our guide will cover general guidelines rather than instructions specific to your particular device. We recommend keeping the quick start guide or manual that came with your new TV so you can refer to anything that looks different.
Once you’ve removed the TV from the box, it’s time to plug in the TV and connect any devices. Most set-top boxes, game consoles, and DVD or Blu-ray players use HDMI cables.
Most TVs tend to have several HDMI ports available to plug cables into, which will be labeled HDMI1, HDMI2, etc. Unless you’re attaching devices capable of delivering ultra-high definition video to the TV. 4K, otherwise it doesn’t matter what device you use.
However, if you’re connecting something like a 4K Blu-ray player, Chromecast Ultra, or 4K Amazon Fire TV, make sure to connect it to the HDMI 2.0 port on your TV: your manual should solve it. Which one (if any) supports this Standard.
You’ll need to take notes to know which HDMI ‘channel’ you need to switch to when you want to watch content from a particular device. So if you plug your PS4 into HDMI 2 then you will need to select HDMI 2 as input from the menu to play your game.
Usually, you can usually rename the inputs to something more user-friendly like an Xbox or DVD player, and some TVs (especially Samsung models) can even do this automatically. Some older devices, such as video recorders and the occasional Freeview box, may use a SCART cable (below) instead, but the same principles apply – although you may need a adapter if your TV does not have a SCART input.
How to set up Wi-Fi and connect to the Internet
Your TV will likely have built-in Wi-Fi (or if not, a connector for a network cable), which is what brings your streaming services, apps, music, and most content onto your screen. .
Some people prefer to use a network cable even when Wi-Fi is available because it is a faster, more reliable connection. You will need a network cable and also check the back of your router to see if you have any empty ports. On the BT Hub (one of the most popular in the UK) you’ll see four yellow square ports labeled as Gig Ethernet or something similar.
If the router is somewhere else in the house, you can always use the Powerline Adapter.
If you can’t access the router directly or want to use Wi-Fi because it’s more convenient, make sure the TV is in an area of the house with a good signal. Otherwise, you may also experience a lot of stuttering and stuttering when watching HD content online.
You’ll also need to make a note of the network name (often referred to as the wireless SSID on the back of the router) and the password to log into the network (again usually found on the back or underside of the router). route and is called something along the lines of Wireless Key). Armed with this, you’re ready to set up your TV’s software.
Turn on the TV and you will most likely be asked to select the language you want to use. Then follow the onscreen instructions and at some point you’ll be asked to choose your Wi-Fi network and enter a password. Once this is configured, follow any remaining steps such as tune in and set up your location.
Depending on how it looks on your particular model, there may be some additional apps already on your TV. These services usually include YouTube and some update services like iPlayer, All 4 and others.
Today, almost all apps require you to have an account and sign in, but this has benefits including recommendations, search history, and subscribed channels. The TV will retain your login information, so you won’t have to do it every time.
Image quality settings
One important thing you’ll want to check is the display mode. That’s because the TVs displayed in stores are set up to be super bright with colors that are too saturated for them to catch your eye. If your TV defaults to this mode, colors (especially skin tones) can look unnatural and you won’t want to keep it that way for long.
Find the menu button on the remote or in the on-screen view, then look for the Video or Picture setting. There will be several modes – Cinema, Game, Vivid, etc – so cycle through them until you are satisfied with what you see.
If you want to get past this, use a calibrated DVD or even a YouTube video and dive into the advanced settings to tweak everything for the absolute best quality. We’ve written a guide that explains exactly what to do to get the best picture out of your TV.
The last thing to do is adjust the sound. Just like the picture quality settings, you’ll see an option for the sound settings, which will likely be several modes. Again scroll through them so you can hear the difference or just adjust the bass and treble.
Unfortunately, not many modern TVs produce good sound, so we recommend investing in a soundbar to enhance the audio performance of your new purchase. Check out our roundup of the best soundbars as they really make a big difference.
And that’s it. Your smart TV is now ready to go, all your apps are ready to go, and you can fall back on the sofa and enjoy a little binge. Well, you have to check the screen, right?
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out what to watch on Netflix and what to watch on Amazon Prime Video.
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