Low-cost house theater and TV tweaks: Cover cables, alter settings, clear the display screen

Cheap home theater and TV tweaks: Hide cables, adjust settings, clean the screen

Do not throw the cables on your self, get them organized.

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In case you personal a TV, and a sound system to go along with it, you could be on the lookout for methods to make it carry out its best possible. For instance, over time you could have discovered it would not look or sound pretty much as good because it used to: The image is not as clear, perhaps the dialogue has develop into mumbly. Caring for these points is straightforward and would not have to price a lot cash — the truth is, a number of of the ideas are free. 

Listed here are seven hacks to maintain your TV and house theater tools in prime form, starting from merely selecting up a distant management to purchasing your self some new gear.

Calibrate image and sound settings

Don’t be concerned, you needn’t put on blue coveralls or personal a scientific calculator to calibrate your system. It is easy. Whether or not you simply bought your TV out of the field or it has been sitting in your TV stand for years you may at all times enhance its image with a few fast button presses. The very first thing you must examine inside your TV’s image settings is that it is in Film or Calibrated mode (if accessible). Vivid mode might look spectacular on the store ground however that is the place that monstrosity ought to keep — folks look orange and plenty of high-quality element is misplaced. When you’ve got an Apple TV now you can use an iPhone to calibrate the colour of a linked tv.

Likewise, getting higher sound out of your sound system could be improved with a few easy tweaks. When you’ve got a soundbar with a separate subwoofer, for instance, shifting it a few inches in any route might make it sound loads higher. However you probably have one thing somewhat extra concerned, like a receiver and audio system, then there’s a couple of extra methods accessible up your sleeve. Firstly you may at all times dig out the calibration microphone and run it by way of its setup course of. Nonetheless, should you’ve misplaced the mic you may at all times do it by hand, utilizing a decibel meter app in your smartphone. I favor this latter technique as I discover it offers higher outcomes, particularly relating to setting the extent of the subwoofer.


Superb tuning your TV settings could make an enormous distinction.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Preserve it clear

House theaters are literal mud magnets with the quantity of static electrical energy flying round — particularly on TVs. Cleansing your system can’t solely assist it look higher, however many AV parts will work higher after somewhat upkeep: the obvious being your TV display screen.

If the tv has grease spots from fingerprints, use a moist however not moist fabric, or for actually cussed stains use a light answer of cleaning soap and water — you do not want a specialised display screen cleaner. Then wipe it dry with a lint-free fabric. In case you’re particularly quick on time you could possibly at all times breathe on the smudges and use the ensuing condensation to shine them off.


Sarah Tew/CNET

The following step is to take away mud across the TV and any related tools like an AV receiver or cable field. Whereas producers do make specialised wipes, a duster or the identical lint-free fabric may even work.

When you’ve got units with cooling followers, these can accumulate plenty of gunk over time — cleansing them will assist them run higher. Purchase a can of compressed air to wash these followers effectively from the skin — do not open it up — however be sure to unplug the gadget first. The “air” can have plenty of moisture in it, and you do not wish to threat shorting your tools.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Cover your cables

Cables are the lifeblood of any house theater or TV system, however nobody likes taking a look at them. Hiding them away not solely reduces litter but additionally prevents potential tripping hazards.

Cable ties are an economical technique to set up the cables main from the TV to different elements of an AV system. However do not buy single-use plastic ties — as a substitute get Velcro or wire-based twist ties from bread luggage, as these are adjustable.

When working cables collectively, attempt to preserve AV interconnects and electrical cables separate. That forestalls electrical interference, which might end in a degraded audio or video sign. Use the ties to repair the cables alongside the pure boundaries of AV furnishings and partitions.

When wall-mounting a TV, you most likely do not desire a energy and HDMI cable dangling down from the underside. In case you do not wish to drill holes in your wall, use cable channels that connect to the wall and could be painted to fit your decor. Even higher, purchase white HDMI and energy cables, which may even present a cleaner look.

If the system consists of encompass audio system or Ethernet, the cables can go below rugs, alongside skirting boards, or inside specialised rubber duct covers that run throughout your ground. Mounting clips may also be used to repair cables to the wall so they do not get lost. As one reader suggests, do not run energy cables underfoot.

Purchase a surge protector


 Belkin’s 8-Outlet Pivot-Plug Surge Protector.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Contemplate shopping for a devoted surge protector that has sufficient retailers for all the system’s parts. Whereas energy conditioners can run into the a whole bunch or hundreds of {dollars}, you do not essentially want these.

Loads of extremely rated surge protectors can be found from about $30. Search for ones with 10 to 12 retailers. The Belkin Pivot-Plug Surge Protector pictured above has “solely” eight, nevertheless it additionally affords area for giant “wall wart” energy packs, which is one other key promoting level. CNET’s Geoff Morrison additionally covers the issues to search for when shopping for a surge protector.

Bear in mind that these units cannot actually shield tools from direct lightning strikes: A small wire fuse can do little to carry again the unrelenting energy of Mom Nature. For a similar motive, don’t fret an excessive amount of about plugging USB, Ethernet or coaxial cables into your surge protector. That mentioned, some fashions do supply linked units warranties and should supply some consolation, however one CNET reader discovered it was like making an attempt to get blood from a stone once they tried to make a declare.

Wall-mount the TV


Sarah Tew/CNET

Mounting a TV on the wall is without doubt one of the best methods to reclaim area in a lounge, and never solely does it look nice, nevertheless it’s actually easy to do. (The tougher half is hiding the wires, however that is what the aforementioned cable channels are for.) This is the whole lot you should learn about mounting a TVOmniMount is an efficient place to begin when buying.

Get a brand new TV stand


Sarah Tew/CNET

In case you’re utilizing a desk and even the ground(!) to accommodate the TV and related parts, it is likely to be time to spend money on a devoted TV stand. Ikea is normally the default, however contemplate merchandise from specialist firms resembling Bell’O, Sanus and Salamander. In case you’re particularly passionate concerning the look, you could possibly enlist an area cabinet-maker to construct one thing customized.

This is what to search for:

  • Loads of air flow
  • Built-in cable administration
  • Cabinets with line of sight for distant controls with out having to depart doorways open
  • Sufficient room for all the cable bins, consoles and video streamers

Most TV stands are grouped in accordance with the scale of your display screen, which helps preserve issues trying neat, however remember that should you’re utilizing discrete audio system, a extremely extensive AV unit would possibly imply the audio system are too far aside for a convincing stereo impact. On this case, you could possibly mount bookshelf audio system on the unit itself and wall mount the TV.

When you’ve got babies, or notably boisterous associates, it is a good suggestion to tether the AV cupboard to the wall as nicely. Some items include furnishings tethering kits, but when not, these kits can be found from locations like Amazon or House Depot for little or no cash.

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How to easily mount your TV


Buy yourself some new gear

We’re all still spending more time at home, so why not splurge on improving the TV setup? Whether you’re looking to buy a new streamer to take advantage of newer video standards or going all out with a brand new system, the possibilities are endless. Here’s a list of all of our favorite AV gear from the tiniest Roku Express to the largest 4K television and everything in between.

This article was originally published in March 2017 and is updated regularly with new tips, tricks and products.

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