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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If you happen to personal a TV, and a sound system to go along with it, you might be on the lookout for methods to make it carry out its very best. For instance, over time you will 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 change into mumbly. Caring for these points is simple and would not must value a lot cash — in actual fact, a number of of the guidelines are free. 

Listed below are seven hacks to maintain your TV and home theater tools in high form, starting from merely choosing up a remote control to purchasing your self some new gear.

Calibrate image and sound settings

Don’t be concerned, you need not put on blue coveralls or personal a scientific calculator to calibrate your system. It is simple. 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 improve its picture with a couple of quick button presses. The very first thing you need to verify inside your TV’s image settings is that it is in Film or Calibrated mode (if obtainable). Vivid mode might look spectacular on the store ground however that is the place that monstrosity ought to keep — folks look orange and lots of high-quality element is misplaced. When you have an Apple TV now you can use an iPhone to calibrate the color of a related tv.

Likewise, getting higher sound out of your sound system might be improved with a few easy tweaks. When you have a soundbar with a separate subwoofer, for instance, moving it a couple of inches in any direction may make it sound rather a lot higher. However you probably have one thing just a little extra concerned, like a receiver and audio system, then there’s just a few extra tips obtainable up your sleeve. Firstly you may at all times dig out the calibration microphone and run it via its setup course of. Nonetheless, when you’ve misplaced the mic you may at all times do it by hand, using a decibel meter app on your smartphone. I favor this latter methodology as I discover it offers higher outcomes, particularly on the subject of setting the extent of the subwoofer.


High quality tuning your TV settings could make a giant distinction.

Ty Pendlebury/CNET

Hold 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 elements will work higher after just a little upkeep: the obvious being your TV screen.

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


Sarah Tew/CNET

The subsequent 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 can even work.

When you have gadgets with cooling followers, these can accumulate lots of gunk over time — cleansing them will assist them run higher. Purchase a can of compressed air to wash these followers effectively from the surface — do not open it up — however be certain to unplug the gadget first. The “air” can have lots of moisture in it, and you do not wish to danger shorting your tools.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Conceal your cables

Cables are the lifeblood of any dwelling theater or TV system, however no one likes looking at them. Hiding them away not solely reduces muddle but in addition prevents potential tripping hazards.

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

When operating cables collectively, attempt to preserve AV interconnects and electrical cables separate. That stops electrical interference, which may lead to 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. If you happen to do not wish to drill holes in your wall, use cable channels that connect to the wall and might be painted to fit your decor. Even higher, purchase white HDMI and energy cables, which can even present a cleaner look.

If the system contains encompass audio system or Ethernet, the cables can go underneath rugs, alongside skirting boards, or inside specialised rubber duct covers that run throughout your ground. Mounting clips will 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

Take into account shopping for a devoted surge protector that has sufficient shops for all the system’s elements. Whereas energy conditioners can run into the a whole lot or 1000’s of {dollars}, you do not essentially want these.

Loads of highly rated surge protectors can be found from about $30. Search for ones with 10 to 12 outlets. The Belkin Pivot-Plug Surge Protector pictured above has “solely” eight, however it additionally provides house for big “wall wart” energy packs, which is one other key promoting level. CNET’s Geoff Morrison additionally covers the things to look for when buying a surge protector.

Remember that these gadgets 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 be concerned an excessive amount of about plugging USB, Ethernet or coaxial cables into your surge protector. That stated, some fashions do provide related gadgets warranties and should provide some consolation, however one CNET reader found it was like making an attempt to get blood from a stone after they tried to make a declare.

Wall-mount the TV


Sarah Tew/CNET

Mounting a TV on the wall is among the best methods to reclaim house in a lounge, and never solely does it look nice, however it’s actually easy to do. (The more durable half is hiding the wires, however that is what the aforementioned cable channels are for.) Here is everything you need to know about mounting a TVOmniMount is an efficient place to begin when purchasing.

Get a brand new TV stand


Sarah Tew/CNET

If you happen to’re utilizing a desk and even the ground(!) to accommodate the TV and related elements, it is perhaps time to spend money on a devoted TV stand. Ikea is normally the default, however think about merchandise from specialist corporations similar to Bell’O, Sanus and Salamander. If you happen to’re particularly passionate in regards to the look, you possibly can enlist an area cabinet-maker to construct one thing customized.

Here 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 containers, consoles and video streamers

Most TV stands are grouped based on the dimensions of your display screen, which helps preserve issues wanting neat, however remember that when you’re utilizing discrete audio system, a very huge AV unit would possibly imply the audio system are too far aside for a convincing stereo impact. On this case, you possibly can mount bookshelf audio system on the unit itself and wall mount the TV.

When you have babies, or significantly boisterous buddies, it is a good suggestion to tether the AV cupboard to the wall as nicely. Some items include furniture 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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Purchase your self some new gear

We’re all nonetheless spending extra time at dwelling, so why not splurge on enhancing the TV setup? Whether or not you are trying to purchase a brand new streamer to reap the benefits of newer video requirements or going all out with a model new system, the probabilities are infinite. Here is a listing of all of our favourite AV gear from the tiniest Roku Express to the most important 4K tv and every thing in between.

This text was initially printed in March 2017 and is up to date commonly with new ideas, tips and merchandise. | Low cost dwelling theater and TV tweaks: Conceal cables, alter settings, clear the display screen


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