Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Feb 12

5 Flat Screen TV mistakes to avoid before Sunday

Before you turn this on for Sunday, make sure it's ready.

It’s almost Sunday. You’ve chosen the best flat screen TV for your room. You’ve got the menu all planned out. You’ve even got your DVR set to record your favorite halftime moments. Everything is ready to go.

Hold up a second. While you might be ready for the kick-off, your flat screen might not be. Here are 5 things to check before Sunday afternoon.1. Nitpicking the picture

Sure, the best flat screen TVs have a passable picture right out of the box (maybe it even goes into the great range), but once you take into account factors like time of day, weather, and even your decor, it may not be exactly right for your home.

While TV calibration may sound tough, it can be pretty easy. Many top rated flat screen TVs have built-in picture wizards to assist with calibration. If you’re not so lucky to have that built in, Monster’s ISF calibration DVD can take you step by step through the process of perfecting your picture.

Even if you’ve previously calibrated your TV, it’s always worth another look — time, or changes in your room’s look can throw an original calibration off.

Does the back of your flat screen TV look a bit like this? Time to re-organize.

2. Connection control

Running your DVR through your receiver which is piggybacking off that old VCR? The more steps your signal has to go through from source to picture, the more chances it has to degrade.

Take some time to examine that jumble of cables you call a home entertainment system and see if there are any cables you can eliminate, or connection paths you can simplify.

3. Quality wiring

Now that you’ve made sure your electronics are taking the shortest path, make sure they’re running on good quality cables. A good quality cable makes sure that your signal gets from point A to point B with the minimum amount of distortion to the original signal.

This is especially important to double check if you’re running longer cables (for example, if most of your components are in a different room), as signal tends to degrade over distance — stronger pathways mean better sound and picture.

Of course, Vann’s has a few wiring options to help out just in case.

4. Surge safety

Now, I haven’t had a chance to check the weather reports and power situations for every city Vann’s sells to (I’m only up to the C’s — Charleston, South Carolina, residents, get ready for some possible showers and a cloudy day), but Sunday preparation is key here, and a good surge protector and power conditioner not only provides good surge insurance, it can also help your picture quality.

I’ve talked about fire hazards… sorry, sorry, I keep doing that… power strips before, and my verdict remains the same — they just don’t cut the mustard. A good surge protector not only provides you more space for outlets, they also provide switches that shut them off when power hits dangerous levels — when a surge hits, shutting off quickly and dissipating electricity and heat is a sure way to save your best flat screen TV (and all your other components).

A power conditioner, usually built right into your surge protector, keeps signal fluctuations from affecting your picture by smoothing out the electricity your system receives. Fewer fluctuations leads to less ghosting, better audio, and longer panel life.

5. Seating arrangements

No, no, I’m not talking about making sure that Greg is sitting next to Sarah or keeping John and Caleb apart (boy how they fight). I mean making sure you’ve got a proper angle and distance from your screen so you won’t miss anything.

The general rule is that you sit no farther than a distance of 2.5x the size of your panel or closer than a distance of 1.5x the size of your panel. So, for a 60″ TV, you would want to sit about 7′ – 12′ away from the screen to get the best view. While this might sound like a lot, keep in mind you also need to take into account where it’s resting (high up on the wall? That adds a bit of distance).

For viewing angle, while the best flat screen TVs will boast angles of 72-degrees on either side (and top rated ones may even have 90-degree angles), the most comfortable angle tends to sit at around 30 degrees. If you plan on having a large gathering, it may be worth it to consider comfortable double row seating so that no one gets an uncomfortable angle.

Have some pre-game preparation tips you want to share? Let us know in the comments.

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