February 15, 2007
So, you just got the TV out of the box...the "New TV" smell fills your living room, now - how do you hook it all up to get the best picture and sound quality. Just like you wouldn't drink champagne from a paper cup, you don't want to watch standard definition programming on your high definition TV. Hooking up an HDTV is more complicated than hooking up older TV's - but the time you take will be well worth it.
If the thought of dozens of cables going every which-way is intimidating for you, you may find it best to check with the store for in-home setup. The additional cost may be worth it to eliminate the frustration of doing it yourself. If that's not an option for you, the best advice...Forget what you've learned about setting up your television, start from scratch using your instruction manual, and take your time.
Your New Screen:
The first thing you probably noticed about your new TV is that the screen is more rectangular than your old set. This is because HD programming comes in the same 16x9 aspect ratio as a movie screen giving you more picture. Standard screens are 4x3.
Keep in mind, not all programming is in 16x9 format, so you may see black bars (letterboxing) down the sides of the screen during standard definition programming. This is the same as the bars at the top and bottom of your screen when watching a widescreen movie on a standard television. Most HDTVs offer a way to "stretch" a 4x3 image so it fills the entire screen. This will make the image appear slightly distorted or fat, but you may prefer it to the letterboxing feature. Your instruction manual will have more information on changing the aspect ratio.
Better Picture Quality:
HDTVs are capable of producing an amazing picture. Aside from the wider picture, you should see far more detail. HDTV offers twice the resolution of a standard TV. If you do not notice this additional detail, you may have the TV hooked up wrong.
Better Audio Quality:
HDTV signals provide digital sound, including Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. In most cases, you will need a separate audio receiver and speakers to get the best audio signal. The sound through your TV speakers will still be better than before, but true 5.1 surround requires 5 speakers and one subwoofer. Consult your owner's manual for more on how to get the best sound.
Hooking Up Your TV:
Many TV consumers are used to simply hooking a cable into the back of their set and getting TV. The same can't be said about HDTV's. The hookup is, in many cases, entirely different. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your HDTV:
Meet Your Video Cables
A list of the most common types of audio & video cable
|HDMI||The highest quality digital video cable, video remains "digital" from the source to the television, so there is no signal loss.|
|Component||Most common form of cable used in HDTV's, video signal is delivered in several analog signals from the video source to the television. Provides|
|S-Video||Also separates the video into different analog signals, but the signal quality isn't near as high as Component video|
|Composite/RCA||Basic analog connection. Noticeably degraded picture quality, especially on larger televisions. You may also have these for analog audio signals.|
|Coaxial||Connects cable to your digital cable box, it may also be used to hook a VCR to your cable box. This also connects your antenna to your HDTV or Tuner.|
Digital Audio Cables
|Coaxial Audio||Digitally sends audio signal to compatible audio equipment. Connector appears the same as RCA cable, but they are not interchangeable.|
|Optical Digital Audio||Similar to coaxial audio, only the signal is sent through a fiber-optic cable using pulsating light beams.|
Check with your cable company to see which, if any local channels are offered over their cable service. If they do not provide local stations in HD, you will need to hook up an antenna. In many cases, you don't need a fancy antenna. You can learn more about your needs based upon your address by visiting www.antennaweb.org. Currently, the only area that can receive KWCH in HD is the Wichita/Hutchinson metro area.
Cox Communications in Wichita does offer local High Definition programming, but you must have their "digital cable" package. Also, local HD programming does not come down under the standard channel settings. For example, KWCH in HD is found on channel 612, while our "Always On" weather channel is 675. Contact Cox with any questions about receiving local HD programming. You can also find detailed "hook-up" guides at www.cox.com.
Satellite companies also provide local stations in HD over their signal. Contact your satellite provider about their HD programming.
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