Home entertainment, it’s been around for a long time now and it has gotten better year-over-year. But these past few months have really thrust home entertainment front and center, considering most of us are sheltering in place. While some may be satisfied with how their home entertainment setup, others may be looking for ways to improve it.
Our friends over at Dolby have produced a series of hacks that can help improve your home entertainment setup. Implementing these hacks should bring you a better viewing and listening experience that you may never go back to the theater again, kidding of course.
Let’s take a look at what Dolby recommends for optimizing your home entertainment setup. When you’re done reading the hacks below, be sure to check out our reviews section for TV and soundbar reviews.
Chances are you’re watching way more TV these days. And after you Marie Kondo your closet and garage, don’t forget to show some love to your TV/entertainment system. Whether you’re in a city apartment or the suburbs, these easy life hacks can give you that upgrade you deserve and never knew you needed.
1. Lights, Camera and Can’t See the Action
For those moments when you really want to check out and tune into what you’re watching, pay attention to the brightness level in the room as this can negatively impact your viewing experience.
Lighting Tips + Tricks:
- If you want to get really immersed in your favorite show, you’ll want to make your room as dark as possible. Try to use curtains to dim natural lights and switch off all your lamps.
- Don’t put your TV next to a window.
- Make sure all your gadgets – WIFI router, smart speaker, thermostat, etc. – are not inadvertently reflecting unwanted light onto your screen.
- And check to see if these light sources are within your field of vision, and if so turn them off because they can get pretty distracting.
2. Customize your inputs and streaming profiles
Whether you are rushing to get on a conference call or are in the middle of making dinner, simplify how your kid or parent are able to access their entertainment by customizing your input sources – especially if you have multiple devices plugged into your TV – and streaming profiles.
Input Tips + Tricks:
- Most TVs allow consumers to name individual inputs, for example – “Rachel’s Xbox,” “Cable TV,” or “Blu-ray player”
- Another easy tip, especially if you have multiple people in the house using your streaming account, is to create multiple account profiles customized according to who or what people want to watch – like “Cartoons,” “For Grandma,” “Parents” etc – allowing them to tune-in and everyone else to remain focused on other important things.
3. Distance Matters
For all your virtual calls with friends and family or when bingeing your favorite show, the distance from your TV to your couch makes a big difference in your viewing experience. If your TV is too far away, your picture quality can suffer and things won’t look as crisp. It’s all about the details, so unlike at the movie theatre, close = good J
Images will start to lose detail if the distance between your couch and TV is greater than three picture heights**. You’ll want this distance even closer if you are watching movies or TV shows in 4K.
**picture height is the distance between the top and bottom of your screen.
4. How to Get Great Sound AND Not Torture Everyone Else While at Home
With many families juggling work and school meetings with screen time, the placement of your home entertainment system will have a significant impact on the quality of your audio experiences – and family sanity.
Sound Tips + Tricks:
- Make sure your TV is placed on or above a surface like a table to ensure you’re sending audio throughout the room.
- Most new TVs have speakers placed behind the panel and are pointed downward. If you don’t have a surface directly under to help reflect sound, the audio quality will get buried.
- If your room is too reflective, consider putting down a rug or hanging up a piece of art on your walls. This will help absorb sound.
- If you have a sound bar, make sure that it is mounted or placed on the edge of your TV table instead of sitting flush with the wall – this way, the audio is reflecting outward into the room vs bouncing against your TV.
- Unsure where to place a subwoofer? Subs are omnidirectional, meaning they reverberate sounds all throughout a room. So, you can put it anywhere – but don’t place it against a wall or near an object that will rattle (your significant other and neighbors thank you in advance).
5. TV Setting Life
Just like you rarely use the same filter on each social media post, you might not want to use the same TV settings based on what you’re watching. So, as you switch from Frozen 2 to Tiger King to sports classics, you can customize your TV settings for a better viewing experience.
TV Setting Tips + Tricks (most TV’s include these common settings):
- Cinema or Movie Mode – for people looking for a purer picture
- Vivid Mode – ramps up the saturation and brightness but at the same time can make the picture lose detail
- Sport Mode – optimizes live sports and other forms of live entertainment
- Standard Mode – this mode finds a balance between all the modes above
And for the gamers, many TV’s include a “Gaming Mode”. This actually turns off certain features inside your TV, to speed up the internal processing, which can reduce potential latency – for an extra edge.
#protip: Watch each mode for at least 15-30 minutes to give yourself some time to adjust before making a decision.