Get The Most Out of your Oscars TV Viewing Experience

Family Watching Television
Family Watching Television. Getty Images - ONOKY - Eric Audras - Brand X Pictures

The annual Academy Awards celebrates the best in movies that were released during the previous year and is watched on TV by millions around the world. The Academy Awards, which recognizes qualifying films released during the previous year, is televised to a Worldwide audience annually in late February or early March. For U.S. viewers, the telecast will be presented live beginning at 7 PM EST/4PM PST via its headquarters TV Network ABC.

Here is how you can prepare for the best Oscar viewing experience.

Receiving and Watching the Telecast

The entire Academy Awards ceremony will be broadcast over-the-air, and via cable/satellite. Here is what else you need to know about watching the show.

  • Make sure your Antenna, Cable, or Satellite box is functioning properly and that you will be able to receive the ABC broadcast. Also, make sure, if you have an HDTV, that you are receiving ABC's high-definition channel feed.
  • Although the Oscars will be telecast in High Definition, ABC broadcasts in the 720p resolution format. However, although the Oscars are not going to be broadcast in 1080p or 4K, your Oscar viewing experience may still be further enhanced on a 1080p or 4K Ultra HD TV, if you are using one to watch the event. These sets provide upscaling capability, which will add more perceived detail from the HD broadcast signal.
  • If you are receiving the telecast via your cable/satellite box, you have a couple of additional options. First, check to see if your cable/satellite box has output resolution settings that include 1080p, if so, use that setting - OR - you if you have a home theater receiver that provides 1080p upscaling, you can send the 720p cable or satellite signal (via HDMI) through the receiver for upscaling and then the receiver can send the 1080p upscaled signal to your HDTV via its HDMI output.

    The Sound of the Oscars

    The Oscars will be telecast in Dolby Digital 5.1 Channel Surround Sound (subject to how your local ABC affiliate, cable, or satellite services pass along the Dolby Digital signal). Either way, to get the best sound experience for the Oscars there are several ways to go, depending on what you have to work with.

    • If you are going to receive the Oscar telecast via over-the-air antenna, check to see if your TV has a Digital Optical Audio Output Connection. If so, and if you additionally have either a home theater receiver or soundbar that has a corresponding Digital Optical Audio Input connection, then simply connect the digital audio output of the HDTV to the digital audio input of the home theater receiver or soundbar and you will experience better sound (if using a soundbar) or the full surround feed (if using a home theater receiver and 5.1 channel speaker setup) for the Oscars - provided, as mentioned above, that your local station, cable, satellite services passes along the full surround sound signal.
    • If your TV does not have a Digital Optical Audio Output but has a set of analog stereo outputs, then connect those to your home theater system or sound bar. Also, if connecting to a home theater system, check to see if the system has a Dolby Prologic II or IIx setting option. If so, then you will be able to extract a surround sound signal from the stereo signal, it just won't be as effective as the Digital Optical Audio connection option.
    • Another audio connection option is Audio Return Channel. In order to take advantage of this option, both your TV and Home Theater Receiver/System or Sound Bar have to incorporate this feature. For more details, read my article on Audio Return Channel.
    • If you subscribe to Cable/Satellite, then your cable or satellite box should have a Digital Optical Audio Output connection. If this is the case, then connect directly from the box to the Digital Audio Input Connection of your home theater system or sound bar. You will now be able to access the surround sound signal from the high definition cable or satellite feed.
    • If you have a home theater receiver that has HDMI audio access, and if your Cable/Satellite Box has an HDMI output, then the best option would be to simply connect the HDMI output from your Cable or Satellite box to your home theater receiver and then connect the output of your home theater receiver to your HDTV. This will enable you to access both audio and video using a single connection from the box to the home theater receiver, and then to the HDTV.

      Once you have your system all set-up and ready to go, and you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPad mini, check out the useful THX Home Theater Tune-Up app.

      Streaming

      In addition to the Oscars TV broadcast, portions of the ceremony, as well as backstage looks are usually streamed via ​The Oscars Live Webpage. Specifics will be announced closer to the show date, as well as during the show.