How to Set Up Your New TV

What you need to know about picture settings, connections, HDMI cables, and more

Setting up your new TV is not as simple as choosing the perfect spot in your living room and plugging in the appliance. However, this guide will help you dive into the task without frustration or confusion. 

Keep the Manual Handy

The instructions for your specific TV are worth at least skimming before you get into the setup process. That’s because they may contain details that prevent you from having to backtrack later. 

For example, the instructions for Samsung smart TV owners advise them to point the accompanying remote at the set when turning it on for the first time. From there, you may need to set up new TV passwords to use the Internet-powered functions on many modern TVs.

Make the Necessary Connections 

To get started, connect the TV's power cord to the nearest available outlet. Once that's done, look for the HDMI Out port on the TV and plug your HDMI cable into it.

setup tv back of television set

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Since HDMI cables transfer digital information without compressing it, they provide the best-quality sound and video for you to enjoy. 

Your TV may have multiple HDMI ports depending on the highest video quality it supports. If so, make sure the cable you use matches the chosen port. For example, an HDMI 1.0 port supports up to 1,080 p at 60 Hz, while an HDMI 2.1 port can show 4K or 8K video at Hz. The hertz represents the refresh rate. You can still get 4K video with an HDMI 1.4 port, but it’ll be at a slower refresh rate.

Connect the Wi-Fi and Choose Apps

Most televisions on the market today are smart TVs, so they require an active internet connection in the house.

To get connected, turn on your smart TV with the Power button or remote.  Look for a list of Wi-Fi connections and choose the one for your home. You'll also need to enter your network password using the buttons on the remote.

You’ll typically use the remote to select the appropriate option and enter the password to connect. However, the exact steps vary by manufacturer. 

A crucial part of setting up a smart TV involves selecting the apps you want to use with it. Browsing the available applications often starts from your TV’s Home menu or screen, although it depends on the manufacturer’s setup choices. 

You’ll likely use your TV’s remote to navigate through app collections and select options to download. If you want to set up new TV apps later, go through this same process.

Pay attention to apps labeled as free. Many offer a complimentary trial and then assume you want to keep the service after the free trial. Make sure to understand the pricing details now to avoid unpleasant surprises later.

Adjust the Picture Settings

television smart tv settings

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Modern TVs have several picture settings to match specific needs. The one labeled “Cinematic” or “Movie” typically provides the most true-to-life representation of the on-screen content. Check your owner’s manual to see how the manufacturer refers to the available picture modes. 

If you see one called “Vibrant” or “Display,” it might raise your curiosity but is best avoided. Such settings give hyper-realistic content, usually to catch people’s attention as they walk past the set in a store. They’ll probably impress your guests but are too intense for everyday viewing. 

Refer to the TV’s instruction manual to learn how to access the picture settings for your particular model. They probably include slider bars for adjusting aspects like brightness, color, or contrast. Be careful when moving those due to the lack of standardization between televisions. 

Link Additional Gadgets

If you want to use other products with your new TV, check the instructions for each one to get the most accurate information. Many use an HDMI port. For example, the Roku stick with 4K compatibility plugs into an HDMI port with HDCP 2.2 compatibility.

Check your TV’s remote for a Source button. Pressing it allows scanning for all connected HDMI-compatible devices. Once your TV recognizes them, you can add each gadget to the Home screen to switch between them. 

You’ll also see a port labeled HDMI Audio Return Channel or HDMI ARC. You can use it to hook an audio/video receiver up to your TV after pairing additional devices with a sound system. 

Keep the Software Updated

Once you learn how to set up a smart TV, it’s important to periodically check for software updates to keep the appliance operating smoothly. The manufacturer’s instructions explain the exact steps. 

However, you’ll usually find this option under the System menu. You can have the TV check for new updates, then install them if available by using the remote to select the appropriate choices.  

You’re now ready to choose a favorite show and settle back to watch it. You may need to make additional tweaks as you become more acquainted with the features and settings over the coming weeks. However, you can feel confident you’ve gone through the main setup process after following this guide.

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