Getting The MOST Out Of Your HDTV

Getting The MOST Out Of Your HDTV
By Kevin Campbell
Published June 9th, 2014

Getting The MOST Out Of Your HDTV

While both the 720p and 1080p resolutions are considered to be "high definition," only the latter is actually considered "true" high definition. But what many people don't know is, your television might not necessarily be displaying the highest quality image it possibly can. A number of different things can affect whether or not you're getting a true 1080p image, even if your television set is capable of displaying such a resolution. These things can include the types of cables you're using, the settings on the device and even the television itself.

Make sure you're using the right type of cables. Though many HDTV and Blu-ray players have the ability to make connections with various types of cables, the only type actually capable of transmitting a true 1080p signal is called the HDMI cable. These cables transfer both audio and video over a single line. Though the picture on your TV will look very nice if you use component video cables, you won't be getting 1080p. This means that you spent money on a television set you can't properly enjoy.  

Make sure your Blu-ray player, game console or cable box is set to output to 1080p instead of 720p. Certain external devices allow you to specify whether video should be transferred at 720p or 1080p resolutions. It is possible that your Blu-ray player, for example, may have a default setting of 720p. This means that even if you have a 1080p television set and are using an HDMI cable, you still might not be getting true high definition. Go into the "Settings" menu on all your devices and enter the "Resolution" or similar menu. Verify that the "Output Resolution" is set to 1080p.

Make sure the content you are trying to play is actually available in 1080p. Only certain types of content are available in high definition. For example, DVD video discs are in a standard definition resolution. Only Blu-ray home video discs offer a high definition picture. Likewise, not all home video game consoles are capable of displaying 1080p. Of the current generation, only the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 have this feature. In addition, just because you have cable doesn't mean you have high definition cable. Most cable companies require you to call and specifically request access to high definition channels and packages. This typically requires you to pay more money per month than you would for just standard channel access.
Another thing that you're going to want to remember is the fact that the image on screen will only look as good as the source material. It is possible for the transfer of a Blu-ray disc to look worse than a DVD if certain types of digital noise reduction are applied. Always check the source before getting upset that your expensive new equipment doesn't make everything look as crystal clear as you thought it would.