Setting Up My Home Theater
Setting Up My Home Theater
Jeff Colen (President, A Sharper Home, Inc.) gives expert video advice on: How far away from my TV should I sit?; Is it safe to mount my new TV over my fireplace?; What is the best way to position speakers in my home theater? and more...
Should I tell my cable or satellite company when I buy a new TV?
You should tell your cable or satellite company that you have a new TV, especially if you want to enjoy high definition. If you don't let them know, you will not have a high definition service. You need to get a new tuner box for your equipment. You need to need to pay a premium to your cable or satellite company for a high definition content at this point in time. Without notifying those providers you're not going to see anything different on your screen.
How far away from my TV should I sit?
One of the big advantages of the newer technology of newer TVs, is that you can actually sit closer to the TV than you used to be able to. The newer TVs have nothing to do with radiation. It has everything to do with the ability since the resolution on the newer TVs is better than on the older style TVs. You can actually sit closer to the TV and continue to see the detail on the screen. So recommended viewing distances for TVs typically are three to four times the height of the TV. So for example, if you have a 50-inch TV, it typically is around 30 inches tall. So the recommended viewing distance on that TV is between 90 and 120 inches.
Do I need a professional to mount my new TV on my wall?
You should consider professional installation of your TV, especially if you're going to be mounting it on the wall. If you mount it incorrectly, it can fall off the wall, flat-out, and that's an expensive mistake to make. No warranty covers that. Also, given the fact that it is new technology and there are new types of connections to be made, it makes sense, it'll save you some time and a lot of frustration if you have a professional come out and help you out with the process. Generally speaking, we run the cables first. We get all the cabling in place, then we connect up all the components; the receiver, the DVD player, and we get all those in place and situated correctly. The last thing we do is the hanging of the TV. The primary reason for that is because, if the TV is in the wrong position, we want to be able to reposition the mount and do those things before we've hung the TV up, because afterwards, we have to take everything down and take it all apart again.
Is it safe to mount my new TV over my fireplace?
Aesthetics aside, there really is nothing harmful about hanging your TV over the fireplace, as long as in the process of hanging it over the fireplace, you respect the insulation that is sitting around the flue. If you break into the flue, or if your installer breaks into that flue, you really have some serious problems on your hands. So that is something to be careful about when you're mounting a TV over a fireplace.One of the checks that we always do when we're mounting a TV over a fireplace is actually to do heat measurements at the bottom of the TV. And the reason for that is, there's always some heat that escapes from the fireplace when you have it on, and you want to make sure that the bottom of the TV doesn't get much above 110 to 115 degrees for extended periods of time. Most of the time, most modern fireplaces, it's not a problem. But on some older fireplaces, especially those that have no ledge sitting over the fireplace, it could create a problem and it's just something to consider when hanging it.
What kind of cables should I use to connect my home electronics?
The primary cable that you're going to use to connect up all of your home audio/video equipment is a component video cable, what they call a coaxial cable. It has an RCA end on it, and that's the most frequent cable. You use it for audio, you use it for video, you use it for some types of digital audio.The second most important cable you're going to see out there is a what they call toslink, which is an optical cable that's used to transmit an audio. It has an interesting little connector on it, and it essentially transmits audio via laser light. So when you plug those into your receiver, they'll glow red on the ends. Don't look at them because you could burn your eye.The third type of cable that you'll see out there is what they call HDMI, which is the high definition media interconnect which you'll need. It's not an option, you'll need to be able to view the highest definition content and material. Those carry both the audio and the video. Another type of cable you'll see out there but it's fading away a little bit is what they call DVI, which is a digital video interconnect. It's only video, it does extrordinarily high rates of video transmission, but, it is not used as frequently anymore because of the size and the bulk of the cable.
What is the proper order for connecting my electronic components?
There is no particular order for setting up your electronic equipment. Generally speaking, we run the cables first, then we connect up all the components - the receiver, the DVD player. We get those all in place, situated correctly, and then the last thing we do is the hanging of the TV. The primary reason for that is that if the TV is in the wrong position, we want to be able to reposition the mount and do those things before we hang the TV up, because afterwards we take everything down and take it all apart again.
Can I stack my VCR, DVD player, DVR and stereo components?
If you stack your components together in a cabinet – and that happens frequently because you have a certain size cabinet and you have a lot of equipment to put in there – you can do it. What may happen is if there's not enough ventilation, there will be heat build up that will shorten the life of those components.