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How to Get the Best Home Theater Picture

by Ronald Elias

Let's make that picture … picture perfect.

We probably wouldn't be working at Smart Automation Solutions if we weren't fans of getting picture quality just right. We've always been the videophiles and audiophiles of the class -- that's what got us interested in automation and technology in the first place!

When people talk to us about new TVs, everybody always asks how it’s going to look and how good the picture will be. The image quality on a TV is made up of so many variables, and those can change even within a brand or depend how your settings are set up. But there are some things you can keep an eye out for to help make sure you are getting a TV with great picture. This week on the blog we are going to take a look at some of them and how they impact the image you see on screen.

 

Media Source

One of the main things to think about when it comes to getting the best picture possible: the source.

Most people these days are content with relying on streaming services for their video. We'll tell you a little secret, though. Even if you are streaming 4K from Netflix, the source image is still compressed and transferred across the internet, and it isn't going to look nearly as good as a "true" 4K image. Internet speed, pixilation, and buffering can all cause problems with streaming quality, as well. 

What do you need to do to get the best possible picture, then? Physical media. All the way. You want a 4K Blu-ray disc and a player, and you want it connected to your TV via HDMI. This is the best way to make sure you are getting the best picture possible, and that you are making the most of your new TV investment! 4K streaming would be the next best, then followed by physical HD Blu-ray, then HD streaming.

 

Resolution

Another point of conversation surrounding home theater picture is resolution. Most people are somewhat familiar with at least the idea of resolution -- it's often the most advertised TV feature, but it's also the one that has makes jumps and leaps every few years that not everybody is able to continually keep up with.

The main idea of resolution is this: The number in any given resolution tells you how many pixels are in an image. The more pixels a screen has, the more detail you'll be able to see. The most commonly used resolution at the moment is 1080p, which is the current high definition/HD standard.

When it comes to home theaters, however, 1080p is really just the starting point. There's also 4K (Ultra HD) resolution, and 8K is also starting to come to consumer TV sets. If you are looking to get a home theater this year, 4K is really the way to go. You can always upgrade further with 8K, but there really isn't any 8K content out there that makes the resolution bump worth it ... not yet, anyway.  

But, to put it simply: The higher the resolution, the better picture you are going to have. At least as a general rule. Not sure how to narrow things down more than that? Give us a call at 240-242-7272 -- we'll be glad to help.

 

Color

Things are a lot more than black and white when it comes to TV color.

While 4K is giving viewers more resolution, there's another major TV enhancement that is making waves through the industry -- high-dynamic range (HDR). Essentially, TVs with HDR are able to display a wider range of color, bringing the images closer to the filmmaker's vision and making them look more realistic. It also includes enhanced contrast, so the difference between dark and light scenes will be greater, making dark scenes really stick out when compared to brighter, lit scenes.

If you want to get the best home theater picture, HDR isn't as much a question of if you need it, but how soon you can make the upgrade. It's the best way to watch some of the best content at the moment -- just remember to make sure that your TV can support it!

 

Display

Getting the right display for the right location is also important. You want to make sure to get a TV that is the proper size for your space – we can help you with this, as it can impact viewing distance and how good the screen looks.

Also, nobody likes a TV image that gets washed out by ambient light, so TV brightness is a big topic for consumers and professionals alike. If you are installing your theater in a room with high ambient light, you’d want to make sure that the projector or TV you go with is bright enough for you to still see the image clearly, even during the day.

Another area that brightness is especially important is when you are looking at outdoor TVs. Regular TVs just can't handle the harsh light of being outside, so if you are looking to purchase a TV for your patio, porch, or outdoor bar area, make sure it is a proper outdoor TV with a good brightness rating.

To truly enjoy your home theater, you need to make sure that you are considering all of these factors and how they come together to give you a TV set that's perfect for your needs -- and your budget. If you have any other questions about picking between TVs, or if you are ready to go ahead and get started on your home theater, we're always here to help! Simply go over to our contact page, or give us a call today at 240-242-7272!