If you have spent much money on a quality home theatre cinema system, then it is extremely important to make sure that you have the components set-up correctly. This article will show you how to optimise your HDTV picture, amplifier settings and speaker placement to get the very best out of your new equipment.
Adjusting your picture settings
The first stage of getting your cinema system optimised is to perform your HDTV set-up. Try and replicate your viewing conditions as closely as possible before changing brightness settings. Choose a film with many dark shades, such as Star Wars, to set your brightness and contrast. Generally, HDTV factory settings are way too bright to stand out on a busy electrical showroom floor. Try and adjust the picture so that the black tones are black rather than grey. Alternatively, you can buy a virtual DVD test card which will allow you to fine-tune your picture settings. These DVDs show grayscale and graduated colour bars which can be matched against a paper copy so that you can fine-tune your TV to the optimum settings.
Most home theatre systems are known as 5.1 set-ups, in other words, five satellite speakers and one large sub-woofer. The two easiest speakers to place are the centre speaker, which should go directly below the screen and the sub-woofer, which can be placed anywhere in the room. Note that the closer you place the sub to a wall, the more bass it will produce. Next, place the remaining satellites. The front speakers are the most important and they should be placed at ear level at an angle of 30 degrees on either side of the TV with respect to your viewing position. Finally, mount the rear speakers at ear level, facing towards your head on either side of your sofa. Connect the speakers to the amplifier by using quality speaker cable along with your media sources such as DVD players, game consoles and of course, your TV. Try to use the DTS setting on your amplifier wherever possible to create true discrete surround. Alternatively, if this is not available, use the Dolby Surround setting. This setting effectively changes a stereo source into a surround sound distribution by using the amplifier's processor.