HD TVs have been commonplace for years now, but that doesn’t mean that everybody who owns one knows about all the features that these sets can have. Whether you just brought home a new TV you purchased from us, or have been trying to figure out what type of TV to get, there are loads of features that not every TV watcher will necessarily know about.
So, as part of our efforts to continually educate our customers how best to use their new and shiny products, we wanted to pass along six tidbits that you might not know about your HDTV — and how to use these features to their best advantage! Take a look — and get ready to enjoy your TV in ways you never knew possible:
1. Your TV can make your media look “worse”
Most people expect new TVs to make everything look better, but then find out that everything they watch on it looks … a little off.
Well, there’s an explanation for that. TVs can have a feature called motion smoothing, which, for some reason, is often set as “on” for new sets. This leads to what is called the Soap Opera Effect — it causes your TV to add in extra frames to the frame rate of your content, which can make everything look like soap operas.
Most people are probably going to want to turn this feature off. Check your TV’s specific manual for what the feature is called and where in the menu you can turn it off. This will help your TV go back to the normal frame rate that you expect out of your programming.
2. Your TV can be very smart
TVs are getting smarter and smarter, and expanding their out-of-the-box capabilities. Most TVs will come with at least one video streaming service already bundled in, while some even have a host of apps and other features that can do everything from letting you browse Facebook, to checking the weather.
If you only use your television for watching shows, dig through the applications in your TV menu and see what else it can do for you. Most of these apps and programs are free, so there’s no reason not to check each of them out and see all the new things your TV is capable of.
3. Your TV can double as a computer screen
Your HDTV has several HDMI ports — these are the ports that you use to plug in your Blu-ray player, video game systems, and probably your cable box.
But, you can also use one of these ports to connect your computer to your TV. Instead of running your computer’s HDMI cable to a monitor, you can easily connect it to your TV, instead. Many TVs now come with different virtual, screen sharing applications, giving you even more options to share your computer, laptop, phone, or tablet screen on your big, new TV.
4. Your TV can play your photos and videos
TVs come with a wide array of inputs — HDMI, component, composite; the list goes on and on. And, once you’ve hooked your TV up, you probably won’t spend a lot of time looking at the back side of it.
Some TVs have USB ports that will let you plug in a flash drive, so you can enjoy your pictures and more on your bigger screen. Whether you are having family over and want to relive the kids’ first birthday parties, or just want to reminisce over vacation photos, this can be a great way to bring everybody together and easily watch slideshows of photos.
5. Your HD TV can be super colorful
While 4K TVs have been getting a big push, there’s another new feature on the block that is getting attention: High Dynamic Range. Not all TVs come with it, but if your TV is equipped with HDR, it means you’ll be able to watch specially formatted, HDR-compatible titles. The long short of it means you’ll be getting more colors and contrast in your content — and it really does make quite a difference! If you are looking at buying a new TV in 2020, HDR is a must-have feature to shop for.
6. Your TV might actually may not be a TV
“What do you mean, my TV isn’t a TV? What is it then?"
Yes, what you just bought looks like a TV, and most people are still going to call it one. But it probably doesn’t have an actual TV tuner anymore, which means that it isn’t going to be able to pick up local TV stations. That doesn’t mean that you can’t watch local TV — you can purchase accessories to make it work — but it’s something to keep in mind if you have a strong attachment to local programming.