* * *
Today’s post is brought to you by the Click ‘N Dig! Key Finder set, a handy kit containing 6 receivers to attach to your keys and other frequently-lost items, plus extra batteries! Advertisers make it possible for Digital Media Mom to bring you great content each day for free, so thanks for your support.
* * *
What’s Wrong With Your TV?
So you got one of those widescreen-format, HD television sets. But when you watch it, it doesn’t look quite so HD as it did in the store. Or maybe the resolution is good, but the broadcast picture doesn’t fill the screen. Maybe it’s not wide enough. Maybe it’s not tall enough. Whatever the case, there’s probably a pretty simple fix and it probably comes down to incorrect settings on one of the devices that’s attached to the TV.
1. Check the Video Settings menu on the TV itself.
Obviously, the specifics here will vary for each different make and model of TV. But if you’re in the habit of watching TV shows that are piped through a cable or satellite box, you may never have even bothered checking out the Video Settings menu on the TV itself.
Confession: I myself didn’t bother going into that menu on my 2 year old widescreen HDTV until this past weekend, and when I did I discovered that the TV was set to 720p for HD viewing when it should’ve been set to 1080p. You’ll have to check with your cable or satellite provider to be sure, but in general 1080p is the standard broadcast resolution setting for HD. The resolution you actually SEE comes down to the setting on the TV. If yours is set to 720p or SD on a TV that’s rated for 1080p HD resolution, you’re not getting the highest possible picture quality.
The Video Settings menu is also where you’ll find options to set the display “aspect ratio”, meaning how tall and how wide the picture should be. If you’ve invested in a widescreen TV, where the screen is wider than it is tall to give the same ‘letterbox’ effect you’d have in a movie theater, you’ll need to set the correct aspect ratio in Video Settings.
Check your TV user guide or manual for the correct setting. If you’ve lost the manual, go to the manufacturer’s website and visit the Support area. Most manufacturers make the manuals for their products available online free of charge.
2. Check the Video Settings menu on EVERY device attached to the TV.
Having the correct settings on the TV itself will not solve your problem if you have the wrong Video settings on your cable/satellite box, streaming box, Blu-ray player or DVR. Believe it or not, there’s a Video Settings menu on your console gaming unit (e.g., XBOX, PS4, etc.) too. And guess what? If you’re in the habit of connecting a laptop or tablet to your TV for viewing digital content, you may need to adjust the Video settings on that laptop or tablet as well.
After all, the makers of those devices can’t know ahead of time the specific make and model of TV the device will be used with, so the default settings tend to be pretty basic and not necessarily geared to a high-end HDTV.
Again, if you find you’re unsure which settings to choose, go to the website of the manufacturer for the specific device and look up the user guide. If that’s no help, look for Help and Support links that will allow you to call or email the device manufacturer for further guidance. Be prepared to provide the make and model of your TV.
3. Look for a “size” button on your TV, cable/satellite, or other device remote control.
Even when you have all the settings on the TV and other devices set properly, you can run into distortion problems when watching programs that aren’t being broadcast in a format that matches those settings. For example, very old TV shows like I Love Lucy and The Twilight Zone weren’t shot or broadcast in a widescreen format, so they may appear distorted when viewed on a TV that’s been optimized for widescreen viewing.
TV manufacturers and cable/satellite providers are aware of the problem, and have begun including a handy “size” button (may be labeled “display”, “AR” for ‘Aspect Ratio’, or something else – check your user guide) on the remote control that allows you to easily, temporarily change the screen size. On my Verizon Fios remote, there are four different size settings and I can cycle through them to find the one that looks best. When I’m done watching the oldies, I can use the size button to go back to my original settings.
* * *
And now, a word from our sponsor…
The Click ‘N Dig! Key Finder set is a perfect addition to the household of anyone who’s frequently losing their keys, cell phone, or other small essentials that are easily mislaid. You attach the receivers to your keychains or other items, then when one of them is lost you use the base unit to sound an alarm on the receiver of the missing item, making it easy to locate. The set has an average review rating of 4.5/5 stars, includes three keychain and three flat receivers, and normally sells for $69.99, but as of this writing is on sale for just $39.95. And it’s eligible for Prime Shipping, too!