So you’ve just unboxed your brand new smart TV. It’s clear that while things like 3D and curved TVs were fleeting fads, the idea of a computer-like TV with apps and connectivity with other things around the house is here to stay. But even though it may look like a regular (if very slim) TV, the smart TV is really more of a computer and will require a little bit of setting up to get it working the way you want it to.
In this article we’ll talk you through the first things you need to do when setting up your shiny new smart TV – from firmware updates to ensuring that the picture looks just right.
Every smart TV has a basic setup process that should guide you through the fundamentals of getting your TV online, creating an account and so on. This guide will assume that you’ve gone through this basic setup process and that your TV is online.
Update the TV Software
Like your phone or PC, your smart TV is subject to a steady stream of updates which smooth out the smart TV OS, fix bugs, improve UI elements and sometimes add new features.
To check for updates, use your TV remote to go to your TV Settings and under “Support” or “About” you should see the option “Update” or “Software” update. Go ahead with the update, which is downloaded from the Internet and installed automatically.
Sync Your HDMI Devices
Once your TV is set up, pressing the Home or “Smart” button on your smart remote should bring up a menu or pop-up showing all the preinstalled apps on the TV.
If you have external devices such as a cable TV box, Chromecast, Blu-ray player and so on, you ideally want to have them listed among the apps on your smart TV home screen, so you can switch between them directly through the home screen rather than the old-fashioned method of using the “Source” button to navigate to the right device.
Again, the exact details of how to do this vary depending on your smart TV operating system, but using your smart remote, you should be able to navigate to an option called “Source”, where you can scan for HDMI-connected devices and add them to your smart TV home screen.
Adjust the Picture
Smart TVs tend to be endowed with lots of fancy settings that ostensibly improve your viewing experience. Using the main TV remote’s “Settings” or “Menu” button, you can go to “Picture,” where all the options will be available to you.
You may want to switch on “Game Mode” for your games console, for example, which will reduce input lag (at the cost of image quality, depending on the quality of your TV). Or you may wan to make basic adjustments to contrast, colors and other things by each connected device.
Auto-dimming is a handy feature in plenty of modern smart TVs that measures the amount of light in the room and adjusts the screen brightness accordingly, so it’s never too bright or too dim. We recommend switching this on.
More controversial features include motion smoothing, which is a good thing to have for HD sports coverage but can make films and TV look unnaturally “sped up” due to the higher refresh rates.
HDR+, meanwhile, is a software-based HDR-imitating feature that yields mixed results and can also tamper with refresh rates, so toggle it on and off to see which you find more comfortable.
Sync Your Smartphone with Your Smart TV
Every major smart TV brand has its own dedicated Android and iOS apps that let you use your smartphone as a smart remote.
The quality of these apps varies between manufacturers, but for the most part they give you access to TV guides, apps, and volume and TV controls, among other things. Go to the App Store or Play Store and have a look to see what the offerings are for your TV.
Beyond that, just explore your Smart TV and see what you can find. You can hook smart TVs up to other in-home smart devices from the same You can also hide – though not uninstall the apps that come preloaded onto the TV.) Enjoy!
Image credit: Samsung LED Smart TV