With the whole of the UK confined to our homes during the current pandemic, there’s been no better time to get acquainted with the tech in your home and enhance the home entertainment experience – whether that’s the latest Netflix series such as After Life 2 or streaming Dua Lipa’s new album on your TV.
It’s time to consider the environment where you watch or listen to content, not just the devices you’re using. By adjusting all aspects to your home set up, you can really up your game. Who knows? Perhaps when it’s possible for us to socialise together again, you can show your nifty space. To get the lowdown, Javier Foncillas, VP. Commercial Partnerships Europe at Dolby Laboratories, has shared his hacks on how you can improve your home entertainment during lockdown.
- Lights, Camera and Can’t See the Action
For those moments when you really want to check out and tune into what you’re watching, pay attention to the brightness level in the room as this can negatively impact your viewing experience.
Lighting Tips + Tricks:
- If you want to get really immersed in your favorite show, you’ll want to make your room as dark as possible. Try to use curtains to dim natural lights and switch off all your lamps.
- Don’t put your TV next to a window.
- Make sure all your gadgets – WIFI router, smart speaker, thermostat, etc. – are not inadvertently reflecting unwanted light onto your screen.
- And check to see if these light sources are within your field of vision, and if so turn them off because they can get pretty distracting.
- Customize your inputs and streaming profiles
Whether you are rushing to get on a conference call or are in the middle of making dinner, simplify how your kid or parent are able to access their entertainment by customizing your input sources – especially if you have multiple devices plugged into your TV – and streaming profiles.
Input Tips + Tricks:
- Most TVs allow consumers to name individual inputs, for example – “Rachel’s Xbox,” “Cable TV,” or “Blu-ray player”
- Another easy tip, especially if you have multiple people in the house using your streaming account, is to create multiple account profiles customized according to who or what people want to watch – like “Cartoons,” “For Grandma,” “Parents” etc – allowing them to tune-in and everyone else to remain focused on other important things.
- Distance Matters
For all your virtual calls with friends and family or when bingeing your favourite show, the distance from your TV to your couch makes a big difference in your viewing experience. If your TV is too far away, your picture quality can suffer and things won’t look as crisp. It’s all about the details, so unlike at the movie theatre, close = good J
Images will start to lose detail if the distance between your couch and TV is greater than three picture heights**. You’ll want this distance even closer if you are watching movies or TV shows in 4K.
**picture height is the distance between the top and bottom of your screen.
- How to Get Great Sound AND Not Torture Everyone Else While at Home
With many families juggling work and school meetings with screen time, the placement of your TV or audio system will have a significant impact on the quality of your audio experiences – and family sanity.
Sound Tips + Tricks:
- Make sure your TV is placed on or above a surface like a table to ensure you’re sending audio throughout the room.
- Most new TVs have speakers placed behind the panel and are pointed downward. If you don’t have a surface directly under to help reflect sound, the audio quality will get buried.
- If your room is too reflective, consider putting down a rug or hanging up a piece of art on your walls. This will help absorb sound.
- If you have a sound bar, make sure that it is mounted or placed on the edge of your TV table instead of sitting flush with the wall – this way, the audio is reflecting outward into the room vs bouncing against your TV.
- Unsure where to place a subwoofer? Subs are omnidirectional, meaning they reverberate sounds all throughout a room. So, you can put it anywhere – but don’t place it against a wall or near an object that will rattle (your significant other and neighbors thank you in advance).
- TV Setting Life
Just like you rarely use the same filter on each social media post, you might not want to use the same TV settings based on what you’re watching. So, as you switch from Frozen 2 to Tiger King to sports classics, you can customize your TV settings for a better viewing experience.
TV Setting Tips + Tricks (most TV’s include these common settings):
- Cinema or Movie Mode – for people looking for a purer picture
- Vivid Mode – ramps up the saturation and brightness but at the same time can make the picture lose detail
- Sport Mode – optimizes live sports and other forms of live entertainment
- Standard Mode – this mode finds a balance between all the modes above
And for the gamers, many TV’s include a “Gaming Mode”. This actually turns off certain features inside your TV, to speed up its internal processing, which can reduce potential latency – for an extra edge.
#protip: Watch each mode for at least 15-30 minutes to give yourself some time to adjust before making a decision.
To up your game and create the ultimate home entertainment experience, add Dolby-capable products to your list. From TVs to soundbars, the devices have Dolby Atmos and/or Dolby Vision built in. Dolby Atmos is an advanced type of surround sound technology which means that sounds can be precisely placed and moved in three-dimensional space for a more immersive experience. It’s a step beyond surround sound in that the technology envelopes the audience in a ‘dome of sound’ so you feel more involved in the action. Dolby Vision on the other hand is a type of HDR that dramatically expands the colour palette and contrast range and optimises the picture for every screen — frame by frame. This means better bright colours and darker blacks, and this enables TVs to display the full range of colours intended by creators.
For more information on Dolby, please visit their website here.