If you're thinking of buying a new TV, it's well worth making sure you choose the right set for your needs and calibrate it properly before you sit down to watch your new pride and joy.
A few minutes spent tweaking the menus and adjusting the picture will enhance your viewing enjoyment no end. So to help you with the process, follow our simple ten-step guide below on how best to setup your TV:
1) Choose the right type of TV for your needs: are you going to watch lots of high-definition material, will you be adding Sky HD a Blu-ray player, or is standard-definition Freeview all you need? To help you decide what you need, read our How to find your ideal TV blog.
2) Choose the right size: there's no point having a 50in screen if you'll be sitting two feet away from it, or a 19in portable if your living room is the size of an aircraft hanger. Read our Choose the right size of TV guide to help you choose the correct size TV for your room.
3) Position it correctly: placing your flatscreen opposite a big window with lots of light reflecting off the screen won't do it any favours at all. And if it has to be positioned in the corner of the room – next to a fireplace for example – think about the viewing angles you'll be watching it from.
4) Calibrate the picture: straight out of the box, most TVs are set to default settings which are far too bright. That might be fine for viewing in a shop when each TV on display is screaming for your attention, but it won't give you the best picture in your living room. Put simply, it's best to turn everything down. To find out more, see our How to boost your TV's performance blog.
5) For more advanced picture set-up, use the THX Optimizer found on a number of DVD discs such as Star Wars III. For a full list of THX Optimizer DVDs, and instructions on how to use them, read our THX Optimizer blog.
6) How do I add high-definition? Just because you've bought an HD TV doesn't mean you'll automatically get high-def TV programmes. You'll need to add a high-definition source such as Sky HD, Virgin TiVo or Freesat. Watch our How to get high-definition TV video for all the info you need.
7) Do I need a Blu-ray player? If you have high-definition TV, then it's well worth investing in a Blu-ray player to replace your old DVD player. You'll get stunning Full HD, 1080p pictures and the added benefit of HD surround sound too (provided you have a compatible surround sound system).
And with prices starting from under £100, Blu-ray is no longer an expensive option. Take a look at our Blu-ray player Best Buys to find a model to suit your budget.
8. What about Ultra HD 4K? These sets are just starting to come on the market, but as yet there's very little 4K material to watch on them and they're expensive. We've just done our first Group Test of 4K sets in the December 2013 issue of the magazine, on sale now, with prices ranging from £4500-£5500. Find out more in our 4K TV article.
9) Add a surround sound system: flatscreen TVs, by their very nature, have little room for built-in speakers, so sound quality tends to be poor.
As many TV programmes are broadcast in surround sound, and DVDs and Blu-ray films usually have multichannel sound too, it's well worth investing in a full-blown surround system.
If you can't accommodate a full-blown 5.1 system in your home, then a soundbar could be the ideal solution. Check out our Best soundbars to buy 2013.
10) Still confused? Then read our Blu-ray and HD Jargon Buster to help you understand all those baffling technical terms. And don't forget you can post any additional questions in the TV section of our Forums.
by Andy Clough