How to mount and set up a TV

When installing your TV there 4 main things that you need to do;

  • Find the right position to place or mount your TV.
  • Mount the TV
  • Connect your TV to the media sources and power source.
  • Calibrate the TV settings for the best picture settings.

1.      Find the right position to place/mount your TV

Determine the right height (viewing angle)

The TV should be placed or angled at eye level from your sitting position (this is around 4 feet from the floor). In short, your head should line up with the screen when you are sitting to make sure that you are looking straight ahead.

If the TV is placed too high this will force to look up which is straining to the neck and the colors, especially the black will start looking washed out. However, if you have recliners, you can position the TV slightly high and angle it towards the viewing position.

If you have one or more seating rows, you will also need to put the height of the risers into consideration. In this kind of set up, it can be a bit difficult to find the optimal height for all the rows. A general rule of thumb would be to find the right height using the second seating row. Make sure that the TV is low enough for the 1st row but high enough so that the 2nd row is not obscured.

Determine the viewing distance

Depending on the resolution of your TV, the viewing distance can vary but here are some general guidelines you can use;

  • For a 1080p TV, the viewing distance should be about 2 times the size of the screen (measured diagonally).
  • When using a 4K TV the viewing distance should be about 1 to 1.5 times the size of the screen.

Below is a table to make everything easier for you;

How far you should sit on your TV

Size 1080p display viewing distance 4K display viewing distance
32” 64” (5.3 ft) 27.9” to 41.9” (2.3 to 3.5 ft)
40” 80” (6.7 ft) 34.9” to 52.4” (2.9 to 4.4 ft)
43” 86” (7.2) 37.5” to 56.3” (3.1 to 4.7 ft)
50” 100” (8.3 ft) 43.6” to 65.4” (3.6 to 5.5 ft)
55” 110” (9.2 ft) 47.9” to 71.9” (4 to 6 ft)
60” 120” (10 ft) 52.3” to 78.5” (52.3 to 6.5 ft)
65” 130” (10.8 ft) 56.7” to 85” (4.7 to 7.1 ft)
70” 140” (11.7 ft) 61” to 91.5” (5.1 to 7.6 ft)
75” 150” (12.5 ft) 65.4” to 98” (5.5 to 8.2 ft)
80” 160” (13.3 ft) 69.7” to 104.6” (5.8 to 8.7 ft)
85” 170” (14.2 ft) 74.1” to 111.2” (6.2 to 9.3 ft)

2.      How to mount a TV

If you plan on using a TV stand, you will only need to place the TV on the stand according to the position that you found fit for you.

However, mounting a TV on a wall will require slightly more work.

Here is what you will need to mount your TV on your wall;

  • A level to make sure that your TV is not crooked once you mount it which may force you to drill more mounting holes in an attempt to correct it.
  • Power drill and various drill bits to speed things up during the mounting process. A Carbide-Tipped bit will help make the holes for the screws and Phillips Head bits will be used to drive the screws. You can use a screwdriver but this will take more time.
  • Stud finder to locate the studs which will be used to provide support for the mounted TV.
  • A TV mount. This can be a fixed mount, a Full-motion/articulating mount, or a Tilting mount. Fixed mounts do not move (are fixed in position), Full Motion mounts or swivels can be adjusted vertical, horizontally, and even folded/tilted and Tilting mounts can be angled/tilted accordingly.

How to mount a TV on a wall

  1. Get your preferred TV mount and check the user pamphlet to know how all the mounting parts fit into each other.
  2. Assemble the mounting plate and screw it to holes at the back of your TV using the right washers and screws. Also, assemble the mounting bracket and put it aside.
  3. Determine the right positioning for your TV taking into account the viewing angle as we mentioned above.
  4. Use the stud to scan the wall, find and mark where the studs are using several markings for more accuracy.
  5. Try lining up your mounting bracket with the studs using the markings that you made on your wall. This will help you determine where to drill the first hole.
  6. Drill the first hole using a Carbide Tipped bit on either the left or right side of where the mounting bracket will go. The Carbide Tipped bit should be slightly smaller than your mounting screws.
  7. Screw in the mounting bracket to the side where you made the hole. This will be used as a pivot point to where you are going to drill the other holes.
  8. Hold up the other side of the mount using your hand and place a level at the top of the mount to ensure that the mount is straight.
  9. Mark the other points where the screws will go on the wall after making sure that the mount is level. Drill the rest of the holes at the marked points.
  10. Screw in the mounting bracket using the mounting bolts and make sure you use washers between the bracket and the screws. Use your level to double-check if the mount is perfectly straight and if it is, you can proceed and fasten all the screws.
  11. Use the mounting plate at the back of the TV to attach the TV to the mounting bracket. Fasten the plate to the mounting bracket using screws (the instructions manual should have instructions on how the 2 fit into each other). You may also need someone else to help you with lifting the TV and the whole mounting process as a whole.

After mounting or placing your TV in the right position, you can proceed to the next step. 

3.      Connect your TV to the power and media sources

You can connect your media sources to a receiver/soundbar and use a single HDMI cable to send all the signals to the TV. The alternative would be to connect the various sources to the ports at the back of your TV.

However, not all soundbars will have enough ports to connect to your sources, and in this case, you can connect some sources to the TV and use HDMI ARC to send audio signals to and from the TV. Also, not all soundbars will have HDMI ports, so, you may be better off using a receiver or connecting directly to the TV.

Connecting the TV to a power source is pretty straightforward. However, I would recommend you use a power surge protector other than connecting the TV directly to the power outlet.

Here are some of the common ports that you will have on your TV;

  • HDMI– For digital video and audio. This is the most important port for a high-quality image and sound. HDMI will also be great if you want to connect your computer to the TV. I would recommend getting a TV with at least one or two HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) ports. Also, getting a TV with HDMI 2.1 will give you the upper hand.
  • S-Video– For an analog video feed transmission. This port is made up of a black circle with 4 to 5 holes. Can be used for previous generation gaming consoles and medial players and some computers. Can only deliver a maximum resolution of 480i.
  • Component– For analog video. These ports are color-coded red, blue, and green and can be used to connect to a DVR, some media players, and some of the previous generation gaming consoles. These ports were mainly used before HDMI became so popular. Can deliver a maximum resolution of 1080p.
  • Composite– For analog video from DVRs, previous-generation gaming consoles, and media players. This is a circular yellow port that can deliver a maximum resolution of 480i.
  • Coaxial digital– For digital Audio. This is a single circular port with a hole in the middle.
  • Optical Digital– For digital audio. Optical ports are usually covered with a small flap that is used to send audio signals through light.
  • RCA stereo– For an analog audio transmission from previous generation gaming consoles and media players, receivers, and soundbars. These are 2 red and white ports for audio input (in) and output (out).
  • DVI– For connecting to your PC for both digital and analog transmissions. DVI ports are characterized by a whitish D shape with different amounts of holes for the insertion of DVI cables. Can deliver a maximum resolution of 1080p.
  • VGA- For connecting to a computer for an analog resolution. This port does not support an audio transmission and can only deliver a maximum resolution of 720p.
  • Antenna in/RN in/Cable in– For Over-The-Air TV (OTA TV). This port can be used to receiver a TV broadcast from local TV stations. Can deliver a maximum resolution of 1080p.
  • Ethernet/LAN– For an internet connection. Delivers faster internet speeds than Wi-Fi.
  • USB port– Used from time to time to connect to some devices such as your phone, a flash drive, a streaming device, and even a TV antenna.

4.      TV calibration

TV calibration will ensure that you get the best image possible from your TV.

You can use a UHD Blu-ray calibration disk for 4K and HDR TVs or a standard Blu-ray calibration disk for TVs with a maximum 1080p resolution.

Select the best picture mode

TVs have different picture mode presets that you can use ranging from dynamic, standard, cinema, sports, and even HDR.

I would recommend staying away from the dynamic mode as this preset oversaturates the colors and takes the whites over the top meaning that you will end up losing some of the detail in your image. Staying away from sports, games, and vivid mode is also highly recommended but you can switch to this later if the content suits them.

Theater or cinema mode is a great place to start but if that is not available you can try out the standard preset.

If you have an HDR display, it should be able to automatically switch to HDR mode when you are watching HDR content.

Turn off all picture processing modes

Most manufacturers will have a host of other confusing picture processing modes that you play with after you are done will all the calibration.

These processing modes include dynamic contrast, black and white enhancers, motion handling, and so on.

Set the aspect ratio and check the picture geometry

A general rule of thumb would be to set the aspect ratio to normal or scan and avoid the rest.

For the picture geometry, you can use your calibration disc to ensure that your TV has the right framing. The edges of the geometry calibration video should touch the edges of the screen.

Adjust the contrast

For contrast, you can turn it up to the maximum level, and using a cloudy scene turn it down until you start seeing details. If you have a plasma or OLED TV, turning the contrast to the maximum level can lead to screen burn and so I would recommend starting with a level of around 60 and adjust it down until the white and black areas are well-balanced without losing detail on your image.

Set the brightness level

By adjusting the brightness, you are actually adjusting the black levels. You should set the black level on your TV to the point where they are deep enough but maintaining the details in the shadows.

Increase the brightness to the point where the black bars on the calibration video are grey then reduce it slowly until they look black again (usually around 50%).

For the actual brightness, you will need to adjust the backlight levels for different environments and times of the day. Turn the backlight down if your home theater is dark or when night sets in and increase it for rooms with a lot of ambient light or during the day. The backlight level is purely subjective and you can set it to any level you prefer.

You are good to go

After you are done with placing/mounting and calibrating your TV, you can now sit back and enjoy.

You can play around with some of the processing modes to see what works best for you but I would personally turn it off to avoid losing detail, color, or motion details.

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