How to Set Up a 4K TV

Let us help you figure out how to get the most out of your 4K TV

You got yourself a new 4K TV, but now you need to find out how to use it to its fullest potential.

The picture settings, the extra equipment, and the spot where you choose to mount your TV need to be on point. Because you know you’d like to impress your brothers when they come over to watch the New York Yankees play the Boston Red Sox.

If you want the most out of your 4K TV, take these tips from us.

These are the necessary steps to 4K TV magnificence

  1. Find the perfect TV spot.
  2. Use an excellent streaming device, box, or console that supports 4K content.
  3. Make sure you have a strong internet connection.
  4. Pick the right HDMI cables.
  5. Get those picture settings right.

1. Find the perfect location in the room for your new 4K TV

Before you plug in your Ultra HD TV, you have to decide where in the room you’d like to watch your sports.

If you want to mount your TV, we suggest you get a surge protector to protect your flat-screen from power surges spikes. It also makes your installation look cleaner on the wall.

If you want to place your TV on a stand, you’ll want these flat-screen safety straps. They just hook onto the back of your TV, and the other ends of the straps connect to the back of your stand. This will ensure no movement if your kids touch the TV or if there is an earthquake.

Next, you’ll want to calculate the distance between where you’ll be sitting and to the TV. This online calculator will give you a suggestion on where to place your couch to provide you with the best watching experience in terms of how big your 4K TV is.

2. Use a streaming device that supports 4K content

Just because you got a 4K TV, unfortunately, it doesn’t mean you’re going to get only 4K content on your TV.

Your smart TV will have apps already built in, and those should stream at its highest quality. But if you don’t have all of the apps you need on your smart 4K TV, you’ll want a top-notch streaming device.

The Roku Streaming Stick is inexpensive ($40*), supports 4K HDR content, has all of the streaming apps you need, and comes with a voice remote. These are the reasons why it’s our favorite streaming device.

The Apple TV 4K is the priciest at $180*, but its video and audio quality is tough to beat. You can also enjoy Ultra High Definition movies to rent or buy in the iTunes store.

You can watch your 4K Ultra HD content on an Amazon Fire TV Cube for $100*, which has Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, Disney+, Apple TV, HBO Max, STARZ, SHOWTIME, and others.

Or go with the Amazon Fire TV Stick for $50* if you’ll be fine with 8 GB instead of 16 GB with the cube.

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Can I get 4K content with satellite or cable TV?
If you’re interested in getting 4K content with a satellite or cable TV provider, you’ll want DIRECTV, DISH, or Xfinity TV. If you want more information on these TV providers, check out our best TV services for 4K.

3. A reliable internet connection means an uninterrupted 4K content watching experience

Most streaming services require a minimum download speed of 25 Mbps to stream in 4K UHD. And if you, your spouse, and your daughter want to stream at the same time, that means you’ll be using 75 Mbps total.

So do you have the bandwidth to support your family’s streaming needs?

Our internet expert, Catherine McNally, recommends these internet providers for a smooth streaming experience. Because no one wants to see Avengers: Endgame freeze while Iron Man is saving the world.

What are the best internet providers for streaming?
Monthly priceDownload speedsLearn more
$24.99$299.95*152000 MbpsView Plans
$49.99$50100940 MbpsView Plans
$49$6515940 MbpsView Plans
$29.99$199.99^501000 MbpsView Plans
Data effective 11/19/18. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
* For the first 12 months. Some packages require a 1- or 2-year contract.
For the first 12 months with a 1-year agreement.
New customers only. Rate requires paperless billing and excludes taxes. Additional fees apply.
^ for 24 months with 2-year agreement. Actual speeds may vary. Installation, equipment fees, Internet Infrastructure Surcharge, early term, taxes & other fees apply. Services subject to availability and all applicable terms and conditions.

4. Get the right HDMI cables

First, put together all of the streaming devices, cable boxes, antennas, and gaming consoles you plan to connect to your new 4K TV. Check which cables they need so you only have to go to the store once.

If you want the highest quality of picture and sound, you’re going to want HDMI cables.

For your Ultra HD Blu-ray player or 4K streaming device, make sure to get a 4K-supported cable, like this 6-foot high-speed 2.0 HDMI cable for $14.

Then check your TV manual to see which ports on your TV you should be using for UHD.

While we’re talking about TV connections, you may want to consider a soundbar for the best movie-watching experience.

Think realistic gunshot and explosion sounds, and clearer speaking (especially if you have a dad who can’t hear very well).

Or why not get a 2-in-1 deal with this Roku Smart Soundbar. It’s a streaming device and a speaker all in one for $150! Look at you killing two birds with one stone.

5. The right picture settings are the cherry on top

Now that you’ve chosen the perfect spot for your 4K TV, hooked up your streaming device or box, picked an excellent internet provider, and found the right HDMI cables … we’ve got to get those picture settings on point.

This might sound crazy to you, but you’re going to want to set your TV to the standard settings.

You know how you go to Costco, and the beautiful picture on the huge flat-screen TV just instantly draws your attention? Well, that brightness is only for that: the attraction.

If you want a real-life picture and accurate color, choose the “cinematic,” “movie,” or “calibrated” mode (the mode name is different for different brands).

You’ll still be taking full advantage of the colors and contrast your 4K TV offers.

And if your TV’s picture looks like a soap opera when you watch TV shows and movies (and you don’t like it), set the motion smoothing to the lowest possible setting.

But when you’re watching an NBA or NFL game, try turning the motion smoothing up to see if you like the realistic picture. Ya know, to feel like you’re sitting front row.

We recommend not playing too much with the display settings because you could find yourself with more problems than before (yikes).

Recap

To break it down, these are our recommended steps to set up your 4K TV:

  • Find the perfect spot in your living room for your TV. Get a surge protector and flat-screen safety straps, and use the calculator to figure out the best distance from you and your TV-watching couch.
  • Use an updated streaming device, box, or console that supports 4K content, such as a Roku Streaming Stick and Apple TV.
  • Make sure you have a strong internet connection to support the bandwidth for you and your family. We recommend Xfinity Internet or AT&T Fiber.
  • Pick the right HDMI cables if you want high quality and sound, like this 6-foot 2.0 HDMI cord, and add a soundbar for realistic sounds during your action movies.
  • Get those picture settings right. For a real-life picture and accurate color, choose the “cinematic,” “movie,” or “calibrated” mode. And to make the color even more accurate, set the motion smoothing to the lowest setting possible.

And if you’re here because you’re considering getting a 4K TV, check out our best 4K TVs, best budget 4K TVs, and best 4K TVs for gaming.

* Amazon.com Price as of 6/22/20 10:15 a.m. (MT). Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. Reviews.org utilizes paid Amazon links. Certain content that appears on this site comes from Amazon. This content is provided “as is” and is subject to change or removal at any time.