There are a few inexpensive accessories every HDTV owner needs to purchase. You should seriously consider a few others no matter what type of HDTV you own.
We’ve put together lists and suggestions.
If you have an HD cable or satellite box, you need to connect it to your HDTV via an HDMI cable for the best picture. They come in different lengths, however for most people a six or nine foot length is all you’ll need. Get a High-Speed HDMI cable, as it will accommodate any signal resolution you can throw at it. We recommend the AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable for up to nine-foot lengths. We’ve bought a number of these and they all provide a perfect image and have held up to numerous reconnections.
For longer lengths, more expensive cables are recommended. Forget about needing a special cable for 3D, 240 Hz or some other feature, it’s all bunk to separate you and your money. A “Hi-Speed” designation covers all audio/video sources. For more info about phony cable claims and long length HDMI cables, check out our articles here and here.
Power surges are real and can damage any HDTV. Surge protectors aren’t expensive and will also provide useful extra outlets. Look for a unit with a protection light and ground indicator. The protection light is needed to assure the unit is still functioning after a power surge. A functioning ground is a necessity for surge protection. A good example of an inexpensive unit with these features is the Belkin BP112230-08 for $29.99 from Amazon.
Microfiber Cleaning Cloth and Cleaning Fluid
All HDTVs have coatings on the screen to cut down on room reflections. These plastic coatings are delicate and one scratch might be visible forever (and drive you crazy). Microfiber cloths are safe to use on any LED LCD, LCD or plasma screen and are basically a bigger, thicker version of the type of cloth that comes with prescription glasses. The cleaning fluid won’t damage the screen’s coating. . The Philips SVC1116F/27 LCD, LED and Plasma Screen Cleaner comes with a large bottle of fluid and a nice size cloth for $9.99 from Amazon direct. You can also use the same kit for your computer monitor.
Items To Consider
UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply)
A UPS combines a surge protector with a battery backup. There is no need to connect your HDTV to the battery back-up part of the UPS (just the included surge protected outlets will do). However, if you use a DVR, (either cable, satellite or a TiVo) brief or sudden power outages can permanently damage the internal hard drive. This can result in the loss of all your recorded shows and necessitate a replacement unit from your DVR video content provider. For power connection to your DVR and your other components, we like this unit the CyberPower CP425SLG UPS for $45.95 from Amazon A UPS takes the place of a surge protector.
Sound Bar or a Surround Sound System
The drive for thin flat-panel HDTVs come with a price: lousy audio. Today’s TV are so thin the speakers are very small, and almost all are either aimed at the floor or on the rear of the display. Any sound bar is an improvement over the built-in speakers.
The good/better/best order is soundbar, home theater in a box (HTiB) and a discrete surround sound system with receiver and five or more separate speakers.
Soundbars start at around $100 with the better sounding models beginning in the $200 price range. An example, the Haier SBEV40-SLIM Evoke with Wireless Subwoofer for $264.86 from Amazon.
HTiBs start at under $400 with a built-in 3D capable Blu-ray player, such as the Panasonic SC-BTT490 3D Blu-Ray Disc 5.1 Surround Sound Home Theater System for $372.14 from Amazon direct.
With component systems, the speakers and surround sound A/V receiver are sold separately like the Onkyo SKS-HT870 Home Theater Speaker System and Onkyo TX-SR313 A/V Receiver for $269.95 and $195.00 respectively from Amazon . These are good entry level models, however, with component home theater systems, you can always find bigger, better sounding and more expensive speakers and receivers.
Smart TV Upgrade
If your HDTV does not offer Internet streaming, you can upgrade it with an external box. We’ve reviewed a number of them here and here . We like the Apple TV MD199LL/A for its audio streaming capability (from your computer’s iTunes library) and the Roku 2 XS. The Roku is great for its many available services, including Amazon Instant Video, which offers free movie/TV show streaming with an Amazon Prime membership. These devices cost under $97 and provide users with numerous HD movies and TV programs via the Internet.
If you want to adjust your TV’s user controls for an image that comes closest to the industry standards, there are a number of calibration discs on the market. We find the Disney Wow-World of Wonder Disc $28.99 from Amazon the simplest to use. For more on calibration discs, read our article here .
All listed accessory prices include free shipping. All are sold via Amazon direct and are sold under its policies. We recommend and affiliate (we may earn a small commission on referred sales) with Amazon because they have among the best policies in the industry. They stand behind their sales. Note: prices are correct as of posting and may change at any time, please verify with our links; Most states do not collect sales tax on Amazon orders with the exceptions of [TX, CO, KS, KY, NY, ND & WA]. You always must pay sales tax (in states that collect it) when buying at a brick and mortar store. Should you buy an HDTV from on-line or from a retail store? Learn all the pros and cons in our article here.
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