HDTV Accessories You’ll Need and Products You Should Consider
There are a some accessories every HDTV owner needs to purchase. You should also seriously consider sound upgrades, no matter what type of HDTV you own.
For example, every HDTV needs an HDMI cable to connect high definition source to the display. There are devices to electrically protect it, kits to properly clean the TV screen without damaging its delicate coatings, Blu-ray discs to help you properly adjust the picture controls and more.
The list and suggestions appear after the break.
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. We’ve had good results with long HDMI Hi-Speed cables that incorporate Redmere active circuits. Here is an 30 foot length the Monoprice 30-Ft. Slim High Speed HDMI Cable with RedMere Tech– $47.75. Longer runs are also available.
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 Tripp Lite TLP810NET 8-Outlet Surge Protector Now $33.95 from Amazon.
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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 the CyberPower CP825LCD Intelligent LCD UPS $76.99 . UPS takes the place of a surge protector there is no need for both.
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 $7.59 from Amazon direct. You can also use the same kit for your computer monitor.
Sound Bars and Surround Sound Systems
The arrival of thin flat-panel HDTVs came 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 order is soundbar and a home theater in a box (HTiB).
Soundbars start at around $100 with the better sounding models beginning in the $200-$300 price range. Currently, Amazon is discounting the JBL Cinema SB100 Soundbar Speaker System to $99 ($240 retail).
The Samsung HW-F450 2.1 Channel 280-Watt Soundbar Now $167.99 ($300 retail) adds a wireless subwoofer for enhanced bass.
The step-up model is Samsung HW-F550 2.1-Channel 310 Watt Soundbar $277.99 ($400 retail) has improved sound and deeper bass than the 450 offers.
Pioneer SP-SB23W Andrew Jones Soundbar System ($396.99) is highly rated for its sound quality and the Sonos Playbar Soundbar ($699 ) is designed to provide improved TV sound quality as well as streaming music via the Sonos system. Now through Cyber Monday Get a $100 Amazon.com Credit and Free SONOS BRIDGE with the Purchase of a Playbar, click link for details.
HTiBs start at under $400 with a built-in 3D capable Blu-ray player. The Samsung HT-F5500W 3D Blu-Ray Home Theater System, is currently on sale for $297.99 ($550 retail). The Samsung HT-F9730W 7.1-Channel 1330Watt 3D Blu-Ray Home Theater System now $897.99 ($1300 retail) adds more power, full tower front left/right speakers and goes to 7.1 channels.
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 ($84.99) for its audio streaming capability (from your computer’s iTunes library) and the Roku 3 ($94.99). 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 $26.26 from Amazon the simplest to use. For more on calibration discs, read our article here .
Note: prices are correct as of posting and may change at any time, please verify with our links; Currently, most states do not collect sales tax on Amazon orders with the exceptions of AZ, CA, CT, GA, KS, KY, MA, NJ, NY, ND, PA, TX, VA ,WV, WA & WI. You always must pay sales tax (in states that collect it) when buying at a brick and mortar store or from Samsung direct in states that collect it (according to Samsung customer service). Should you buy an HDTV from on-line or from a retail store? For the answers read our article here
This above article is an update from a previously published version.
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