So you've bought an OLED TV — now what?
So you've bought a new OLED TV, the crème da la crème of television options. It doesn't matter if you own one of LG's new CX TVs, Sony's Master series, or even an older or used OLED. Your screen still looks much better than most LCD devices, with unsurpassed black levels and stunning contrast. But even if you have one of the best screens, there are still a few upgrades available.
Adjust your settings properly with a calibration dial
While most televisions have a number of useful preset picture settings, they still need to be adjusted to suit your living space. A helpful way to tweak all of these settings is to use a calibration disc such as Spear & Munsil's HD Benchmark Blu-ray. It walks you through everything you need to do to make sure you are getting the best possible picture while avoiding pitfalls like loss of detail in extremely light and dark scenes. If you're lucky enough to have a 4K Blu-ray player or game console with one of these drives, choose the updated UHD version of the Spear & Munsil benchmarks, which can help you adjust even tricky HDR settings.
If you want the best possible image quality, you can always ask a professional to calibrate your device. But from my experience and what I've learned from TV experts, this is usually an exaggeration for most people. Most of the time, if you spend an hour or two with a calibration disk, you will get the quality improvement you want.
Buy UHD Benchmark on Amazon - $ 40
Go big with sound
I know this seems obvious, but I'm still shocked the number of times I have to remind people that their sound system is as important as their shiny new TV. Well, I'm not saying that you need to build a discreet Dolby Atmos home theater system (although doing so will surely get you the best sound quality at home). With a soundbar, you can still get a decent audio upgrade even if you're on a budget. At its simplest, it acts as a replacement for the weak speakers on your OLED TV. But modern sound bars can also serve as the centerpiece of a wireless surround system, and many also support Dolby Atmos audio, which can simulate overhead sound.
The pick from our 2019 soundbar guide still continues: Vizio's SB362An-F6 remains a solid option under $ 100. And if you're going for something a little more immersive, consider the company's M series, which starts with a more powerful all-in-one soundbar. You can also upgrade to the $ 350 M-Series wireless surround system, which includes two rear satellites and a separate subwoofer. And if you want top-notch Vizio quality, there's the $ 1,000 Elevate soundbar that rotates to produce overhead Dolby Atmos and DTS: X audio.
Buy the Vizio 2.1 M Series on Amazon - $ 122 Buy the Vizio Elevate Soundbar on Amazon - $ 1,000
If for some reason you don't like Vizio, then you should also consider the Sonos family of products, especially if you already have some Sonos speakers. The $ 399 Beam is still a powerful mid-range option. You can add more Sonos hardware later to turn it into a true surround sound system. On the high end is the $ 799 Arc which delivers a much bigger sound with Dolby Atmos support.
Buy Sonos Beam on Amazon - $ 399 Buy Arc on Sonos - $ 799
Light it up
The great thing about OLED screens is that they offer almost infinite contrast. However, a major disadvantage of modern televisions is that they are often far too bright to comfortably watch at night without making things better. This is where oblique lighting comes in - it includes any type of lighting that is placed behind your TV to provide ambient light. By diffusing the lighting in your living room, this can help reduce eye strain from staring at a bright screen.
You can just do this with any old lamp. For a more balanced option, however, consider Nexilumi's LED light strip, which offers app-based controls and a variety of color options. If you own Philips Hue smart lights, consider the Ambiance LightStrip Plus. Tint lights can also be used with the company's HDMI box, which allows you to sync your lighting with the images on your TV. It's a trippy and immersive upgrade, but it'll cost you $ 230.
Buy Nexilumi Light Strip on Amazon - $ 27 Buy Hue LightStrip Plus on Amazon - $ 80 Buy Hue Play HDMI Box on Philips - $ 230
Other hardware worth considering
Headphones are essential for nighttime viewing. Our guide to wireless headphones can get you started. However, you should be able to connect any bluetooth headphones to your TV without any problems.
It may seem like an overkill, but if you want to watch the best quality 4K content on your OLED, you should get yourself a 4K Blu-ray player. 4K discs always look better than 4K streams, and most players can upscale your older Blu-rays and DVDs better than your TV. You can play 4K Blu-rays on modern game consoles too, but I found navigating these interfaces far more annoying.
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