1. Before we begin:
First you need an HD source (HD Cable, Blu
-Ray Player, HD Media Player) and HDMI
cables in order to receive HD signals. HDMI cables look like this:
Do not buy them in a store, they will only rip you off and despite what the salesman will tell you, all HDMI
cables are EXACTLY the same regardless of price and no, gold-plating does nothing to improve a signal. Digital signals are ones and zero's and are not subject to degradation that analog signals are. I would recommend going to Monoprice
for all of your cabling needs and get at least a six-foot HDMI
If you are cable or satellite subscriber, please note that you MUST HAVE an HD Receiver, Convertor Box or DVR. If you were previously using a cable box, DVR or satellite receiver on a standard definition television, it WILL NOT
receive HD signals and therefore you will not have an HD picture on your TV. Also, an upconverting/upscaling DVD player is not an HD source. DVD's are in SD and depsite the fact that they are upscaled, you cannot change the fact that they are recorded in SD and will display in SD on your screen despite that your TV will tell you that you are viewing a 720p (HD) picture. it will certainly look better than a non-upconverted/upscaled DVD but it won't be HD and you'll be able to tell the difference with HD Cable and Blu
The only two ways to get HD channels without HDMI
is by getting them over the air, and directly through your coaxial cable from your cable provider without the use of the box, however, not all Cable companies send the signal to be converted by the digital tuner in your television and if they do, they do not support it in their terms of service so if they stop working, you're out of luck. Also, whereas the your local provider may offer 50 -100 channels in HD through their HD Converter or DVR you will only be able to get the five major networks and Univision
through the coaxial feed. The same goes for over the air HD signals via an antenna.
I'm proceeding from the premise that you have an HD source as described above with HDMI
-Out ports. With your TV powered on and your HD Source powered on, connect one end of the HDMI
cable to your HD source and the other end to one of the two HDMI
-In ports on the back of your TV (your choice). Because it's an HDMI
interface, the television will automatically detect the incoming HD source, turn on the HDMI
port of the TV and set the resolution accordingly to the HD Source.
Keep in mind that as this a 16:9 Aspect Ratio display, some shows may still show up in the old 4:3 ratio with black bars on the sides of the picture (also, SD Channels will not appear in HD). This is completely normal and for the best viewing experience possble you should keep the black bars and not "stretch" or "zoom in" on those programs as doing this, despite filling your screen. will distort the images and just make them... well... ugly.
If your HD source is a cable box, DVR or satellite receiver, you may have to go into the settings menu and into the Audio Menu of those units and set the audio to "HDMI-Out." Again, this should automatically happen when the connection is made but if you have no audio, that's the solution. Also, in the settings menu you will find the video menu and in that video menu you may find a resolution menu with a list of the different resolutions that the box/DVR will display (480i, 480p, 720i, 720p, 1080i). Uncheck all of them except for 720p (as that is your TV's maximum display resolution). If you don't, every time you change channels from a channel that displays in one resolution to a channel that displays in another, there can be a delay of up to 30 seconds. By keeping your resolution constant there is no delay when changing channels and the lower resolution channels are simply upconverted to 720p.
Your connections are now complete and you now have HD and are ready to go.
3. Some Final Thoughts:
First, please keep in mind that your television has a maximum resolution display of 720p which means that Blu
-Ray (1080p) and 1080i signals will be downgraded automatically for your TV. I want you to be aware of this just so you understand that even though you may have higher resolution sources, your TV's capability is what it is so don't be concerned if you are watching a Blu
-Ray and your TV indicate that it's in 720p. The fact is that for any display under 40", you don't need anything above 720p as the screen size is too small for your eyes to see a difference. I personally have a 32" 720p Vizio and a 65" 1080p Mitsubishi and the Vizio looks great in 720p.
Here's the link to the manual and firmware updates for your set as well. Download the software updates to a USB Flash Drive, insert it into the USB port on your TV and follow the instructions.
Lastly, I highly recommend you getting a Blu
-Ray calibration disc with color filters for your TV (if you don't plan on getting Blu
-Ray then get the DVD). They are about $20 on Amazon and though they take about an hour to get the hang of, they will help you achieve the absolute best picture possible for your new TV. TV's are preset with settings to make them pop-out in store displays and they are not optimal for home viewing. I waited a year to get one for my 65" and when I did it was like I got a brand new TV. The difference is outstanding and it's a small investment to make for what a professional will charge $200 - $300 to do. Here's a link for both DVD and Blu
-Ray calibration discs.