There are some things you need to know when setting up your HDTV.
First off, you need to use HDMI cables to connect your tv to your cable box or you will not get HD. That being said the first thing you will find is that HDMI cables are expensive. Although you can buy a really cheapo cheap one, be careful. Make sure it can support 1080p or the max resolution your TV displays at. Some of the cheaper ones can only support up to 720p.
So you hooked it up to the cable box using an good HDMI cable and you still do not have the picture you should. There are a few things you may still need too do to get 1080i out of it. Yes, I said 1080i. Even though your tv may be up too 1080p, cable and dish networks only transmit up too 1080i. But don't worry, 1080i is amazing for cable/dish.
First thing you need to make sure of is, does your cable/dish receiver support HD? If you have had the same box for a long time, it may not. You will have to call your provider to get an updated box. If you recently got cable/dish and the box is new, most likely your good to go. Also, it will most likely say on it, HDTV, 1080i or something related to HD on it.
Now you are good to go with you box because it is in fact HD compatible. Some cable boxes may need to be configured for HD. You don't need an HDTV signal if you don't have an HDTV, and not every one does, so why send the unit configured for HD. You need to go into your cable/dish settings and make sure you set the HD set up to display in 1080i.
Okay you set the box to 1080i. There still could be some setting on the TV if your not getting the best picture.
Make sure you are on an HD channel. Make sure you do not have zoom on, and that the TV is set to display an aspect ratio that is determined by the program, or auto. Not all TV's have these settings. Likewise, some tv's allow you to select the max resolution, if this is the case make sure it is set to 1080p, the max it can be.
You should at this point have an excellent picture on the HD channels. Not all channels are HD.
Now, a few other things not worthy as a new owner of an HDTV.
a standard dvd player does not play in high def. they have a max resolution of 480p. 480p is going to look really good if its the first time you watch a dvd on an HDTV, but it can be a lot better. For around starting at $45 and up, you can buy a DVD player that can upscale your dvd's to 1080p when you use HDMI and you will get amazing picture. But for around starting at anywhere from $100 to $150 and up, you can get your self a blu-ray player that will play blu-ray disks, and give you amazing beyond belief picture, and it will upscale your dvd's.
So you got a blu-ray. First thing I can say is I hope your refresh rate is at least 120hz or better. 60hz may disappoint you with a blu-ray player.
Blu-ray can play movies in their native 24 frames a second format of which they were filmed in. However, at 60hz, you will run into a problem trying to play the movie in 24fs. now I am not going to get technical with this, just to let you know, you need 120hz or better to use 24fs. You can turn it off, but you will get blur and it will not be as smooth. As well, with most players you must enable 24fs in the settings, usually by default, it is off,
So to recap:
- Make sure your cab/dish box is HD compatible.
- Always use HDMI cables.
- Check settings on cable/dish box and make sure its set to 1080i.
- don't use zoom.
- If applicable, make sure tv settings are at max res of 1080i
- you need an upscaling DVD player or Blu-ray player to watch your DVD's in HD.
- Also must us HDMI.
- Can't use 24fs if you have 60hz refresh rate, but can if 120 or better.
- 24s is usually off by default.