Television Installation Basics

By HomeAdvisor

Updated May 31, 2018

Wall mounted TV

TV installation is an entirely different animal than it was 20 years ago. Installation used to entail purchasing your television, plugging it in, and adjusting the antenna until you got a good picture. Nowadays you’ve got to think about whether you want cable or satellite television or stream TV (or do both), how to hook up to your home theater system, whether you want the highest definition possible or if you want to sacrifice a little quality to save money, and if you want to mount the TV on a wall or not. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here’s a quick overview of the most important things to keep in mind if you’re in the market for a new TV.

Purchasing Your New Television

The first step in any TV installation is buying a new television in the first place. How big of a television you choose goes a long way in determining how complicated your subsequent installation is going to be. Smaller televisions aren’t too daunting to get up and running. Projection units and wall mounted TVs are a different story, however. Installing these units is probably best left to a professional. With front projection units you’ll need to install a separate screen to project your picture on to, and with wall mounted units you’ll want to be absolutely sure that you mount them on the wall correctly.

Where Does This Wire Go?

Besides whether to have your new television physically installed by a professional, you’ll also want to consider how deft you are at hooking it up to the rest of your equipment. A complicated home theater system can make even the simple chore of hooking up your new television to the rest of your equipment a daunting task, especially for the technologically challenged. If you plan to do it yourself, make sure you get all your manuals out ahead of time, and label all the wiring as you go so you can troubleshoot if you experience problems. Of course, you might want to take the easy route here, too. There are contractors who specialize in home theater installation, and often the retailer where you purchase your new television will offer TV installation services for free or at a small cost, saving you the trouble.

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Cable or Satellite or Streaming

The final step is to decide what kind of service you want. If you’re old school and still pick up your television reception via antenna (albeit a new digital antenna since the HDTV switch), your decision is simple. Otherwise, you’re going to have to choose between cable and satellite service or streaming options (or a combination of both). Personal preference and local prices are the best guides here as services deliver excellent pictures and a myriad of packages and programming to choose from.

A Final Note

As mentioned before, there are contractors who specialize in audio/visual and home theater installation. Whether you have them perform the actual installation or not, it doesn’t hurt to sit down and talk with them about your coming installation and the options available to you. Once you get all the basics figured out, you’ll be able to proceed with your new TV installation post haste, and enjoy your new television for years to come.

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