Resolve Video Issues for Home Theater Systems

Introduction

Home Theater System

This guide will walk you though troubleshooting the following items with your home theater.

  • No Display
  • Poor Video Quality

? What kind of video issues are you having?

  1. No Display
  2. Poor Quality

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Home Theater System

This guide will walk you though troubleshooting the following items with your home theater.

  • No Display
  • Poor Video Quality
  1. Ensure both your TV and Home Theater Receiver are on the correct inputs.

The pictures used on this page are generic and may differ for your TV or home theater's display.

On Your TV

  1. Use your TV's remote to make sure that your TV is set to the correct input.
    Selecting input source on TV.

On Your Home Theater Receiver

  1. Make sure that your home theater's receiver is set to the correct input..
    Home Theater Input Display
  1. Restart your Home Theater Receiver, TV, and the source device you want to watch.

On Your Home Theater

  1. Select the Power Button on your receiver's remote to turn it off.
    Closeup of remote control with power button
  2. Wait 15 seconds.
  3. Select the Power Button again to turn it back on.

On Your TV

  1. Select the Power Button on your TV's remote to turn it off.
    Closeup of remote control with power button
  2. Wait 15 seconds.
  3. Select the Power Button again to turn it back on.

On the Source Device You Want to Watch

  1. Select the Power Button on your source device's remote to turn it off.
    Closeup of remote control with power button
  2. Wait 15 seconds.
  3. Select the Power Button again to turn it back on.

Before moving your equipment or checking any cabling, make absolutely sure that your A/V Receiver and any other components that are currently on are fully powered off.

  1. Check the following cable connections to ensure that all devices are connected properly and securely.
    • The connection from your TV to your home theater receiver.
    • The connection from your Home theater receiver to the source device you want to watch.

Here are some common types of video cables:

HDMI HDMI
Component Component
Composite Composite

When we watch anything on our televisions and wonder about the quality of the image we're seeing, the term "quality" can be boiled down to the resolution of the content that's on the screen, and the screen itself. That being said, the quality you will experience is based off of a number factors:

  1. The maximum supported resolution of your TV screen.
    • This is a hardware limitation. Your TV was made to display picture up to a certain resolution. These days, most flat-screen TVs can have maximum resolutions of 720p, 1080p, or 4K.
  2. The maximum output resolution of the source device you're watching.
    • Whatever device is sending picture to your TV, whether that be your cable box, DVD or Blu-ray player, game console or something else - that device will only be able to transmit a picture up to a certain resolution. Just like your TV, this is a hardware limitation and all depends on what resolution it was manufactured to output.
  3. The resolution of the media you are watching.
    • Just like very old photos can't be re-taken using today's technology, the media we watch suffers in the same way. Watching a very old show that was recorded in lower resolution years ago on new equipment will not look very good. The same goes with older DVDs or games that were produced at a time when resolution standards were much lower than they are today.

The level of quality you see on your screen will be limited by the weakest link between all these items.

Media Resolution

Some TV shows are recorded or broadcast at a lower resolution. There is nothing you can do to change this. However, most movies are available for purchase in varying video quality formats. When shopping for movies, you'll see regular DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K UltraHD formats. Some are even packaged together. This will all depend on the movie. For streaming media services such as Netflix or Hulu, the limitations will be based on what each service offers quality-wise for the movie or show you're trying to watch. Most will have information available about the quality of video you'll be streaming for that particular service.
DVD, Blu-ray, and 4K movie packaging differences. Illustration.

Television & Source Device Resolution

If your TV is one of the latest and greatest that supports 1080p or even 4K, beware of that cable box that you've had for years, or a standard DVD player that's also been around for awhile. Chances are, the resolution these boxes are capable of outputting is quite a bit lower than your HD TV is capable of displaying. This low-resolution picture is being stretched to fill your high-resolution screen, and will look very blurry. You want to ensure that you have a high-definition cable box and/or Blu-ray player that is capable of producing a high-resolution picture designed to match the resolution of your TV.

Ultimately, the highest resolution your TV supports will determine the best viewing quality you can potentially achieve. For instance, if you have a TV that supports a maximum resolution of 1080p, but purchase a 4K Blu-ray player, your Blu-ray player will only output a 1080p picture to your TV to display. In order to take advantage of your 4K Blu-ray player, your TV would need to be capable of displaying a 4K image.

Contact your television service provider or the manufacturer of any source device if you are unsure of what resolution a piece of equipment it capable of outputting.

Before moving your equipment or checking any cabling, make absolutely sure that your A/V Receiver and any other components that are currently on are fully powered off.

  1. Check the following cable connections to ensure that all devices are connected properly and securely.
    • The connection from your TV to your home theater receiver.
    • The connection from your Home theater receiver to the source device you want to watch.

Here are some common types of video cables:

HDMI HDMI
Component Component
Composite Composite
  1. Restart your Home Theater Receiver, TV, and the source device you want to watch.

On Your Home Theater

  1. Select the Power Button on your receiver's remote to turn it off.
    Closeup of remote control with power button
  2. Wait 15 seconds.
  3. Select the Power Button again to turn it back on.

On Your TV

  1. Select the Power Button on your TV's remote to turn it off.
    Closeup of remote control with power button
  2. Wait 15 seconds.
  3. Select the Power Button again to turn it back on.

On the Source Device You Want to Watch

  1. Select the Power Button on your source device's remote to turn it off.
    Closeup of remote control with power button
  2. Wait 15 seconds.
  3. Select the Power Button again to turn it back on.
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