5 Reasons You Experience Poor Picture Quality

The good news is that TV has come a long way in the last few years! Technological advancements, along with the enormous growth of on-demand services like Netflix or Amazon Prime, allow for incredible visuals from the comfort of our own home.

With a rise in streaming services that release whole seasons of shows in one go, binging TV is becoming the norm. There can be nothing worse than experiencing technical issues or poor screen quality when you’re halfway through the latest season of Stranger Things or The Crown (and these shows deserve to be seen at their best!).

However, there’s no need to fret when it comes to achieving amazing picture quality; we can help!

Here, we lay out some of the most common issues behind poor picture quality and the ways you can solve them, so you can continue your Netflix binge or movie marathon in peace!

Channel Picture Quality Below TV Standard

This point only really applies to people who have purchased high-end TVs, such as 4K or even 8K resolutions. If you have a new fancy TV system and are disappointed that the quality is poor, then double-check the definition of your programme. 

The streaming service Disney Plus hosts an abundance of 4K content which should show up beautifully on newer 4K TVs, provided there aren’t any other technical issues at play!

To get some quality movie night inspiration, check out our must-watch 4K movies on Disney Plus!

Unadjusted TV Settings

If you are experiencing difficulties with general screen quality and not TV resolution, you might want to take a look at your system settings. Playing around with picture settings, brightness and colour controls can help you produce a clearer picture to suit your needs. After all, watching the latest Marvel movies in fully adjusted HD is always a must! 

A man watching a large TV

Bad Cable Connections

One of the most common causes of bad picture quality is unsecured or poorly connected cables. This may sound like a simple fix (and it can be), but there are a plethora of cables that might be causing your issues! Understanding the functions of each cable can help when it comes to getting the best screen quality. 

Lots of different coloured cables

Interference

Another frequent cause of broken picture quality at home is interference. These days, our homes are a complex system of electrical wires that can sometimes disturb each other. In an emerging world of wireless and connected smart devices, there are now almost innumerable things that could cause interference.

Electrical Interference on Freeview TV

If your Freeview TV continues to break up at specific points in the day, particularly during the evening, this could be caused by electrical interference. Anything that consumes significant amounts of electricity when in use, such as appliances, pumps and some heating systems, could be causing fluctuations in your signal.

To remedy this situation, try to keep your aerial and other cables as separated from other electrics as possible. While this can be hard, even a little bit can make a difference and prevent an annoying pixelated picture.

Interference on Digital Cable or Internet-based TV

As with electrics, internet connectivity can be impacted by interference from both in and outside the home. 

If you rely on broadband to watch TV, then a reduced internet speed can cause some irritating issues with picture quality. Buffering or lagging screens can be the bane of any viewer’s watching experience.  

To reduce these effects, it can help to remove all other connected devices in the vicinity of your television. Turning them off completely and giving the TV access to as much broadband as needed can help restore your picture quality in no time. 

A Tscreen with the Netflix logo

Unaligned Aerial/Satellite

Bad weather can be a nuisance at the best of times, but when it starts to mess with your TV signal, there’s nothing worse! Storms pass, but signal issues can remain. If your picture’s not up to scratch after a bout of rain or strong wind, it could be that the weather has disturbed the alignment of your aerial or satellite.

Unalignment issues can be hard to spot with the naked eye (unless the satellite or aerial is dislodged), so consider speaking to a trained engineer if you think this might be the problem. 

An aerial on a roof

Here at JL Audio Visual, we have been leaders in the TV installation and av consulting industry for over 15 years, serving customers across South-East England. We provide bespoke home cinema installation and satellite repair services, so you can rest assured you’re getting the best picture possible for when you’re binging the next hit show!

If you are unsure why you are experiencing poor picture quality and would like our support, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

5 Must-Watch 4K Movies on Disney Plus

Trips to the cinema are fun, but sometimes watching the latest blockbuster from the comfort of your own home can be even better!

Each year the desire for quality home entertainment increases as streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus become more ingrained in our culture.

With so many movies and places to watch them, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Here, we count down five must-watch movies on Disney Plus that you can view in 4K or Ultra-High Definition.

If you’re unsure about the specifics of 4K television, why not check out our helpful guide to high definition television?

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

This is an obvious one. What have you been doing if not keeping up with the Marvel universe? The impressive visuals and dynamic scenes in this film are perfect for 4K viewing.

In this instalment, all of our heroes must team up to defeat the warlord Thanos, against all the odds. This epic finale to the Avengers franchise is full of action and perfect for fans of adventure, sci-fi, or just Chris Hemsworth!

If you fancy a Marvel marathon or need a catch-up, settle down with some popcorn because you’ll be staying a while. Disney Plus hosts 20 (twenty!) other Marvel superhero movies in 4K for you to make your way through.

The red Marvel logo on a black background

Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

How could we mention the Marvel movies without also mentioning Star Wars? This is another giant franchise that’s hard to stay away from.

All the originals, prequels and more recent instalments can be viewed in 4K, but we’ve chosen The Empire Strikes Back as our must-watch pick.

It’s a little older than the other picks here, but it’s certainly earned its place. This is the second film in the classic series of Jedi versus Sith Lord and is lauded by many fans as the best one. This endlessly-quotable movie is packed with genre-defining action sequences and lightsaber duels that still hold up today.

A group of stormtroopers from Star Wars

Inside Out (2015)

If you need a break from all that epic-ness, Disney Plus has got some great options for you and your family.

Inside Out is a wonderfully-animated coming of age story that revolves around a young girl as she struggles with a recent move and life changes. The five personified emotions (Fear, Disgust, Anger, Sadness and Joy) that live in her head must also come to terms with the new changes. Heart-warming adventures and hijinks ensue.

This movie is chock-full of bright, bubbly colours and gorgeous animation. It’s the perfect movie for children and adults alike! You might even find yourself tearing up (in a good way!).

A woman eating popcorn from a bowl

Moana (2016)

It would be a crime not to include a musical on a Disney must-watch list! This one has got it all: shape-shifting demigods, giant singing crabs and a wild young princess who just wants to save her island.

It’s clear that a lot of love and care went into this production, and the quality of the animation becomes even more apparent when viewed in 4K or Ultra High Definition.

With the stunning main vocals by Auli’i Cravalho and music by Broadway superstar Lin-Manuel Miranda, you’ll be singing these songs for weeks to come!

Cinderella (2015)

This re-working of the Disney classic was one of the first in the most recent wave of live-action remakes that have been sweeping across our screens.

Starring Lily James and Richard Madden, this romantic fantasy film is bursting with whimsy and swoon-worthy visuals. The cartoon version just doesn’t quite do that blue dress justice!

This updated fairy tale has all the magic of the original and then some.

The Disney castle with flowers and trees in the foreground

If you are considering having your next movie night in 4K, our home cinema installation service here at JL Audio Visual can help.

For more support in achieving the ultimate entertainment experience, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our teams operating in Hertfordshire, Essex and London.

5 Appliances That Can Interfere With Your Home Wi-Fi Signal

Nowadays, we rely on our Wi-Fi more than ever. From working at home to streaming entertainment, the reliance we place on broadband means we need it to be reliable as often as possible.

Struggling with bad connectivity is a major frustration. Even if you have the best broadband package, it’s possible to experience poor connectivity for a wide range of reasons. One such cause of poor connectivity is the appliances in the home, which can cause interference. Here, we look through some of the most common causes of interference and how you can avoid losing your signal.

How Do Home Appliances Impact Your Wi-Fi Signal?

Wi-Fi in this instance refers to the connection from your device to your Wi-Fi router and not your broadband speed. Here, the connection works similarly to how we tune in to the radio, utilising frequencies to pass data between devices.

However, many home appliances also use radio waves for a range of purposes, or simply produce such frequencies as a result of their activity. When these frequencies collide, their data can be lost, which causes the signal to slow or drop altogether.

Below, we’ve listed some of the most common culprits when it comes to Wi-Fi interference.

Microwaves

One of the most common causes of Wi-Fi interference in the home is the microwave. This is common because both Wi-Fi routers and microwaves use the same frequency. While microwaves are often leak-proof, the reality is that they often emit some of their rays, which can cause interference to nearby Wi-Fi signals.

If your microwave causes significant internet drops while active, it might be because it’s leaking quite a lot of emissions. If it’s an old appliance, consider replacing it with a new one. Alternatively, move any vital components, such as the Wi-Fi router, away from the area, so it doesn’t cause widespread interference.

A stainless steel microwave in a modern kitchen

TVs

Generally, modern TVs shouldn’t be impacting your home Wi-Fi strength, beyond using the internet for their functions (such as watching Netflix), which can cause slower speeds for other devices. However, TVs can impact your Wi-Fi signal if the router is placed near to your system.

This point applies to a range of metallic and electrical devices – Wi-Fi signals can struggle to pass through things like your TV. If your router is placed behind your television and you’re noticing connectivity issues, consider changing your router’s location. 

Baby Monitors

One of the most famous Wi-Fi disruptors is the humble baby monitor. Many of these monitors use frequencies that can be the same as Wi-Fi routers, which can cause some serious disruption for both your internet connection and the monitors themselves.

Thankfully, many steps have been taken in recent years, and now, the majority of baby monitors can operate at different frequencies. You can also use baby monitors that work over Wi-Fi, although this might take up some of your broadband.

Lights

Don’t worry, turning your living room light on won’t impact your Wi-Fi. The biggest culprit here is LED Christmas lights or anything similar. In this instance, the wires can generate a small amount of electromagnetic radiation which can cause interference.

The simple fix here is to keep lights away from the router and, if possible, out of the path between your main devices and the router.

multi-coloured  Christmas lights

Fridges

The problem with fridges is something of a combination between that caused by lights, microwaves and TVs. Both what the refrigerator is made of and how it operates can adversely impact your Wi-Fi signal.

Unfortunately, this is an issue that is hard to fix, as the fridge is a significant appliance in the home! The best option is to reposition your router to minimise its interference.

How to Improve Your Home Wi-Fi Signal

As mentioned in this article, if you don’t want to change the devices and routers you’re currently using, the best way to improve your signal is by optimally positioning your router. Ideally, you should place your router in a central location in a high place, such as on a bookshelf, and away from other electronics. For your essential devices, you can also look at creating a wired connection with an ethernet cable, to ensure there’s no interference.

If you live in a large property and your signal struggles to reach every room, consider a network booster. Our professional team can supply and install the perfect solution for your property, ensuring a great connection in every space!

What is 4K? A Guide to High Definition Television

4K TVs have been around for a while now – since 2012, in fact. A few years ago, they were mainly seen as a novelty, but over the last few years, the amount of 4K content has exploded, meaning the technology is more relevant than ever.

The question is, are 4K TVs now worth the investment?

Here, we look at what precisely 4K means, the differences between HD and 4K and whether now is the right time to purchase.

What Does 4K TV Mean?

4K is currently the highest widely-available TV resolution. It is called 4K as its width resolution (3,840) is almost 4,000 pixels. 4K TV is also sometimes referred to as Ultra High Definition (UHD).

How Clear are 4K TV Screens?

Currently, the majority of households have Full HD screens which offer a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels. 4K doubles this, providing a whopping 3,840 x 2,160 pixels!

The pixels are what provide colour and clarity to your screen, and more pixels mean more precise images. To put the difference from HD to 4K into context, every pixel on your HD TV would fill just one-quarter of an identically-sized 4K display.

Of course, it’s hard to explain the difference in quality without taking the time to see it for yourself. However, many people say that 4K TV, compared to HD, provides a jump in clarity similar to that experienced from SD to HD. Furthermore, the increased pixels means that 4K screens can be built in much larger sizes while still providing improved visuals.

Netflix on the TV

What Can I Watch in 4K?

As mentioned before, back in 2012, 4K technology was primarily a novelty being showcased during major events but not much else. However, as the technology has developed, it’s now easier than ever to create 4K content. As a result, there are now plenty of opportunities to enjoy 4K visuals, no matter what you watch on your screen.

4K Netflix and Movie Streaming

Many of us now use streaming services for our at-home movie nights and weekly entertainment. Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and all other major streaming services now offer a plethora of 4K or 4K-enhanced shows that allow you to make the most of your improved visuals. If you want to watch the latest blockbuster at home, you can now enjoy them in better clarity than ever before!

4K Sport

4K in more traditional television has been a little slower on the uptake, so options in this regard are currently still limited. However, sports events on subscription services like Sky and BT are now regularly offered in 4K clarity. At the same time, major free-to-air events like Wimbledon and the FIFA World Cup are also being provided in 4K, allowing you to experience the action like never before.

4K Gaming

Another recent development has been the creation of video games with 4K UHD graphics. Next-generation PlayStation and Xbox consoles are being designed to provide 4K visuals; having the setup to match can take your experience to the next level.

Watch HD TV on a 4K Screen

It should be added that, as a general rule, 4K TVs also offer slightly better clarity when it comes to viewing regular HD content. While only slight, the improved technology can enhance your everyday viewing.

Two people holding PlayStation controllers while playing on a 4K TV

Is 4K Worth Buying?

Ultimately, whether 4K is worth the upgrade depends on how much you value your time watching TV.

One thing to bear in mind is that, to experience the real benefits of 4K TV, you need to ensure you purchase a screen larger than your current HD monitor. Generally speaking, the larger your TV is, and the closer your seat is to it, the bigger the difference.

If you are considering purchasing a 4K TV, make sure you have everything you need to enjoy it to the full. Our home cinema installation covers everything, from sourcing the perfect screen to installation, setup and extras including surround sound. If you’re interested, why not give our South-East England team a call and see what we could do for you?

Dos and Don’ts When Installing a Wall-Mounted TV

Although wall-mounting a TV seems like a fairly straightforward DIY job, there are a whole host of issues to consider before you reach for the power drill. After all, a badly-mounted TV is not only unsightly, but can also cause serious damage. This damage can extend not only to your wall, television, and any pricey equipment that a tumbling TV may fall on, but also to your neck or spine — watching a TV that is mounted too high or low can cause strain-related injuries, which is definitely something you don’t need when you’re meant to be relaxing in front of your favourite show!

We’ve mounted more than our fair share of TVs over the years, so thought we’d put together this handy guide to share some of our ultimate dos and don’ts for the process.

DO assess your wall first

Assessing the weight-bearing capabilities of the wall you’d like to mount your TV on is probably the most important thing you’ll do in this process, as different wall materials come with different challenges and considerations. If mounting onto a brick wall, make sure you drill into the bricks themselves, as bricks tend to be a lot tougher than mortar (badly-mixed mortar can crumble under pressure, so you don’t want to take any chances with this). Investing in heavy-duty masonry wall bolts (or anchors) will provide extra peace of mind, as these are especially designed to create a much sturdier fixture.

Stud walls, though in some ways simpler to deal with, offer their own unique set of issues. If you’ve seen photos of walls ripped down with expensive televisions smashed into pieces in the rubble, more often than not this will have been because of people getting a little gung-ho about mounting onto a plaster wall. To safely mount onto a stud wall, use a stud finder to find the wooden or metal studs, and mark where they are. You should only be screwing into the studs, as they will be able to bear the extra weight — most plasterboard walls are far too weak to support a television without extra support. It is possible to mount onto walls without studs, but this needs to be done very, very carefully, preferably by a professional, and requires different equipment to a regular wall-mounting.

DON’T forget the cables

People often choose to wall-mount their televisions for a sleek and modern look, but then hurry into getting their TV up without considering something critical that all televisions come with, wall-mounted or not — cables! There is nothing more unsightly than a multitude of straggly cables dangling down a wall, so you need to plan how you’re going to make these disappear before you get the drill out.

For a relatively cheap and easy solution, you could invest in some cable covers — this is also a good quick fix if you’re mounting a TV onto a brick or concrete wall. For a really next-level finish, though, you can hire a professional to conceal the cables by feeding them down into a hollow portion of your wall. Although this is arguably a more complicated option than choosing cord concealers, it creates a really flawless finish, and if you’re splashing out on a brand new home cinema system, you may as well go the extra mile to avoid any distracting, ugly cables.

DO get the height right

Height and positioning is one of the most important things to consider when wall-mounting your television, as a placement that is too high or low on the wall can lead to painful neck and back problems. As a rule of thumb, the middle third of your screen should be at eye level from your natural sitting position, so get comfortable on the sofa and ask a friend to grab a tape measure to record the optimal height. If you prefer watching television from a recliner, you can go a little higher with your TV, which can then be tilted downwards. This process requires a little more trial and error, so you might be better off getting a piece of cardboard cut to the size of your new TV and trying it out in a few different positions on the wall before you commit to anything.

Sleek grey home cinema

If you’re looking for perfection in a wall-mounted TV, it’s always best to call in the professionals. Our home cinema package offers all include stylish cabling solutions and careful positioning of screens that are tailored to suit your needs.

find your perfect home cinema

DON’T mount your TV above a fireplace

Finally, if you have a working fireplace in your home, please avoid mounting your TV above it, even if it looks like the perfect-sized and -shaped spot to place it! The heat produced can severely damage your television, potentially wasting thousands of pounds, and most of these spaces above fireplaces are way too high to offer ergonomically-sound viewing.

These are just a few of the things you’ll need to consider for a successful TV installation, but it is, of course, always best to recruit professionals to carry out this kind of project. We have mounted countless televisions in our time, so we can perfectly mount your brand new television quickly and simply, while simultaneously offering a range of cable-hiding solutions. Get in touch today to see how we can help.

A Beginner’s Guide to Surround Sound

Although surround sound is becoming an ever-more frequent feature in home cinemas, it can still be tricky to get clarity on how it all works, the different systems that are out there to choose from, and how best to create a fully immersive surround sound experience in your own home. This is why we’ve put together this beginner’s guide to surround sound, to help you select the best fit for your home entertainment needs.

What is surround sound?

Surround sound is a technique used to make the listener feel fully immersed in the media that they’re consuming, be it a video game, a film, a

television

show, or music. This is achieved by the careful placement and configuration of speakers around a “sweet spot” — a place in the room that provides the optimal listening experience. These speakers play different audio channels to make you feel like you’re fully surrounded by the action, creating an unparalleled

home entertainment

experience. For example, if you’re playing a video game, you may hear characters calling out to you from behind, or if you’re watching an action film, you may hear bullets fly past your ear. Although less commonly-used in the world of music, there are also plenty of surround-sound recordings out there for aficionados to enjoy, too.

What do all of the numbers mean?

The number systems for speaker set-ups are actually really simple once you know what they signify. The first number refers to the number of regular speakers used in the set-up, while the 1 after the point refers to the subwoofer, which deals in low-frequency sounds and rumbles that create that next-level atmosphere. Thus, with a 5.1 system you have a total of six audio channels played through six speakers, and for 7.1 you have a total of eight audio channels played through eight speakers.

Sometimes you will see an extra digit added to the end of a 5.1 or 7.1 set-up, usually 5.1.2 or 7.1.4, under the moniker Dolby Atmos, who developed this pioneering overhead technology for home cinema use in 2014. These final digits signify that a whole extra dimension of sound has been added by fixing additional speakers to the ceiling that play overhead sound channels. This added dimension creates unparallelled immersion, and is well worth seeking out if you’re serious about surround sound.

The placement of your speakers, no matter how many you choose, is critical for achieving proper immersion — if one of your speakers is off a little, the effect can be jarring, so consulting the professionals is always a good idea if you want a perfect result first time.

Which system should I choose?

When it comes to choosing a system for your home, it seems like a no-brainer that more speakers means better sound, which might be technically true, but before you splash out on a 7.1 system, you need to take into consideration things like room size. Cramming that many speakers into a small room may be inconvenient at best, and at worst, give a poor result due to inadequate placement. It’s also worth noting that, as with many trailblazing technologies, not all of your favourite media will be recorded in 7.1 surround sound just yet, though of course many new releases will be harnessing this technology in the future — Disney are just one company that have pledged to release all of their 3D films using 7.1 sound. If you’re mainly a fan of older films, the best you can hope for is that your favourites will be remastered in the future with more and more audio channels.

As well as choosing how many channels you want, it’s also important to think about what format you want those speakers to take. While traditional surround sound systems are fully wired, requiring careful cable installation and management, companies like Sonos now offer a number of smart wireless systems for you to enjoy, giving greater freedom and often a sleek, minimalist design that fits nicely any home.

TV with speaker set-up

The positioning of speakers can make or break the immersiveness of your home cinema set-up.

VIEW OUR HOME CINEMA DEALS

What about sound bars?

Though sound bars have been around in some form since the 1990s, they have really come into their own in the past ten years or so, thanks in part to the prevalence of ever-slimmer TVs being unable to accommodate high-quality in-built speakers, and also to the soundbar’s ability to produce relatively high-quality audio in a sleek and compact format. Sound bars pack multiple speakers into one piece of equipment, offering a surround sound effect of sorts without having to find space for multiple speakers. Sound bars, however, will not be able to provide the full immersion of a surround sound set-up, as even though they can project sound in different directions, you won’t have that fully spine-tingling sense of sounds coming at you from every angle. If you’re short on space and have budget constraints, however, sound bars are really hard to beat.

If you’d like to know how JL Audio Visual can help you achieve all of your surround sound and home cinema goals, get in touch today for a free quotation.