Setup Your 4K Home Theater

Welcome to part one for getting the most out of 4K in your home!  This first article, 'Setup Your 4K Home Theater' will be focusing on physical media and the components needed to watch TV and movies in your living room or home theater. Listed below are a few options and tips for getting your home theater ready for 4K.  Each category has multiple prices and feature options that offer you a great starting point.  This article won't go into great depth of every feature for every device, there are plenty of great resources for that already, this column is more of a quick start guide.

(updated December 11th, 2017)

4K UHD TVs
Choosing a 4K UHD TV should be your first priority. When buying a 4K TV there are many features to look for. HDR/Dolby Vision/WCG is the latest feature to grab many peoples attention; it allows for a greater depth of color and enhances highlights and shadows.  It is the way the industry is going but it is not required.  It is highly recommended that you get a TV with that feature. There are no UHD TV's that offer 4K in 3D, any 3D options you see are for 1080p. When in doubt look for this logo.
 article-uhd-premium  

UHD Blu-ray Players

The second essential piece of equipment you need is a 4K UHD player.  Make sure when purchasing a UHD player that it is NOT only a '4K upscaling' unit.  Currently, there are no UHD players that offer 4K in 3D, any 3D options you see are for 1080p. When in doubt look for this logo.

  • Xbox One S 
  • Real 4K | HDR: Yes | WiFi: Yes | 3D: Yes(Blu) | Streaming Apps: Yes | DTS:X/Dolby Atmos: Yes
  • $249-$400
Can't decide which one to get? Check out The Ultimate 4K Hardware Shootout
4K Amplifiers/Receivers
To get the most out of your new discs, you'll want to pick up an amp that can decode Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. These new formats allow for height channels which really draw you into a film. In addition to the new height channels you typically gain a few extra surround as well, 5.1 setups are so 2005.  Alternatively, you can hook up your 4K UHD player directly to your TV for a 4K picture and standard Blu-ray audio running to your existing amp. When in doubt look for these logos.
 audio-logos

Speaker Packages
Many of you currently own surround sound systems, but here are a few great choices for an upgrade or starter kit.  Speakers included with your fancy new TV are horrible, make your home theater experience something special by adding a surround sound system.
HDMI Cables
Any HDMI cable certified as '2.0' will work, just make sure you check the specs (18Gbps, NOT 10.2Gbps).  Don't fall for name brand hype. HDMI cables are digital, they either work or don't work. AmazonBasic's line of cables are fantastic and have a great price, they are highly recommended. When in doubt look for 18.0 Gbps in the description.
 hmdi-logo

AmazonBasics 6’ - HDMI 2.0 | Ethernet | 1080p 3D | 4K @ 60Hz | 48bit/px depth - $7

AmazonBasics 15’ - HDMI 2.0 | Ethernet | 1080p 3D | 4K @ 60Hz | 48bit/px depth - $10

AmazonBasics 10' - HDMI 2.0 | Ethernet | 1080p 3D | 4K @ 60Hz | 48bit/px depth - $11 (2 Pack)

AudioQuest Diamond 9’ - Will a $1,900 cable make your picture look better? (It won't, but it does have free shipping!)


Miscellaneous Gear to complete your experience

Speaker Cable - MediaBridge 100' White $30 | MediaBridge 100' Clear/Copper $20 -  In general, look for 14 AWG.

Universal Remote - Logitech Harmony 350 $35 | Logitech Harmony Home Control $150

Surge Protector - Belkin 12 Outlet $21 | Don't go crazy buying a $100 surge. Most offer a $100,000+ lifetime warranty anyway. 

Wall Mounts - Cheetah Tilt Mount 32"-65" $25 | VideoSecu Articulating Mount 37"-70" $70


Jump start your 4K UHD Movie collection!
New 4K UHD movies and TV shows are being released all the time. These are a few popular ones to get you started. Also, don't miss the Demo Disc page.

Mad Max - Fury Road - A really fun 2-hour car chase that should be watched at full volume!

The Martian - Matt Damon is stranded in space... again. He grows potatoes in space poop.

Sicario - Quiet intense thriller with brief bursts of action that focuses on the drug trade between Mexico and the US.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - The title is longer than the actual fight between Batman and Superman! 

Smurfs 2 - Your kids will love this beautiful lighthearted movie with a good message.

X-Men Apocalypse - Looks amazing (especially the Quicksilver slo-mo scene) and will test your sub.


Still have questions? Feel free to contact me if you need advice on how to build the ultimate home theater!
 
Part two:  'Guide to Streaming 4K' can be found below.