Easy fixes for sound and picture on the TV

Don't make due with less than desired sound and picture quality on your TV. The problem could stem from a simple settings or connection issue. These problems can be easily fixed.

Easy fixes for sound and picture on the TV

The TV’s picture and sound break up

Carry out a reboot and check the antenna

Your TV may be connected directly to the aerial, but it is more likely that the antenna first enters a satellite box, a free-to-air box or a cable box that, in turn, links to the TV and other components, such as a DVD player or home theatre system. Any interruption in this daisy chain of boxes can cause the picture to stutter, break up or disappear completely.

  • Make sure all the cables between the components and to the antenna are fully connected.
  • Do a little housekeeping — untangle the cables that carry electrical power to the components from those that carry signals between the components or from the antenna. This will help minimize any possible electrical interference. Make sure that cables run straight, with no kinks along their length.
  • Check with your neighbours; if they also lack TV reception, it may be that your satellite or cable supplier is carrying out tests or work that is affecting your signal.
  • Reboot your TV. Press the menu button on your remote control and navigate to the tuning section. Most sets will automatically tune in to the strongest signals for each channel.
  • Check the antenna or satellite dish on the outside of your home for damage — birds may have nested on the antenna, it may have been knocked out of alignment or its connecting cable may have been damaged. If so, call a professional.

The image on my TV looks squashed

Correct the aspect ratio

Do actors appear too fat or thin on-screen, or is part of your picture or text obviously missing? If so, you have probably selected the wrong aspect ratio for the input. You can change the setting easily, usually through a button on the remote control labeled "Aspect" or "Ratio."

The picture is fuzzy

Use the best connectors for optimal performance

If the image on your TV is consistently blurry, first check and adjust the picture settings. If these measures don't work, you may need to look at the way your equipment is connected.

Turn your TV around and you will see numerous sockets that allow you to connect to a DVD player, satellite box, surround-sound system and game console. Some of these ports support the most up-to-date digital standards, such as high-quality audio and high-definition TV, while others are "legacy" connectors that allow you to hook up older equipment, usually at the cost of picture and sound quality.

  • Always choose the most modern connector possible to link two pieces of equipment.
  • The latest flat-screen TVs will have HDMI connectors, which allow high-quality digital signals (including high-definition TV) to pass through a single cable; if it is available, use this option to connect your audiovisual components.
  • If you don't have HDMI connectors, the next best standard for video quality is component video; here, the video signal is carried by three cables (coloured red, blue and green). A separate connection is needed for the audio signal.
  • Older sets lack HDMI connectors, but may have an RCA connector that requires three cables — a yellow cable to carry the video signal, and red and white cables to carry stereo sound.
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