Easy ways to make home theatre setups last

If you love entertaining at home or simply kicking back with a classic film, it's in your best interest to keep these home theatre maintenance tips in mind.

Easy ways to make home theatre setups last
  • Keep your equipment cool by giving it enough space to breathe and by adding ventilation holes if it is kept in a cabinet. The hotter it runs, the shorter its operational life; plus there's an increased risk of fire. Turn down the bright and garish default settings on your TV — these will cause it to run hot.
  • Position your TV so that it is not exposed to extremes of temperature (such as above a radiator) and sources of dust and water. Keep it away from strong magnets (such as those in speakers).
  • Close the front flap of your TV once you have finished using the controls beneath. These covers are often flimsy and can snap off if bumped.
  • Disconnect the antenna and power supply from your TV or system if a thunderstorm is expected — a lightning strike can damage your equipment. Consider buying a surge protector; many of these units also contain circuits that cut electronic "noise" to give you a cleaner picture on your TV.
  • Buy the best quality blank DVDs if you record TV programs on a DVD recorder — they will have a much longer useful life than budget-priced alternatives.

Clean DVDs and the DVD player lens

A dirty disk is the most common cause of slow loading. Try cleaning the disk with a dry microfibre cloth; wipe gently from the inner hole out to the edge, not around its circumference. If this doesn't work, moisten the cloth with a little window-cleaning fluid and wipe as above. Allow the disk to dry before inserting it into the DVD player.

  • Buy a cleaning disk from an electronics shop; insert it into the DVD player and follow the on-screen instructions to clean the player's lens. This is particularly important if your DVD player is used in a room where people smoke.

Clean the TV regularly

Today's LCD and plasma TVs have screens faced with plastic that is easily marked by abrasive cloths and chemicals, so try this low-tech cleaning method.

  • First, switch off the TV, then wipe the screen with a microfibre cloth, which won't leave behind traces of lint. Don't press too hard. If marks remain on the screen, moisten the microfibre cloth with a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water and lightly rub any spots. Dry the screen immediately with a clean microfibre cloth to avoid smudge marks.
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