You’re not thinking about natural light.
You wouldn’t put a sunlight sensitive upholstered piece near the window, so why are you placing your computer screen or HDTV near a bright window? The picture is going to get washed out, and light reflecting off of a screen can result in tired eyes and headaches when placed too closely to large, bright windows. If placement options are limited, consider invest-ing in window coverings to reduce glare.
The television is the wrong size.
You’ve bought a beautiful new television, but never even considered an optimal viewing dis-tance? Literally a big mistake. Here’s how to calculate the best seat-to-screen distance for optimal HDTV viewing to determine the right size screen for a room: divide the size of a screen by .84 (screen size is measured diagonally). That number will give you in inches the distances you’ll need to situate a screen from your eyes (or push the couch back toward). The audio+video experts at THX go into further detail here.
You haven’t calibrated your television.
Okay, this one is going to sound complicated and a hassle, but it really is a case of a small investment where you’ll reap big rewards. And once the process is completed you’ll probably never have to do it again. HDTVs ship with their default settings optimized for the store floor, not your cozy living room, so using a calibration disc can help bring out the best in a televi-sion set, whether brand new or a few years old. A $19 Blu-ray offered by Disney does an unbelievably adept job for both audio and video optimization with “anyone can do it” hand holding. But if you’re really “Goofy” and hands off but still want the best your system has to offer, consider hiring a local professional ISF-certified HDTV calibrator.You’re using one password for everything and it’s very simple to remember.
There’s been a rash of online security breaches making the news, and to be honest, it’s like-ly going to become more prevalent as personal and financial information is kept on our com-puters, phones, and accessible via digital accounts. Using a single password across ac-counts and devices is a glaring mistake many people still make, but practiced mostly be-cause remembering tens of individual passwords is challenging, if not impossible. The solu-tion? A password management system like LastPass.
What’s your backup plan?
This might be the biggest, worst mistake you’re making right now, but the easiest to fix. If you’re not backing up your computer hard drive and your mobile devices regularly – whether using a physical external hard drive or backed up onto the great digital vapor of a cloud ser-vice – you’re inviting the regretful tragedy of losing everything that comprises your digital life. External hard drives are extremely affordable and data backup systems like Apple’s Time Machine only require you keep a hard drive plugged in to do its magic in the background.
Placing speakers for convenience, not audio quality.
Acoustics can greatly affect whether you clearly hear hushed dialogue in a movie or enjoy the subtle nuances of a soundtrack. If you can't see the speaker, sound is going to have a direct route to your ears, so make sure you place any speaker is placed with a clear path di-rectly toward where you sit. Dolby has a simple how-to guide for sound system optimization illustrating placement and performance, with the interesting note that a more balanced sound can be produced by minimizing bare walls and floors. A great excuse for accessoriz-ing with a new rug and art for the walls!
Nobody wants a coffee table full of remote controls cluttering their living room, not to men-tion the confusing dance of thumbs required to get everything working together. A universal remote control is the answer. The Logitech Harmony line of remotes are all easy to program, work with nearly any home audio/video/entertainment/automation component, and some models can even turn your iOS or Android smartphone into a universal remote.
Power outages, brownouts, and rolling blackouts all have a knack of happening just right be-fore you’ve decided to save important work on a computer and also bring the risk of frying components. An uninterruptible power supply is an insurance policy against electrical surge damaging any electronics, providing a limited emergency cache of power for times when the electricity goes out, giving you precious minutes to safely save and turn off a computer. Newer models like the APC GS Pro 500 not only safeguard against damage, but also offer energy management control to turn off peripherals like printer and hard drive when your main computer is turned off.