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How to make sure you are watching the Super Bowl in HD

Ben Drawbaugh

The big game is almost upon us and Engadget HD readers know all too well how many people out there have HDTVs, but aren't watching HD and since many of us will be at Super Bowl parties, it is our duty to make sure the HDTVs are setup properly.

If you think the HDTV is setup properly it doesn't hurt to double check and here are some rules that should go without saying, but we're not going to let that stop us.

  1. Just because you have an HDTV, doesn't meant you are watching HDTV.
  2. Just because you have an HDTV STB, doesn't mean you are watching HDTV
  3. And just because you have an HDMI or component cable connecting your HD STB to your HDTV, doesn't mean you are watching HDTV.
Setup steps after the break.

  1. Try to get to the party a little early, most won't appreciate you adjusting the TV during the big game so get it all checked out before hand.
  2. Make sure the HD STB is connected to the HDTV via either component or HDMI and look at what input you are plugged into, many HDTV have multiples of each.
  3. Check the STB and verify that it is set to the appropriate output resolution for the HDTV, most TVs will be 720p or 1080i consult the manual for supported resolutions on each input, some STBs can be configured with the remote like a TiVo, others will have a resolution button on the front of the box. Most cable boxes like Motorola and Scientific Atlanta are less than intuitive, so be prepared to download the manual for the STB. For example some of the Motorola DVRs requires the STB to be in the standby state to configure the output resolution.
  4. After you're sure the STB is configured correctly, double check the HDTV to make sure that the correct input is selected.
  5. The last thing is make sure that all the stretch modes are turned off. Both the HDTV and the STB will have stretch modes so you need to double check both of them, since many installers leave them on so customers don't call and complain about black bars. Most of the time the button on the remote to set the stretch mode will be plainly marked, but in same cases like the remote Bright House Networks gives out for their SA STBs it is the # key, we're not sure how anyone could ever figure that out other wise, but hey what do you expect?

Now that everything you have verified that everything is setup properly you can finally enjoy the game in HD!

**Update** One last thing, make sure you are on the right channel!

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