How to Set up New Tech—The Tech Setup Cheat Sheet

Tech makes great gifts, especially for those people who are too intimidated to buy it for themselves. Once the wrapping paper has been ripped open and the delight fades, it is time to set up the gadget or device. Most of us don’t want to read manuals which is why manufacturers include a pictorial Quick Start Guide. After opening the box, I implore you to at least glance at the guide. Read on for my insider tips that will make setup a smoother, less frustrating experience.

Tips for setting up:

Connected devices— Be sure you know your router’s name (the SSID) and the WiFi  password. You will need to enter this info in order to connect your device to your home network and the Internet. Alternatively, locate the “WPS” button (push to connect) on the router.  Choose WPS in the Network setup on your device, then you’ll have 2 minutes to press the button on the router. No name or password will be required.

Once connected, often a device will require a firmware update (there may be new features or bug fixes since the time the device was packaged and sent to the store).  Harness your excitement and take the time to update.  Note that updates on Video game consoles and mobile devices can take several minutes to over half an hour to complete.  DO NOT INTERRUPT the update by unplugging the device, and don’t mess with the router or internet connection during any update. If the firmware isn’t completely installed, the device becomes a doorstop.

TVs— If you have a new flatscreen TV, you will need to either mount it on the wall or put it on its stand (often included). To connect the TV to a stand requires a Phillips screwdriver and a large flat table or use the package to keep the TV up off the floor.  You’ll need to put the TV face down. Avoid scratches or damaging the TV screen by putting down the soft bag that was packed around the TV or use a soft blanket before laying the TV on its display.

Home Theater systems and speakers —Speakers must be connected to the back of the AV receiver. Each speaker cable has a positive and negative wire. You must connect the same wire to the red connection and the other wire to the black (or white) connection. The cable will typically have writing or a line on the casing of one wire. My tip is to use the wire with writing as the red connection (my mnemonic is to remind myself that writing is “read”).  Five speaker systems will have a front right, front left, center, and a back right and back left (and a bass speaker that can be placed almost anywhere).  If your home theater receiver has an automatic speaker calibration microphone, follow the directions for setup so no speaker overpowers the sound of the others.

Google TV and the Xbox One video game console do not simply connect a single cable to the TV because they integrate with your TV provider.  Disconnect the cable or satellite box from the TV, and use that cable to connect to the Google TV or Xbox One. A second HDMI cable will connect OUT from the Google TV or Xbox One and into an HDMI port on the TV.

Media players and Smart TVs require that you connect to streaming services—Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and so forth. Sometimes you type the login credentials directly to the device; other times you must enter a code on the streaming service’s website. If possible, have a laptop

nearby, in order to go to the webpage and enter the code. If you must use a computer in another room, use your smartphone to take a photo of the code on the screen so you can reference it when you go to the webpage on your computer.

Smartphones and Tablets— When you first setup a new phone, you’ll want to sign in with your gmail (Google account) for Android devices,  iCloud account for iPhones, iPads or other Apple devices, or Microsoft account on Windows devices.  As you later use your device, you will want the benefits associated with a specific gmail or iCloud email account. Use your current account so sign up for one (free) online before you complete your device set up.

If all else fails, or you are confused by how to use your tech, be sure to ask!  I’m here to answer questions posted to on MySears Community.

Barb Gonzalez ~ The Simple Tech Guru

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