Whether you got a brand new PlayStation 5 or an Xbox Series X|S or an older generation console, this list of tips will absolutely help you set up your console to maximize your video gaming experience. However, this is not an all-inclusive list and may be updated in the future depending on new technologies and new consoles that are released. This is a 2 sided process: 1. Removal of the old; and 2. In with the new.
Out with the old
- Have all your sign-in information readily available for your game accounts. It’s also a good idea to verify security information for your account to ensure current email addresses are in use and passwords are up to standards. You know, the usual – Letter, number, blood type, blood sample, shoe size, etc. You may want to even turn on 2-factor authentication to help prevent account take-overs. It’s happened to me before and it sucks!
- Make sure you have all of your save game data readily available. The newer consoles use cloud saves, and even the Xbox 360 now allows free cloud saves with the release of the Xbox Series X|S. This may not be as important as it used to be, but you should absolutely check to make sure that your saves have been recovered before selling or tossing your old console. You don’t want to lose 30+ hours in Red Dead Redemption 2, LittleBigPlanet, or Grand Theft Auto.
- Use the new cables that come with your new system. While it may seem easier to just use the HDMI cable and power cord already there, technologies change and cables can get old. For example, the Xbox Series X comes packed with an HDMI 2.1, and in order to get 4K video @ 120 Hz, a 2.1 HDMI cable is needed. Now you may be thinking, “I don’t have a 4K TV so who cares?”. You’re right, but do you know what type of HDMI cable you have now? I didn’t, and so I replaced it. As for the power cord, it seems that, more and more, the power cord is a universal one, and you probably have a half-dozen or more in a box somewhere. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t change it. While the technology of the power cable hasn’t changed, you don’t know if the cord is brittle, cut, or worn in any way internally. Which brings me to…
- Dusting. Now is the time to clean behind your other consoles, the TV, and especially where your power strips are. You’d be surprised how much dust and fur (if you have animals) gets trapped behind the TV and TV stand. That dust and fur can act as kindling and cause a fire. The Xbox Series X|S and the PlayStation 5 are both vacuums and will suck in anything that’s back there, which can cause overheating and premature death of a console.
In with the new – Time to install the new console
Now that you’ve removed your old console with wiring and cleaned up all around your entertainment system and TV, you’re ready to go.
- Normally, the physical console set up is fairly straight forward and requires little effort. Plug-in HDMI cable, power cord, network cable (if applicable), and external hard drives.
- It’s important to follow the on-screen setup of your console. Each manufacturer will have their own way and order of doing things. This will also undoubtedly include a necessary update like the Xbox Series X did.
- Once the console is up and running, it’s time to go through each and every setting category to ensure the console is set up the way you want it. For example, you’d be surprised at what you may find under ‘Accessibility’ that you may find useful.
- And finally, the pièce de résistance? Calibrate your TV. I wasn’t a believer in this until I took the time last night and used the Xbox screen calibration guide. I thought that I “eye-balled” the color well enough, but after going through the Xbox guide, I was thoroughly impressed with the difference. Unfortunately, neither the PlayStation nor the Nintendo Switch have a guide, but there are many out there. Rtings.com has a great calibration guide that is very similar to the Xbox guide. Rtings.com TV Guide.
Do you have any other tips and tricks to set up a new console? Let us know in the comments below!