Smart home products, 4K TVs and laptop computers were popular tech gifts this holiday season. But the joy and excitement of unwrapping the perfect present can quickly turn to frustration if you can’t get it to work the way you want.
Thankfully, Geek Squad can pick up where Santa’s elves left off by answering questions about setting up all those devices and getting the most from them. We chatted with Agents Nate Bauer and Adam Silkey to get some helpful hints based on the questions they’re hearing from clients now that the holiday gifts have been opened
How can people get the most out of their new smart home products?
Smart home gadgets — from thermostats and security cameras to locks and lights — can help simplify tasks, make your home safer and even save you money on utility bills. Here are a few quick tips for getting started with these cool tech gifts.
- Keep your router updated and secure. Your router uses firmware the same way your computer does, so make sure it’s set to automatically check for updates that can enhance performance and security. Also, be sure to change the preset network name (SSID) and pick a strong password (encryption key).
- Check your Internet speed. Make sure it’s fast enough to support everything you’re adding to your home network. You’ll want at least 3 megabits per second for basic video streaming and 5 to 10 megabits per second for HD-quality video. You can check how fast your connection is by visiting the Geek Squad Internet speed test
- Learn what’s possible. Take the time to learn all the ways your new smart home gadgets can make your life easier. For example, voice assistants like Google Home can connect to your smart door locks, thermostats and lights so you can control them with your voice. Simply saying “Google, lock my front door” will allow connected door locks to function without you leaving the comfort of your sofa.
What about 4K TVs? What do people need to know?
Many families splurged this holiday on 4K Ultra-HD TVs. This latest technology is amazing, with picture quality that’s four times better than standard 1080p HD. Here are a few helpful hints to make sure you’re maximizing those capabilities.
- Connect your smart TV to your home Wi-Fi network. This allows you to take advantage of all the smart features your TV has to offer, including internet access to movies, music and social networking.
- Know where to find 4K content. Most cable and satellite providers don’t have 4K content yet, but streaming providers do. You’ll also want to look for 4K-specific copies of movies versus regular DVD or Blu-ray, and make sure you have the 4K Blu-ray player to play them. (Plus, all of the 4K TVs at Best Buy can upscale the movies and TV shows you currently watch to near-4K Ultra HD quality).
- Upgrade your sound system. You’ll be getting the best picture possible with 4K, so why not upgrade your sound system, too? New TVs are ultra-thin and sleek, which is awesome — but that also means the built-in speakers aren’t as powerful as they used to be. Sound bars can help provide a more cinematic experience without breaking the bank or requiring multiple speakers.
What are the most common questions people are asking about their new computers?
Laptops were popular tech gifts this holiday season, and many of them came preloaded with Windows 10. This operating system is fast and secure, but many people understandably have questions about how to get everything set up the way they want.
- Windows 10 lets you search from anywhere. Just press the Windows key on the keyboard and start typing what you’re looking for. This will search your local files, programs and even the internet.
- You can also see information at a glance. The live tiles in the “Start Menu” can be used to give you real-time information on the fly without opening an app. Use them to check your local weather, news headlines and sports scores — it’s can all be customized.
- It’s easy to set up peripherals such as printers, cameras and external drives. Most of these devices will automatically install on Windows 10 simply by connecting them to your computer via USB. Manufacturers also keep up-to-date drivers and software on the support section of their websites. Be sure to check Windows 10 compatibility for your older devices.