Audience Questions

Audience QuestionsHour 1

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Scott from Springfield, PA Comments

Scott would like to replace his thirty year old speakers for his home theater system. Scott says that it's not uncommon for the "surround" foam to deteriorate and cause the speaker diaphragm to vibrate more than it should. Refoaming a speaker isn't easy, or cheap. Ross says that there are kits out there on the internet, or there are companies that can do it, but it's probably time to get new speakers.

In the chatroom, Beatmaster says that if the speakers are high quality, it may be cheaper and worth replacing it. It really is a question of personal preference. Scott says that there may be a point to be made that since older speakers tend to have a "warmer" sound that many people like it better, and new speakers can't duplicate it.

Watch Nick from Fresno, CA Comments

Nick is looking to improve his TV audio with a sound bar, and he has a budget of about $300. Scott says at that price point, he'd recommend the Yamaha YAS101 or the Vizio VHT215.

Watch Dennis from Santa Monica, CA Comments

Dennis wants to know why home audio cables are so expensive for better performance, but pro audio vendors say that price makes no difference. Scott says that there are as many opinions on price vs. performance as there are people to have them. Ross says that pro audio cables, like XLR, are designed to eliminate noise in long cable runs. They have a balanced, noise cancelling quality by design. So he doesn't need to spend extra for higher quality because it's the design that counts. He also says that he doesn't advocate spending money for super expensive cables. They just need to have quality copper and connectors and be well put together. And he doesn't need to spend thousands to get that.

Ross also says that if his preamp and amp are balanced, he'll need to have XLR cables.

Audience QuestionsHour 2

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch David from Laguna, California Comments

Scott says he can always get a digital antenna. Check out AntennaWeb.org for what signal he'll get over the air. He actually can get higher resolution HDTV over broadcast if he's within line of site. Also, cable and satellite companies encrypt their signal.

He could get a TIVO DVR which will record if he has a cable card that will decrypt the content. They charge a monthly fee for the "program guide service." David could always choose streaming from an online source like Netflix, Hulu, or use a Roku Box.

Watch Corneilius from San Diego, CA Comments

Corneilius is thinking of getting an Oppo Blu-ray player to go with his new Marantz AV7701 home theater unit. Scott says that the Oppo is a great player, but the image quality won't be that much better than a less expensive brand. Ross says that the Oppo, though, does a far superior job of up-converting a conventional DVD signal to HD. Another excellent blu-ray option is a Sony Playstation 3, which gives him the benefit of having a gaming console as well.

Cornelius also wonders if upgrading his HDTV to a Panasonic VT50 or GT50 would be a better choice to upgrade. Scott says yes. Since that's the "business end" of the video signal, it's where he'll want the most bang for his buck.

Watch Nathan from Temecula, CA Comments

Nathan would like to use his HDTV as a computer monitor, surf the net, and stream video with a Roku Box. He's wondering if this is the best option.

Scott says that new TVs are smarter TVs that have apps programmed into them. If he wants to stream content, he can use a Roku, or AppleTV, etc. A PC would be the best to get the full web browsing experience, if that's what he's looking for. He should use an HDMI out to the TV from a computer. There are wireless ways to do it using wireless dongles, and some TVs have wireless capability built-in, but Scott never recommends it for high quality content. It just doesn't work as well as a hard wired connection.

Watch John from Rancho Cucamonga, CA Comments

John has a two story house and he wants to install wireless speakers. Scott says that floor standing or bookshelf speakers would be ideal, but absent that, Scott says that On-Wall speakers will work. That way, he can mount them. Axiom makes a good wireless speaker system, but Ross says there's really no such thing as a true wireless speaker. Not only do speaker wires provide the sound, but they also power the speaker. So a wireless speaker still needs power and that means a plug for each speaker.

Scott also says that front and center speakers really need to be at the same height as the TV itself for optimum sound quality. A bookshelf option like the Pioneer by Andrew Jones are fabulous. The chatroom says that for John, a sound bar may actually be a better choice. Polk makes good sound bars, as do Vizio and Yamaha.

John also wants to mount the TV on the fireplace, but Scott says that is the worst possible place to mount a TV. It puts the TV far too high to watch it.

Audience QuestionsHour 3

Hour 1 Hour 2 Hour 3
Watch Chuck from Missouri Comments

Chuck has a bunch of commercial VHS tapes that he bought and he'd like to "rip" them to DVD. Scott says that most commercial VHS tapes came with Macrovision copy protection that scrambles the signal when someone tries to copy it. It may be possible to bypass it by exploiting the analog hole and capturing it with a DVD recorder or PC.

Illuminati in the chatroom says there's a filter he could buy that works around Macrovision. Ross says that there isn't an easy answer and there's various programs that will allow him to capture directly from his computer. They're in real time, however, and the video will take time to capture. Hauppauge makes a good video capture card for it. There's also the Grass Valley AVDC 110 Digital converter.

Watch Cameron from Corona, CA Comments

There is wireless HDMI, but it can't officially be called that because it isn't licensed by the HDMI licensing bureau. It's called either Wireless HD or WHDI. DVDO makes one called the DVDO Air. That will work only in the room, it won't go through walls.

Cameron was also wondering if he could run a long HDMI cable instead of using a wireless solution, since his source equipment is in another room. Scott finds that if he's got a short cable run, the cheap HDMI cables work great, and he could find them at Monoprice.com. For a longer run like Cameron plans to do, he'll want something higher quality. Since it's digital, it should work even at longer distances. Ross has a 50' HDMI cable that works great for him, and that's even longer than HDMI recommends.