home theater

Why is the volume level of dialog so inconsistent on Blu-ray discs?

Joe from Ventura, CA

Episode 1341

Joe wants to know why the volume of dialog audio tracks so inconsistent whenever he plays Blu-rays. It's very annoying. Leo says that the TV speakers don't understand the channel information in order to route the audio properly. Dialog is mixed to come out of a center channel, so it doesn't get reproduced as intended. The TV may have a setting that can address this, but having a home theater system is a better way to go.

Should I buy a Sony 4K TV?

Episode 1341

Chad from Long Beach, CA

Chad is looking to get the XBox Scorpio next year to upgrade his game console but he wants to upgrade his TV first. Leo says that this will trigger the upgrade cascade with all of his other devices. Sony's 4K TV is very nice, and Scott Wilkinson says nice things about it. It misses the UHD Premium spec, however. Leo says it may be HDR 10, but Leo says he'll want a TV that supports the whole spec, not just one or the other. Sony always goes their own way with proprietary technology. That's a legitimate concern.

Should I get the Amazon Echo or Google Home?

Episode 1341

Pete from Clinton Township, AL
Amazon Echo

Pete is trying to decide between Amazon Echo or Google Home. Leo says he'd definitely pick the Echo. The Echo Dot, a smaller and less expensive version of the Echo, is designed to connect into a speaker system. It's also only $50. It's way ahead of Google Home with hundreds of tasks and recipes that enable Echo to do a variety of things. Google Home is way too new, but chances are, it'll get smarter quicker. Pete could connect the Echo Dot to a speaker and he'll have a stereo. It's amazing.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1341

Scott says we've been seeing Black Friday ads all month and Cyber Monday is now all month long. This is a good way to score a store brand TV for a bedroom or guest room. Scott advises sticking with deals you can get on name brands, just look down a few model tiers. Scott is also not seeing that many deals on 4K TVs this time around. 4K doesn't matter in terms of the detail you can on a TV at smaller screen sizes, but 4K also will minimize artifacts. Moving forward, 4K is the way to go, and more content is out now to make it worth it.

Do I really need an A/V receiver for home theater?

Episode 1335

Andrew from Manchester, NH
Denon AV Receiver

Andrew isn't much about home theater and wonders if it's really important to get an A/V receiver. Leo says it is, because the speakers in a TV are more of an afterthought. They assume he's going to get a home theater system. If he cares about the sound, which is half of the TV experience, then he'll want a home theater system. He can get a Home Theater in a Box that comes with a Blu-ray player, a mini receiver and a set of speakers for a few hundred bucks.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1335

Scott Wilkinson

Scott saw Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, directed by Ang Lee, which was shot in 3D HFR at 120fps. The problem with shooting at that high frame rate is that few theaters can display it. Scott says that Lee is trying to push the boundaries of cinema with a new visual language that breaks the barriers up by 24 fps to save film stock. The problem is there's few projectors that can handle that amount of data. Scott says it's gorgeous, and very compelling. Shooting at that frame rate also meant not being able to wear makeup. Required more of a method acting technique, and more.

Why is my TV reception worse after getting FIOS?

Episode 1333

Bonnie from Devore Heights, CA
HDMI Cable

Bonnie has a Sharp LCD TV, had FIOS TV installed yesterday, and now the picture quality is terrible. She cancelled it, but now it's still not any better. Scott suspects that the cable that they replaced her HDMI with was faulty or cheap and that caused the inferior reception. Scott suggests connecting her DVD player via component and then connect the satellite box via HDMI, and get a different cable. That should solve it.