home theater

Can I omit the center channel in my home theater?

Episode 1127

Ignacio from San Diego, CA
Home Theater

Ignacio had his living room prewired with HDMI and Cat 6 Ethernet. But he forgot speaker wires for the center channel speaker of his home theater. What can he do? Leo says he could go with a wireless center channel. Or he could just do a two channel stereo configuration and do without the center channel. But that's where the vocals are going to be and he'll lose all the dialog. So he really won't want to do that.

Should I buy Sony's new HT-ST5 sound bar?

Episode 1127

Doug from Panama City, FL
Sony HT-ST5 Sound bar

Doug hears that Sony's new HT-ST5 sound bar has separate amps for every speaker. Is that THX? Leo says that having a separate amp doesn't mean the speaker is better, just that it gives it more juice. And THX is a certification, not really a technology. Leo likes Sony because they add a subwoofer to it and it doesn't have wires everywhere. But it will never be the same as actual surround sound quality. Scott Wilkinson recommends the Pioneer Andrew Jones Sound bar.

What's the best sound bar under $500?

Episode 1125

Pete from Detroit, MI
Pioneer SP-SB23W

Pete wants to get a sound bar to replace his aging home theater system. Leo says you can do it, it's a good option especially for a smaller room. But he won't get the separation and quality of home theater. Sound bars are popular and do a great job, though. Pioneer makes one that Scott Wilkinson likes called the SP-SB23W. It's designed by Andrew Jones and is very affordable at around $400. Scott says it sounds really good.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1125

Scott attended the Audio Engineering Society show this week (AES). Scott says that high resolution audio was the chief topic at this year's show and that Neil Young is really driving the conversation thanks to the development of his PONO player, which plays uncompressed high resolution audio. And when you compare HRA to MP3s, you can really hear the difference since MP3s are heavily compressed. Leo says that in 1996, we were lucky to have MP3, but 20 years in, and with more bandwidth and memory, it's high time we left mp3 with cassettes and 8 Tracks and embraced high resolution audio.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1123

Scott Wilkinson

Scott joins Leo to talk about the "dirty little secret" in video -- and that's the new HD Copy Protection that's coming. Scott says that 4K is really pushing to make people to believe that HD just isn't good enough, and 4K Blu-ray is coming. HDCP Copy Protection is also coming for 4K. Version 2.2 and every device in the signal chain has to be compliant or the video won't work on your TV. So you have to have a new TV, new Blu-ray player, new a/v receiver. All to watch a 4K Blu-way DVD. Leo says that's going to kill off optical media for sure.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1121

Scott joins us this week to talk about the laser video projectors he saw this week at the CEDIA convention. Scott says there was a few different ones there this year including one by Epson that had one for under $8,000. Sony also had one, but that was $50,000, and Digital Projection had one for $120,000. They use a blue laser which is then divided up and one part is shined on a yellow phosphor which glows different colors. It then gets split into red and green, and you have RGB light from one laser.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1119

Scott Wilkinson

Scott has gotten some interesting results from the high resolution audio test he was conducting on AVS forum: 80% said they could tell the difference. Leo says that's unlikely and some may have cheated. Scott agrees and says it's more likely that people can hear the difference between MP3 and uncompressed.

Scott Wilkinson ... Installed part II

Episode 1117

Scott is calling in from the CEDIA show, which is a custom design and installation show for home theater. He's been able to hear Dolby Atmos at home, which uses speakers to bounce sound off the ceiling to create a simulated 3D sound and he says it's pretty amazing. And the good news is that you don't have to upgrade your blu-ray player at all, you can just choose the Atmos sound track. But you will have to upgrade your AV receiver, which will set you back about $1000. But you can keep your speakers and just invest in the up-firing modules. So it's a half upgrade of your system.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1115

This week, Scott will be attending the CDIA show. That stands for Custom Designers and Installers Assoc. It's where Scott usually sees what's on the horizon for home theater projection. And what's he's really excited about is that he'll get to see a ton manufacturers put out systems with Dolby Atmos for the home. Scott says he's found it to be very effective in the theaters and he's looking forward to it being in the home. There's also another system competing with Atmos called ORO.

Use Any Remote With Apple TV

Apple TV, like many other set top boxes and home theater components, comes with its own separate remote. This aluminum remote is much smaller than most other remotes, making it easier to lose. But there are other ways to control the Apple TV, including an option to use one of your existing remotes.

iOS Remote App