Earl is buying an LG 55" OLED TV. What's a good sound bar to go with it? Leo says that TVs have speakers, but they're largely an afterthought and they sound terrible. The TV manufacturers expect people to invest in a home theater system. An AV Receiver with surround sound and subwoofer is the best option, but if he needs to go with the sound bar option, then Leo says that Scott Wilkinson really likes Onkyo, Vizio, and Yamaha.
Scott joins Leo to talk about how January is the big time to buy a new TV because the NFL playoffs are in full swing and people want their new TV before the Super Bowl. It's also the time that TVs get discounted because TVs we see announced at CES will begin selling in the Spring. Is there any upgrade we'll see in 2018 worth waiting for? Scott says maybe not, but CES always has something new coming and Scott has heard of something that is really exciting. But on the whole, Scott only expects incremental improvements, or what Leo calls "fins" this year.
Scott joins us to talk about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Leo saw it yesterday at the fan event and he saw it in 3D, which he says ruins movies for him. Also, the projector died twice. Scott says Leo isn't the only one to have that issue. There was a showing at the AMC Burbank where the dialogue track wouldn't play and AMC wouldn't start it over. It almost caused a riot.
Scott says that digital signal processing is at the heart of a soundbar, and they are great for small living rooms. Atmos is now making its way into soundbars and it's the least expensive way to significantly improve your sound, especially if your soundbar comes with a subwoofer. Leo says that there's a wide range of prices for soundbars, though, and Scott agrees. You get what you pay for. But there are some good budget brands out there including Vizio (of course) and Polk.
Leo finally got to see Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, directed by Ang Lee. Shown at 120 fps, Leo says it was almost like a stage play. But the problem with it is that because it was shot at such a high frame rate, the actors looked wooden, and because they used very little makeup, you see them how they really look. It's disconcerting, and Leo doesn't think it worked. Scott, though, disagrees and thinks it's an experiment that pushes the boundaries of what we are used to in cinema. Scott says we also have 100 years of watching movies at 24 fps.
Scott says that the latest TV shootout, now sponsored by CE Week, was decided on a vote by professional colorists, but the difference is the same — LG won. Sony and Samsung were a close second and third, though. What's the difference between the Sony and Samsung OLED? Scott says that the processing is better, but likely not worth paying $1,000 more for. While he bought the Sony himself, he would have no problem buying an LG and they are offering some pretty killer Black Friday deals. A 55" LG B7 is selling for $1499 during Black Friday. That's a fantastic deal. The 65" B7 is $2,299.
Scott joins Leo to talk about the OLED burn-in problem that some LG phone users have been complaining about. Scott says that OLED TV makers have been using a technique called "pixel shifting" or "pixel orbiting" to combat burn-in since the pixels are subtly and constantly changing. Now phone makers are using the same technique. But it's odd because Leo says that both Samsung and Apple are using OLED screens and there haven't been many complaints. Scott says as long as you don't have the same TV image on for hours at a time, burn-in won't be an issue.
Leo got the Apple TV 4K yesterday and says it looks really good. Scott says there's some really great stuff in it and he thinks it could be a Roku killer. It's very polished and crisp. Scott says that the one problem the Apple TV 4K has is that the up conversion feature isn't the best and as such, anything you watch that isn't 4K at 60p doesn't look all that great. Apple is planning to address the problem with a TVOS firmware update 11.02 which will feature "auto switching" that will fix the up convert problem.
Jim was having an issue with a blue line on the bottom of his Vizio and they shipped out a replacement TV with professional installation to replace the TV. It was a great customer service experience. Leo says that's a fantastic thing that rarely happens these days. Margins have shrunk so drastically that we lose that kind of support service. Vizio also has a really good product, so they're standing behind it.
Scott says that there's a dreaded disease in home theater, and technology in general, called upgrade-itus. Sure, TV manufacturers come out with new models that address customer comments and wants, as well as new features, but for the basics, there's really nothing anything new this year over last. Just more whistles and bells.