home theater

What's the best sound bar?

Episode 1402

Vin from Corona, CA
Vizio Smart Cast Sound Bar

Vin wants to know if Bose makes a good sound bar for home theater. Leo says the benefit of Bose is that it has a wireless subwoofer. It sounds great, but he'll pay for it. It will also have to simulate surround sound, which will never be as good as a real home theater system. If he has a space challenge, a sound bar is a good alternative.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1402

Scott Wilkinson

Yesterday was "cut the cord day." Started by TV maker TCL, it's the day to commemorate canceling your cable or satellite subscription in favor of streaming video online. But Scott says that while cord cutting is extremely popular, the options we're getting is really just another spin on the cable model. He hopes that someday we'll get true ala carte programming where you just pay for what you want. But currently, Sling, YouTube, Hulu, and DirecTV Now are all just "cable lite." And in many ways, you end up paying more or the same amount by cord cutting. That may be the whole idea.

How can I hear dialog better on my TV?

Episode 1400

Karen from Smith Center, KS
Vizio 2017 36" 2.1 Soundbar

Karen wants to know how to make her TV sound better, especially for vocals, which are hard to hear. Leo says that vocals are mixed to be part of the center channel and if she don't have a home theater system, it can be a common problem. Leo recommends getting a sound bar. Vizio makes a good affordable one. She should also get one with a subwoofer. Then she'll have the ability to hear the center channel better and can even turn up the center channel alone to help with dialog.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1400

Scott Wilkinson

Leo and Scott talk about cleaning out and organizing the "techno spaghetti factory" that is wiring coming from all home theater stuff. There was also a lot of dust built up and Scott says it's a good idea to clean out that cruft at least once a year and use IEC standard power cables to keep everything consistent. Leo likes banana plugs, and Scott agrees, but many people don't like them because they tend to be easier to disconnect. They make it easy to swap out other tech, though.

What's wrong with my HDMI connection?

Episode 1396

Dan from Chatsworth, CA
HDMI

Dan got a new cable box with Spectrum, but after a week he started to get an HDMI error because his connection has been "compromised." Scott says that the first thing to try is to power cycle the cable box. That will reload all the standard default settings. It could also be a faulty cable. So replacing the HDMI cable could solve the issue. Scott also says that being an older TV, the connection could be choking. Or maybe the HDMI connector could be failing.

How can I use a tablet as a remote control?

Episode 1396

Richard from San Rafael, CA
iRule Remote App on iPad

Richard would like to only have one remote control. He has a Harmony 1000, and it almost does the job, but it doesn't have a TV guide that can pop up. Is there a remote that can do that? Or can he use a tablet like an iPad? Scott says he'd have to have something in between that could take the Wi-Fi signal of his iPad and then transfer it into an IR signal.

Can I use my A/V Receiver with my new TV?

Episode 1396

Adam from Los Angeles, CA
HDMI

Adam has an A/V receiver, but it doesn't have HDMI. Can he still use it? Scott says not really, at least not for video. HDMI is the standard connection now in HDTVs, and if it doesn't have it, then he'll need a newer A/V receiver to handle the connection. If it had component, he may be able to get away with it, but it's not likely, and it still wouldn't be digital.