This week during the gaming conference E3, Microsoft announced the most powerful gaming console ever made. It's called the Xbox One X, and it's smaller, heavier, liquid cooled and more powerful than any other console on the market. It also comes with a 4K Blu-ray player with HDR support built-in. Scott says that the HDR capability of the player is really more important than the resolution simply because most people won't really see the difference unless they have a screen that's 70" or larger. But HDR is really noticeable, even on sets under that size.
Scott Wilkinson fills in for Leo this week. So get your home theater questions ready to go!
Dan's mother is having trouble hearing the audio on her TV, and he wants to get her a sound bar. What's a good, yet affordable option? Leo says that the Vizio Smartcast SB3851 is one of the best sound bars according to the WireCutter. It's $250 and it comes with a subwoofer. It's a great deal. They also recommend the Yamaha YAS-106 Sound Bar with dual built-in subwoofers.
Scott says it's getting harder for elderly viewers to enjoy the home theater TV experience. There's a problem with poor sound mixing on TV sets that makes the dialog difficult to hear. And the speakers on today's TVs are terrible. That's why Scott recommends a sound bar or sound base that goes in front of the TV. The Sound Base will allow you to put the TV on top of it and it won't block the TV's remote. ZVox has a sound base that has a feature called "AccuVoice," which makes it easier for older viewers to hear the dialog.
Paul would like to know what's a good TV with on board sound. Scott says there aren't many, but Sony's OLED XBR-A1E is the best. It uses the screen itself as the speaker and it sounds surprisingly good. But at 55", 65", or 75", it's not cheap. Absent that, Paul should plan on buying a good sound bar or home theater system because most TVs have terrible on board sound.
Scott Wilkinson saw Wonder Woman last night at a smaller Dolby Cinema theater. Scott enjoyed it in Dolby, but he says that the film is too long. It is, however, a great depiction of a female hero that isn't over sexualized like most women are. Meanwhile, Leo saw Game of Thrones for the first time in 4K HDR. He realized that he's seeing much of the details, and it really shows how much the actor's characters are aged. It's so realistic that maybe they should stop using makeup when shooting in high def or beyond.
Bob was a Time Warner Cable client, but now he's with Spectrum and his "enhanced DVR" box is starting to fail. Leo says that chances are, it's the hard drive that's starting to fail. How can he get the shows off before he returns them? They say there's no way to do it since the data is encrypted. Leo says that the cable won't help him get those off because they are afraid of piracy. If it's a cloud based DVR, then he'd be OK. If not, he's out of luck.
Joyce listens has a harder time listening to dialog on TV because everything else is louder. What can she do? Leo says shows are mixed for surround sound and if she doesn't have that, the spoken word can get overwhelmed by other sound and music. Some TVs and audio receivers have center channel settings that would allow her to turn up the center channel so she can hear it. Most TVs have that feature. If she doesn't have a center channel speaker, she should get one. It will help a lot.
This week is the 40th anniversary of Star Wars and on Home Theater Geeks, Scott had as his guest one of the original sound recorders/designers for the film, Mike Minkler. He talks about the first use of front to back panning in sound and how George Lucas was very particular on how the film would sound in theaters.
Angus wants to hook up some old speakers to his 32" HDTV. What's the most affordable way to do this? Leo says who cares if the picture is small, if the sound is big? Scott agrees and says that the best solution is to get the most affordable A/V speaker or amp you can afford and hook it up. Make sure it has an optical/digital input (also known as TOSLINK). Scott checked at LifeWire, and they say the Pioneer VSX 531 for $200 is the best value for the money.