Scott Wilkinson fills in for Leo this week. So get your home theater questions ready to go!
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.
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.
Scott reports that NASA is going to do the first ever, live 4K stream from Space. They will be sending it to earth at 18MB/s which Scott says is really small. The backend is being handled by Amazon's Elemental streaming and cloud based processing division, which will stream it online via H.265 HEVC and then transcoded into H.264. So to watch it online, you'll need at least 45MBps of bandwidth.
Scott joins us to talk home theater and has questions from the chatroom. Is there a great ultraHD BluRay? Scott says that Oppo is the best out there. It supports HDR10, Dolby Vision, and 4K. But it doesn't support streaming, and Oppo says that since people get streaming from other devices, that it wasn't necessary for Oppo to get caught up in that. They just focus on having the BluRay player still be best at playing discs. It's everything you want in a player, and at $550, it should. Another option is the Xbox One S, but it doesn't support DolbyVision yet.
Scott went to a recent LG TV event and he saw some really great TVs that LG calls darn near perfect. And they're super thin too, with Wallpaper TV is 4mm from the bezel to the wall. So it's almost like a painting. So thin, that it requires a separate box for all the electronics, and the W7 model incorporates a sound bar into that electronics box package. Leo says he'd rather have a monitor that he can bring his own party to. Scott does says to be fair the Soundbar does sound pretty good though.
Scott says that the new HDMI standard will be pushing 4K and 8K video at over 5400 Gbps. Will HDMI ever be replaced? Scott says that if metadata doesn't survive going through an AV receiver, it could greatly affect the HDR10 dynamic range going to the TV. Your AVR needs to support HDMI 2.0A to do that, and few manufacturers will tell you that. Dolby has launched a program to educate people on which devices will support Dolby Vision.
Scott is going to the Grammys this weekend and he says the best part of the awards show is all the live performances. He also says that it's the Super Bowl of music and it's a great time to think about upgrading your home theater system. Leo has an AV receiver with Dolby 5.1. He's perfectly happy with the surround, center channel, two channel speakers, and a subwoofer. But you don't want to next to the surround speakers because you'll hear that more than the center channel dialogue.