Scott is at CES for the latest in Home Theater and all the TV manufacturers are introducing new models of high dynamic range 4K TVs. There's finally a standard from the UHD Alliance called "Ultra HD Premium." But there's also a competing standard. Scott says that even though we have a budding format war, this time, they are largely interoperable. The 4K Blu-Ray players coming out are a lot cheaper as well, starting at $400. The first Blu-ray player was $1,000. So we're getting better at that and Leo says that by next year, they'll be under $100.
Scott hasn't seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, but he has heard nothing but good things. It seems that most people are writing reviews just saying that they like it, and not giving any plot details. Leo says that it's on track to be the highest grossing opening film of all time. As for 3D, there's really nothing in the movie that takes advantage of it. It was largely invisible. Scott says that's why he's going to see it at the El Capitan in Dolby Vision with Dolby Cinema High Dynamic Range.
Scott is back, talking about this weekend's Tuba Christmas! It's Scott's annual Christmas concert where he plays with hundreds of other Tuba players. Also, being the holidays, he's posted several home theater buyer's guides at AVS Forum. He's got guides for speakers, Blu-ray players, A/V receivers, and more.
Black Friday is coming this week and Scott says there's going to be some amazing deals on Samsung TVs. And you don't have to wait in line to get them, you can shop online. Scott is seeing deals of up to 60% off really good JS UHD models that have high dynamic range. Scott says it's likely to clear out inventory to make room for the 2016 models which will come out in the Spring. Leo says that the deals are unbelievable, especially coming directly from Samsung. Sony is going to have some deals as well, but we haven't seen details yet.
Scott took a call from a guy next week about headphones with surround sound. Subsequently, he's heard about Sony's MDR-DS7500. They're wireless headphones that you can hear surround sound with. Not cheap at $300, but an option. Also, Scott heard that Sennheiser is bringing back the Orpheus headphones, which are $55,000! WHAT?! They're electrostatic and have transistors built into the cans themselves. Sure, they're probably the best headphones in the world, but for that cost, give me a break. Can you really hear the difference, objectively?
There's a scandal brewing over at Amazon, where the online retailer has pulled all listings to sell Apple TV or Google's Chromecast because there's no app to support Amazon streaming. They also won't allow third parties to sell them. That's scandalous, but Leo says that while it's rather bad form, a store has the right to carry what it wants to sell, so there's really not much to do about it. Scott also says it shows just how serious they are about streaming TV.
Scott says that there's a movement underway to be able to watch movies in virtual reality. But that comes with it's own set of problems, chief of which is the sound, which would require a head tracking system to change the ton of the audio as you move around. And that would also mean a processor intensive issue.
Scott is in Dallas for the Custom Entertainment Design Information Association Show, or CEDIA, where he's been seeing a lot of new home theater stuff including laser projectors. Epson introduced a low cost one last year and this year Sony joins the list. But by "low cost," Scott says that they cost around $10,000. Even the huge commercial cinema projector companies are starting to look at home theater projection, but not everyone can afford their $150-400,000 price tags. More affordable options are high brightness projectors, which offer improved illumination, for around $3,000 to 4,000.
Scott got to see The Martian in high dynamic range at a theater in Los Angeles. But the interesting part is that AMC decided not to show the film in 3D HFR. So if you want to see it in 3D, you'll have to see it in regular theaters. Scott believes that it has to do with sterilizing Dolby 3D glasses, and also because AMC has a contract with RealD for 3D presentation. So you won't be able to see it in 3D HFR, unfortunately. But even then, it's definitely worth seeing.
Scott joins Leo to talk about the new Chromecast audio. He says that the key for him is if it'll have the Tidal service, and if the quality is there, it could sound just like a CD. And what's cool is that it'll be available in any room in the house. Leo says not only that, but it empowers any wireless speaker to be a stereo. The real question is latency, especially in party mode. Scott says that Google will be bringing that in a firmware update. Leo also says if they tie Google Now to it, the party is over for Sonos.