Ron has a sound bar and a surround sound A/V receiver. Both require optical connections, but his A/V receiver doesn't have HDMI for his Blu-ray player. He only has one. What can he do? Is there an optical switcher or splitter? Leo says it should work that way. He may be able to just rewire everything, but buying a new A/V receiver that supports HDMI is the best solution long term. So an optical splitter may be his best choice short term. He shouldn't go too cheap on it, though.
Noah has bought a sound bar, but it won't turn on with his Google Assistant. Leo says if the sound bar isn't supported by Google, or vice versa, it won't be able to use voice activated control from the Google Assistant. He could just leave it on, but if it shuts down automatically, then that's going to be a problem. He should look to see if he can disable the eco, or power down mode.
Scott says that TVs have gotten so thin that speakers aren't capable of providing any appreciable sound because they aren't beefy enough to drive the sound. So a home theater system, or a sound bar, is now a must. But Scott says that if your TV only puts out stereo via Toslink (the optical connector), a surround sound sound bar isn't really going to help. So don't overspend on them.
Doug just bought a new, two story house and he needs a mesh router. What's the best? Leo says that mesh routers have taken over because Wi-Fi congestion causes devices to drop off. It's not uncommon to have over 50 devices connected to Wi-Fi! And that doesn't include neighbors. So Doug will need a better router to handle that traffic. Leo says the three best mesh routers for his money are the Netgear Obi, the Plume, and the Eero.
This week, the topic is the Amazon Fire TV Cube. Scott hasn't tried the Fire TV ecosystem yet, but the Cube looks pretty interesting. Scott also says he's hesitant because it listens to your every word. It uses Alexa to operate, and it supports 4K, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos at home. Scott says that HLG, or Hybrid Log Gamma, is the latest HDR codec. Leo says that the Cube is cool because it will work off your voice. So you tell it to watch a title, and it will search to find it.
Tom heard about Dolby Atmos at Home coming to the Apple TV. Is there a sound bar that will support it? Leo says that Atmos at Home works by bouncing sound off the ceiling. This simulates speakers mounted from above. But a sound bar would only give him a hint of it. It won't really give him the same experience as an Atmos at Home Theater system. There is a listing of sound bars over at the Dolby site though, and Leo likes the Vizio.
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.
Kent bought a sound bar for his older Samsung TV. He uses a Chromecast and Roku Stick with it, but he can't get audio to work. Scott Wilkinson says that the optical out for the old Samsung is probably only for the TV's internal tuner since it's older than the advent of streaming media. There could be a setting in the menus, but he's better off going with HDMI input.
Jonathan wants to link a Bluetooth speaker to his TV. Leo says the problem he's going to run into is latency, as the sound goes out of sync. Bose uses RF and it works quite well, but it's not cheap. The Bose SoundLink could be pretty good, but Leo says he'll have to be sure it's designed for AV, and he doesn't think they are. It's music only.
Harvey wants to get a sound bar for his TV so that dialog will be easier to hear, but his TV doesn't have any analog output. Leo says that since HDTVs are all digital now, there's not much of a reason for manufacturers to put a digital to analog converter inside. The good news is that most sound bars have digital inputs. Harvey already got a J-Tech Digital to Analog Converter.