sound bars

Why can't Google Assistant turn on my soundbar?

Noah from Michigan

Episode 1507

Noah has bought a soundbar, and it won't turn on with his Google Assistant. What can he do? Leo says if the soundbar isn't supported by Google, or vice versa, it won't be able to use voice activated control of the Google Assistant. you could just leave it on, but if it shuts down automatically, then that's going to be a problem. Try seeing if you can disable the eco, or power down mode. Joe in the chatroom says that if the soundbar turns on automatically, then you can get a smartplug to plug your soundbar in. Then the Google Assistant can work with it.

What mesh router and TV should I buy?

Episode 1503

Doug from Albuquerque, NM
Vizio P Series

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.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1499

Scott Wilkinson

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.

Can I hear Dolby at Home with a Sound Bar?

Episode 1498

Tom from New Hampshire
Vizio Sound Bar

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.

What's the best sound bar for an OLED TV?

Episode 1452

Earl from Alpine, CA
VIZIO SmartCast™ 38” 3.1 Sound Bar System

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.

How can I get my sound bar to work with my TV?

Episode 1416

Kent from Irvine, CA
Denon AVR-S510BT

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.

Do I need a digital to analog converter to use a sound bar with an HDTV?

Episode 1403

Harvey from Pahrump, NV
J-Tech Digital Digital to Analog Audio Converter

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.

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.