Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

What HDMI hub do I need to use all my devices?

Richard from California

Episode 1308

Richard bought a Vizio Performance series TV. He has a lot of HDMI ports to plug in but he doesn't have enough on the TV. Would an HMDI splitter work? Leo says if it uses a powered or active splitter, yes. Ultimately, the best way to do it is with an A/V receiver.

Geffen does makes a good HDMI hub, though. MonoPrice also has one. He should search for "Active HDMI Switcher."

What about the Playstation Vue for streaming?

Episode 1308

Rick from Indianapolis, IN
Playstation 4

Rick says that Leo should give Playstation Vue a try for streaming online. For $55, it has cable over the internet via the Playstation 3 or 4 console, Roku, etc. There are a ton more channels than Sling.

Leo says it looks interesting but you don't really save anything over paying for cable or satellite. So from a cost saving cord cutting perspective, there isn't much point to it. It is worth a try if you want to cut the cable, though.

Vulnerability Found in Apple's macOS and iOS

Episode 1308

MacBook Air, iPhone, iPad

Cisco has found a vulnerability similar to the Android text exploit, which could take control of your mobile phone through a text message. Leo says that Apple has released a patch to close the hole before anyone else had discovered it. This affects iOS, watchOS, macOS, and tvOS. Mavericks and Yosemite users don't have a fix yet, though, so those users should disable iMessage until they do. If you can't get past Mavericks because your desktop is too old, turn off iMessages permanently.

How can I make a low energy streaming network with Raspberry Pi?

Episode 1307

Bob from San Jose, CA
Raspberry Pi

Bob has been ripping DVDs for his personal use and putting them on a Plex server so he can stream them from his network. But since his network uses older PCs, it's taking up a lot of energy. Can he use a Raspberry Pi to use less energy?

Leo says he can, and he can even use a NUC server. Plex has a Raspberry Pi plugin called RasPlex, and that's where Bob can go. There's also one for XBMC as well. The Raspberry Pi 3 is very fast and powerful, but also low powered.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1307

Scott Wilkinson

Scott says that the consumer industry has decided not to go all in on OLED, rather they will continue to focus on LCD TVs. LCDs are getting better, even approaching OLED. Sony's Z series is one such series. Scott says that the backlight in the Z series has independent LED backlights that get dimmed separately for precision control. Scott says that they are the brightest on the market and the HDR footage he's seen is remarkable, with incredible detail at extreme ends of the dynamic range. But they aren't cheap. They're around $8,000 to 10,000 for up to 65".

What's the best device for streaming to my TV?

Episode 1306

Stana from Green Bay, WI
Roku 4

Stana cut the cord and is going to watch TV by streaming online from now on. There's a few cable channels she wants, though. What's her best option? Leo says she could get some channels over the air by putting up an antenna if she's in the right location. Some channels offer services through stand alone apps, but she'll have to pay for them. HBO, for instance, has HBO Now, which she can subscribe to on the Apple TV and Roku. If she's already a cable subscriber, then she can use HBO Go, which enables her to watch it on cable and online. It's a bit confusing.

What open source media center software can I use on Raspberry Pi?

Episode 1306

Clinton from Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Raspberry Pi

Clinton has a minivan with a DVD player and HDMI ports. He got an ATSC converter and an $8 antenna from Amazon so he can get over the air broadcasts. Now he wants to use his Raspberry Pi as a media center. He'll probably want to run OSMC, the Open Source Media Center, which is designed for Raspberry Pi. It's based on the old Xbox Media Center. Raspberry Pi doesn't have any way to capture video, though, so he'll need to find a way to do that.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1305

Scott Wilkinson

Scott joins us to talk about how to get the darkest possible room to enjoy your home theater. Scott has blackout curtains, 10% gray painted walls, and even black carpeting. All that serves to create a black hole for light that will give his home theater the brightest possible look while watching. Scott also uses a special woven projector screen which has a pass through feature for audio just like in a movie theater.

How much bandwidth do I need to stream Apple TV?

Episode 1304

Newt from Aliso Viejo, California
Apple TV

Newt is getting a new Apple TV from his son, who says it doesn't work for him. Leo says it should if he has internet. Newt says that their internet just isn't good enough to handle video streaming. He's also using up all his data. Leo says that doesn't have anything to do with Apple TV, it's just lousy internet. It's capped internet at that.

What's a good DVR?

Episode 1304

Brad from Lancaster, CA
TIVO Roamio

Chris wants a DVR and heard that TIVO may drop the Roamio. Leo says that TIVO is a good choice but it's kind of expensive. It's cheaper if he were to buy a lifetime subscription and it's not transferrable. A monthly subscription is better in the long term because we don't know how long TIVO will even last.