Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Should I rewire my house for my new home theater system?

Chris from Lake Elsinore, CA

Episode 1098

Chris is getting ready to upgrade his home theater system. He's looking at a 500 watt system. Will the 14 gauge wiring in his house handle it? Scott says that 12 gauge is what he usually recommends, and David says that 14 gauge should handle it no problem. Since it's a home theater in a box, it's 100 watts per channel, so that his wiring will be more than enough. The Chatroom says to make sure that the amp isn't a class D because that has strange wattage. But since it's a basic RCA HTIB, that's likely not an issue.

Can I add an amp to an A/V Receiver?

James from Pennsylvania

Episode 1098

James has an old Onkyo TXNR808 A/V receiver that he's looking to replace. What would Scott recommend, and can he add a secondary amp to boost the power to his main speakers? Scott says he can add an amp, but he won't really get more power. Most receivers have a pre-amp out which he can then use with a separate, dedicated amp. But it's important to know the impedance of the speakers. The lower impedance, the more power he'll need.

What's the best HDTV for under $1000?

Carla from Irvine, CA

Episode 1098

Carla is getting ready to head over to Best Buy to buy a new HDTV because her Samsung DLP TV is dying. She's looking at a 55" TV and she doesn't really want anything bigger. Scott says it depends on how far she sits from the TV. Her budget is $1000. Scott says if she can darken the room, she can get a 60" Samsung F5300 plasma for about $800. Scott says it's very nice, but when she has a perfectly white screen, it may have a slight pinkish tinge along the bottom of the screen. But it wouldn't really be noticable on any content.

Will 4K ever come to broadcast?

Tom from Harrisburg, PA

Episode 1098

Tom wants to know if we'll ever be able to see 4K TV over the air, because the broadcast channels have a limited amount of bandwidth. Scott says it is a challenge. In Japan, they are experimenting with technology that would embed an 8K signal inside the broadcast spectrum and they've managed to send the signal up to 17 miles. Part of the solution is through compression. Doesn't that kill the quality? Scott says they're not adding or interpolating information, they're just removing repetitive data and squeezing it. Quality and resolution will be lost that way.

How can old movies be in surround sound?

Charles from New York, NY

Episode 1098

Charles is annoyed with Netflix' attempts to encode movies in mono that are being decoded into stereo. He's also noticing that old movies on Blu-ray are doing the same thing. Is there a new 2 channel stereo to 5.1 surround conversion technology going on? David says that there are certain older movies that have remixed in Blu-ray and it's likely those are the movies that have been used, and Netflix is likely using that remixed master. Scott says that Dolby Pro-Logic can also take a standard stereo signal and spread it out over Dolby 5.1 surround.

Will OLED TVs ever be affordable?

David from San Diego, CA

Episode 1097

David bought a Pansonic VT55 and had it professionally calibrated. He's now looking at an OLED TV, but he's not sure it'll be around very long. Scott says that OLED is stunning. But they're not cheap by any means. And new models are going to be curved, also. Scott isn't much of a fan because with screen sizes below 110", it's just an unneeded feature. There's also the problem that OLED simply isn't going to be mainstream for awhile due to the cost and we don't know how long it will survive over the long term, especially with blue colors. Blue tends to age faster.

Is it better to get an A/V receiver with 'smart' functions or use a Roku with it?

Steve from Louisville, KY

Episode 1097

Steve's Pioneer Audio receiver finally bit the dust. He's looking to replace it and wants to connect Internet Radio to it. He's heard about the Onkyo NR646. Can he use the Roku in concert with it, or should he get smart capabilities in the receiver? Scott says it really depends on which app or service he wants to use, and whether or not it's on the receiver or the Roku. There might not be an option to get a receiver without those smart functions, as most TVs now have it.