Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Scott Wilkinson and the Value Challenge

Episode 1109

Scott Wilkinson

Scott joins us to talk about the annual Value Electronics Flat Panel Challenge. The challenge pits the top LCD, Plasma and other flat screen TVs one on one in a huge shoot out to determine what is the bottom line best HDTV on the market. They invite professional calibrators, consumers, bloggers and journalists to join them for two days of testing and for the first time, they'll be streaming the challenge live.

Why does my blu-ray player freeze up?

Sara from Santa Monica, CA

Episode 1107

Sara's Blu-ray player freezes up about an hour in and won't go forward. Leo says that Blu-ray players are essentially computers and it could easily be that the laser is dirty or damaged. And blu-ray players are cheap, so just buy another one. But if it's part of your Sony PS3, then it would be worth getting it cleaned. But a stand alone Blu-ray player? Just replace it. The chatroom also says that a firmware update could be necessary.

Why won't my monitors work when I turn on my printer?

Episode 1105

Fred from Redding, PA
APC BE550G Back-UPS ES 8 Outlet 550VA 120V

Fred has a monitor that suddenly went out. So he replaced it with a TV and now it's gone out as well. Leo says that the original monitor may not be bad, it could be the cable. It could be a bad cable or the refresh rate settings in his computer may be incorrect. But since it happened when he turned on his printer, his power connections could be to blame and putting in an AV power supply could be helpful. They have surge suppression that will filter the power and keep it consistent.

Scott Wilkinson and the UHD Color Gamut

Episode 1105

This week on Home Theater Geeks, Scott had Joe Kane as his guest to talk about hi definition color space in television. Leo says that it's a good show to watch because the next generation TVs will not only have higher resolution and frame rates, but also color space that goes beyond the limits of the human eye. Scott says that current TVs don't reproduce red very well. It tends to look more orange. But the new Ultra HD TVs will. Sadly, the content will have to catch up and expand their range of colors to take advantage of that color gamut.

Do I really need a cable box for every single TV I have?

Episode 1104

David from Rancho Cucamonga, CA
TIVO Roamio

David's cable service went out, so he got the cable company to come out and fix it. Now they're suddenly requiring every single TV have its own set-top box, and they'll charge $7 a month for each one. Leo says that when we went digital several years ago, the federal government opened the door for this kind of shake down.

Scott Wilkinson and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Episode 1103

Scott saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and he says it's great. Fantastic motion capture performances by actors who played the apes and then filmmakers digitally replaced their bodies with CGI apes that looked incredibly realistic. And because motion capture does just that, capture the actor's movements, the performance gets mimicked by the virtual actor. Especially with small cameras pointing at his face in order to capture the emotional tone of this face and then apply that to the digital character. Amazing.

Why won't my Amazon Fire TV work with my AV receiver?

Episode 1102

Joe from Austin, TX
Denon AV Receiver

Joe got an Amazon Fire TV, but when he plugs it into his Denon AV receiver it doesn't work. Leo says he likes the Denon AV receiver and can't imagine why it wouldn't work. Everything in the chain is "HDCP" complaint for copy protection. So it should work just fine.

Leo thinks it may be a bad port or bad cable. Make sure the settings from the Fire TV and the TV itself are matched. If one is 1080i and the other is 1080p, then the handshake could fail. Turn everything off and unplug it. Then plug each thing in one at a time, ending with the TV.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1101

Scott Wilkinson

Scott had a guest on Home Theater Geeks this week named Michael Fremer. He is a pure audiophile and enjoys it because of his "golden ears" (being able to pick up on subtle musical cues). He says that high resolution audio is a great development. Leo says that paying more for HiRes audio is a subjective thing. Most won't be able to really enjoy it like someone with golden ears, but if it sounds better to him, then it's worth it.

What's wrong with my Vizio TV?

Episode 1100

Don from Cranston, RI
Vizio E Series

Don bought a Vizio E Series TV, but some of the content doesn't look very good, even after calibrating it. Leo says the E Series is Vizio's "economy" model. He's watching TV over FiOS, and everything looks washed out and hazy. Don wonders if it's because this is a 60Hz TV, as opposed to the M Series which is capable of 120Hz. Leo says that won't improve anything. All television is 60Hz, but 120 and 240 hz TVs will interpolate the signal to compensate for it, which can make it look plastic-like.