Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How should I position my speakers?

Episode 1133

Linella from Los Angeles, CA
Bookshelf speaker

Linella has several bookshelf speakers that have round holes in the front or back. What are they for? How close can she have them to the wall or furniture, or even each other? Leo says that a lot of speakers have a bass port vent. Scott says they are intended to change the bass characteristics to make them smoother. If the hole is in the back, she won't want them against the wall. She'll want them at least 6 inches away to give the sound room to resonate. If it's in the front, then she can put it up against the wall no problem. So it really just depends.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1133

Scott Wilkinson

Scott had the inventor of Auro3D Immersive Audio, Otto Von Balen, on Home Theater Geeks this week and immersive audio is becoming a huge trend thanks to Dolby Atmos' success last year. Auro puts additional speakers higher on the wall so that the audio doesn't get lost bouncing off the wall. Scott says that what's needed is a standard that all immersive systems can operate under, and SMPTE is working hard to adopt one.

Does the Roku Streaming Stick work well?

Episode 1131

Don from Mojave, CA
Roku Streaming Stick

Don wants to know how the Roku Stick works. Leo says they crash periodically, but they work great and save a ton of space. It's powered by the TV. It does require an MHL HDMI port to use it, though, which is not a standard port on most TVs. If he doesn't have that, then the Google Chromecast is another option. But if space isn't an issue, Leo recommends getting the external box.

There is a good wireless HDMI option.

Episode 1131

George from Toronto, Canada
HDMI

George is a system integrator and he knows about wireless HDMI. George says that video scalers like DVDo.com have wireless HDMI 60Hz solutions that work really well because it handles spectrum that isn't used much. It works great -- up to 50 feet. And the walls aren't really an issue. George says that doing it through Cat5 or Cat 6 and baluns work as the best option in that case.

How can I connect my tablet to my TV?

Episode 1130

George from Houston, TX
Google Chromecast

George wants to know if he can connect his tablet or laptop to his HDTV. Leo says maybe. If the laptop has HDMI, then sure. But if it only has USB, then it's unlikely. Both would require using DNLA. Leo advises buying Google's Chromecast. Then using Wi-Fi, he can download and install Google's Chromecast app, connect to it and it'll find the Chromecast and log into it. Then he can use it with his TV. AllCast works great too. Android 4.4 can do it through Chromecast directly.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1129

Scott Wilkinson

Scott was at the SMPTE Tech Conference this week and saw the new high dynamic range video displays. HDR video is the latest hot thing, and it creates some incredible high dynamic range of the image. Leo says our brains do HDR really well, but it's a challenge in video. Scott says that high dynamic range cameras are going to be needed and the latest generations of digital cinema cameras have over 14 stops of dynamic range. So they can do it. It requires 12 bit color, but the current video systems are only 8 bit.

Can I omit the center channel in my home theater?

Episode 1127

Ignacio from San Diego, CA
Home Theater

Ignacio had his living room prewired with HDMI and Cat 6 Ethernet. But he forgot speaker wires for the center channel speaker of his home theater. What can he do? Leo says he could go with a wireless center channel. Or he could just do a two channel stereo configuration and do without the center channel. But that's where the vocals are going to be and he'll lose all the dialog. So he really won't want to do that.