Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Amazon Echo or Google Home?

Episode 1433

Nancy from Tarzana, CA
Amazon Echo Show

Nancy has an Android phone, her kids have iPhone. Which assistant should she get, Amazon Echo or Google Home? Leo says it doesn't really matter, but for Nancy, using the Google Home would be similar to Android's voice assistant. The Echo has been out for a few years now and it's a mature system, whereas Google Home just came out not long ago. Google Home is better for facts because of its search knowledge. Amazon Echo is better for home automation. It works well with a variety of Internet of Things devices. Google Home isn't quite there yet with Internet of Things.

Why don't my AirPods work with the Apple TV?

Episode 1433

Tom from New Hampshire
AirPods

Tom uses his AirPods with his AppleTV and after a recent tvOS update, he has no volume. He called AppleCare and they said he shouldn't have that capability in the first place. But Tom says it worked just fine until the tvOS update. Leo says it sounds like Apple broke the connection in the update. That's terrible. It may be that he'll just have to re-pair them to the Apple TV. He should try another set of Bluetooth headphones or a speaker as well. If that works, then it should work with the AirPods since they use the same Bluetooth standard.

How can I get rid of the interference with my Sonos Home Theater?

Episode 1432

Peter from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
PLAYBASE + SUB + 2 Ones

Peter has a Sonos wireless home theater and he's having some interference issues. Leo says that Sonos uses its own spectrum, and he can select standard WiFi instead. But chances are, he's running into plain old congestion as other home theater and Wi-Fi units are taking up the bandwidth. If he can, he should move it over to the 5GHz channel instead. He'll have to re-pair them, but it'll be worth it. It could also be an issue with Sonos' new 8.1 firmware update. Both Leo and Doctor Mom are experiencing the same thing, so there's something going on.

Do I need surround speakers in my home theater system?

Episode 1432

David from Mira Loma, CA
Dolby Surround

David has a home theater system and the speakers are already built into the house, but he needs surround speakers. Leo says he can do that and then just wire them into his home theater system. It'll be the rear surround in a 7.1 Dolby system. Or, if he doesn't want to do that, he should just go with Dolby 5.1. He'll be just fine with that. He'll need to re calibrate, too. Of course, he could go all in and do Dolby Atmos at home, too.

How can I connect my desktop to my TV?

Episode 1432

Zachary from Victorville, CA
Samsung Smart View

Zachary wants to play games and he's connected his desktop to his TV. When he tries to adjust the screen settings, however, none of the settings work. Leo says to try and change the settings before he connects the TV. The TV has a native resolution that is actually lower than the resolution on his desktop. He should check what his TV's native resolution is and then choose that setting that is as close as possible to it. He may also be in mirror mode instead of extended mode. So he should try and change that if he can.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1432

Scott Wilkinson

What is the real difference between 4K streaming and ultra Blu-ray discs? Scott Wilkinson says that most of the Ultra Blu-ray discs on the market are now 4K HDR. Streaming content is making the move to HDR, and several of the TV shows streaming are in 4K. Netflix is the leader in this. Stranger Things is going to be streaming in 4K HDR as well, but it won't be as good because of bitrate. It'll top out at about 25 Mbps streaming, and it's data compressed, while 4K Blu-ray HDR is about 100 Mbps uncompressed. Renting Blu-rays is an option, but finding HDR Blu-rays can be a challenge.

Is Dolby Atmos really worth thousands for home theater?

Episode 1431

Scott from Orange County, CA
Dolby Atmos logo

Scott was in a big box store with a listening room and listened to a Dolby Atmos at Home demo and he was blown away. But is it worth thousands to outfit his home theater with it? Leo says no. Many modern AV Receivers now support Atmos. It's a standard like Dolby 5.1 was. The main difference is that Atmos at Home bounces sound off the ceiling for a more immersive audio experience. Leo says he can use dual HDMI outputs that would give him the ability to create a similar experience.