Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How can I keep my stream from buffering?

Episode 1272

Joe from Knoxville, TN
Raspberry Pi 3

Joe picked up a Raspberry Pi 3. Leo says it's an amazing $35 computer which comes with ethernet and USB ports. It's very popular with hobbyists. Joe uses it to run XBMC with his Roku, but it buffers a lot. Leo says that a lot of things can cause buffering like a lack of bandwidth and lost packets. Leo has a hunch that the buffer in XBMC is larger than on the Roku. He'll also get less buffering with lower quality streams. He should check out adafruit.com

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1271

Scott Wilkinson

Leo hears that there's a new Atmos Sound Bar. Is it worth it? Scott says that the new UltraHD Premium Spec supports Atmos in the home and it should sound great. And more UHD Blu-ray titles are coming out. Sony is one of four studios that have released UHD Blu-rays as well as Fox, Universal and Lionsgate. So we're coming up to the transition of a new format in home entertainment. Scott even believes that the move to UHD will be faster than when we transitioned from DVD to Blu-ray. And it won't be that much more on the onset.

Can an HDMI signal degrade?

John from Kingsford, MI

Episode 1270

John has an HDMI switcher and is concerned that it will degrade the signal. Leo says it won't though. Digital signal either works or doesn't, and there's no degrading of the signal. What about juttering? Leo says that is likely coming from a bandwidth issue. It's likely the satellite connection. One issue could be distance. If he has a really long HDMI cable, it could cause weird artifacting and juttering. That's where a higher quality cable comes in handy.

Which is the best UHDTV for high dynamic range?

Gary from Los Ange

Episode 1269

Gary wonders if the new LG G6 series can enjoy HDR through Samsung's new Blu-ray player. It has to have HDMI 2.0a. But with DOlby Vision it only needs HDMI 2.0. Scott says that is correct. But what about the Vizio Reference series? It doesn't have HDMI 2.0a. Leo says that's because it's last year's model. So it can only receive Dolby Vision HDR, not HDR 10, which is what the Samsung Blu-ray player does. So Scott says to get the LG G6 TV. It does both. Will Vizio upgrade it with firmware? Scott says not likely. It's a hardware difference.

Which HDTV should I buy for good sound?

Episode 1269

Paul from Tarzana, CA
Vizio M Series 43" 4K UHD TV

Paul can't decide between the Vizio and Samsung 32" HDTVs. Leo says he owns both and he thinks that Vizio has the better 'smart' software, and Scott agrees. As for audio quality, Scott says it's not that good on either TV. Leo agrees and says that none of the TV manufacturers put much thought into the speakers since they expect users to already have home theater systems.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1269

Scott Wilkinson

Scott has discovered that DirecTV will be broadcasting the Masters Golf Tournament in 4K on April 7-10th. It will be their first UHD broadcast. Leo wonders how much that signal will be compressed. Scott contacted DirecTV and found that they will be using AGVC as the codec. But he also found out that DirecTV won't say what the bitrate is. Leo says it's like Netflix doing the same thing, and it ends up being awfully compressed and leaves people with an inaccurate and negative impression of what 4K really is. Scott also says that high dynamic range will be missing as well.

How important is upscaling in HDTVs?

Jerry from Cameron Park, CA

Episode 1267

Jerry's elderly mother has UVerse cable, and she can't afford the HD service. Currently she has an old Sharp 720p TV, and Jerry wanted to replace that for her. Should he buy a 720p TV or a newer 1080p? He was told that the newer, smaller 1080p TV sets don't upscale. Leo says it's a big deal if an HDTV doesn't upscale, because standard definition will look a lot worse. The set top box may upscale, though. Better cables may also help. It also would help to use HDMI instead of composite if it's a possibility.

How can I connect my home theater wirelessly?

Episode 1267

Greg from San Jose, CA
DVDO Air3C

Greg has a new HDTV and he doesn't want wires. How can he go wireless with his home theater unit? Scott says that a company called DVDO makes a wireless HDMI system called Air3C. It's around $200 for a transmitter and receiver, which uses the 60 GHz band. That means the transmitter and receiver must be more or less in line of sight with each other and can't be used to transmit from one room to another.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1267

Scott Wilkinson

Scott keeps getting the question of which high dynamic range (HDR) capable TV to buy. Scott says there's an important distinction between "HDR compatible" and "HDR capable." HDR compatible just means it takes the HDR signal and downgrades it to standard dynamic range. HDR capable, on the other hand, can actually display an HDR picture. Over at AVS Forum, Scott has made a list of HDR capable TVs from 2015 and 2016.