Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Should I hard wire my Roku box?

Jonathan from Rochester, NY

Episode 1098

Jonathan has DSL internet, and is wondering if there's an advantage to hard wiring his Roku rather than having it wireless. Scott says yes, hard wire is better because of the possibility for interference in the Wi-Fi spectrum. David says that if he's not having video dropouts, hard wiring won't improve the video quality. It'll just give him a more consistent stream. He also has an A/V receiver wired to his speakers.

Why are my TV speakers cutting out when I plug in my headphones?

Mark from Rhode Island

Episode 1098

Mark's mom won a new TV at work and he's been tasked with hooking it up. They also want to have the sound transmitted to a wireless headset for his father. But when he plugs it in, it turns off the speakers on the TV. Suggestions? Scott says that's a common problem and there may be a setting for audio submenus that will give the option to leave the internal speakers on. Scott says that since Mark uses a splitter, it's likely causing the TV to turn off the internal speakers.

What speakers should I get to mix my audio?

Episode 1098

JR from Detroit, MI
Cambridge Audio DAC Magic

JR is building a gaming system and he wants to add some great audio. What about the JBL speakers? The one's he's looking at are made in china and he's concerned about the build quality. Scott says that just because they're made in China doesn't mean they're no good. There's good and bad speakers from anywhere. Scott would recommend going with larger 8" woofers to go deeper in the bass. He also needs a digital audio converter.

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.