HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.
Edward has been trying to learn more about HTPCs (home theater PCs). He wants to make an old PC into a DVR. Leo says that copy protection is often an issue with this, and cable boxes are encrypted to prevent people from using their signal that aren't paying. A computer can descramble it with a cable card, but cable companies aren't that helpful with using them. They have to give you one by law, but they don't like it. The cable company pretends they don't know anything about it, even though it's been the law since 1993.
Ricky took Leo's advice and bought a pair of LCD HDTVs. He thought they were too bright, so he returned them and got a Panasonic plasma. He was concerned because he lives at an altitude of 5,000 feet, but Panasonic rates it at 7200 feet, so Leo says that Ricky is OK. LG's plasma's are rated at 9,000 feet. Ricky says he loves the blacks and colors. But his issue is that after 100 hours the network logo in the corner of the screen has some ghosting and remains on the screen. Leo says it'll fade over time.
Scott joins us via phone to talk about CES, which is coming Tuesday in Las Vegas, NV. Leo says it's the last big digital trade show in the United States with hundreds of thousands of people and products in attendance. The idea is to bring manufacturers with dealers to see what's coming, and often, concept products are also shown which may or may not ever be released. Last year, it was 4K OLED TVs, which Leo says was a tease. Scott says we'll definitely see more 4K TVs for sure, but maybe some more OLED too. Leo bought an OLED TV, and it wasn't cheap at all.
John wants to show video on two separate screens using an HDMI splitter, but it won't work. Leo says HDMI splitters are frustrating. Leo says that they often don't work and when they do, they likely only work with one screen, rendering it pointless. Leo suspects his problem is due to copy protection called HDCP, and if it's not HDCP compliant, it won't work.
CJ's mother is hard of hearing and would like to get something that will help her listen to the audio on DVD. She's currently using TV Ears and it's not working. Leo says it should and it's likely that she doesn't have it set up properly to get the DVD audio as well. Leo advises contacting their help line toll free to have them walk her through configuring it correctly.
This week, Scott answers a question from Robert in Upland, CA. He wants to know why the dialogue is far more quiet than sound effects and music on his home theater system. Leo suspects a center channel problem.
Scott says that the dynamic range of a movie is very wide, meaning that quiet parts are quiet and effects are louder. In the movie theater there isn't much he can do of course, but at home Robert can use "midnight mode," or dynamic compression mode, which compresses that range. He can also increase the center channel volume.
Virginia watches Netflix on her Roku Box, but she can't get it to work with her home theater unless she disables the security on her PC. So she ends up just watching it on her computer. She's now thinking about just getting a larger monitor.
Chris wants some good quality computer speakers, and is wondering if Bose speakers would be worth it. They don't have a subwoofer, though. What does Leo recommend? Leo says that computer speakers are tiny by design and a small speaker isn't going to give him much bass. That's what the subwoofer is for.
Robert has a question for Scott Wilkinson. He wants to know why the dialogue is far more quiet than sound effects and music on his home theater system. Leo suspects a center channel problem. Scott says that the dynamic range of a movie is very wide, meaning that quiet parts are quiet and effects are louder. In the movie theater there isn't much he can do of course, but at home Robert can use "midnight mode," or dynamic compression mode, which compresses that range. He can also increase the center channel volume.
Tim wants to get wireless speakers. What ones are the best? Leo likes Sonos speakers. Sonos can sync from room to room and they have little latency or echoing. So he could have them in every room in the house and put it in party mode. Bose makes outdoor speakers as well, but they're not going to be as good. He can just bring them out when he needs them.