Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How can I reduce eye strain when watching TV?

Episode 1396

Dave from San Diego, CA
Ambient TV bias light

Joe wants to know if backlighting or bias lighting will help combat eye strain while watching TV. Scott says that in a dark room, he'll get a better image, but with HDTVs being brighter, it can cause eye strain. That's why a bias or backlight helps. It shines a light behind the TV onto the wall and it smoothes out the light that your eyes see, so that your eyes aren't working as hard. It has to be a certain shade of white, though — D65. 10% of the peak brightness of the TV. The best place to get a bias light is CinemaQuestinc.com.

What's wrong with my HDMI connection?

Episode 1396

Dan from Chatsworth, CA
HDMI

Dan got a new cable box with Spectrum, but after a week he started to get an HDMI error because his connection has been "compromised." Scott says that the first thing to try is to power cycle the cable box. That will reload all the standard default settings. It could also be a faulty cable. So replacing the HDMI cable could solve the issue. Scott also says that being an older TV, the connection could be choking. Or maybe the HDMI connector could be failing.

How can I use a tablet as a remote control?

Episode 1396

Richard from San Rafael, CA
iRule Remote App on iPad

Richard would like to only have one remote control. He has a Harmony 1000, and it almost does the job, but it doesn't have a TV guide that can pop up. Is there a remote that can do that? Or can he use a tablet like an iPad? Scott says he'd have to have something in between that could take the Wi-Fi signal of his iPad and then transfer it into an IR signal.

Should I calibrate my TV?

Episode 1396

Tracy from Manhattan Beach, CA
Digital Video Essentials: HD Basics

Tracy just replaced his Pioneer Kuro with an LG B7 OLED TV. Scott says it's a pity he had to, because it was the best TV ever made, but all good things come to an end. Should he calibrate the LG OLED? Scott says he can pay a professional to calibrate his TV, but he can get about 80% of the way by selecting the "Cinema" mode in the settings. He can also get HD Blu-ray DV Essentials to help dial in the settings.

Can I use my A/V Receiver with my new TV?

Episode 1396

Adam from Los Angeles, CA
HDMI

Adam has an A/V receiver, but it doesn't have HDMI. Can he still use it? Scott says not really, at least not for video. HDMI is the standard connection now in HDTVs, and if it doesn't have it, then he'll need a newer A/V receiver to handle the connection. If it had component, he may be able to get away with it, but it's not likely, and it still wouldn't be digital.

How can I make a video picture frame?

Episode 1396

Dean from Tehachapi, CA
TV

Dean would like to have a TV on his wall that he can use as a kind of motion video frame. Scott says any TV will do, and he can just connect it to a Blu-ray player and then have it set to play on a loop. The chatroom says that there's waving American flags on YouTube lasting up to 10 hours that he could play as well. With a Smart TV, he can navigate to YouTube with his TV's browser and play it. Scott says it will pump light into the room, though, and so when watching a movie, he should turn it off.

How can I improve antenna reception?

Episode 1396

Jeremy from Costa Mesa, CA
Antenna

Jeremy is a cord cutter who uses an indoor over the air antenna to get live broadcast television, but he's not getting very good reception. Scott says like any antenna, his reception will depend on where he can put the antenna. The higher the better, and it's best to have it close to a window. Getting an amplified antenna would be a good idea as well. He should try and put it within line of sight of the broadcast transmitter. The chatroom says to use a signal booster too, but Scott says an amplifier will only amplify the noise if it's not within the range of the channel signal.

How can I use one remote for my TV and sound bar?

Episode 1396

Jim from San Clemente, CA
Logitech Harmony 650 Universal Remote Control

Jim wants to avoid having to use multiple remote controls. Will his cable box remote take over for the TV remote? Scott says it's all in the programming. He'll have to have the right code in there and sometimes it's trial and error to get it right.

Can he also have it control the sound bar? Scott says that could be a challenge. But if any remote can do it all, Scott recommends the Logitech Harmony remote.

Is there a TV with split screen?

Episode 1396

Jim from Washington, D.C.
4K TV

Jim wants to get a 4K UHD TV that offers split screen or picture-in-picture support. Scott says most TV manufacturers have dropped that option as TVs have gotten thinner, and other features like HDR have gotten more popular. No TV can really support split screen anymore. Computer monitors can do it. An external device may be able to do it, but that's an additional cost. He should also consider that split screens will clip or crop the image so he wouldn't see the entire screen.