Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

What kind of Blu-ray player should I get for a 4K TV?

Episode 1189

Mike from Whitewater, CA
Samsung 65" Curved 4K TV

Mike just bought a 65" Samsung curved 4K TV. He wants to know if they're going to be coming out with Blu-ray players soon. Leo says that there will be a new 4K Blu-ray player later this year and some are already streaming in 4K, like Netflix. But the problem is, to get all that streamed, they have to significantly compress it. It's really early now and standards are going to change.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1189

Scott Wilkinson

This week on HTG, Scott is having on Jim Hellman, an expert in high dynamic range cinema and how it's really making the movie image pop and will be a main focus in the standards of 4K and ultra high definition.

Scott says that HDR will change the way we see movies. But Leo believes that it could be much ado about nothing since people are generally happy with their HDTVs. Scott says that HDR has the promise to drive people back to the theaters, rather than wait to watch movies on their home theater system.

Is there a USB external sound card option?

Episode 1188

Mark from Escondido, CA
Syba SD-CM-UAUD USB Stereo Audio Adapter

Mark has an old PC and his sound card broke. He knows it isn't worth fixing, so he's wondering if there is an external sound card option? Leo says yes! USB sound cards are available, and they are even better for the computer because they don't pick up the fan noise of the computer itself. Mark will want a USB DAC. They range in price from affordable to expensive. Check out the Syba USB Stereo Audio Adapter. It costs just $8!

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1187

Scott is going to see Disney's Tomorrowland this week and he gets to see it in Dolby Cinema, Dolby's new Laser projection system. Scott says that Tomorrowland is the first movie to be featured with Dolby's new High Dynamic Range format. Scott says that HDR may just get more people to go back to the movies, rather than just rely on their HD Home theater systems to watch a movie.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1185

Scott Wilkinson

Scott spend the week watching Avengers: Age of Ultron in various versions, including 3D and laser projected. He's coming around to Leo's point of view that 3D just isn't that great a format. Laser projection, by contrast, gives you a brighter image, and when it's Laser 3D, it works quite well unless you wear prescription glasses, where the polished inner surface bounces light around and the reflection is quite distracting. So he's quickly starting to see Leo's point. Leo likes the idea of immersion, and the more realistic a movie the better.

What are my options to replace Windows Media Center?

Episode 1184

Brian from San Clemente, CA

Brian has a home theater setup with a home theater PC and he's worried that Windows has abandoned the Home Theater PC concept, including Windows Media Center. Leo says that it has been a long time coming since Microsoft has killed Windows home server in favor of Windows 8. Now killing Windows Media Center is just part of that. Microsoft doesn't want to be in the media center business, they want customers to get an XBox One.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1183

John from New York calls in to ask Scott a Home Theater question - John has a Samsung Plasma HDTV that's starting to get horizontal lines and was told that to avoid replacing it, if he can replace the "Y axis" board to repair it. Thoughts? Scott says that it could be some sort of driver circuitry and it begs the question ... should you repair it or replace it with an LED TV. The rule of thumb is to keep replacement parts for up to 7 years, so there may be parts available for at least the next few months.