HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.
Marty was going out to buy a Sony X900 UHD TV, but then he heard Leo's CES report and decided to wait. Leo says that the X900 is a gorgeous TV, however, waiting may be a good idea because the standards have been finalized and any older TV won't conform to them. Marty says that Sony and Samsung are "guaranteeing" that they will work under the standard. Leo says they'll work, but will it work as well as one that's up to the new standard? That's the real question. It's a matter of how well it works, not if it works.
Paul got his mother a Harmony remote to make using her TV system easier to use. Leo says he'll want to be sure he sets it up right. That's the complicated part. Logitech has an online database that will allow him to connect it to the internet program it. He can also program custom buttons for his favorite shows, so Paul's mother could just press one button and everything would turn on as it should.
Brandon wants to know what the minimum bandwidth is that he can get away with to stream Hulu Plus. Leo says for a good quality stream, he'll want at least 5 Mbps down. But that doesn't meant that's what he would get all the time. Beware of the term "up to." Run SpeedTest.net to get an idea what the sustained throughput is. That will give him an idea. But if he's sharing bandwidth with the neighborhood, then it could be less.
Jerry added a hard drive to his DVR, and he's considering a change from Dish to another service. Will he be able to keep his content? Leo says no. They're probably formatted with the same standard, but the issue is that the content is encrypted by Dish. He could still use it, but he'd have to "rebless" it with the new DVR and that would require erasing the hard drive completely. That's because Hollywood is deathly afraid he'll take that content, burn DVDs and sell them.
Mike is planning to build a home theater PC. But when he's running Pandora online, he can control the volume on the PC, the amp and Pandora, but the sound is terrible. What is he doing wrong? Leo says that he'll want to use line-out, not headphone out. Line out has a fixed nominal volume, allowing him to adjust it from the amp. Even better, he could use digital out. FiiO makes a great digital analog converter
Scott has spent the last week at CES and he put 28 miles on his feet in 5 days! What was the big news? Scott says that the biggest announcement was the formation of the UHD Alliance, an organization formed to create standards for 4K transmission and content. The new specs need to have dynamic range and color gamut kept in mind. Right now, content is graded and mastered from HD standards of the last 10 years. But now, the UHD Alliance, which consists of studios, TV makers, and content distributors, will get together to create a 4K standard, and you'd be stunned how great it looks.
Rick is interested in 4K, and is wondering if this will be the year for it. Leo says that when he sees it, he'll go crazy because it looks fantastic. But there's a problem -- there's no standards. We're close, but they aren't finalized yet. Check out Home Theater Geeks this week, as Scott Wilkinson will be at CES talking about 4K TVs and their standards. But it's largely the reason why Leo isn't recommending buying 4K TVs just yet. And there's not much content out for it, either.
Kevin got an Amazon Fire TV Stick for Christmas and he's having issues connecting to it using Miracast in Windows. Leo says that Miracast is a Wi-Fi technology that essentially sends HDMI over the air. Android 4.2 or newer has it built in. Windows 8.1 also natively supports it.
Steve got a new TV and he wants to integrate it into his sound system. Leo says that the centerpiece of the modern era is the TV, and we're trying to duplicate the experience with surround sound. Leo says that the existing receiver will probably not work. Steve will need an A/V receiver. He doesn't want rear speakers, though. Leo says Steve at least needs a subwoofer and a center channel. He should get the TV at eye level and have the speakers on either side of it. He could use a "phantom" center speaker. Not nearly as good, but it will do the job.
John wants to know the best way to play music from his iPad to his older stereo equipment. Leo says that he'll need to convert the digital data to analog before connecting it with a digital to analog converter. There's a dock that Apple makes that connects through the 30 pin connector.
The other option is to get an Apple TV and use AirPlay to do it if his stereo is connected to the TV. But the easiest way is to just use the audio minijack and plug it into an auxiliary input on the stereo.