Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How can I create a media server network?

Seth from Long Beach, CA

Episode 1279

Seth wants to set up a home media server for a friend. He has an array of hard drives that connect via Thunderbolt and wants to share those with everyone else in the house. Can he do that or does he have to migrate to a separate NAS? Leo says that a Home Media Server is a kind of NAS that can be an older computer or even a hard drive that runs Apple Media Player or even Windows Media Player. In fact, many routers can do this as well. Apple's Airport can do this. But the best idea is just to get a Network Attached Storage and run the home media server software that comes with it.

Why can't I use my new Apple TV?

Episode 1279

Otto from Oceanside, CA
Apple TV

Otto bought a 4th generation Apple TV, but when he launched Hulu, he doesn't get to watch the content because it blacks out. This also happens on HBO and Netflix. When he plugs in the older Apple TV, it works just fine. Leo says it could be an issue with the HDMI cable or even the port not supporting the new Apple TV. Leo also says it may be a copy protection issue through HDCP with his TV and the premium copy protected content. The TV may be misinterpreting the signal as well since Otto is using multiple HDMI inputs.

How can I create my own internet television channel?

Scott from Orange County, CA

Episode 1279

Scott wants to get into internet TV. Leo says he's been doing it for ten years, and it's still not as widespread. But it's gaining in popularity. In fact, most TVs sold are smart TVs that are connected to the internet and allow users to stream services like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. That's IPTV as well. He's heard about the TriCaster and knows that Leo uses one. With an IP camera, does it really make it more like CNN? Leo says it does. But it's dependent on bandwidth. Leo's audience is as big as it was in the days of Tech TV now.

Dick DeBartolo, The Giz Wiz

Episode 1277

Dick DeBartolo

This week's gadget is for the hard of hearing. It's called the Turtle Beach HyperSound Clear Audio System. It provides high directional sound that will beam clear sound to a "sweet spot" for people to be able to hear it. It's not cheap at about $1700, but what's interesting is that everyone else can hear the stereo at normal volume. It's a bit pricey, but when you consider the cost of hearing aids, it suddenly looks more affordable.

What HDTV should I buy?

Episode 1277

Jose from Santa Fe Springs, CA
Vizio P-Series 55" TV

Jose is in the market for his first flat screen. He wants to get a Samsung 60" TV, with a budget of $1000. He's seen one for under $800. Leo says that's a great price. But Jose should also look at Vizio TVs. They will give him a lot more bang for his buck and Leo believes that the software in them is much better. If he can afford the P Series, they're really nice TVs. The thing to pay close attention to are the blacks. Make sure they are deep black, and that whites are true white.

Why is my internet access slow while streaming?

Alan from West Los Angeles, CA

Episode 1275

Alan is having more trouble streaming video. Is his computer too old? Leo says probably not. The processor is fine. Should he clean up his computer then? Leo says that's always a good idea. Do a local backup, and then format the hard drive and reinstall Windows from a known good source. Then update it. The computer will be fresh as the day he bought it.

It could also be that his internet speed is lagging. Alan should go to SpeedTest.net and he can find out how fast his internet access is.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1275

Scott Wilkinson

Scott joins us to talk about the new Dolby Atmos Soundbar. The idea of superior sound is to get a greater sense of immersion and Atmos adds to the effect of surround sound. It puts the sound above you so that it comes at you from every direction. Atmos does this by bouncing the audio off the ceiling. Then, using DSP, it can create a simulated surround sound effect. Leo wonders if it would be better to have two really good stereo speakers, rather than 7 surround sound speakers that may not be as good. Scott says that is a good argument. But the center channel is where the voice should be.

How can I monitor my data usage?

Jonathan from Knoxville, TN

Episode 1274

Jonathan is with Comcast and they've put data caps on his service. 300GB per month plus $10 for another 50GB. Leo says that's terrible. 300GB isn't very much if he's watching Netlix. He can check his consumption in Windows 10. He can also check on his mobile device. Asus has a traffic monitor interface that he could use. Wireshark is another option for analyzing the traffic on his wireless. He could also put open source firmware on his router like DDWRT or Tomato which would do that monitoring for him.