Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Should I upgrade from my plasma TV?

Episode 1485

Mark from Los Angeles, CA
LG OLED B7A

Mark has a 2012 Panasonic Viera and wants to know if he should upgrade to 4K. Leo says that the Viera was a plasma TV and it's really the best quality there is. And it still works! Yes, there's 4K, yes there's HDR. But 4K is only important if he's really close to the screen. Chances are, it won't be all that much of a difference. HDR, on the other hand, offers superior dynamic range. But unless he sees them side by side, he might not notice it. So Leo advises keeping that plasma TV until it dies. He can always upgrade then. And when he does, he's going to want to get an OLED.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1485

Scott Wilkinson

With summer coming, it's a great time to think about having an outdoor cinema experience with a projector. Projectors give you that immersive, cinematic experience, but everything needs to be dark in order to enjoy it like you do at a movie. Nighttime screenings in the backyard are great for that. But indoors, that's where things get different. Ambient light can really affect projectors. Also, you need a "short throw" projector in most rooms in order to get a large enough image on the wall. A good ambient light rejecting screen is also important.

Should I buy an Apple TV?

Episode 1483

Anthony from Carpenteria, CA
Apple TV

Anthony wants to know what the advantage is of getting an Apple TV if all the modern TVs are so-called "smart" TVs? Rich says that apps are always better, and updated more on a dedicated device like the Apple TV. Smart TVs, on the other hand, rarely get updated, if ever. TV makers are in the TV business, not the app development business. So Apple TV has that advantage.

When should I buy a 4K TV?

Episode 1483

CJ from Whittier, CA
LG OLED B7

CJ is really into 4K HD Blu-rays, and he wants to know if he should buy a 4K HDR TV now, or wait until Black Friday? Rich says that streaming is the future and Blu-ray discs are going away. He's going to want to get 4K HDR with Dolby and HDR10. Those are the two standards. He can wait until Black Friday, but the best time to get a TV is just before the Super Bowl.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1483

Scott Wilkinson

Scott saw Avengers: Infinity War this week. Scott says it's long at 2 1/2 hours, but it's a great popcorn movie. Marvel brought together over 78 characters from across the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Scott thought it was fairly "one note," emotionally, but that seeing it in Dolby Cinema really made the image "pop." The sound was great. He saw it in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, while IMAX is taller at 1.9:1. So Scott says that if you see it in IMAX, you'll see more of the image information.

Why can't I get local channels on DirecTV Now?

Episode 1482

Roger from Florida
Remote

Roger is a cord cutter, who uses an antenna to watch live television. He's just at the edge of the range and sometimes the signal drops out. He decided to go with DirecTV Now and there's still no local channels. Leo says it depends on where he is. Roger's DSL line shows that he's 75 miles away from he actually is, and so DirecTV Now won't give him local channels. Leo says IP Geo location is notoriously inaccurate, at most a best guess. Leo says that AT&T needs to fix that, because they're using a lousy IP location service.

Should I get an all-in-one computer with an i7?

Episode 1481

Mark from Akron, OH
all-in-one PC

Mark wants to know if all-in-one computers are a good deal. Leo says that Apple changed the game with the iMac and now other PC makers offer them to. They're elegant looking, but some are difficult to expand and upgrade. All-in-ones have thermal constraints as well, and some all-in-ones have a throttled processor because of the heat issue. But if he gets one, he should spring for the SSD and at least 8GB of RAM. It'll help his performance dramatically. That's really where performance is needed anyway. Then he should keep his data on a spinning external drive.