Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

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.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1273

Scott Wilkinson

Scott has big news that Vizio has changed the name of the game in big screen TVs. On Tuesday, Vizio announced the P-Series, which has much of the R-Series features for 1/3 of the price. It comes with HDR with Dolby Vision, and it will get a firmware update in 90 days that will give users HDR10 as well. This is huge because it should drastically drop the price of HDR 4K TVs fairly quickly.

Should I buy a 1080p or 4K TV?

Kathleen from Rancho Cucamonga

Episode 1272

Kathleen's HDTV just died. She's looking to buy a 65" 1080p model for $500, but should she buy a 4K TV? Leo says that it may just be a bad cable, so she should make sure that isn't the problem. But if it's dead, then Leo says that it's a very good time to buy a TV as the new models are coming out in the Spring. 4k content is starting to trickle out now and the 4K UHD Blu-ray players are half as much as the Blu-ray players were when they first came out. There's some great options at $1000 for 4K TVs.

How can I keep my stream from buffering?

Episode 1272

Joe from Knoxville, TN
Raspberry Pi 3

Joe picked up a Raspberry Pi 3. Leo says it's an amazing $35 computer which comes with ethernet and USB ports. It's very popular with hobbyists. Joe uses it to run XBMC with his Roku, but it buffers a lot. Leo says that a lot of things can cause buffering like a lack of bandwidth and lost packets. Leo has a hunch that the buffer in XBMC is larger than on the Roku. He'll also get less buffering with lower quality streams. He should check out adafruit.com

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1271

Scott Wilkinson

Leo hears that there's a new Atmos Sound Bar. Is it worth it? Scott says that the new UltraHD Premium Spec supports Atmos in the home and it should sound great. And more UHD Blu-ray titles are coming out. Sony is one of four studios that have released UHD Blu-rays as well as Fox, Universal and Lionsgate. So we're coming up to the transition of a new format in home entertainment. Scott even believes that the move to UHD will be faster than when we transitioned from DVD to Blu-ray. And it won't be that much more on the onset.