Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How important is upscaling in HDTVs?

Jerry from Cameron Park, CA

Episode 1267

Jerry's elderly mother has UVerse cable, and she can't afford the HD service. Currently she has an old Sharp 720p TV, and Jerry wanted to replace that for her. Should he buy a 720p TV or a newer 1080p? He was told that the newer, smaller 1080p TV sets don't upscale. Leo says it's a big deal if an HDTV doesn't upscale, because standard definition will look a lot worse. The set top box may upscale, though. Better cables may also help. It also would help to use HDMI instead of composite if it's a possibility.

How can I connect my home theater wirelessly?

Episode 1267

Greg from San Jose, CA
DVDO Air3C

Greg has a new HDTV and he doesn't want wires. How can he go wireless with his home theater unit? Scott says that a company called DVDO makes a wireless HDMI system called Air3C. It's around $200 for a transmitter and receiver, which uses the 60 GHz band. That means the transmitter and receiver must be more or less in line of sight with each other and can't be used to transmit from one room to another.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1267

Scott Wilkinson

Scott keeps getting the question of which high dynamic range (HDR) capable TV to buy. Scott says there's an important distinction between "HDR compatible" and "HDR capable." HDR compatible just means it takes the HDR signal and downgrades it to standard dynamic range. HDR capable, on the other hand, can actually display an HDR picture. Over at AVS Forum, Scott has made a list of HDR capable TVs from 2015 and 2016.

What TV should I buy?

Episode 1265

Steve from Detroit, MI
Roku 4

Steve is looking to get a new HDTV and wants to know if he should get a smart TV or rely on a set top box like Roku. Leo says that most HDTVs are smart TVs, but the apps are awful. He ends up using the Roku or the Apple TV to run all those apps. Steve can get an HDTV that isn't "smart," but they are usually low end options. Leo also says that UltraHD Premium sets are now all the rage and the prices have gone down on 4K TVs. But at the end of the day, it's best to just go with the TV he likes and a Roku.

Why does my Channel Master lose signal strength?

Episode 1262

Mike from Twin Falls, ID
Channel Master

Mike has a Channel Master DVR and he had to install his own hard drive because the one it comes with is really small. But it was worth it because he doesn't have to pay a monthly fee.

The tuner, though, loses signal strength and degrades in quality sometimes. Leo says that's odd because digital should either work or not. It doesn't degrade well.