Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

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.

Can an HDMI signal degrade?

John from Kingsford, MI

Episode 1270

John has an HDMI switcher and is concerned that it will degrade the signal. Leo says it won't though. Digital signal either works or doesn't, and there's no degrading of the signal. What about juttering? Leo says that is likely coming from a bandwidth issue. It's likely the satellite connection. One issue could be distance. If he has a really long HDMI cable, it could cause weird artifacting and juttering. That's where a higher quality cable comes in handy.

Which is the best UHDTV for high dynamic range?

Gary from Los Ange

Episode 1269

Gary wonders if the new LG G6 series can enjoy HDR through Samsung's new Blu-ray player. It has to have HDMI 2.0a. But with DOlby Vision it only needs HDMI 2.0. Scott says that is correct. But what about the Vizio Reference series? It doesn't have HDMI 2.0a. Leo says that's because it's last year's model. So it can only receive Dolby Vision HDR, not HDR 10, which is what the Samsung Blu-ray player does. So Scott says to get the LG G6 TV. It does both. Will Vizio upgrade it with firmware? Scott says not likely. It's a hardware difference.

Which HDTV should I buy for good sound?

Episode 1269

Paul from Tarzana, CA
Vizio M Series 43" 4K UHD TV

Paul can't decide between the Vizio and Samsung 32" HDTVs. Leo says he owns both and he thinks that Vizio has the better 'smart' software, and Scott agrees. As for audio quality, Scott says it's not that good on either TV. Leo agrees and says that none of the TV manufacturers put much thought into the speakers since they expect users to already have home theater systems.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1269

Scott Wilkinson

Scott has discovered that DirecTV will be broadcasting the Masters Golf Tournament in 4K on April 7-10th. It will be their first UHD broadcast. Leo wonders how much that signal will be compressed. Scott contacted DirecTV and found that they will be using AGVC as the codec. But he also found out that DirecTV won't say what the bitrate is. Leo says it's like Netflix doing the same thing, and it ends up being awfully compressed and leaves people with an inaccurate and negative impression of what 4K really is. Scott also says that high dynamic range will be missing as well.