Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

What speakers would be best for my garage?

Episode 1081

Jose from Buena Park, CA
Pioneer Bookshelf Speakers

Jose has built a man cave in his garage and would like to get better speakers for gaming. Leo says that he'll really want nice surround sound speakers. He doesn't need Dolby 7.1, as 5.1 will work just fine. Leo suggests avoiding Bose. It's not the best sound and not the best bang for the buck.

Scott WIlkinson recommends the Pioneer 22BS or the 52BS. It's designed by Andrew Jones and they're excellent. Onkyo and Denon make great A/V receivers as well.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1081

Scott joins us to talk about Apple's acquisition of Beats headphones, which Leo says is far more marketing than acquiring a high performance technology. He equated it to Monster cables. Scott agrees. Leo is happy, however, that headphones are making a comeback over earbuds, which really don't give music their due. Scott's favorites are the B&W P5 and the PSB M4U. They're a few hundred bucks. Leo also says that Beats has educated people to accept that high quality headphones will cost you, but it's worth it.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1077

Leo says he's thrilled because he's now got a subwoofer for his home theater and has rewired his surround speakers in the walls. Scott says the classic place for surround speakers at 110 degrees from the front of you. So not really directly behind you, but slightly so. That gives you the most enveloping sound field.

Supreme Court Reviews Aereo Decision

Episode 1077

This is the week that the Supreme Court is hearing the Aereo Decision. Aereo takes broadcast signals using thousands of dime-sized antenntas, and routes them through the Internet. Users rent DVR space in order to record TV shows and watch live TV. Leo says that it's a cool technology, but broadcasters have sued Aereo claiming copyright violations for leeching the broadcast signal out of the air without permission or paying retransmission rights. Aereo says all they're doing is renting out antennas and hard drives for their customers and they've won many times with that defense.

Could I replace my set top cable box with something else that's less expensive?

Paul from San Diego, CA

Episode 1075

Paul wants to cut the cord as he's tired of his cable bills getting higher and higher. Can he replace the set top box and save a little money? Leo says that he recently bought a TIVO that can take a "cable card." This is a card that can plug into the DVR. The cable company is supposed to support it by law, but they aren't very helpful in getting it because that set top box is a big revenue stream. So he needs to know if he can get one from his cable company. Leo says to go down to the cable store and get face to face with them about it.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1075

Scott Wilkinson went to see the world premiere of the Johnny Depp film "Transcendence," which was shown in Dolby Atmos, which is able to steer the sound in ways that aren't channel based and go way beyond 5.1 or even 7.1. It was shot in film and then converted to digital, which is becoming more and more rare. But it has some wonderful grain and dynamic range. Leo wonders when it became noteworthy that film is being used over digital? How did that happen? Scott says it's a philosophical choice.

How can I cut the cord on my satellite service?

Debbie from Pennsylvania

Episode 1073

Debbie is looking to cut the cord and cancel her satellite service. Leo says that the good news is most of the programming on TV, except live TV, is available over the Internet through Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Vudu, etc. With all that, who needs satellite or cable? Debbie wants to know how she can get that content from the internet on her TV.

Can I attach a second DVR to a cable box?

Judy from Seal Beach, CA

Episode 1073

Judy wants to know if she can buy her own DVR and use it with the same cable connection as the rest of the apartment. Leo says she could get a TIVO or a ChannelMaster that would do this, but since it won't have its own cable card from the cable company, it would need to connect to the set top box that's already there. This means she'll need an IR blaster so that the DVR can communicate to the cable box to change channels at the appropriate times. Some set top boxes have a link cable that the TIVO would understand, so she could hook it up that way.