Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

What do I need to create a cool media room?

Diego from Fullerton, CA

Episode 1301

Leo says it depends on his budget, but he'll need a big screen TV, and it's always a larger screen than you would think. If it's a media room, then a projector will likely be a better choice and he can go with as large of a screen as he wants. Projectors can range from $2,000 to $4,000 from Epson, to hundreds of thousands from Ronco. Then there's the screen itself.

He'll also want a Dolby Atmos compatible home theater system. Diego should check out AVSForum for more.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1299

Scott Wilkinson

Scott saw Independence Day Resurgence last night. It was a little disappointing and felt like there were too many writers in the room. It was fun to see the band back together 20 years later, though, and there was lots of nostalgia. The younger actors don't bring it as well, though. It did look fantastic in Dolby Cinema, at least. This gives you the movie in high dynamic range through Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. It really is the way to see it. It'll cost more, but it's really worth it. Scott has a list here.

How can I stream the big game with my iPad?

James from Huntington Beach, CA

Episode 1298

James has an 80" Vizio HDTV and he'd like to stream it. Can he stream it from his iPad Pro? When he plugs it into the Vizio it plays sound but not the picture. Leo thinks it's probably copy protection. If even one item in the chain isn't HDCP compliant, it'll downsample it or even refuse to connect.

The best way to do it is with Apple TV. Another option is using an antenna. In fact, having an antenna will get the best image since it isn't compressed. If he has a good signal, it'll be the best possible image.

Is there a streaming stick that will work with Apple's AirPlay?

Episode 1298

Chuck from Burbank, CA
1080P Wireless Wifi HDMI Airplay Mirror Display Dongle Adapter

Chuck has heard of a guy who's created an AirPlay device so that people can stream wirelessly to the TV from a computer. Leo says that is possible, but Apple licenses AirPlay and unless he's bought a license, that won't work for long.

Here's a streaming stick for sale on Amazon that works with AirPlay. Leo says it's likely a Chinese knockoff and it's probably not exactly legal.

Why didn't my Roku work with a projector?

Episode 1297

Rick from Pleasant Hill, CA
Roku 4

Rick is a member of a user group called the Diablo Valley User Group and they had a shootout between Roku and Apple TV. When he plugged in the Roku 4, though, he got no signal. Could it have been a DRM issue? He's heard that running an HDMI cable through a splitter will strip out the DRM. Leo says it depends on the splitter. Usually sold from China, they can have that advantage, but they can't say so because they'll be blocked.

AppleTV has HDCP, and Rick said it works. So it's probably not a DRM issue. It's more likely an HDMI handshaking issue. It could even be a bad cable.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1297

Scott Wilkinson

Scott joins us to talk about E3 and Microsoft's announcement of the new XBox One S, which will offer not only 4K gameplay, but will have a 4K Blu-ray player as well. For $299, it'll be the most affordable UHD Blu-ray player on the market. It also has the new HDCP 2.2 copy protection, so every bit of the chain will have to support that or you won't be able to watch movies on it.

Microsoft also announced Project Scorpio, which is next year's game player. You'll also need a 4K receiver and Scott says you can get one in the $500 range that also gives you HDR, Atmos, and 4K.