HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.
This week, Scott joins us to talk about how this week is one of the biggest weeks to buy a new TV. The Super Bowl is one of the things that keeps live TV going, and streaming the big game has been done over the last few years. According to Variety, NBC will be streaming the big game as part of an 11 hour block on NBCUniversal.com. There will also be 4K cameras shooting the action for instant replay, so they can zoom in and still have high def images. Leo would love to see a UHD version of the game.
Jeff has great bandwidth - 100Mbps down - but when he's streaming on his TV, he gets constant buffering. Leo says that smart apps on a TV are terrible. So Leo advises avoiding them and going with a streaming box like the Roku. Jeff says it's also happening with the Fire TV, though. Jeff is mostly having a hard time streaming DirecTV content. He has a SWiM box which is connected over the LAN in his house to his DirecTV receiver. There shouldn't ever be buffering, so Leo thinks it's the SWiM box.
Jeff has an old Magnavox Plasma TV and he's in the market for a new TV. Leo says that plasma has gone away largely because of the power requirements. And thanks to the State of California's low power requirements for TVs, nobody really makes them anymore. Jeff has a budget of $1,000 and would like a TV that's at least 55".
Scott continues his CES retrospective, but now he's got the 'CES Crud,' which you usually get when you travel to Las Vegas with 100,000 of your closest friends. Scott found it interesting that curved panels are all the rage, especially in Korea and China. Meanwhile, Japan still hangs on to flat screens.
Greg finished installing his home theater system and he wants to know what device is good for watching movies on his computer. Leo says that Plex is great on the Playstation or Xbox, or even the Roku or Fire TV. It connects to the media storage, such as a networked desktop. Leo likes it because it's simple. A Mac Mini would work great, and it's small. It has HDMI out so it'll plug right into his AV receiver.
Marty was going out to buy a Sony X900 UHD TV, but then he heard Leo's CES report and decided to wait. Leo says that the X900 is a gorgeous TV, however, waiting may be a good idea because the standards have been finalized and any older TV won't conform to them. Marty says that Sony and Samsung are "guaranteeing" that they will work under the standard. Leo says they'll work, but will it work as well as one that's up to the new standard? That's the real question. It's a matter of how well it works, not if it works.
Paul got his mother a Harmony remote to make using her TV system easier to use. Leo says he'll want to be sure he sets it up right. That's the complicated part. Logitech has an online database that will allow him to connect it to the internet program it. He can also program custom buttons for his favorite shows, so Paul's mother could just press one button and everything would turn on as it should.
Brandon wants to know what the minimum bandwidth is that he can get away with to stream Hulu Plus. Leo says for a good quality stream, he'll want at least 5 Mbps down. But that doesn't meant that's what he would get all the time. Beware of the term "up to." Run SpeedTest.net to get an idea what the sustained throughput is. That will give him an idea. But if he's sharing bandwidth with the neighborhood, then it could be less.
Jerry added a hard drive to his DVR, and he's considering a change from Dish to another service. Will he be able to keep his content? Leo says no. They're probably formatted with the same standard, but the issue is that the content is encrypted by Dish. He could still use it, but he'd have to "rebless" it with the new DVR and that would require erasing the hard drive completely. That's because Hollywood is deathly afraid he'll take that content, burn DVDs and sell them.
Mike is planning to build a home theater PC. But when he's running Pandora online, he can control the volume on the PC, the amp and Pandora, but the sound is terrible. What is he doing wrong? Leo says that he'll want to use line-out, not headphone out. Line out has a fixed nominal volume, allowing him to adjust it from the amp. Even better, he could use digital out. FiiO makes a great digital analog converter