Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How can I improve my antenna reception?

Ben from Omaha, NB

Episode 1235

Ben watches his TV with an over the air antenna and it occasionally loses signal. Scott says that generally speaking, an OTA antenna inside a home, like an apartment, works best near a window and within line of sight of the transmitter. Scott recommends going to AntennaWeb.org to find out how to maximize his TV reception. He can input his location and it will let him know where to point the antenna. Titan.tv is another source.

What's better: the Vizio Reference Series or the LG OLED?

Richard from Torrance, CA

Episode 1235

Richard has looked at the Vizio Reference Series and the LG 65" OLED. How do they compare? For absolute picture quality, Scott says that the OLED wins, but both produce a gorgeous picture. The Vizio Reference series used LED backlighting with Quantum dots that has an amazingly wide color gamut and it's the first to use Dolby Vision dynamic range. OLEDs have a benefit though that over time the image won't degrade. Can the LG mount a sound bar with it? Scott doesn't know, but the Vizio comes with a sound bar built in.

How can I record the videos on my DVR?

Elliot from Boston, MA

Episode 1235

Elliot wants to know how he can get his DVR programs. Is there a box for it? Scott says that Hollywood is against getting the digital bits off a DVR because of piracy concerns. So really, the best solution is to exploit the analog hole, if there's analog connections. But this means he may not be able to get the HD signal. It'll either disable the output or downgrade to SD. Scott says it's silly, people are not going to sell copies on a blanket in their front yard, they just want a backup copy of the videos they record. But that's the way it is now.

What's better: OLED or 4K?

Episode 1235

David from Palm Beach, FL
LG Electronics 55EG9100 55-Inch 1080p Curved Smart OLED TV

Dave is looking for a new TV and he can't decide between 4K and OLED. Scott says that LG makes 4K OLEDs. They're not cheap, but he doesn't have to choose if he can afford $3k-5k. There are 1080p OLEDs, the 55" EG9100 is $2,000. That's closer to what "mere mortals can afford."

There's nothing better than OLED. Scott's 1080p OLED TVs are curved though, and he's not a fan of the curved design. But OLEDs are the best design since HD.

Why does Netflix play audio so low?

Robbie from California

Episode 1235

Robbie has been having issue with the Netflix app in his Phillips TV. The audio is really low. Scott says that's not uncommon for TVs -- they're not very smart. He recommends connecting the Roku separately and running Netflix through that. If it does the same thing, then he may need to go into the audio settings and see if there's a limiter or something that's enabled.

Are there good surround sound headphones?

Dave from Riverside, CA

Episode 1235

Dave lives in an apartment complex and has a surround sound home theater system, but sadly he can't use it because of his neighbors complaining. Are there surround sound headphones? Scott says there's a few ways to go about that. He could simulate it with a DTS Headphone X algorithm, but it has to be included in the AV receiver. Dolby has Dolby Headphone, which is another AV option. Mozaex makes a set of headphones that are surround, but they're not cheap. The Smith Realizer is the Rolls Royce of surround sound simulation which he would plug his headphones into. But it's about $3,000!

What's a good OLED TV?

Episode 1235

Ricky from Albuquerque, NM
LG 65EG9600 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Curved Smart OLED TV

Ricky is looking to get an OLED TV. Scott says that currently LG is the only one making them, and they're lower end 1080p models. Those models are also curved. LG also has a 65" flat version, though.

LG did have trouble over the summer, where the screen had an irregular image that only was seen in a dark picture. It was a panel problem and they addressed it pretty quickly. The EG9600 is the 2015 OLED, and it's pretty good, but again it's cured, and only 1080p.

What's a good midrange TV?

Episode 1235

Bill from Yucca Valley, CA
VIZIO M55-C2 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV

Bill is looking to buy a midrange TV around Black Friday. He's thinking about Hitachi's 1080p 55 inch TV. Scott says that Hitachi got out of the TV business awhile ago, so chances are it will be an old model, and Scott would be hesitant about that.

Scott says that for a high quality, low cost TV, he recommends Vizio -- especially from the M-Series and up. The M Series is terrific if he can stretch his budget a tad beyond $400.