Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

How can I run HDMI 50 feet or more?

Episode 1209

Glen from Rolling Heights, CA
HDMI Cable

Glen wants to split his TV signal via HDMI. It works for a minute and then it gets really dark. Leo says the challenge is that Glen is splitting the signal and then transporting it over a greater distance. So chances are it's dropping bits due to interference. That's why Leo says a Balun is a better choice. He can then send HDMI over ethernet and the signal is amplified over both ends. It's much better and not very expensive. Glen can check out HDMI Extenders or Baluns at monoprice.com.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1209

Scott Wilkinson

Lance says that he doesn't think 4K streaming will ever take over 4K Blu-ray discs. Scott says that the median downstream bandwidth in the US is far less than what 4K requires, and even if it did, with data caps, your streaming would be terribly limited every month. Leo agrees and says that he's seen 4K streaming and it's nowhere near as good as a Blu-ray experience. Scott says it's because the streams are compressed and that is part of the problem.

Why can't I keep using my Windows Media Center?

Michael from San Dimas, CA

Episode 1207

Michael has been using Windows Media Center but now that Microsoft has killed development for it, and the guide for Windows Media Center no longer works, he's been using Kodi. Then he heard of a third party guide which worked great, but now it won't work with Netflix because it's Windows Media Center. Leo says to try MythTV. It's open source, so it won't get killed off, and it has DVR capability. It works great. Another one to try is HDHomeRun.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1207

Scott Wilkinson

Scott joins us with the news that Sharp is selling their TV arm to HiSense, and is getting out of the TV business for good. Scott hasn't been much of a fan of Sharp TVs, and they only enjoyed about 3% of the market share. So it's not surprising that they're getting out. It's ironic, because Sharp invented LCD technology and will likely keep making the LCD screens for others.

What's a good microphone and mixer for podcasting?

Episode 1204

Brandon from Springfield, MO
Behringer Podcast Kit

Brandon wants to get a mic for his computer so he can do let's play Minecraft videos. What should he get? He wants a mic with XLR outputs. Leo says that a good affordable option is the Shure SM58. They're cheap at under $100 and very robust. He won't be able to break it. He should also get a mixer that has a USB connector that can interface digitally with his computer. Podcaster kits like this from Behringer are a great place to start.

Should I get a home theater system or just a sound bar?

Episode 1204

Joshua from New Jersey
Onkyo HT-S3500 660 Watt 5.1-Channel Home Theater Speaker/Receiver Package

Josh is looking to get a new Home Theater system. Should he get a sound bar or a Home Theater in a Box? Leo says that the only reason to get a sound bar is because he doesn't want the complexity of a home theater system. A home theater system requires an AV Receiver, speakers, center channels, sub woofer and wire. But a sound bar can have the bar and a subwoofer for the better ones. Pioneer's Andrew Jones SB23 is the best according to Home Theater Guru Scott Wilkinson.

What's a good security camera I can access with my smartphone without Internet?

Episode 1204

Art from Kingston, RI
DropCam

Art wants a security camera system that he can monitor from his phone, but he has no internet at his cabin. Leo says that Art's only option would be 4G. He can get a MiFi card that he can connect via Wi-Fi to the cameras, and then use the MiFi to access the 4G celluar network and transmit his security footage. That way he'll have only one bill and one SIM. It'll cost about $30 a month. DropCams are great because they record online and he can go back into time online.

How can I record HDTV on my laptop?

Episode 1203

Brian from Irvine, CA
ViewHD 2 Port 1x2 Powered HDMI Mini Splitter for 1080P & 3D | VHD-1X2MN3D

Brian wants to capture some of his cable TV signals in HD to his laptop. Leo says that High Definition content is copy protected via HDCP. He could do it via TIVO with a cable card and then use TIVO To Go. Or he can exploit the Analog hole. He can get a digitizing device that takes component or composite out and then use that to convert to bits and save it to his hard drive. The only issue is that he'll need FireWire to do it. USB 3 may do it, though. There could be a Thunderbolt video capture card and that would be a good idea.

What's a good 40" LCD TV?

Episode 1202

Brian from Irvine, CA
Vizio TV

Brian and other employees want to chip in and buy a 40" HDTV for their boss. Is Insignia a good option? Leo says that Insignia is Best Buy's house brand. He wouldn't choose that over Vizio. That's where Leo would go. They offer tremendous value for the money.

Should he go larger than 40? Leo says maybe, if he can afford it. Samsung? Leo says yes, Samsung is great, as is LG, Sharp, and Sony. But Vizio is the best bang for Brian's buck.