Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

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.

Scott Wilkinson at NAB

Episode 1073

Scott Wilkinson

Scott is back from NAB in Las Vegas, where he says the show has become more for content creators and not just for broadcasters. GoPro had a huge presence there, as did Blackmagic, Canon, Panasonic, JVC, and Sony, which all had broadcast quality consumer cameras. Scott likes that the technology he sees there ends up trickling down to the consumer market.

Can I use a VPN to get around ISPs throttling Netflix?

Episode 1071

Steve from Summerville, MA
Netflix

Steve signed up for a VPN in order to bypass the bottlenecks brought about by his ISP and Netflix. Leo says that's an interesting solution as the data would be encrypted and the ISP wouldn't know what the data is. Leo says ISPs are slowing down the traffic by 33%, and it's terrible that they do it. VPNs could be a solution to that. However, it also delays his signal because of the overhead of encryption and decryption that would be required. Since Netflix is paying Comcast now for preferred traffic access, a VPN would actually slow the signal down.

Why does AT&T's U-verse look so compressed?

Episode 1071

Rob from Fairfield, CA
AT&T U-verse

Rob has AT&T UVerse and looks really compressed. Leo says he hears that complaint all the time. It's likely that U-Verse does use a lot of compression, even though it's fiber, so they have no loss of bandwidth. On top of that, channels also are compressed. So there's compression all along the line. This is why broadcast HD is always the best, because there's no compression over-the-air.