Home Theater

HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.

Why doesn't my TV switch to my laptop connection?

Jeff from Ontario, CA

Episode 1241

Jeff bought a Samsung Smart TV and it's connected to FIOS. Sometimes, though, they connect a laptop to it through HDMI. The TV doesn't like it and jumps back to HDMI 1, though. Leo says that is due to CEC or Consumer Electronics Control, which in theory will switch to the active device. In practice, it's sketchy at best. Some ports may be CEC and some may not be. And Samsung may not call it CEC. Jeff will also have to make sure that CEC is enabled. Another issue is a device going into sleep mode and not grabbing the CEC.

What keyboard should I get for my Smart TV?

Kimberly from Maui, HI

Episode 1241

Kim has a smartTV and she wants to add a wireless keyboard. Leo says most smart TVs support Bluetooth keyboards. Kim also has a non-smart TV in her guest room and it has blue lines running through it until it warms up. Leo says thats due to a poor solder on the panel that has to warm up to connect and conduct properly. It's not worth fixing though. So she should just live with it. Will it break soon? Leo says probably not. It's just an annoyance.

Can I return a broken TV bought on a Black Friday deal?

Mark from Topeka Canyon, CA

Episode 1241

Mark bought one of those 55" 1080p Westinghouse LCD TVs for $250 and he's got huge stripes down the center. Leo says it's broken, that's for sure, and Mark should return it. But Mark says that Target is sold out so he can't exchange it. It could also be a TV that was made specifically for Black Friday or a discontinued item and as such, they may not get any more. Leo says he should get his money back. If he's going to pay for an item, even on Black Friday, it should work correctly.

How can I plug an LCD TV into an old cable box?

Episode 1240

Joey from Laguna beach, CA
Component cables

Joey inherited an LCD TV and he needs an adapter to plug in from his old coax cable box. Leo says that coax is an analog connector designed largely for over the air antennas, rather than digital, which is what HDMI or DVI is. Leo says it's going to cost Joey more to get a Coax to DVI converter than it would just to get a new cable box. Then he can get an inexpensive HDMI to DVI adapter. He'll also need a separate sound cable. Since Joey also has component, another option is to go from Component to DVI. That's an inexpensive option as well. But then he could end up with sync issues.

How can I keep using my Home Theater PC?

Louis from Palos Verdes, CA

Episode 1239

Louie has Windows Media Center on his computer and now that his cable company has gone digital, he can't use it. How can he fix it? Leo says that it was probably analog. He'd need a digital replacement of the capture card. The Box isn't enough. Louie will need a cable card or M card that can fit into a device that can make that video capture device a cable box. And it's likely he's going to run into roadblocks there as well.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1239

Scott Wilkinson

Black Friday is coming this week and Scott says there's going to be some amazing deals on Samsung TVs. And you don't have to wait in line to get them, you can shop online. Scott is seeing deals of up to 60% off really good JS UHD models that have high dynamic range. Scott says it's likely to clear out inventory to make room for the 2016 models which will come out in the Spring. Leo says that the deals are unbelievable, especially coming directly from Samsung. Sony is going to have some deals as well, but we haven't seen details yet.

What wireless headphones are good for watching TV?

Phil from Anaheim, CA

Episode 1238

Phil would like to watch TV with wireless headphones so he doesn't disturb the rest of his family late at night. Leo says to look for a good Bluetooth headset that uses A2DP or AptX. USA Today recently came up with a whole list of options at usatoday.com

Another good place to look is at headphones.reviewed.com Beyer Dynamics and Sony both make great wireless headphones.

How can I stop my TV from adding channels?

Episode 1238

Sarafine from Studio City, CA
Samsung TV

Sarafine has a Samsung TV that keeps adding channels that she doesn't want, causing her to delete them manually. Leo says that's Samsung. Their software is terrible and it's likely that it's automatically adding them in an attempt to be smart. She can probably go into the TV settings and disable those automatic settings. But Leo says it'll be tedious because the settings aren't very user friendly. She should look for "autoscan" or "autoupdate". It she can't find that, she may be stuck.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1237

Scott took a call from a guy next week about headphones with surround sound. Subsequently, he's heard about Sony's MDR-DS7500. They're wireless headphones that you can hear surround sound with. Not cheap at $300, but an option. Also, Scott heard that Sennheiser is bringing back the Orpheus headphones, which are $55,000! WHAT?! They're electrostatic and have transistors built into the cans themselves. Sure, they're probably the best headphones in the world, but for that cost, give me a break. Can you really hear the difference, objectively?