HDTVs, projectors, and surround sound systems.
Scott joins Leo to talk about how January is the big time to buy a new TV because the NFL playoffs are in full swing and people want their new TV before the Super Bowl. It's also the time that TVs get discounted because TVs we see announced at CES will begin selling in the Spring. Is there any upgrade we'll see in 2018 worth waiting for? Scott says maybe not, but CES always has something new coming and Scott has heard of something that is really exciting. But on the whole, Scott only expects incremental improvements, or what Leo calls "fins" this year.
Matthew's Pioneer Elite TV has finally died. He was all set to buy one of the new UHD TVs, and then he ran into someone who told him about OLED. Leo says that OLED is UHD as well. Matthew currently has a Plasma, but all the companies have stopped making those. Leo says the best technology these days is OLED, though, anyway. They do have some issues, but in general, OLED is capable of blacker blacks and whiter whites, a better dynamic range. More than 4K and the higher resolutions, the thing that you're really getting from these new TVs is High Dynamic Range.
David is seeing "banding" when he's watching his HDTV. What is that? Leo says that banding usually indicates compression and comes from the source material. If he wants to test it, he should hook up his TV to a Blu-Ray player and play a Blu-ray DVD. He won't see any banding because there's no compression there. But when he watches on satellite or streaming Netflix, he'll see it because the signal is compressed.
Carlton is looking for a loud portable speaker he can pick up in Canada. Leo says that the WireCutter is the best place to find a top recommendation and they say the Peachtree Audio Deepblue 2 Home Speaker is the best one. Audio Engine makes a good one as well.
Scott joins us to talk about Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Leo saw it yesterday at the fan event and he saw it in 3D, which he says ruins movies for him. Also, the projector died twice. Scott says Leo isn't the only one to have that issue. There was a showing at the AMC Burbank where the dialogue track wouldn't play and AMC wouldn't start it over. It almost caused a riot.
Rich has an old HDTV that is losing its ability to play audio until it warms up. It works better on analog, but not on HDMI. Leo suspects that the TV's digital to analog converter is going bad on it. One way to test this is to plug in some headphones and see if the problem persists. If it does, then he'll know it's the converter.
Scott says that digital signal processing is at the heart of a soundbar, and they are great for small living rooms. Atmos is now making its way into soundbars and it's the least expensive way to significantly improve your sound, especially if your soundbar comes with a subwoofer. Leo says that there's a wide range of prices for soundbars, though, and Scott agrees. You get what you pay for. But there are some good budget brands out there including Vizio (of course) and Polk.
Isaac has a nice Sony home theater system. But with 4K, he wants to know if the difference in quality is worth rebuilding it in 4K. Leo says that Blu-ray is not only 4 times the resolution as 1080p, it also has the high dynamic range and that's more important. If his home theater supports HDR, then there's no problem. If not, he may want to think about it. Moving forward, he can start picking up UHD HDR Blu-rays for his collection. Billy Lynn, Master and Commander, the BBC Earth series — all are excellent.
Leo finally got to see Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, directed by Ang Lee. Shown at 120 fps, Leo says it was almost like a stage play. But the problem with it is that because it was shot at such a high frame rate, the actors looked wooden, and because they used very little makeup, you see them how they really look. It's disconcerting, and Leo doesn't think it worked. Scott, though, disagrees and thinks it's an experiment that pushes the boundaries of what we are used to in cinema. Scott says we also have 100 years of watching movies at 24 fps.
Scott says that most of the door buster deals on Black Friday were for store brands or captive brands like Element and others. But LG put all of their LCD TVs on deep discount this time around, so there were great deals there to be had. The LG B7 and C7 are nearly identical with the higher end LGs because they have the same panels. So get the lower cost ones. The performance will be similar, the only difference is processing speed and power. Sony also put the X900E TV on sale as well.