home theater

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Episode 1566

Scott went and saw the manga based sci fi action film ALITA BATTLE ANGEL this week. Scott says the story is pretty bad, but he saw it for the technology used in making the film, to see how it was presented. And it was pretty impressive. The actor who played Alita was completely CGI'd, so she had to wear a motion capture suit for the entire film. But the character still runs into the "uncanny valley," which means it doesn't look real, no matter how close they get it. But Scott says it works because Alita is supposed to be a synthetic character.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1564

Scott Wilkinson joins us to talk about the producers and engineers' wing of the recording academy, which hands out the Grammy Awards. They put on a party during Grammy week every year. It was at the Village Recorders, a venerable and famous old recording studio. They honor someone every year, and give them something similar to a lifetime achievement award, and this year it went to Willie Nelson.

Scott Wilkinson ... Super TV Time

Episode 1560

Scott says that this weekend is a great time to buy a new TV, ahead of the Super Bowl. But this year, the deals aren't as good as they were during Black Friday last november. But they're still pretty good. The LG B8 55" OLED is selling for $1500, $800 off. The 65" model is $1000 off. The next step is the C8, and the 55" is only $200 more. But Scott says it has a more powerful processor and the upscales are better. So it'll look better and is definitely worth spending the extra money for. Samsung's 55" QLED is 24% off at Best Buy, but you can get an even better deal at Costco or Sam's Club.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1556

Scott put in his customary 28 miles of walking during CES and he saw some really cool TVs. One thing he saw was a TV with Dual Layer Modulation LEDs, which uses two LED screens to deepen color and dynamic range. The one behind is black and white only, which is used to dim each pixel separately. The contrast ratios are approaching 1 million to one! HiSense had one with 3000 nits of brightness and a black level of .0003. MicroLEDs were also huge. Samsung showed off a 75" 4K microLED that was huge.

Scott Wilkinson on Home Theater

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1554

Scott says that next week is the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and he expects a ton of 8K TVs will be showcased. But they'll be extremely expensive and there's no real 8K content. So it'll be a while before it's worth investing in an 8K TV. The real improvement will be the new HDMI 2.1 standard. So any new TV should have that component architecture to it, and it will offer an increased bitrate of 48MBps. There will be improved low latency and variable frame rate as well. HMDI 2.1 will require new cables as well, but it will be fully backward compatible.

Where do I put surround speakers in my living room?

Episode 1551

Chuck from Fontana, CA

Chuck is in a new house with a larger room and he wants to know where to put his speakers for surround sound. It's a long room with a 65" screen. Scott says if he can keep his chairs square to the TV, he can then put the surround speakers behind him. But Chuck has the TV cornered and that makes it a very difficult. So he'd probably have to move the TV over another wall and then try to block out the main windows when he's watching TV. Or he could put the surrounds in, or on the ceiling. That can be a challenge because he'll have to run wires through the attic.

Can I watch TV with headphones and speakers?

Vizio Sound Bar

Episode 1549

Don from Santa Barbara, CA

Don recently bought a new LG TV, and he likes to watch TV with ear phones, but his wife doesn't. When he uses the earphone jack, it shuts off the speakers. What can he do? Leo says the easiest way to do it is to use dual audio outputs. Leo recommends a sound bar that he can plug into the optical port, and then he can use the headphones with the headphone jack. Vizio makes a good budget sound bar for around $100. The other option is an analog splitter.

Why is my Blu-ray player "jerky?"

Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

Episode 1549

Rich from Tuscon, AZ

Rich recently bought a 4K TV, now he's having issues watching Blu-ray DVDs that are non 4K, because it's a bit "jerky." Leo says it's called "decoding hesitation." Scott says that the very first Samsung Blu-ray players had problems with resolution and detail. It's also related to upscaling. What's odd is that it's inconsistent, happening every 5-10 seconds. Leo also says the Blu-ray player is losing sync when decoding the data stream. A better player will fix the problem, and if Rich is looking to get the next component in his new 4K system, the Blu-ray player is where to start.