home theater

Scott Wilkinson and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Episode 1103

Scott saw Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and he says it's great. Fantastic motion capture performances by actors who played the apes and then filmmakers digitally replaced their bodies with CGI apes that looked incredibly realistic. And because motion capture does just that, capture the actor's movements, the performance gets mimicked by the virtual actor. Especially with small cameras pointing at his face in order to capture the emotional tone of this face and then apply that to the digital character. Amazing.

Why won't my Amazon Fire TV work with my AV receiver?

Episode 1102

Joe from Austin, TX
Denon AV Receiver

Joe got an Amazon Fire TV, but when he plugs it into his Denon AV receiver it doesn't work. Leo says he likes the Denon AV receiver and can't imagine why it wouldn't work. Everything in the chain is "HDCP" complaint for copy protection. So it should work just fine.

Leo thinks it may be a bad port or bad cable. Make sure the settings from the Fire TV and the TV itself are matched. If one is 1080i and the other is 1080p, then the handshake could fail. Turn everything off and unplug it. Then plug each thing in one at a time, ending with the TV.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1101

Scott Wilkinson

Scott had a guest on Home Theater Geeks this week named Michael Fremer. He is a pure audiophile and enjoys it because of his "golden ears" (being able to pick up on subtle musical cues). He says that high resolution audio is a great development. Leo says that paying more for HiRes audio is a subjective thing. Most won't be able to really enjoy it like someone with golden ears, but if it sounds better to him, then it's worth it.

Scott Wilkinson

Episode 1099

Scott is back to talk about Vizio's new 70" LED LCD screen. Scott likes it because it's great value for the money and offers local dimming through back lit zones which allow for more accurate blacks and colors on the screen. Vizio has also officially killed 3D as an option on their screen. Scott says if you look at the model number that ends in the letter "A," it's a 2013 model, and "B" is a 2014 model. And 2014 models will be back lit, not edge lit. So look for "B" models. Also, 70" TVs are ideal for viewing at 10 feet. If you can afford it, that's what you should get.

Amplify Dialog in Movies and TV Shows

Sometimes, it can be difficult to hear the dialog in movies and TV shows. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do about it.

If you're listening on the TV's internal speakers, open the TV's audio menu and see if there are bass and treble controls. If so, turn down the bass and/or turn up the treble while watching something with people speaking, but do it only as much as necessary to make the dialog understandable.

Even better, connect a soundbar to the TV, which will improve the sound quality overall and dialog intelligibility in particular.

Should I hard wire my Roku box?

Jonathan from Rochester, NY

Episode 1098

Jonathan has DSL internet, and is wondering if there's an advantage to hard wiring his Roku rather than having it wireless. Scott says yes, hard wire is better because of the possibility for interference in the Wi-Fi spectrum. David says that if he's not having video dropouts, hard wiring won't improve the video quality. It'll just give him a more consistent stream. He also has an A/V receiver wired to his speakers.

Why are my TV speakers cutting out when I plug in my headphones?

Mark from Rhode Island

Episode 1098

Mark's mom won a new TV at work and he's been tasked with hooking it up. They also want to have the sound transmitted to a wireless headset for his father. But when he plugs it in, it turns off the speakers on the TV. Suggestions? Scott says that's a common problem and there may be a setting for audio submenus that will give the option to leave the internal speakers on. Scott says that since Mark uses a splitter, it's likely causing the TV to turn off the internal speakers.

What speakers should I get to mix my audio?

Episode 1098

JR from Detroit, MI
Cambridge Audio DAC Magic

JR is building a gaming system and he wants to add some great audio. What about the JBL speakers? The one's he's looking at are made in china and he's concerned about the build quality. Scott says that just because they're made in China doesn't mean they're no good. There's good and bad speakers from anywhere. Scott would recommend going with larger 8" woofers to go deeper in the bass. He also needs a digital audio converter.

Can I add an amp to an A/V Receiver?

James from Pennsylvania

Episode 1098

James has an old Onkyo TXNR808 A/V receiver that he's looking to replace. What would Scott recommend, and can he add a secondary amp to boost the power to his main speakers? Scott says he can add an amp, but he won't really get more power. Most receivers have a pre-amp out which he can then use with a separate, dedicated amp. But it's important to know the impedance of the speakers. The lower impedance, the more power he'll need.