Scott says that TVs have gotten so thin, that speakers aren't capable of providing any appreciable sound because they aren't beefy enough to drive the sound. So a home theater system, or a sound bar is now a must. But Scott says that if your TV only puts out stereo via Tosslink (the optical connector), a surround sound sound bar isn't really going to help. So don't overspend on them. What brands to avoid? Well, many of the specs won't warn you. An HDMI connection could help, if you have enough ports.
Scott wants to talk about movie subscription services. MoviePass started the trend with an all you can watch subscription plan that allows you to watch one movie a day. But Scott says that they are in serious financial straights, losing money on every sale. It has, however, prompted more subscription services including AMC's Stubs A List. The cost is $20 a month, for three movies a week, plus upgrades to popcorn and drinks, and the ability to watch upcharged screenings like IMAX or Dolby Cinema.
This week, the topic is the Amazon Fire TV Cube. Scott hasn't tried the Fire TV ecosystem yet, but the Cube looks pretty interesting. Scott also says he's hesitant because it listens to your every word. It uses Alexa to operate, and it supports 4K, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos at home. Scott says that HLG, or Hybrid Log Gamma, is the latest HDR codec. Leo says that the Cube is cool because it will work off your voice. So you tell it to watch a title, and it will search to find it.
Over at AVSForum, Scott has an article on how to watch the World Cup in 4K HDR. You basically need to either be a Comcast subscriber with the Infinity X1 service, or be a DirecTV subscriber. For Comcast, it will also be a one day delay, and in Spanish! Leo says that makes it useless in today's world. Layer 3, owned by T-Mobile also has coverage.
Streaming online, you can get the World Cup if you have a HiSense TV. There's an app for it that you can install.
Scott has been reviewing the LG 55C8 OLED TV and he's pretty impressed with it. It has an automatic calibration utility, but you'd need the meter and software to do it. Once you have that, it will run the calibration and set your TV automatically. There is a bug, however, found by the gang at AVS Forum, but SpectraCal, the company that wrote the auto calibration app, is fixing it. The bug only affects 100% saturated colors, so it has minimum effect since content rarely includes colors that are 100% saturated.
Scott says that high dynamic range on a projector TV is years behind HDR on flat panel TVs, so some projector users have chosen to wait to upgrade to 4K until the technology catches up. And that makes total sense. Scott also was disappointed with the visual look of Solo: A Star Wars Story. He was expecting great high dynamic range, but instead, it was rather washed out, and it turns out it was an artistic choice by Ron Howard, the director. Leo said it sounded great in Atmos though. Scott agrees, but it was rather harsh.
Scott saw the re-release of 2001: Space Odyssey on 70mm yesterday to celebrate the 50th anniversary. Scott says that the release was shepherded by director Christopher Nolan. Back in 1999, MGM took the original camera negative and made an "interpolative," which Christopher Nolan then took and made new prints from. It wasn't restored, but it's a high quality, high resolution 70mm quality.
Scott says that when deciding between a smart TV or a TV with a Roku Box. The Roku is easier to update and expand. You can add some apps to your TV, but updates really are few and far between. Leo agrees. He prefers just a monitor and lets the streaming box like Roku handle all the content.
Best Buy is also having a killer one day sale today, and you can get a new 4K TV for under $400.
With summer coming, it's a great time to think about having an outdoor cinema experience with a projector. Projectors give you that immersive, cinematic experience, but everything needs to be dark in order to enjoy it like you do at a movie. Nighttime screenings in the backyard are great for that. But indoors, that's where things get different. Ambient light can really affect projectors. Also, you need a "short throw" projector in most rooms in order to get a large enough image on the wall. A good ambient light rejecting screen is also important.
Scott saw Avengers: Infinity War this week. Scott says it's long at 2 1/2 hours, but it's a great popcorn movie. Marvel brought together over 78 characters from across the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. Scott thought it was fairly "one note," emotionally, but that seeing it in Dolby Cinema really made the image "pop." The sound was great. He saw it in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, while IMAX is taller at 1.9:1. So Scott says that if you see it in IMAX, you'll see more of the image information.